Urban Legends: Most Popular Articles
Gather 'round the digital campfire to enjoy the Top 20 Scariest Stories we know. You'll be sore afraid!
Real or Fake? Take the quiz and see if you can tell the hoax photos from the real thing!
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.
Did Russian researchers conduct an experiment in which five prison inmates were kept awake for 15 days straight, driving them to insanity and cannibalism?
A babysitter calls the parents who hired her to ask if she can cover up the scary, life-size clown statue in the living room.
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!
What we know (and don't really know) about the history of Halloween, its origins, and how modern Halloween customs and traditions evolved.
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 bullies from her school.
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...
Also known as 'The Licked Hand.' A popular tale from the oral tradition recast as a spooky -- if not quite believable -- Internet chain letter.
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.
A brief history of the jack-o'-lantern and how carving faces on pumpkins became a Halloween tradition.
Warning: If you read these terrifying stories about travel and vacations you may never leave home again!
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.
The Licked Hand - An urban legend. Page 2.
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.'
They picked the worst possible night to go necking on Lovers' Lane. Find out why... if you dare!
Drivers beware - that person following you on the highway may actually be trying to save your life!
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.
That the Doberman seemed to be choking to death was scary enough. Then they discovered what he was choking on...
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.
Ladies, wash your underwear in boiling water! Viral image and video purport to document a case of larvae infestation of the human breast.
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.
Was children's TV show host Mr. Rogers formerly a tattoo-wearing Marine sniper or Navy SEAL with dozens of confirmed kills to his credit?
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.
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...
Is there any truth to the claim that Snopes.com is a liberal front organization?
Viral messages warn that a directory of cell phone numbers will be published and instructs users to dial 888-382-1222 to add mobile numbers to the Do Not Call Registry to prevent calls from telemarketers.
Girl with a 'beehive' hairdo dies a horrible death after a spider crawls inside and lays eggs. Legendary proof that vanity can kill!
What we know about the origin and history of the custom of wearing costumes and trick-or-treating on Halloween.
Honeymooners notice a strange odor in their hotel room and decide to peek under the mattress, only to find... The Body Under the Bed!
Urban Legends Quiz: Test your urban legends IQ!: urban legends iq
A teenage babysitter frantically phones the police after seeing a strange man approaching the sliding glass door near where she's watching TV.
Trending urban legends, online rumors and hoaxes
Need a laugh? Sit back and enjoy this collection of funny stories from our archive. Sixteen urban legends with a punch line!
Who or what is Slender Man, and why is everyone so afraid of him? All your questions answered here!
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?
The Internet boogeyman known as Slender Man (aka Slenderman) is best described as a crowdsourced fiction.
Once upon a time, before modern embalming techniques were developed, people were indeed found on very rare occasions to have been buried alive.
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 placing raw onions on the bottoms of your feet overnight will take away illness. Be skeptical!
Viral hoax claims an 'Asian/Chinese restaurant' in Atlanta was closed by authorities for serving rats, mice, kittens, and puppies as food.
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?
On the origin and history of the custom of bobbing for apples on Halloween.
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.
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.
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...
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.
We've become so accustomed to monitoring our children's Halloween candy for needles, razor blades, poison, and other adulterants that we rarely stop to wonder how real the danger is. In point of fact, research shows that actual instances of 'Halloween sadism' are rare.
Viral rumors warn of criminals using business cards impregnated with a drug called burundanga (scopolamine) to incapacitate victims before attacking them. Are they true?
Viral photo of a huge dog named Hercules, purportedly the Guinness Record holder for Biggest Dog in the World.
Circulating via social media, this viral image appears to show a puppy being forced to drink vodka from a bottle. Appearances can be deceiving.
Viral text purports to compare the salaries of top executives of U.S. and Canadian charitable organizations.
About those rumors that fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger made racist statements on the Oprah Winfrey Show...
Viral message purports to divulge various tips and tricks for cell phone use, including dialing 112 to access a worldwide emergency network. Be skeptical!
Myth Busted: The earwigs is so named because it crawls into sleeping people's ears and eats their brains.
Statements falsely attributed to Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard advise Muslim immigrants to learn English and adapt to Australian culture or leave the country.
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.
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.
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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.
Say what you will about her, Marie Antoinette never actually uttered the words 'Let them eat cake.'
Viral report citing predictions by security consultant Juval Aviv warns of multiple terrorist attacks 'within the next few months.'
Satirical article claims the Liberian government has confirmed that a deceased Ebola patient rose from the dead, sparking fears of a zombie apocalypse.
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?
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!
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?
Beware of scam posts purporting to link to a video about two 12-inch-tall human-like creatures supposedly found in the USA.
Website purports to offer free, easy access to personal information contained in state driver's license databases
Circulating virally, the text of a speech allegedly given by Bill Gates setting out 11 Rules of Life kids won't learn in school.
Viral postings falsely claim that October 31st (Halloween) has been declared National Kill a Pitbull Day. The same hoax has circulated for the past three years.
Viral message claims raw sliced onions will 'collect' or 'absorb' any flu virus present in a home and protect household members from influenza.
Chain letter claims 16-year-old David Gregory was found dead in a sewer after failing to repost it. Did Carmen Winstead do it?
In which it is claimed that the quack of a duck, unlike every other sound known to man, does not echo. Humbug!
AVOID CLICKING on blurbs touting 'shocking videos' like this one. They're scams that could expose you to a malware attack.
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.
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!
Forwarded email claims leftover onions are 'poisonous' because they're 'a huge magnet for bacteria' and especially prone to spoilage.
Dear Urban Legends: I believe I read an article regarding the Smithsonian housing private parts of famous people -- John Dillinger, for example. Is there any truth to this folklore?
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.
Is it true that a 19th-century British plumber named Sir Thomas Crapper (aka John Crapper) invented the flush toilet?
The tag belongs to former USMC Platoon Sgt. Lanny Martinson of Sugar Land, Texas.
Altoids lore: Does chewing mints before performing oral sex really enhance the pleasure?
Scary Stories for Halloween: Urban legends guaranteed to give you goosebumps on the scariest night of the year!
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?
Hoax alert warns of 'the worst virus ever' circulating in the form of an email attachment labeled 'POSTCARD' or 'POSTCARD FROM HALLMARK.'
Internet rumors claim Ciara was born male and is either a secret transvestite or underwent a sex-change operation to become a transsexual.
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!
Viral alert claims people have been killed by electrocution or explosion when they answered a cell phone while it was charging.
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.
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.
Urban Legends FAQ: What is an urban legend?
Viral images purport to show an unbelievably large snake found and killed in the Red Sea by the Egyptian military.
Viral warnings claim a provision in Obamacare requires all Americans to receive RFID chip (microchip) implants for government tracking.
Our handpicked selection of the funniest urban legends online.
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.'
According to this viral tale, Arizona resident Jeff Green preserved the body of his dead wife Lucy in a glass coffee table, which is on display in his living room.
The urban legend of the 'Blue Star LSD tattoo' -- a transferable decal for children allegedly spiked with LSD -- is back to cause another round of hysteria.
According to a fake news article circulating via social media, thousands of new iPhone 6 phones have been found to be contaminated with the Ebola virus.
Shoefiti: Are sneakers dangling from power lines a sign of gang or drug activity?
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.
Claim: The Ebola virus had not yet been discovered when a book entitled 'Curious George and the Ebola Virus' was featured in a 1997 episode of 'The Simpsons.'
A man skinned alive long ago for cheating with another man's wife still haunts Lovers' Lane...
Find info on the latest Internet hoaxes, rumors, and the most popular stories circulating today.
Emailed images purport to show the progressive deterioration of a necrotic wound caused by the bite of a poisonous brown recluse spider.
The seventh-inning stretch: does anyone really know when, where and how this baseball custom got started?
Satirical article claims former President G.W. Bush was arrested during a routine traffic stop in Dallas for possessing cocaine.
Pepsi contaminated with AIDS? Online rumor claims a worker tainted Pepsi products with HIV-positive blood.
A viral image supposedly showing Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson with a broken eye socket is actually of deceased motocross driver Jim McNeil. It was taken in 2006.
A viral hit since 1990, here is the funniest 'college application essay' ever written.
Self-described 'spectacularly beautiful' woman posts online personals ad stating her wish to pair off with a marriageable 'rich guy' in New York. Wall Street banker responds that offer is 'plain and simple a crappy business deal.'
There's a killer hiding in the room. Don't turn on the light!
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.'
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.
FAKE newspaper clipping supposedly confirms the discovery of a winged spider.
Viral joke alleges that President Barack Obama was given the Indian name 'Walking Eagle' by Native Americans.
FALSE posting claims Facebook will donate 45 cents per share to cover medical expenses of a 14-year-old boy shot 6 times by his stepfather.
Online rumors claim the popular smartphone app 'Talking Angela' is a threat to kids' privacy and safety. Not true.
Unsettling viral image of a creature that appears to be a human-dog hybrid suckling her offspring.
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.
Obama stops wounded soldier from speaking? Forwarded email claims President Obama has initiated a policy ordering that no members of the U.S. military speak at faith-based public events.
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.
The case of the murderous good samaritan with a knife, rope, and duct tape in the trunk of his car - a new variant of a classic shopping mall urban legend.
FAKE: Viral image purports to show Barack Obama's 1981 student ID card from Columbia University, listing him as a 'foreign student.'
Apocryphal versions of A Visit from St. Nicholas (The Night Before Christmas), one of the most parodied poems in the English language.
I can read your mind! Don't believe me? Here, I'll prove it...
Did a brave guide dog named Daisy lead her blind master, James Crane, and 900 other people out of the burning World Trade Center on 9/11?
Viral message claims that halal meat products being sold in U.S. supermarkets are processed in plants 'notorious' for 'filth and uncleanliness.'
Decades-old urban legend says innocent people who flash their headlights at oncoming cars are being chased down and killed by gang members.
In this classic urban legend, an elderly woman comes up with a novel way to dry her soggy pet in a hurry. It doesn't go so well.
Satirical article claims the small town of Purdon, Texas was quarantined by the CDC after a family was diagnosed with the Ebola virus.
Did you know there are giant albino alligators living in the sewers of New York City? No, really! They started out as pets, then got flushed down the toilet when they grew too large for their owners to handle. Or so they say.
Did Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin once say 'It's not the people who vote that count, it's the people who count the votes'?
I can read your mind!: card trick cards
Chain letter tells the story of Clarissa, a little girl imprisoned in a mental hospital for killing her mother and father. That was just for starters.
False viral message warns of the 'most destructive ever' computer virus, supposedly circulating under the title 'Black Muslim in the White House.'
Viral image purportedly shows the young Frances Bavier (the actress who played Aunt Bee on the Andy Griffith Show) as a pin-up model.
Rumors can spread like viruses, and are sometimes just as lethal. Case in point, 'The Kidney Thieves.'
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.
This shocking image, origin unknown, purports to show a weightlifter suffering from a prolapsed rectum after attempting to lift more weight than his innards could bear. Page 30.
Hoax images, cont. Urban Legends.
Longstanding rumors claim the secret ingredient responsible for the boost you get from Red Bull and other energy drinks is bull semen.
Dear Urban Legends: Is it true that Jennifer Lopez insured her butt for a billion dollars?
(Updated May 21, 2014) Contrary to online rumors, it isn't true that ATM users can contact police by entering their PIN number backwards.
Depending on which version you receive, the caption accompanying this emailed photo claims this poor patient was impaled on a fencepost after losing control of his motorcycle or boat. Page 31.
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.
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?
Online rumor alleges that Barack Obama is a Muslim and lied to the American people when he claimed to be a devout Christian.
POP! goes the Pillsbury Dough Boy in the backseat of the car - and the driver thinks she has been shot. Also known as 'The Killer Biscuits.'
Viral images of a gigantic, '1,800-pound' wild boar allegedly shot in Conroe, Texas (or Potosi, Missouri, or Sun City Center, Florida, etc., depending on version).