Urban Legends Reference Pages:
again from snopes.com, your corner of urban legends sanity on the World Wide
Web! This e-mail gives information about new articles recently
added to the Urban Legends Reference Pages
and provides pointers to older pieces about rumors and hoaxes still wandering
into everyone's inboxes. Our last update mailing was November 12,
And now to the legends, the mayhem, and the misinformation!
- Does California law require state residents to obtain
hunting licenses before setting mousetraps?
purportedly written by retired Air Force general analyzes the war on
- Video clip shows a meteorite
striking a pickup truck in the desert. Is it real?
- Photographs purportedly show a rental car ruined by
an American tourist who drove it over 130 miles in first
- Grandmother requests prayers for Madison Marie
Crowder, an infant girl suffering from pneumonia.
- E-mail claims Huntingdon Life Sciences is offering to pay cash
for cats and dogs rescued from New Orleans.
- Rumor du jour: Eyebrow waxers are at risk of contracting herpes from
- E-mail compares the salaries
of top executives of several large charitable organizations.
- Did New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin create a phantom force
of 700 "virtual policemen"?
Worth a Second Look
- Blast from the past: Wife throws something flammable into toilet,
unsuspecting husband seats himself on the throne and proceeds to light a
cigarette — with pyrotechnic results.
Still Haunting the Inbox
- There have been so many Hurricane Katrina-related items,
we set up a new section
on our site to house them all.
- No, despite the widely-circulated warning message, the Swiffer
WetJet does not pose a general danger to dogs.
- Dialing #77 or *677 is
not a surefire way of reaching the local highway patrol — the service is
in place in some regions, but not in others. If in need of assistance,
dial 911 instead for the sure thing.
- Comedian George Carlin
wasn't the author of the "Hurricane Rules" list.
- The FDA's phenylpropanolamine (PPA) recall alert
from 2000 is back. Though this was real five years ago, precious few
products of any stripe now marketed in the U.S. contain PPA. Do not rely
on e-mailed lists of products to tell you what's what because
they're all so badly outdated as to be useless; instead read the label of
your over-the-counter (OTC) medicine.
- 809 area code scam: unsuspecting phone customers have been
gulled by scam artists into placing calls to area codes in the
Caribbean that result in hefty charges.
- The e-mail asking for help in locating
9-year-old missing Penny Brown is
a hoax. Photo of a cute redheaded kid or not, there is no such child. This
hoax has been running since 2001.
- Dr. James Dobson is not pleading for your action — there
is no petition before the FCC seeking the banning of all mentions of God
from the airwaves. This call-to-arms over Petition #2493
(which even when it existed was about something quite different) dates to
1975. As in, 30 years ago.
- E-mail claims the Target
Corporation does not contribute to veterans' causes.
- Members of Congress pay into the Social Security
fund like everyone else.
- While it is true a consortium of wireless providers is
planning to create a 411 (directory assistance) service for cell phone
numbers, you need not register your cell phone with the national "Do Not Call"
directory to prevent your number from being provided to telemarketers.
- Scammers are pretending to be fraud
investigation agents for Visa and MasterCard in order to obtain credit
card security codes.
- Yes, there is a "Muslim
Christmas stamp" issued by the USPS — it commemorates the Islamic
holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
- The 2000 hoax about HIV-infected syringes being affixed to
handles is back.
- Godless soda cans: Someone has confused Pepsi with
Dr Pepper. Dr Pepper's "one nation"
can design that omitted "under God" from a quote from the Pledge
of Alligiance was used for only a short time ending in February 2002. The
cans haven't been on the shelves since. Newer versions of incitements to
boycott name Pepsi as the culprit responsible for Godless cans, but this
is just a garbling of the Dr Pepper story — Pepsi has nothing
to do with this.
- Shopping center parking lots across America have not been
overrun by thieves who trick women into sniffing perfume that
is actually a knock-out drug. This is another baseless scare, kept alive
by folks who alter pre-existing e-mails decrying this
non-existent danger or write new ones describing "attacks" that
haven't taken place.
- Much-traveled e-mail from 1998 decrying the supposed
dangers of artificial sweeteners (i.e. aspartame, Splenda,
Equal, Nutrasweet) is periodically revamped, and circulated anew.
- No, Bill Gates
is not sharing his fortune with everyone who forwards a specific e-mail
on his behalf. This tired leg-pull continues to romp through everyone's
inbox, the most
widespread incarnation swearing "This took two pages of the
Tuesday USA Today!"
- Virus announcement and virus hoax e-mails
are afoot! We try to keep current on them and do our best to point readers
to authoritative links confirming or debunking them.
- Seems like everyone has become the recipient of mysterious
e-mails promising untold wealth if only one helps a wealthy
foreigner quietly move millions of dollars out of his country. The
Scam has discovered the goldmine that is the Internet. Beware —
there's still no such thing as "something for nothing," and the
contents of your bank account will end up with these wily foreigners if
you fall in with this.
- Likewise, look out for mailings announcing you've won a
you don't recall entering.
- Or that because you share the surname of a wealthy person
who died without leaving a will you're in line for a windfall inheritance.
- And be especially wary if, while trying to sell something
(car, boat, horse, motorcycle, painting, you name it) you're approached by
a prospective buyer who wants to pay with a cashier check made out for an
amount in excess
of the agreed-upon purchase price and who asks the balance be sent to a
- Aspiring work-at-homers
promised big bucks for acting as intermediaries for international
transactions wherein they cash checks for other parties or reship goods to
them have been defrauded by con artists. Don't you be next.
- If someone telephones to announce you can have a $200
spree or $200 in gasoline coupons
in return for a $3.49 processing charge to be debited directly from your
bank account, hang up. You're being set up via the promise of
"something for almost nothing" into authorizing a swindler to
help himself to the contents of your bank account.
- If someone calls to announce you've failed to appear for jury duty and
will be arrested, do not give the caller your personal and financial
information in an effort to prove he's sending the gendarmes after the
wrong guy. You're being tricked into giving up this information to an