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!
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!
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.
Did Russian researchers conduct an experiment in which five prison inmates were kept awake for 15 days straight, driving them to insanity and cannibalism?
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.
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.
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.
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.
What we know (and don't really know) about the history of Halloween, its origins, and how modern Halloween customs and traditions evolved.
Warning: If you read these terrifying stories about travel and vacations you may never leave home again!
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.
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.
They picked the worst possible night to go necking on Lovers' Lane. Find out why... if you dare!
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.
The Licked Hand - An urban legend. Page 2.
Viral message claims placing raw onions on the bottoms of your feet overnight will take away illness. Be skeptical!
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.
A brief history of the jack-o'-lantern and how carving faces on pumpkins became a Halloween tradition.
Ladies, wash your underwear in boiling water! Viral image and video purport to document a case of larvae infestation of the human breast.
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.
That the Doberman seemed to be choking to death was scary enough. Then they discovered what he was choking on...
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.
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?
Trending urban legends, online rumors and hoaxes
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?
Honeymooners notice a strange odor in their hotel room and decide to peek under the mattress, only to find... The Body Under the Bed!
Circulating via social media, this viral image appears to show a puppy being forced to drink vodka from a bottle. Appearances can be deceiving.
The Internet boogeyman known as Slender Man (aka Slenderman) is best described as a crowdsourced fiction.
A teenage babysitter frantically phones the police after seeing a strange man approaching the sliding glass door near where she's watching TV.
Viral hoax claims an 'Asian/Chinese restaurant' in Atlanta was closed by authorities for serving rats, mice, kittens, and puppies as food.
Girl with a 'beehive' hairdo dies a horrible death after a spider crawls inside and lays eggs. Legendary proof that vanity can kill!
Need a laugh? Sit back and enjoy this collection of funny stories from our archive. Sixteen urban legends with a punch line!
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.'
Viral rumors warn of criminals using business cards impregnated with a drug called burundanga (scopolamine) to incapacitate victims before attacking them. Are they true?
Once upon a time, before modern embalming techniques were developed, people were indeed found on very rare occasions to have been buried alive.
Urban Legends Quiz: Test your urban legends IQ!: urban legends iq
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.
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?
What we know about the origin and history of the custom of wearing costumes and trick-or-treating on Halloween.
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.'
Satirical article claims the Liberian government has confirmed that a deceased Ebola patient rose from the dead, sparking fears of a zombie apocalypse.
Viral photo of a huge dog named Hercules, purportedly the Guinness Record holder for Biggest Dog in the World.
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.
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.
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...
Viral text purports to compare the salaries of top executives of U.S. and Canadian charitable organizations.
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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.
According to this forwarded email, Arizona resident Jeff Green preserved the body of his dead wife Lucy in a specially-built glass coffee table, which is on display in his living room. Page 5.
Forwarded email claims leftover onions are 'poisonous' because they're 'a huge magnet for bacteria' and especially prone to spoilage.
Satirical article claims the small town of Purdon, Texas was quarantined by the CDC after a family was diagnosed with the Ebola virus.
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 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.
Myth Busted: The earwigs is so named because it crawls into sleeping people's ears and eats their brains.
Viral message claims raw sliced onions will 'collect' or 'absorb' any flu virus present in a home and protect household members from influenza.
About those rumors that fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger made racist statements on the Oprah Winfrey Show...
On the origin and history of the custom of bobbing for apples on Halloween.
Viral message purports to divulge various tips and tricks for cell phone use, including dialing 112 to access a worldwide emergency network. Be skeptical!
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.
In which it is claimed that the quack of a duck, unlike every other sound known to man, does not echo. Humbug!
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.
Chain letter claims 16-year-old David Gregory was found dead in a sewer after failing to repost it. Did Carmen Winstead do it?
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.
Say what you will about her, Marie Antoinette never actually uttered the words 'Let them eat cake.'
Pepsi contaminated with AIDS? Online rumor claims a worker tainted Pepsi products with HIV-positive blood.
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?
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.
The tag belongs to former USMC Platoon Sgt. Lanny Martinson of Sugar Land, Texas.
Circulating virally, the text of a speech allegedly given by Bill Gates setting out 11 Rules of Life kids won't learn in school.
A new world record? Viral images allegedly show a 412-pound deer killed by a hunter in Nebraska (or Clarion County, Pennsylvania, depending on version).
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.
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!
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?
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!
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?
Website purports to offer free, easy access to personal information contained in state driver's license databases
Altoids lore: Does chewing mints before performing oral sex really enhance the pleasure?
Viral images purport to show a gigantic snake — said to be an anaconda, python, or boa constrictor — swallowing a human being whole. Page 6.
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.
Internet rumors claim Ciara was born male and is either a secret transvestite or underwent a sex-change operation to become a transsexual.
Viral warnings claim a provision in Obamacare requires all Americans to receive RFID chip (microchip) implants for government tracking.
Viral images purport to show an unbelievably large snake found and killed in the Red Sea by the Egyptian military.
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!
FAKE newspaper clipping supposedly confirms the discovery of a winged spider.
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.
Unsettling viral image of a creature that appears to be a human-dog hybrid suckling her offspring.
Viral alert claims people have been killed by electrocution or explosion when they answered a cell phone while it was charging.
Beware of scam posts purporting to link to a video about two 12-inch-tall human-like creatures supposedly found in the USA.
Scary Stories for Halloween: Urban legends guaranteed to give you goosebumps on the scariest night of the year!
Decades-old urban legend says innocent people who flash their headlights at oncoming cars are being chased down and killed by gang members.
Emailed images purport to show the progressive deterioration of a necrotic wound caused by the bite of a poisonous brown recluse spider.
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.'
A viral hit since 1990, here is the funniest 'college application essay' ever written.
Viral joke alleges that President Barack Obama was given the Indian name 'Walking Eagle' by Native Americans.
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.
Viral report citing predictions by security consultant Juval Aviv warns of multiple terrorist attacks 'within the next few months.'
Photos show a man whose brain allegedly became infested with maggots (or 'worms') as a result of letting an ingrown hair go untreated (or eating sushi, depending on version). Page 8.
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.
Photos show a man whose brain allegedly became infested with maggots (or 'worms') as a result of letting an ingrown hair go untreated (or eating sushi, depending on version). Page 9.
Viral images purport to show a gigantic snake - variously alleged to be an anaconda, python, or boa constrictor - swallowing a human being whole. Page 7.
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.'
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 alert warns of 'the worst virus ever' circulating in the form of an email attachment labeled 'POSTCARD' or 'POSTCARD FROM HALLMARK.'
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.
(Updated May 21, 2014) Contrary to online rumors, it isn't true that ATM users can contact police by entering their PIN number backwards.
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.
Viral message claims that halal meat products being sold in U.S. supermarkets are processed in plants 'notorious' for 'filth and uncleanliness.'
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.'
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.
I can read your mind! Don't believe me? Here, I'll prove it...
Find info on the latest Internet hoaxes, rumors, and the most popular stories circulating today.
This rather disturbing sequence of images purports to show the progressive deterioration of a wound caused by the bite of the poisonous brown recluse spider. Page 10.
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.
Rumors can spread like viruses, and are sometimes just as lethal. Case in point, 'The Kidney Thieves.'
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.
Longstanding rumors claim the secret ingredient responsible for the boost you get from Red Bull and other energy drinks is bull semen.
Statements falsely attributed to Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard advise Muslim immigrants to learn English and adapt to Australian culture or leave the country.
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.'
Emailed photos graphically document injuries sustained by the survivor of a polar bear attack in the Yukon. Page 35.
Emailed image shows Queen Elizabeth of England sitting amidst a group of kilt-wearing Scottish soldiers, one of whom reveals a wee bit too much of his manhood. Page 16.
Decades-old conspiracy theory claims the federal government recently purchased 30,000 guillotines.
AVOID CLICKING on blurbs touting 'shocking videos' like this one. They're scams that could expose you to a malware attack.
Online rumors claim the popular smartphone app 'Talking Angela' is a threat to kids' privacy and safety. Not true.
Apocryphal versions of A Visit from St. Nicholas (The Night Before Christmas), one of the most parodied poems in the English language.
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.
Viral alert claims major-brand lipsticks contain 'cancer-causing' lead, which consumers can test for by scratching the surface of a product with a 24K gold ring.
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 rather disturbing sequence of images purports to show the progressive deterioration of a wound caused by the bite of the poisonous brown recluse spider. Page 15.
This rather disturbing sequence of images purports to show the progressive deterioration of a wound caused by the bite of the poisonous brown recluse spider. Page 11.
In this forwarded email, an irate consumer complains about finding a tiny dead frog inside a can of Kroger peas. Photos attached! Page 17.
This image purports to document the medical case of a female anthropologist who failed to seek treatment for a skin rash and wound up with an infestation of larvae in her breast. Not a pretty picture. Page 4.
Email caption: 'This is not a joke and is pretty gross. If you are faint of heart or stomach don't look at grizz.jpg. This is why you don't mess with Grizzly bears! Warning the Grizzly picture is pretty gross, it's what's left of one of his victims!'. Page 29.
'Dear Guide: I received an email last week which was quite disturbing and, to say the least, disgusting. It is about dead babies that can be bought from hospitals in Taiwan for $70 to meet the high demand for grilled and barbequed babies!'. Page 24.
False viral message warns of the 'most destructive ever' computer virus, supposedly circulating under the title 'Black Muslim in the White House.'
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.
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.'
Emailed photo purports to show an infestation of maggots or insect eggs in the cream filling of an Oreo cookie made in China. Page 32.
Dear Urban Legends: Is it true that Jennifer Lopez insured her butt for a billion dollars?
This rather disturbing sequence of images purports to show the progressive deterioration of a wound caused by the bite of the poisonous brown recluse spider. Page 12.
'Dear Guide: I received an email last week which was quite disturbing and, to say the least, disgusting. It is about dead babies that can be bought from hospitals in Taiwan for $70 to meet the high demand for grilled and barbequed babies!'. Page 23.