Urban Legends: Most Popular Articles
Real or Fake? Take the quiz and see if you can tell the hoax photos from the real thing!
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!
Statements falsely attributed to Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard advise Muslim immigrants to learn English and adapt to Australian culture or leave the country.
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.
Did Russian researchers conduct an experiment in which five prison inmates were kept awake for 15 days straight, driving them to insanity and cannibalism?
Apocryphal versions of A Visit from St. Nicholas (The Night Before Christmas), one of the most parodied poems in the English language.
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.
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 dark and deserted...
Viral message claims placing raw onions on the bottoms of your feet overnight will take away illness. Be skeptical!
Quiz: Christmas traditions, history and folklore: christmas folklore christmas history history traditions quiz test test your knowledge
What IS the correct name of Santa's seventh reindeer? Is it Donner, Donder or Dunder? We've gone back to the original sources to find an answer.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
Who wrote Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and why? A viral text claims Rudolph was created by Montgomery Ward copywriter Bob May to console his 4-year-old daughter after her mother succumbed to cancer.
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.
Warning: If you read these terrifying stories about travel and vacations you may never leave home again!
Also known as 'The Licked Hand.' A popular tale from the oral tradition recast as a spooky -- if not quite believable -- Internet chain letter.
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?
Hoax alert warns of 'the worst virus ever' circulating in the form of an email attachment labeled 'POSTCARD' or 'POSTCARD FROM HALLMARK.'
Is it true that male reindeer lose their antlers by December, therefore all of Santa's reindeer - including Rudolph - must be female?
Urban Legends Quiz: Test your urban legends IQ!: urban legends iq
Internet text purports to explain the 'origin and secret meaning' of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas,' describing it as an 'underground catechism song' for Catholics who endured religious persecution in Protestant England.
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.
Modern lyrics compared with older variants of the traditional Christmas song 'The Twelve Days of Christmas.'
Forwarded email claims leftover onions are 'poisonous' because they're 'a huge magnet for bacteria' and especially prone to spoilage.
Circulating via social media, this viral image appears to show a puppy being forced to drink vodka from a bottle. Appearances can be deceiving.
Hoax article claims McDonald's uses worm meat as filler in its hamburgers.
They picked the worst possible night to go necking on Lovers' Lane. Find out why... if you dare!
The Licked Hand - An urban legend. Page 2.
Ladies, wash your underwear in boiling water! Viral image and video purport to document a case of larvae infestation of the human breast.
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?
Trending urban legends, online rumors and hoaxes
Viral video purports to show an endless 'Escherian' staircase at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. True recursive phenomenon or hoax?
Drivers beware - that person following you on the highway may actually be trying to save your life!
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.
That the Doberman seemed to be choking to death was scary enough. Then they discovered what he was choking on...
Is there any truth to the claim that Snopes.com is a liberal front organization?
Viral message claims raw sliced onions will 'collect' or 'absorb' any flu virus present in a home and protect household members from influenza.
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 text purports to compare the salaries of top executives of U.S. and Canadian charitable organizations.
Viral photo of a huge dog named Hercules, purportedly the Guinness Record holder for Biggest Dog in the World.
A teenage babysitter frantically phones the police after seeing a strange man approaching the sliding glass door near where she's watching TV.
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.
(Updated 5/12/14) DON'T CLICK on video posts about a giant anaconda swallowing a zookeeper in South Africa.
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.
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.
Viral posts falsly claim that Facebook is requiring members to remove a picture of the nativity scene on the grounds that it's 'offensive.'
Is it true that poinsettia plants are poisonous if ingested, especially by small children and pets?
The Internet boogeyman known as Slender Man (aka Slenderman) is best described as a crowdsourced fiction.
Website purports to offer free, easy access to personal information contained in state driver's license databases
Refuse new dollar coins! Online rumor claims the motto 'In God We Trust' was (or will be) intentionally omitted from new one-dollar U.S. coins.
Girl with a 'beehive' hairdo dies a horrible death after a spider crawls inside and lays eggs. Legendary proof that vanity can kill!
Viral postings accuse 'Hanoi Jane' Fonda of betraying American POWs by handing over secret documents to their captors in North Vietnam.
Viral message purports to divulge various tips and tricks for cell phone use, including dialing 112 to access a worldwide emergency network. Be skeptical!
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?
About those rumors that fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger made racist statements on the Oprah Winfrey Show...
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 image of a deadly 'snow snake,' whose bite, for which there is no known antidote, can freeze your blood and kill you!
Once upon a time, before modern embalming techniques were developed, people were indeed found on very rare occasions to have been buried alive.
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!
Facebook viral wall photo is accompanied by claim that 100 shares will help a little boy get a free heart transplant. It's a like-farming scam.
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?
Say what you will about her, Marie Antoinette never actually uttered the words 'Let them eat cake.'
Is the administration building at Culver Studios -- known on the lot as 'The Mansion' -- haunted by the ghost of Thomas Ince?
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.
Who or what is Slender Man, and why is everyone so afraid of him? All your questions answered here!
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!
Need a laugh? Sit back and enjoy this collection of funny stories from our archive. Sixteen urban legends with a punch line!
Viral images purport to show an unbelievably large snake found and killed in the Red Sea by the Egyptian military.
Viral alert claims people have been killed by electrocution or explosion when they answered a cell phone while it was charging.
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.'
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.
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 images, cont. Urban Legends.
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.
Chain letter claims 16-year-old David Gregory was found dead in a sewer after failing to repost it. Did Carmen Winstead do it?
Internet rumors claim Ciara was born male and is either a secret transvestite or underwent a sex-change operation to become a transsexual.
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...
Decades-old urban legend says innocent people who flash their headlights at oncoming cars are being chased down and killed by gang members.
The Mistletoe Bough, a ballad by Thomas Haynes Bayly and Sir Henry Bishop. Published circa 1830.
Viral stories dating back to 2000 falsely reported the death of famed rap artist Marshall Bruce Mathers III.
Circulating virally, the text of a speech allegedly given by Bill Gates setting out 11 Rules of Life kids won't learn in school.
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.
Viral images show an unusually large mountain lion (cougar) purportedly killed near Parkersburg, West Virginia, Altoona, Pennsylvania, Cadiz, Kentucky, and other unlikely locations. It was actually hit by a car in Arizona.
Altoids lore: Does chewing mints before performing oral sex really enhance the pleasure?
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!
Longstanding rumors claim the secret ingredient responsible for the boost you get from Red Bull and other energy drinks is bull semen.
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?
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 a 19th-century British plumber named Sir Thomas Crapper (aka John Crapper) invented the flush toilet?
Myth Busted: The earwigs is so named because it crawls into sleeping people's ears and eats their brains.
In which it is claimed that the quack of a duck, unlike every other sound known to man, does not echo. Humbug!
'A Visit from St. Nicholas' - the classic Christmas poem attributed to Clement Clarke Moore.
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.'
Satirical article claims billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates offered hip hop recording artist Young Thug $9 million to stop making music. Not even remotely true.
Also known as: 'Reasons Not to Have Sex with a Lobster' (warning: graphic subject matter)
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.
Circulating via email, pictures of a woman being smuggled into the U.S. crammed inside the dashboard of a vehicle
Online rumors claim the popular smartphone app 'Talking Angela' is a threat to kids' privacy and safety. Not true.
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.
Satirical article from EmpireNews.net claims Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has decided not to retire, instead accepting a contract from rivals the Boston Red Sox.
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.
(Updated May 21, 2014) Contrary to online rumors, it isn't true that ATM users can contact police by entering their PIN number backwards.
FAKE newspaper clipping supposedly confirms the discovery of a winged spider.
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
Viral images of giant 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.
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.
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!: card trick cards
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').
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.
Forwarded email claims CFL light bulbs made in China and sold under the brand name 'Globe' pose a fire hazard and should be avoided.
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.
Viral rumors warn of criminals using business cards impregnated with a drug called burundanga (scopolamine) to incapacitate victims before attacking them. Are they true?
Fake news article claims the earth will experience six days of total darkness in December 2014 due to dust and space debris from a solar storm.
Is it true you can balance eggs (or brooms!) on end during the spring (or fall) equinox?
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.
Direct from the Internet, another viral parody of 'A Visit from St. Nicholas'
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Allegedly written
Clement Clarke Moore, the presumed author of 'A Visit from St. Nicholas,' never wanted to see the poem published yet helped shape an enduring myth of our time.
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.
Internet hoax claims former child actor Macaulay Culkin was found dead in his home at the age of 34.
(Updated Oct. 20, 2014) Viral rumors claim gang members are using crying children to lure female victims to secluded places to be raped.
FAKE: Viral video of UFO emerging from behind a cloud, then descending rapidly to earth in a bright, green fireball.
Find info on the latest Internet hoaxes, rumors, and the most popular stories circulating today.
Pepsi contaminated with AIDS? Online rumor claims a worker tainted Pepsi products with HIV-positive blood.
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.
Emailed pictures purport to show the progressive deterioration of a necrotic wound caused by the bite of a poisonous brown recluse spider.
Full text of purported CNN news story reporting the 'resurrection' of Tupac Shakur. This is an Internet hoax perpetrated on April Fools' Day 2005.
A viral hit since 1990, here is the funniest 'college application essay' ever written.
Urban Legend: A woman supposedly finds cockroach larvae 'in' her tongue after licking an envelope infested with cockroach eggs.
Another Internet parody based on the classic Christmas poem 'A Visit from St. Nicholas'
Viral image purportedly shows the young Frances Bavier (the actress who played Aunt Bee on the Andy Griffith Show) as a pin-up model.
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.
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.
Photo vignette circulating via email shows a tow truck tumbling into the sea while attempting to salvage another tow truck that had already met the same fate while attempting to salvage a wrecked car.
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 images purport to show the world's tallest woman at 7 feet, 4 inches tall and 320 pounds, in Holland. Real or hoax?
Internet rumors say Barack Obama is the Antichrist prophesied in the New Testament.
Forwarded email claims this year the Obamas will have 'holiday trees' instead of Christmas trees in the White House and no ornaments with religious themes will be allowed.
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?
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.
Forwarded email describes what happened when acclaimed classical violinist Joshua Bell went incognito to play for tips on a subway platform one cold winter morning in Washington, D.C.
HOAX: Viral image shows a sign allegedly posted in a McDonald's restaurant stating that African-American patrons must pay an additional $1.50 transaction fee due to a recent string of robberies.
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.