Urban Legends: Most Popular Articles
Online rumor claims 27 August 2014 will bring the 'closest encounter between Mars and Earth in recorded history,' during which it will supposedly appear as if there were two moons in the night sky.
Real or Fake? Take the quiz and see if you can tell the hoax photos from the real thing!
Will Mars look as big as the moon on August 27, 2014? No, it won't. This recycled hoax claims August 27 will bring the closest encounter between Mars and Earth in recorded history.
DON'T CLICK on scam posts promoting a video about an incredibly large snake supposedly found in Chicago. It doesn't exist, and you'll regret it.
Viral images purport to show an unbelievably large snake found and killed in the Red Sea by the Egyptian military.
Viral 'news article' says a young Christian boy died briefly on the operating table and claimed he met Allah in heaven after doctors revived him.
Gather 'round the digital campfire to enjoy the Top 20 Scariest Stories we know. You'll be sore afraid!
Tired of people sharing fake news as if it's true? Point them to this checklist of satire sites on the web. Guaranteed 100% effective!
Fake video supposedly reveals hideous skin condition caused by use of Head & Shoulders, Dove, Garnier, or other name-brand shampoo. Don't click. It's a scam.
Warning: If you read these terrifying stories about travel and vacations you may never leave home again!
Several years ago, 'they' say, actor Richard Gere was admitted into the emergency room of a Los Angeles hospital with a foreign object lodged in a bodily orifice.
Internet chain letter tells the story of Carmen Winstead, a 17-year-old girl supposedly pushed down a sewer and killed by a gang of girls from her school.
Viral message claims placing raw onions on the bottoms of your feet overnight will take away illness.
Legend has it that if you stand before a mirror in a darkened room and chant 'Bloody Mary' again and again, a terrifying ghost will appear.
After 30 years of essentially ignoring the inexplicable urban legend about green M&Ms having aphrodisiacal powers, the company has rolled out new magazine and TV ads unabashedly exploiting the candy's sexy reputation.
Did U.S. Gen. 'Black Jack' Pershing rid the Philippines of Islamic extremism by executing Muslim terrorists and burying them with pig's blood and entrails?
From the mailbag: Cats get a bum rap, imploding toilets disembowel victims, Altoids prove 'curiously strong' in more ways than one...
Longstanding (and unproven) rumors claim actress Jamie Lee Curtis is a hermaphrodite, or was born intersex and underwent surgery as a child to become female.
Satirical article claims inspectors found human meat stored in a McDonald's meat factory.
Trending urban legends, online rumors and hoaxes
A teenage babysitter frantically calls the police after receiving prank calls from a stranger who repeatedly inquires after the welfare of the children she's supposed to be taking care of.
Full text of purported CNN news story reporting the 'resurrection' of Tupac Shakur. This is an Internet hoax perpetrated on April Fools' Day 2005.
Thirteen of the creepiest stories ever told. Read them if you dare.
Is there any truth to the claim that Snopes.com is a liberal front organization?
A babysitter calls the parents who hired her to ask if she can cover up the disturbing, life-size clown statue in the living room.
Myth Busted: The earwigs is so named because it crawls into sleeping people's ears and eats their brains.
DON'T CLICK on 'shocking video' posts claiming a bunch of people died in a roller coaster accident at Universal Studios in Florida. It didn't happen.
In the 1940s, Russian researchers conducted an experiment in which five prison inmates were kept awake for 15 days straight. To say it didn't go well is an understatement.
Was children's TV show host Mr. Rogers a tattoo-wearing sharpshooter with dozens of kills to his credit?
Ladies, wash your underwear in boiling water! Viral image and video purport to document a case of larvae infestation of the human breast.
Also known as 'The Licked Hand.' A popular tale from the oral tradition recast as a spooky - if unbelievable - Internet chain letter.
Pepsi contaminated with AIDS? Online rumor claims a worker tainted Pepsi products with HIV-positive blood.
After coming home late and getting ready for bed in the dark, a college coed wakes up the next morning to receive the shock of her life...
Widely circulated text purports to describe the lifelong duties of the Honor Guard of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.
'Silver Pockets Full' chain letter says August 2014 has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays, a configuration that supposedly only occurs once every 823 years.
Drivers beware - that person following you on the highway may actually be trying to save your life!
Bottled water cancer danger? Viral text warns against drinking bottled water left in a warm car because the heat may cause cancer-producing toxins to 'leak' from the plastic into the water.
They picked the worst possible night to go necking on Lovers' Lane. Find out why... if you dare!
Satirical article claims teens reenacting violent scenes from 'The Purge 2: Anarchy' murdered 112 people in Chicago. Not true.
In which we're asked to believe that the word 'fuck' originated as the acronym of 'Fornication Under Consent of the King,' 'For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge,' or some variation thereof.
Honeymooners notice a strange odor in their hotel room and decide to peek under the mattress, only to find... The Body Under the Bed!
Viral photo of a huge dog named Hercules, purportedly the Guinness Record holder for Biggest Dog in the World.
Viral message purports to divulge various tips and tricks for cell phone use, including dialing 112 to access a worldwide emergency network. Be skeptical!
After a lavish wedding in a stately mansion, members of the wedding party play a game of hide-and-seek. It isn't long before everyone is found... everyone, that is, except the bride.
A duck's quack doesn't echo. Myth or fact?
Is it true that the popular American soft drink Mountain Dew can lower a male's sperm count and be used as a contraceptive to prevent pregnancy?
Viral text purports to compare the salaries of top executives of U.S. and Canadian charitable organizations.
Racist Facebook comments have been falsely attributed to the wife of Ferguson, Mo. police chief Thomas Jackson.
Einstein's proof of God? In this viral anecdote of unknown origin, a university student named Albert Einstein humiliates his atheist professor by proving that God exists.
The Internet boogeyman known as Slender Man (aka Slenderman) is best described as a crowdsourced fiction.
Female college student pursued by cop impersonator is rescued by a real police officer after dialing 112 (or *112, or #112) emergency number on her cell phone.
Once upon a time, before modern embalming techniques were developed, people were indeed found on very rare occasions to have been buried alive.
Circulating virally, the text of a speech allegedly given by Bill Gates setting out 11 Rules of Life kids won't learn in school.
AVOID CLICKING on blurbs touting 'shocking videos' like this one. They're scams that could expose you to a malware attack.
Is it true that KFC can't legally use the word 'chicken' in ads because its products are made from genetically manipulated organisms instead of real chickens?
Urban Legends Quiz: Test your urban legends IQ!: urban legends iq
Learn how to recognize and avoid social media clickjacking scams.
Viral images allegedly show the carcass of a dead mermaid found washed up on a beach near Chennai, India during the devastating tsunami of December 26, 2004.
Social media rumor claims Tom Hanks' dad was an original member of the vocal quartet The Diamonds. Not true.
The Choking Doberman, a classic urban legend retold
Satirical article claims the acclaimed TV series 'Breaking Bad' will return for a sixth season. Consider the source!
About those rumors that fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger made racist statements on the Oprah Winfrey Show...
The Hook: A teenager drove his date to Lovers' Lane for a make-out session before it was time to take her home. The place was very dark and deserted...
Viral message claims phone manufacturer Sony Ericsson will give away free laptop computers to anyone who forwards the text to at least eight people.
A collection of funny stories from the Urban Legends archive. Some of the funniest urban legends are in fact jokes retold convincingly enough to seem true.
Hoax article claims McDonald's uses worm meat as filler in its hamburgers.
According to this viral message, a typical blue whale produces over 400 gallons of sperm when it ejaculates. And you wonder why the ocean is so salty!
Did Germans really chuckle with embarrassment when John F. Kennedy uttered the words 'Ich bin ein Berliner' during a speech at the Berlin Wall in 1963?
Here's a 'true story' almost everyone has heard by now: the infamous $250 Cookie Recipe, most recently associated with the Neiman Marcus company, but previously (during the 1980s) the bane of cookie diva Mrs. Fields.
In which we are told, and with a straight face, that the word 'shit' originated as the acronym of 'Ship High in Transit' (or 'Stow High in Transit'), a supposed nautical phrase.
Girl with a 'beehive' hairdo dies a horrible death after a spider crawls inside and lays eggs. Legendary proof that vanity can kill!
Satire website claims slain rapper Tupac Shakur is alive and has finally come out of hiding after nearly 18 years.
Statements falsely attributed to Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard advise Muslim immigrants to learn English and adapt to Australian culture or leave the country.
A teenage babysitter frantically phones the police after seeing a strange man approaching the sliding glass door near where she's watching TV.
Is it true that a 19th-century British plumber named Sir Thomas Crapper (aka John Crapper) invented the flush toilet?
FAKE: Viral image purports to show Barack Obama's 1981 student ID card from Columbia University, listing him as a 'foreign student.'
Viral message claims raw sliced onions will 'collect' or 'absorb' any flu virus present in a home and protect household members from influenza.
Internet rumors claim Ciara was born male and is either a secret transvestite or underwent a sex-change operation to become a transsexual.
Viral rumor accuses Starbucks of refusing to donate coffee to U.S. Marines on the, uh, grounds that the company has taken a stand against the Iraq war 'and anyone in it.'
Viral photos of a man whose brain allegedly became infested with maggots (or was it tapeworms?) as a result of an ingrown hair (or was it eating sushi?).
Dear Urban Legends: I received an email last week which was quite disturbing. It is about dead babies that can be bought from hospitals in Taiwan to meet the high demand for grilled and barbequed babies!
Viral image shows a restroom urinal in Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport with a fly etched in the porcelain to improve users' aim and reduce 'spillage.'
People say you shouldn't throw rice at weddings because birds will eat it, the grains will expand in their stomachs, and they will explode. Not true.
Viral image shows a policeman spraying a child with mace or pepper spray.
Forwarded email claims leftover onions are 'poisonous' because they're 'a huge magnet for bacteria' and especially prone to spoilage.
Unreported airline incident? Viral email by Tedd Petruna purports to be an eyewitness account of a Muslim terrorist 'dry run' aboard AirTran Airways Flight 297 from Atlanta to Houston on November 17, 2009.
'I want to stay privately connected...' Viral message purports to explain how Facebook members can protect the privacy of their comments and likes.
Viral alert claims people have been killed by electrocution or explosion when they answered a cell phone while it was charging.
Emailed images purport to show the progressive deterioration of a necrotic wound caused by the bite of a poisonous brown recluse spider.
Urban Legends FAQ: What is an urban legend?
WARNING: Some viewers may find these images unnerving or offensive. A gallery of viral images notable for their 'ick' factor. Some are authentic, others not. As you'll see, it's not always easy to tell which is which!
After consenting to give a ride to a good samaritan who helped her fix a flat tire, a female driver suddenly remembers she has a very important appointment and races off without him. Later, she finds he left his briefcase in her back seat. She opens it.
Viral message claims coughing in children can be stopped '100% of the time' by applying 'Vicks Vapor Rub' to the bottoms of their feet at bedtime.
Viral message claims that taping a copper penny over a bee sting (or hornet sting) will provide overnight relief from redness and swelling.
I can read your mind! Don't believe me? Here, I'll prove it...
Online rumor alleges that Barack Obama is a Muslim and lied to the American people when he claimed to be a devout Christian.
(Updated May 21, 2014) Contrary to online rumors, it isn't true that ATM users can contact police by entering their PIN number backwards.
If you don't mind my falling back on a gut feeling, I'd rather be French-kissed by a human being than a dog any day.
Hoax List from About.com: Current Internet hoaxes, email rumors and urban legends debunked - your resource for information on all the latest misinformation on the Net.
Viral rant falsely attributed to Bill Cosby condemns lazy poor people, Muslims, global warming believers, programs to help drug addicts, and 'the world these people made.'
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Online rumors claim the popular smartphone app 'Talking Angela' is a threat to kids' privacy and safety. Not true.
Website purports to offer free, easy access to personal information contained in state driver's license databases
Satirical 'news story' claims Chinese man survived 17 years trapped in a mine.
Where did the rumor come from that you could get a free Tootsie Roll Pop (or a whole bag of them) if you found a star (or an Indian, or both) on your wrapper?
Find info on the latest Internet hoaxes, rumors, and the most popular stories circulating today.
Chain letter claims 16-year-old David Gregory was found dead in a sewer after failing to repost it. Did Carmen Winstead do it?
Altoids lore: Does chewing mints before performing oral sex really enhance the pleasure?
Say what you will about her, Marie Antoinette never actually uttered the words 'Let them eat cake.'
NASA photo of the Helix Nebula taken by the Hubble Space Telescope has been dubbed the 'Eye of God' by frequent forwarders.
Facebook video and photos purport to show a 'real' mermaid body found on a beach (some say in India, some say elsewhere).
Decades-old urban legend says innocent people who flash their headlights at oncoming cars are being chased down and killed by gang members.
0809 Area Code Scam - Viral messages warn consumers not to comply with telephone, pager, or email requests to dial phone numbers beginning with area code 809, 284, or 876.
Forwarded email describes an encounter between a Christian minister and a Muslim imam in which the latter admits that his religion requires violent jihad (holy war) against all infidels (non-believers in Islam).
Viral text claims spraying an outside area with Listerine mouthwash repels and/or kills every mosquito in the vicinity.
Sorry, Internet. The August 27 'close encounter' with Mars already came and went in 2003.
Netlore Archive: Viral video purports to show the legendary Ginger Rogers salsa dancing at age 92 with her great-grandson.
A young bride-to-be decides she needs a tan, so a week before her wedding day she visits a tanning salon. Then another. Then another...
Facebook prank: Bill Gates is giving $5,000 to everyone who shares this photo. NOT!
Hoax images, cont. Urban Legends.
DO NOT CLICK on Facebook posts touting videos of a girl who killed herself live on cam. It's a scam.
What we know (and don't really know) about the history of Halloween, its origins, and how modern Halloween customs and traditions evolved.
Doctors looking for the cause of severe headaches and facial itching in a young child discover that ants have crawled in his ear and infested his brain.
Viral rumor claims the Obama administration started a program whereby taxpayer money is being 'redistributed' to provide free cell phones ('Obama phones') to welfare recipients.
I can read your mind!: card trick cards
Viral image purportedly shows the young Frances Bavier (the actress who played Aunt Bee on the Andy Griffith Show) as a pin-up model.
As folklorists, we may not be able to cure paraskevidekatriaphobia (fear of Friday the 13th), but we can at least lend its sufferers a few good excuses.
Is Megan Fox a man??? Internet rumors claim voluptuous actress Megan Fox is actually either a man in drag (transvestite), a transsexual, or was born a hermaphrodite and underwent surgery to become a woman. What's the truth?
Has the American Civil Liberties Union objected to U.S. service personnel praying while on duty in response to a photo showing a group of Marines bowing their heads?
A viral hit since 1990, here is the funniest 'college application essay' ever written.
Circulating via email: A sign posted on the door of a shop in Houston's Harwin Central Mall says the store will be closed on September 11 to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Ali, purportedly a 9/11 terrorist.
Giant Skeletons? Forwarded email claims recent gas exploration activity in the southeast region of the Arabian desert uncovered skeletal remains of 'a human of phenomenal size.'
Internet rumors claim French seer Nostradamus predicted the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon 500 years before they happened.
Unsubstantiated rumor: Using a mobile phone near a gasoline pump may be hazardous to your health.
Have you heard the one about Rod Stewart passing out on stage? Seems he was rushed to the emergency room, where a pint (or quart, or gallon, depending on version) of semen was pumped out of his stomach!
Locked out of your automobile? According to this forwarded email, you can have someone transmit a signal from your spare remote key via cell phone and unlock your car door in a pinch.
Satirical article claims Justin Bieber legally changed his race to 'African American.'
Forwarded email claims potentially hazardous products made in China can be identified by examining the first three digits of the bar code on the packaging, which supposedly indicate the country of origin.
An open letter to President Obama attributed to Hillsboro, Missouri elementary school teacher Kathleen Lyday expresses one citizen's vehement displeasure with the way the country is being run.
Viral message contends that the word 'picnic' originated in southern 'family outings' during which white people lynched African Americans.
Emailed images show a pair of twin sisters - one black, the other white - born to a British couple who both had mixed-race parents.
Viral image showing President Obama holding a White House press conference with no U.S. flags on display claims he is the first president to do so.
'If you think you can do better, come on up here!' says Grand Funk Railroad's guitarist to a booing audience member. Up walks Eric Clapton.
Quiz: Urban Legends about romance, sex, and scandal
Viral warnings claim a provision in Obamacare requires all Americans to receive RFID chip (microchip) implants for government tracking.
Purportedly written by Brad Pitt, this viral essay extolls the 'secret of love,' namely that given enough hugs, kisses, and compliments a woman will 'blossom' and become 'the reflection of her man.'
Proposed 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: 'Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives.'
In which we are asked to believe that NASA scientists inadvertently proved that the biblical account of God causing the sun to stand still for a day is true...
Two people injured in gerbilling mishap (another insult to the reputation of gerbils everywhere).
In a story supposedly told by actor Lee Marvin on The Tonight Show, he served in the military with fellow U.S. Marine Bob Keeshan ('Captain Kangaroo').