Urban Legends: Most Popular Articles
Real or Fake? Take the quiz and see if you can tell the hoax photos from the real thing!
Satirical article claims a group of teens reenacting violent scenes from 'The Purge 2: Anarchy' murdered 112 people in Chicago. Not true.
Viral image shows a policeman spraying a child with mace or pepper spray.
Tired of people sharing fake news as if it's true? Point them to our checklist of satire sites on the web. Guaranteed 100% effective!
Gather 'round the digital campfire to enjoy the Top 20 Scariest Stories we know. You'll be sore afraid!
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.
Satirical article claims inspectors found human meat stored in a McDonald's meat factory.
Rumor circulating since 1996 claims that comedian Robin Williams, lifelong friend of actor Christopher Reeve, promised to pay all the medical bills resulting from the accident that left Reeve paralyzed
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.
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.
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.
'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.
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.
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.
Viral message claims placing raw onions on the bottoms of your feet overnight will take away illness.
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.
Thirteen of the creepiest stories ever told. Read them if you dare.
Facebook video and photos purport to show a 'real' mermaid body found on a beach (some say in India, some say elsewhere).
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 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.
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.
Pepsi contaminated with AIDS? Online rumor claims a worker tainted Pepsi products with HIV-positive blood.
Sarcastic 10-point 'world peace plan' circulating via email and social media is falsely attributed to comedian Robin Williams.
Satirical article claims the KKK has started a petition for an annual 'purge' (guilt-free murdering) of African Americans.
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.
Also known as 'The Licked Hand.' A popular tale from the oral tradition recast as a spooky - if unbelievable - Internet chain letter.
Two moons? 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.
Trending urban legends, online rumors and hoaxes
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...
Drivers beware - that person following you on the highway may actually be trying to save your life!
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.
Racist Facebook comments have been falsely attributed to the wife of Ferguson, Mo. police chief Thomas Jackson.
They picked the worst possible night to go necking on Lovers' Lane. Find out why... if you dare!
Myth Busted: The earwigs is so named because it crawls into sleeping people's ears and eats their brains.
Honeymooners notice a strange odor in their hotel room and decide to peek under the mattress, only to find... The Body Under the Bed!
Will Mars look as big as the moon on August 27, 2014? No. Recycled hoax claims August 27 will bring the closest encounter between Mars and Earth in recorded history.
Satirical article claims Justin Bieber legally changed his race to 'African American.'
Hoax article claims McDonald's uses worm meat as filler in its hamburgers.
Is there any truth to the claim that Snopes.com is a liberal front organization?
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.
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!
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 Choking Doberman, a classic urban legend retold
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?
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.
The Internet boogeyman known as Slender Man (aka Slenderman) is best described as a crowdsourced fiction.
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.
Urban Legends Quiz: Test your urban legends IQ!: urban legends iq
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?
Social media rumor claims Tom Hanks' dad was an original member of the vocal quartet The Diamonds. Not true.
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...
Statements falsely attributed to Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard advise Muslim immigrants to learn English and adapt to Australian culture or leave the country.
Satirical article claims 2 million Share-a-Coke bottles with the name 'Michael' on them were recalled because a disgruntled Coca-Cola employee put dirt in them.
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.
About those rumors that fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger made racist statements on the Oprah Winfrey Show...
AVOID CLICKING on blurbs touting 'shocking videos' like this one. They're scams that could expose you to a malware attack.
DON'T CLICK on Facebook blurbs promoting a so-called 'goodbye video' from Robin Williams. No such video exists. It's a cynical survey scam exploiting news of the comedian's death by suicide.
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!
Circulating virally, the text of a speech allegedly given by Bill Gates setting out 11 Rules of Life kids won't learn in school.
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!
A teenage babysitter frantically phones the police after seeing a strange man approaching the sliding glass door near where she's watching TV.
A duck's quack doesn't echo. Myth or fact?
Girl with a 'beehive' hairdo dies a horrible death after a spider crawls inside and lays eggs. Legendary proof that vanity can kill!
Social media prank claims the U.S. legal drinking age will change to 25 in August 2014. Not true.
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?).
Satirical article from World News Daily Report claims that 16 crew members of a Japanese whaling ship were eaten alive by killer whales. False.
Internet rumors claim Ciara was born male and is either a secret transvestite or underwent a sex-change operation to become a transsexual.
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?
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...
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.
Viral alert claims people have been killed by electrocution or explosion when they answered a cell phone while it was charging.
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?
Need a laugh? Sit back and enjoy this collection of funny stories from our archive. Sixteen urban legends with a punch line!
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.
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.
MasterCard Wedding: During a lavish wedding ceremony at Clemson University with 300 attendees, the groom interrupts the proceedings to reveal a shocking secret about the bride and the best man.
Satirical 'news story' claims Chinese man survived 17 years trapped in a mine.
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.'
Online rumors claim the popular smartphone app 'Talking Angela' is a threat to kids' privacy and safety. Not true.
Is it true that a 19th-century British plumber named Sir Thomas Crapper (aka John Crapper) invented the flush toilet?
Emailed photos purportedly show the carcass of a merman (or mermaid) washed up on a beach variously said to be located in Venda, South Africa; Cebu, The Philippines; Malaysia; and Fort Desoto Beach, Florida.
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.
Hoax images, cont. Urban Legends.
Forwarded email claims leftover onions are 'poisonous' because they're 'a huge magnet for bacteria' and especially prone to spoilage.
DO NOT CLICK on Facebook posts touting videos of a girl who killed herself live on cam. It's a scam.
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 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...
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.
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?
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 text claims spraying an outside area with Listerine mouthwash repels and/or kills every mosquito in the vicinity.
Find info on the latest Internet hoaxes, rumors, and the most popular stories circulating today.
Viral text purports to compare the salaries of top executives of U.S. and Canadian charitable organizations.
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.
Facebook prank: Bill Gates is giving $5,000 to everyone who shares this photo. NOT!
AVOID CLICKING on Facebook posts promoting a video of a woman falling into a polar bear pit at a zoo. It's a scam.
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').
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?
Learn how to recognize and avoid social media clickjacking scams.
Emailed images purport to show the progressive deterioration of a necrotic wound caused by the bite of a poisonous brown recluse spider.
Viral message claims raw sliced onions will 'collect' or 'absorb' any flu virus present in a home and protect household members from influenza.
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.
Circulating online, fictitious statements attributed to President Obama explaining his 'refusal' to salute the flag and national anthem.
Viral message claims phone manufacturer Sony Ericsson will give away free laptop computers to anyone who forwards the text to at least eight people.
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.
Website purports to offer free, easy access to personal information contained in state driver's license databases
A gallery of viral images depicting animals in a variety of credulity-stretching contexts: giant house pets, wayward predators, albino wildlife, and more. Some are authentic, others not. As you'll see, it's not always easy to tell which is which!
Altoids lore: Does chewing mints before performing oral sex really enhance the pleasure?
I can read your mind!: card trick cards
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.
Viral message contends that the word 'picnic' originated in southern 'family outings' during which white people lynched African Americans.
Emailed pictures purportedly show the carcass of a dead mermaid caught by a fisherman in the Philippines.
Quiz: Urban Legends about romance, sex, and scandal
Viral image purports to show the front page of the May 10, 1943 edition of the New York Times with a headline declaring that the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising against Nazi oppression was an 'over-reaction.'
Online rumor alleges that Barack Obama is a Muslim and lied to the American people when he claimed to be a devout Christian.
Say what you will about her, Marie Antoinette never actually uttered the words 'Let them eat cake.'
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 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 warnings claim a provision in Obamacare requires all Americans to receive RFID chip (microchip) implants for government tracking.
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.
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.'
Viral image is said to depict a so-called Monkey Orchid, an unusual flower with features reminiscent of the face of a monkey.
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.
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.'
Viral stories dating back to 2000 falsely reported the death of famed rap artist Marshall Bruce Mathers III.
Don't buy the new Pepsi can? Baseless email campaign protests the alleged omission of the words 'under God' in an excerpt from the Pledge of Allegiance on new Pepsi cans.
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.'
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Scary Stories: Urban legends guaranteed to give you goosebumps!
Urban Legends FAQ: What is an urban legend?
Did you lose a cat? Viral image purports to show a raccoon standing on its hind legs holding a kitten or cat in its paws.
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.
Online hoax claims Frooti products have been contaminated by a worker with HIV-positive blood. It's false.
Two people injured in gerbilling mishap (another insult to the reputation of gerbils everywhere).
Satirical article claims a woman's dead body was found under a motel bed, where it had lain undiscovered for 5 years or more.
Decades-old urban legend says innocent people who flash their headlights at oncoming cars are being chased down and killed by gang members.
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.
Shoefiti: Are sneakers dangling from power lines a sign of gang or drug activity?
'I want to stay privately connected...' Viral message purports to explain how Facebook members can protect the privacy of their comments and likes.
A viral hit since 1990, here is the funniest 'college application essay' ever written.
Viral video claims teenagers are getting high by smoking bed bugs, which supposedly give off a hallucinogenic substance.
Viral rumor claims cashiers at Walmart and other retail stores routinely steal money from customers by secretly triggering the 'cash back' option during credit/debit card transactions.
What we know (and don't really know) about the history of Halloween, its origins, and how modern Halloween customs and traditions evolved.
Can spider eggs hatch inside a person's body? Here are two variants of an urban legend about a truly horrible infestation!
Satirical article claims former President G.W. Bush was arrested during a routine traffic stop in Dallas for possessing cocaine.