Urban Legends: Most Popular Articles
Real or Fake? Take the quiz and see if you can tell the hoax photos from the real thing!
DON'T CLICK on 'shocking video' posts claiming 16 (or 17) people died in a roller coaster accident at Universal Studios in Florida. It didn't happen.
TRUE: A 'Full Pink Moon' will indeed occur on April 15, 2014, but that doesn't mean the moon will literally turn pink. Here's the scoop.
AVOID CLICKING on blurbs touting 'shocking videos' like this one. They're scams that could expose you to a malware attack.
Gather 'round the digital campfire to enjoy the Top 20 Scariest Urban Legends we know. You'll be sore afraid!
Bottled water cancer danger? Viral text says don't drink bottled water left in a warm car because the heat supposedly causes cancer-producing toxins to 'leak' from the plastic into the water.
Internet chain letter tells the story of Carmen Winstead, a 17-year-old girl pushed down a sewer and killed by a gang of girls from her school.
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.
Fake video posts claim lost Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has been found in the Indian Ocean. It's a survey scam. Don't click!
Satirical 'news article' claims Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was attacked by a pit bull.
Warning: If you read these terrifying stories about travel and vacations you may never leave home again!
A babysitter calls the parents she's working for to ask if she can cover up the disturbing 'clown statue' in the room where she's watching TV. The parents tell her to call 911 immediately and get out of the house!
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.
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.
Scary stories and urban legends: It's the witching hour on a dark, moonless night. You're huddled with friends around a campfire in the woods far from town, taking turns telling tales. Someone in the shadows clears his throat and begins to speak: 'Did you hear the one about...'
Online rumors claim the popular interactive smartphone app 'Talking Angela' is a threat to kids' privacy and safety. Not true.
Viral photo of a huge dog named Hercules, purportedly the Guinness Record holder for Biggest Dog in the World.
Also known as 'The Licked Hand.' A popular tale from the oral tradition recast as a spooky - if unbelievable - Internet chain letter.
It's a hoax: Viral 'news story' claims Justin Bieber admits to being bisexual and tweeted a photo of himself kissing Austin Mahone.
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.
Ladies, wash your underwear in boiling water! Emailed image and video purport to document the medical case of anthropologist Susan McKinley, who failed to seek treatment for a rash and wound up with an infestation of larvae in her breast.
Is it true that KFC serves 'mutant chickens' and can't legally use the word 'chicken' in advertisements because its products are made from genetically manipulated organisms?
Was Fred Rogers, host of the children's TV show Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, a tattoo-wearing sharpshooter with dozens of kills to his credit as a Marine Corps sniper (or Navy SEAL)?
On the origin of 'fuck': In which we are asked to believe that the word 'fuck' originated as the acronym of 'Fornication Under Consent of the King,' 'Fornication Under Command of the King,' 'For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge,' or some other variation thereof.
Viral messages warn that a directory of cell phone numbers will soon be published and tells users to dial 888-382-1222 and add mobile numbers to the Do Not Call Registry to prevent telemarketing calls.
Viral alerts warn of 'bottle bombs' or 'Drano bombs,' homemade explosive devices consisting of water, Drano, and aluminum foil in plastic bottles.
Urban Legends Quiz: Test your urban legends IQ!: urban legends iq
Viral message purports to divulge various tips and tricks for cell phone use, including dialing 112 to access a worldwide emergency network. Be skeptical!
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?
Is there any truth to the claim that Snopes.com is a liberal front organization?
The Internet boogeyman known as Slender Man (aka Slenderman) is best described as a crowdsourced fiction.
Trending urban legends, online rumors and hoaxes
A teenage babysitter frantically phones the police after seeing a strange man approaching the sliding glass door near where she's watching TV.
What? A woman became sick after dining on a taco or burrito infested with cockroach eggs?? Calm down, it's only an urban legend.
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 blurbs purport to link to a video showing a dead mermaid found inside a shark. Don't click!
Viral images of gargantuan specimens of Birgus latro - the coconut crab - named for its preferred diet of fallen coconuts and said to be the world's largest land-dwelling arthropod.
Girl with a 'beehive' hairdo or Brazilian weave dies a horrible death after a spider crawls inside and lays eggs, hatching a brood of hungry arachnids. Legendary proof that vanity can kill!
Viral video claims teenagers are getting high by smoking bed bugs, which supposedly give off a hallucinogenic substance.
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.
Circulating via email, the text of a speech allegedly given by Bill Gates in which he sets out 11 'rules of life' kids won't learn in school.
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 except the bride.
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...
A classic urban legend. Honeymooners notice a strange odor in their hotel room and decide to peek under the mattress, only to find... The Body in the Bed!
Myth Busted: Earwigs are so named because they crawl into sleeping people's ears and eat their brains.
'Corpus Christi' movie: Decades-old viral petition aims to block the release of a movie allegedly depicting Jesus Christ and his disciples as gay.
Drivers beware - that person following you on the highway may actually be trying to save your life!
AUTHENTIC: Viral images of a 10-foot liger (a cross between a lion and a tiger) named Hercules.
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...
Emailed images purport to show the progressive deterioration of a necrotic wound caused by the bite of a poisonous brown recluse spider.
Do fast food chains like McDonald's and Taco Bell cut costs by substituting ground worms for beef in their hamburgers, tacos, etc.?
They picked the worst possible night to go necking on Lovers' Lane...
Viral alert claims someone contracted the deadly disease leptospirosis after drinking soda from an unwashed can contaminated with dried rat urine.
Tired of people sharing fake news stories as if they're true? Point them to our checklist of satire sites on the web. Guaranteed 100% effective!
The Choking Doberman - a classic urban legend retold
Hoax images, cont. Urban Legends. Page 6.
Internet rumors claim Ciara was born male and is either a secret transvestite or underwent a sex-change operation to become a transsexual.
DON'T CLICK on scam postings touting a video about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 being found. You'll regret it.
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?
Find info on the latest Internet hoaxes, rumors, and the most popular stories circulating today.
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!
About those rumors that fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger made racist statements on the Oprah Winfrey Show...
Viral photo supposedly shows President Obama neglecting to salute the flag (or national anthem) at the 2009 Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington Cemetery (or, in another version, Ft. Hood).
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.
The Halloween Surprise, an urban legend. Page 15.
FAKE: Viral video of UFO emerging from behind a cloud, then descending rapidly to earth in a bright, green fireball.
DO NOT CLICK on posts touting a video of a hungry bear 'tearing women into pieces.' It's a scam.
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.
DON'T CLICK on video posts about a giant anaconda swallowing a zookeeper in South Africa.
Website purports to offer free, easy access to personal information contained in state driver's license databases
Viral warnings claim a provision in Obamacare requires all Americans to receive RFID chip (microchip) implants for government tracking.
Online rumor alleges that Barack Obama is a Muslim and lied to the American people when he claimed to be a devout Christian.
More than 15 years after Princess Diana was killed in a car crash on Aug. 31, 1997, conspiracy theories are still circulating about the circumstances of her death.
Viral alert claims people have been killed (electrocuted) when they answered a cell phone that was plugged in to charge the battery.
A duck's quack doesn't echo. Myth or fact?
Viral message claims placing raw onions on the bottoms of your feet overnight will take away illness.
Circulating online, fictitious statements attributed to President Obama explaining his 'refusal' to salute the flag and national anthem.
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.'
Is Eminem dead? 10-year-old Internet hoax claims famed rap artist Eminem died in a car crash.
SCAM: Viral Facebook message purports to link to a video showing the discovery of an unidentified sea monster. Don't click!
Forwarded email claims leftover onions are 'poisonous' because they're 'a huge magnet for bacteria' and especially prone to spoilage.
Once upon a time, before modern embalming techniques were developed, people were indeed found on very rare occasions to have been buried alive.
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.
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 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.
Statements falsely attributed to Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard advise Muslim immigrants to learn English and adapt to Australian culture or leave the country.
Chain letter claims 16-year-old David Gregory was found dead in a sewer after failing to repost it. Did Carmen Winstead do it?
Viral text purports to compare the salaries of top executives of U.S. and Canadian charitable organizations.
Is it true you can stand eggs (or brooms!) on end during the spring (or fall) equinox?
Shoefiti: Are sneakers dangling from power lines a sign of gang or drug activity?
Is it true that a 19th-century British plumber named Sir Thomas Crapper (aka John Crapper) invented the flush toilet?
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!
Our very favorite, absolutely 100% true (not!) tales of revolting food contaminations, creepy-crawly insect infestations, mutilating accidents, sexually-transmitted horrors, and all-around nauseating human behavior. Each and every story below is guaranteed to disgust. Enjoy!
Viral joke alleges that President Barack Obama was given the Indian name 'Walking Eagle' by a group of Native Americans.
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.
With her wedding day approaching, a young woman decides she would look better in her wedding dress with a nice tan, so a week before the big day she goes to a tanning salon. Then another, and another...
Satirical 'news article' claims marriage between humans and animals has been legalized in California.
DO NOT CLICK on Facebook posts touting videos of a girl who killed herself live on cam. It's a scam.
Celebrities respond to false Internet death notices.
Circulating via email, a photo of George W. Bush and Laura Bush visiting a victim of the Ft. Hood shootings. Accompanying text says the visit was impromptu and the White House asked the Bushes to leave.
Did Blue's Clues TV show host Steve Burns really die of a drug overdose? Nope, he's alive and well no thanks to the Internet rumor mill.
Full text of purported CNN news story reporting the 'resurrection' of Tupac Shakur. This is an Internet hoax perpetrated on April Fools' Day 2005.
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?
Viral images of an enormous, 1,600-pound, man-eating grizzly bear supposedly killed by a hunter in Alaska.
Urban Legend: A woman supposedly finds cockroach larvae 'in' her tongue after licking an envelope infested with cockroach eggs.
Say what you will about her, Marie Antoinette never actually uttered the words 'Let them eat cake.'
Onions and flu: Viral message claims raw sliced onions will 'collect' or 'absorb' any flu virus present in a home and protect members of the household from influenza.
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.
A viral hit since 1990, here is the funniest 'college application essay' ever written.
Altoids lore: Does chewing mints before performing oral sex really enhance the pleasure?
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 message claims ABC News has ordered reporters and news anchors not to wear American flag lapel pins or other patriotic insignia.
A family receives a cactus as a gift and gives it place of honor in their living room. Weeks later, someone happens to notice that it's... quivering?
Viral postings accuse 'Hanoi Jane' Fonda of betraying American POWs by handing over secret documents to their captors in North Vietnam.
Satirical article claims Justin Bieber legally changed his race to 'African American.'
'Good luck, Mr. Gorsky!' - An apocryphal footnote to the history of Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 lunar landing and moonwalk.
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.
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.
Internet rumors claim French seer Nostradamus predicted the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks 500 years before they happened.
Egg whites as a burn remedy? Viral text touts coating burned skin with raw egg whites as a 'miracle healing' home remedy. Doctors not so much.
Forwarded email recounts a customer's unhappy experience attempting to return merchandise and obtain a cash refund at a Best Buy store.
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...
Inspirational (though fictional) story of little Teddy Stoddard, a disadvantaged child who blossomed under the influence of his teacher, Mrs. Thompson, and went on to become a successful doctor.
Viral article claims the Kansas Senate wants to require Fox affiliates to black out the science TV series 'Cosmos' on religious grounds.
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.'
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.'
Woman gets sick after dining on a taco or burrito infested with cockroach eggs, cont. Page 2.
Pepsi contaminated with AIDS? Rumor circulating via text message and social media claims Pepsi products have been contaminated with HIV-positive blood.
In which we attempt to nail down the source of a quotation attributed to Hunter S. Thompson and determine which of the many versions - if any - is authentic.
FAKE: Viral image circulating purports to show the Grand Canal of Venice frozen solid in Feb. 2014.
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.
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.
I can read your mind! Don't believe me? Here, I'll prove it...
Urban Legends Quiz: Test your urban legends IQ!: urban legends level test iq
Quiz: Urban Legends about romance, sex, and scandal
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!
Satirical story claims NASCAR drivers Jeff Gordon and Stephen Rhodes are in a gay relationship.
According to this decades-old urban legend, innocent people who flashed their headlights at oncoming cars have been chased down and killed by gang members.
Viral images purport to show a 15-foot-long, 170-pound eastern diamondback rattlesnake caught in a subdivision near Jacksonville, Florida.
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.'
A brief primer on the origin and history of April Fools Day, including memorable pranks from years past.
HOAX: Viral images show an unbelievably large snake found and killed in the Red Sea by Egyptian scientists and military.
Viral video purports to show an endless 'Escherian' staircase at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. It's fake.
Forwarded email purports to give practical advice on how to tell the difference between a two-way mirror and an ordinary mirror.
Viral rumor warns of a new carjacking scheme involving the placement of a flyer or piece of paper on the victim's rear window to fool them into exiting the vehicle with the engine running.
NASA photo of the Helix Nebula taken by the Hubble Space Telescope has been dubbed the 'Eye of God' by frequent forwarders.
FALSE: NBC has supposedly confirmed rumors that the popular 1990s TV series 'Friends' will return with a full comeback season in 2014.
'Medical study' supposedly published in the New England Journal of Medicine claims staring at women's breasts improves heart health and lengthens lifespan in men.
DON'T CLICK on blurbs touting a 'shocking video' of a pregnant girl. It's a scam that could expose you to a malware attack.