Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The Urban Legend of the Urban Legend Class

This is ironic, and a good one for me to end on…

We all heard of the daring student who answered the essay for their final with a single word or sentence. The “what is courage” legend has many variations, but I found one that seemed, well… appropriate…

A student taking a mythology class had to answer a single question for the final: “what is an urban legend?”

His answer, “this is”.

He signed it before turning it in.

-Enjoy the rest of your summer

The middle name of President Harry Truman was just the letter 'S.'

This one is TRUE!!!

John Anderson Truman and Martha Ellen Truman, couldn't decide on a suitable name for their bouncing baby boy, and when the attending doctor finally registered the child's birth with the county clerk a month later, the infant still had no name. Eventually the Trumans chose to name their boy "Harry" after his maternal uncle, Harrison Young. Unable to decide between a middle name honoring Harry's maternal grandfather (Solomon Young) or his paternal grandfather (Anderson Shipp[e] Truman), John and Martha opted not to give little Harry a middle name at all and settled on something that could represent either grandparent: the letter 'S' by itself. (As Truman biographer David McCullough noted, using a single letter that stood for nothing specific was "a practice not unknown among the Scotch-Irish, even for first names.")

Although the 'S' was not technically an abbreviation and therefore did not need to be followed by a period, Truman's full name was generally rendered as 'Harry S. Truman' during his lifetime, and Truman himself used letterhead bearing the name 'Harry S. Truman' and signed his name with a period after the 'S,' as shown in this excerpt from a letter on file at the Truman Presidential Museum & Library:

Washington, D.C., has no 'J' Street because city designer Pierre L'Enfant bore a grudge against Chief Justice John Jay.

full explanation @

The most plausible explanation is that J Street was omitted because the letters I and J were often indistinguishable from each other (especially when handwritten), and in 18th century English they were still largely interchangeable. (The 1740 "New General English Dictionary" published in London had a single section for I and J, and the standard identification Thomas Jefferson used on his personal possessions was "T.I.") Having both an "I" and a "J" street would have been redundant at best and confusing at worst, so "J" ended up as the odd man out.

Washington, D.C., has no 'J' Street because city designer Pierre L'Enfant bore a grudge against Chief Justice John Jay.

full explanation @

The most plausible explanation is that J Street was omitted because the letters I and J were often indistinguishable from each other (especially when handwritten), and in 18th century English they were still largely interchangeable. (The 1740 "New General English Dictionary" published in London had a single section for I and J, and the standard identification Thomas Jefferson used on his personal possessions was "T.I.") Having both an "I" and a "J" street would have been redundant at best and confusing at worst, so "J" ended up as the odd man out.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Barbie Archeologist

Here is a funny one i remember getting in email, which is not true. this is the text of the email:

Here's the story behind this... There's this tripped out guy who digs things out of his back yard and sends the stuff he finds to the Smithsonian Institute, labeling them with scientific names, insisting that they are actual archeological finds. The really weird thing about these letters is that this guy really exists and does this in his spare time!

Anyway... here's a letter from the Smithsonian Institute after he sent them a Barbie doll head.


Paleoanthropology Division
Smithsonian Institute
207 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20078

Dear Sir:

Thank you for your latest submission to the Institute, labeled "211-D, layer seven, next to the clothesline post. Hominid skull." We have given this specimen a careful and detailed examination, and regret to inform you that we disagree with your theory that it represents "conclusive proof of the presence of Early Man in Charleston County two million years ago." Rather, it appears that what you have found is the head of a Barbie doll, of the variety one of our staff, who has small children, believes to be the "Malibu Barbie". It is evident that you have given a great deal of thought to the analysis of this specimen, and you may be quite certain that those of us who are familiar with your prior work in the field were loathe to come to contradiction with your findings. However, we do feel that there are a number of physical attributes of the specimen which might have tipped you off to it's modern origin:

1. The material is molded plastic. Ancient hominid remains are typically fossilized bone.

2. The cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately 9 cubic centimeters, well below the threshold of even the earliest identified proto-hominids.

3. The dentition pattern evident on the "skull" is more consistent with the common domesticated dog than it is with the "ravenous man-eating Pliocene clams" you speculate roamed the wetlands during that time. This latter finding is certainly one of the most intriguing hypotheses you have submitted in your history with this institution, but the evidence seems to weigh rather heavily against it. Without going into too much detail, let us say that:

    A. The specimen looks like the head of a Barbie doll that a dog has chewed on.

    B. Clams don't have teeth.

It is with feelings tinged with melancholy that we must deny your request to have the specimen carbon dated. This is partially due to the heavy load our lab must bear in it's normal operation, and partly due to carbon dating's notorious inaccuracy in fossils of recent geologic record. To the best of our knowledge, no Barbie dolls were produced prior to 1956 AD, and carbon dating is likely to produce wildly inaccurate results. Sadly, we must also deny your request that we approach the National Science Foundation's Phylogeny Department with the concept of assigning your specimen the scientific name "Australopithecus spiff-arino." Speaking personally, I, for one, fought tenaciously for the acceptance of your proposed taxonomy, but was ultimately voted down because the species name you selected was hyphenated, and didn't really sound like it might be Latin.

However, we gladly accept your generous donation of this fascinating specimen to the museum. While it is undoubtedly not a hominid fossil, it is, nonetheless, yet another riveting example of the great body of work you seem to accumulate here so effortlessly. You should know that our Director has reserved a special shelf in his own office for the display of the specimens you have previously submitted to the Institution, and the entire staff speculates daily on what you will happen upon next in your digs at the site you have discovered in your back yard. We eagerly anticipate your trip to our nation's capital that you proposed in your last letter, and several of us are pressing the Director to pay for it. We are particularly interested in hearing you expand on your theories surrounding the "trans-positating fillifitation of ferrous ions in a structural matrix" that makes the excellent juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex femur you recently discovered take on the deceptive appearance of a rusty 9-mm Sears Craftsman automotive crescent wrench.

Yours in Science,
Harvey Rowe
Curator, Antiquities

woman in the green suit


i have read this story as true, as fiction, as an email, etc, i have no idea if it is a legend or just a nice story but i like it, it is cute.

A guy in the military overseas somehow became penpals with a woman he had never met before named Kathy. All through the war, her letters kept him company and by the end he decided he was in love with her. He begged her to meet him when he was being sent home. She agreed, and said he could identify her by the red rose on her lapel.

When he got into the train station he started looking around. He saw a woman coming at him who was gorgeous, in a green suit. He was about to introduce himself, already stumbling over words in his head, when he noticed she had no rose. He gawked for another second then looked around.

He saw an older heavy set woman wearing a rose. He decided that since it was kathy's letters that kept him alive he at least owed her dinner to express his gratitude. He went over and kindly introduced himself and asked her to dinner. The old woman said she was very confused, that the lady in the green dress asked her to wear this rose and if a man approached her to give her this phone number, (kathy's)

it has all the elements of an urban legend but i am not sure if it is or not, either way, cute story.

People in Cement Beams

I heard this in history class once and it has always bothered me and i was wondering if anyone else has heard this and if it is true.

when they were building large bridges for the first time in major cities in the US, they would have this massive vats of cement to make those huge columns. my hisory teacher told us that if a worker fell into it they would not even try to help him out cause it would be likely that more would fall in. also they would not dump it out to get his body, because it would be too expensive to redo that much cement and he would be dead anyway. as a result, big bridges built years ago have a lot of dead bodies...

hope anyone can disprove this?

Monday, June 28, 2004

J street

It is often stated that there is no J Street in Washington, between I Street and K street, for a reason shrouded in history. When Pierre L'Enfant laid out the capital city in the 1790s, the story goes, he deliberately slighted John Jay, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, by deleting his name from the map.

Alien Abductions

As we mentioned in class today, people around the world claim to be abducted by aliens. Although no one believes them, researchers say that their emotions are real. "The study showed that people who claim to have been abducted by aliens show the same signs of distress, such as increased heart rate, sweating, and muscle tension, shown by people recalling more plausible traumatic events, such as wartime experiences."
To view the full article please click on the link below.
Web MD Health

Darwin Awards Urban Legends

As an avid reader of the Darwin Awards online, which are the greatest thing ever, I have always thought the best of their stories were in their urban legends section. Some of my favorites are "Bad Day at the Office" and "scuba Divers and Forrest Fires" also "the Bricklayer"

here is a link

Most of them are probably legends but at least they are very funny

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Sheepshead Lane

To go with the trend of many of the other posts about hometown urban legends, I have one that is pretty popular in my area. There is this road called Sheepshead Lane, on Long Island. The road itself is a dark, single lane road, with no street lights and a lot of trees. At night you cannot see anything without your head lights, so the road has a very creepy feel about it. Supposedly, this guy was in love with this girl named Heather, and they were together for quite some time. Heather's house was on Sheepshead Lane, right behind this high wall, infact it is the only wall on the whole road. Anyhow, one day Heather broke up with this guy and he could not stand being without her. So, after many unsuccessful attempts of trying to get back with her, he decided to hang himself from this huge tree out side her window, which is outside the wall. But before he killed himself, he spray painted on the wall, I LOVE YOU HEATHER. If you drive down the road you can still see it right on the wall. But, when you turn around to leave Sheepshead Lane, the writing on the wall changes and says, I LOVED YOU HEATHER. This is actually true it does change, but if you look closely, the wall is made out of a very rough material, so the added "d" at the end of love is sprayed on an angle, so when you drive by the first time heading down the road, you cannot see the "d". First timers to the spot, are usually a little bugged out. This place is pretty well known to everybody in the area, especially high school students.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Pregnancy test

In the "olden days" they used to inject the urine of a woman into a rabbit. If the rabbit died, the woman was definitely pregnant. If the rabbit lived, she was not.

Why Rabbit? i have no idea....

Tapping the Can Does Not Stop Foaming

I am sure many people have seen, or have done it themselves, a person tap a can of soda or beer, before opening it. Hey, I am not going to lie, I have done it myself. We even witnessed this act of tapping a can of soda in the movie,Urban Legends, that we watched in class (the scene with the pop rocks and soda). But supposedly, tapping does almost nothing.
If a can is going to foam up and spill all over, with or with out tapping, it going to do it. Supposedly, the tapping might make it a little better, but that's only because you are giving it more time for the bubbles to "calm down." The best thing to do, is if a can was shaken, is to let it sit for awhile. So, tapping is pretty much a waist of time and energy.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Symbol on the Dollar Bill

Have you ever looked at the back of a 1 dollar bill and wondered what the pyramid symbol has to do with the United States and its history?
The government claims "The pyramid signifies strength and duration: The eye over it and the motto, Annuit Coeptis (meaning He, [Godj has favored our undertakings), allude to the many interventions of Providence in favor of the American cause. The Roman numerals below are the date of the Declaration of Independence. The words under it, Novus Ordo Seclorum (meaning a new order of the ages), signify the beginning of the new American era in 1776."
However, there are other interesting explanations about the Mason influence on the dollar bill. There is too much information to cut and paste, but you can find the info on the following pages.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Fairfax Urban Legend

Just wanted to introduce you guys to the one cool urban legend I know of that has roots in my area

It's the legend of Bunnyman Bridge. The story I know features escaped mental patients killing some kids and hanging them from a bridge not far from my house. If you're ever really, really bored, I'll take you by. It's a right of passage in my neck of the woods.

Celebrity Urban Legends

In class today Professor Larsen brought up the whole "Richard Gere and the gerbil" incident (I found a semi-interesting site when looking around regarding the subject ) and was curious as to what other celeb urban legends you guys had heard. A few to start off:
-"In the Air Tonight" was written by Phil Collins after he saw someone run over his brother and drive off. He got the man's address, sent him some tickets to his show, and, when he sang the new song in concert, he spotlighted the man and told the entire crowd what he had done.
-Keith Richards, greatest man ever, beat his heroin addiction by having all of his blood replaced, much like an oil change.

In 1555 Nostradamus predicted that December 2000 would see "the village idiot will come forth to be acclaimed the leader in the home of greatest power." ?

This email was making rounds around the internet after the election.

In 1555, Nostradamus wrote:
Come the millennium, month 12
In the home of greatest power,
The village idiot will come forth
To be acclaimed the leader.

Nostradamus wrote a lot of stuff so general (and obscure) that with the help of a little imagination (and some liberal interpretations from the original French), people have claimed he has "predicted" nearly every event of significance since the mid-16th century.

I actually saw a documentary that tried to explain whether Nostradamous really predicted evens like 9/11 or the world wars and the evidence is very inconclusive.

Is there something fishy about Nostradamous?

In 1555 Nostradamus predicted that December 2000 would see "the village idiot will come forth to be acclaimed the leader in the home of greatest power." ?

This email was making rounds around the internet after the election.

In 1555, Nostradamus wrote:
Come the millennium, month 12
In the home of greatest power,
The village idiot will come forth
To be acclaimed the leader.

Nostradamus wrote a lot of stuff so general (and obscure) that with the help of a little imagination (and some liberal interpretations from the original French), people have claimed he has "predicted" nearly every event of significance since the mid-16th century.

I actually saw a documentary that tried to explain whether Nostradamous really predicted evens like 9/11 or the world wars and the evidence is very inconclusive.

There is something fishy about Nostradamous

In 1555 Nostradamus predicted that December 2000 would see "the village idiot will come forth to be acclaimed the leader in the home of greatest power." ?

This email was making rounds around the internet after the election.

In 1555, Nostradamus wrote:
Come the millennium, month 12
In the home of greatest power,
The village idiot will come forth
To be acclaimed the leader.

Nostradamus wrote a lot of stuff so general (and obscure) that with the help of a little imagination (and some liberal interpretations from the original French), people have claimed he has "predicted" nearly every event of significance since the mid-16th century.

I actually saw a documentary that tried to explain whether Nostradamous really predicted evens like 9/11 or the world wars and the evidence is very inconclusive.

Folding the $20 bill

I know we were talking about folding the $20 bill to reveal the Twin Towers burning- but on, they give a link to ways to fold almost every American bill to reveal something having to do with the 9/11 attacks. It is actually pretty interesting. The link to the site is .

i was trying to think of what urban legend i'd heard that i found really chilling even though when i was reading it i knew it wasn't true... and i came to the conclusion it was the one of the hollowed out baby being used to smuggle out drugs (as told by Snopes
the original story i heard though has a man making the discovery and i can't remember the details i heard but the dead baby goes missing, so the drug smuggler says 'well we need another body' so the guy who discovered it gets killed. thus reinforcing the whole idea that drug smugglers are evil people.
its one of those stories that even though you know is not true makes you feel very cold. probably because of the contrast between evil and innocent (the drug dealer being evil, and the baby the ultimate innocent).

Thursday, June 17, 2004

NEW COKE - Only a clever marketing ploy.

I read on Snopes about the saga of New Coke and its demise. Snopes mentions an urban legend that says Coke brought out New Coke because they knew the public wouldn't like it and would demand Regular Coke back, therefore boosting demand and sales. Of course it's not true and they go into detail as to why Coke invented New Coke in the first place but I do know Coke drinkers everywhere hated the New stuff. My mom, is a Coke-a-holic to the extreme and has been all of my life. I remember when they announced New Coke how she ran out to Sam's Club and bought cases upon cases of Regular Coke before it sold out. She was stocked up.

Fate of the 4th 9/11 plane

I just read an article on AOL news that gave compelling evidence from the 9/11 hearings.

"Vice President Dick Cheney eventually issued an order to shoot down hijacked planes, but military pilots did not receive it until the last of the four planes - United Airlines Flight 93 - crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers fought back against the hijackers. Cheney said he received the authorization in an earlier phone call with President Bush."

I still think that it is possible that the 4th plane that crashed in Pennsylvania was shot down. Here is the link to the rest of the article:
9/11 Panel Criticized Military Response to Attacks

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Off the topic

This is totally off the topic, but I thought it was funny so here you go,

school urban legends

having moved countries a lot i've been to quite a few different schools and have heard a lot of rumours about each school so was wondering if anyone had heard these before
- there's a ghost in the school (this was at a boarding school that was over two hundred years old, hence the whole old building must have a ghost idea. our ghost was affectionately known as 'the grey lady'... not the most orignial ghost name!)
- there's an insane psychopathic killer on the loose (one of my schools was built next to a mental hospital and i know one or two patients escaped as to their being psychopathic killers that i do not know!)

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

cannibalism and restaurants in Nigeria

this is something i just remembered from when i was younger. i used to live in Nigeria and if you go out to eat there they prepare the meal in its skin. It's said that this is done because (and i'm not sure if this is true) years ago Nigerians used to be cannibals, so by preparing it in its skin you know what you are eating!
cya, jo

Monday, June 14, 2004

Prof's Revenge

Hey guys,
I heard exactly the same story but in "Turkish version" the names and the places were different...and wanted to share with you guys...

Introductory Chemistry at Duke has been taught for about a zillion years by Professor Bonk (really), and his course is semi-affectionately known as 'Bonkistry'. He has been around forever, so I wouldn't put it past him to come up with something like this. Anyway, one year there were these two guys who were taking Chemistry and who did pretty well on all of the quizzes and the midterms and labs, etc., such that going into the final, they had a solid A.

These two friends were so confident going into the final that the weekend before finals week (even though the Chem final was on Monday), they decided to go up to UVirginia and party with some friends up there. So they did this and had a great time. However, with their hangovers and everything, they overslept all day Sunday and didn't make it back to Duke until early monday morning.

Rather than taking the final then, what they did was to find Professor Bonk after the final and explain to him why they missed the final. They told him that they went up to UVa for the weekend, and had planned to come back in time to study, but that they had a flat tire on the way back and didn't have a spare and couldn't get help for a long time and so were late getting back to campus. Bonk thought this over and then agreed that they could make up the final on the following day. The two guys were elated and relieved.

So, they studied that night and went in the next day at the time that Bonk had told them. He placed them in separate rooms and handed each of them a test booklet and told them to begin. They looked at the first problem, which was something simple about molarity and solutions and was worth 5 points. "Cool" they thought, "this is going to be easy." They did that problem and then turned the page. They were unprepared, however, for what they saw on the next page. It said:

(95 points) Which tire?

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Twinkies Do Not Last Forever

I am sure some have heard that twinkies have an indefinite shelf life. This idea was used in the show, now off the air, Family Guy. The episode dealt with a Mad Max genre, and the main characters,in an attempt to fing food, went to the Twinkie factory because Twinkies last forever.
The truth is, as anyone using basic common sense could figure out, that they do not last forever. They last for about 25 days, which is considered a long shelf life for any baked goods. The reason they last that long, is that they are created with no dairy products.

We use only ten percent of our brains.

I've heard this many times and wanted to see if it was true, I think it is an interesting urban legend. There is apparently a book called Uri Geller's Mind-Power Book that in the introduction claims that: "Our minds are capable of remarkable, incredible feats, yet we don't use them to their full capacity. In fact, most of us only use about 10 per cent of our brains, if that. The other 90 per cent is full of untapped potential and undiscovered abilities, which means our minds are only operating in a very limited way instead of at full stretch. I believe that we once had full power over our minds. We had to, in order to survive, but as our world has become more sophisticated and complex we have forgotten many of the abilities we once had"

It turns out the myth is not true according to the reasons presented at that claims that:

"Brain imaging techniques like PET scan and MRI clearly show that the majority of the brain does not lie fallow. Indeed, although certain minor functions may use only a small part of the brain at one time, any sufficiently complex set of activities or thought patterns will indeed use many parts of the brain. Just as people don't use all of their muscle groups at one time, they also don't use all of their brain at once. For any given activity, such as eating, watching television, making love, or reading, you may use a few specific parts of your brain. Over the course of a whole day, however, just about all of the brain is used at one time or another."

Follow up to a class discussion

I remember we discussed in class why there were no sky scrapers in Washington. Well, I asked a historian at the Smithsonian this weekend. Most of us thought that any building couldn't be higher than the Capitol. However, I found out that it is actually the Washington Monument.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

"We are sorry our president is an idiot..." hidden on clothes' washing labels !

From :

"In April 204, someone called attention to the fact something was a little odd about the care instruction tags found on backpacks and laptop cases produced by manufacturer Tom Bihn of Port Angeles, Washington. Specifically, what was unusual was that the English and French statements on those tags didn't quite match — while both versions included the usual admonitions not to use bleach, not to machine dry, and not to iron the bags, the French-language version included an extra phrase: "NOUS SOMMES DESOLES QUE NOTRE PRESIDENT SOIT UN IDIOT. NOUS N'AVONS PAS VOTE POUR LUI." Roughly translated, this statement reads in English as: "We're sorry our president is an idiot. We didn't vote for him."

This link has more info and i picture:

Italian Superstitions

I am not sure if anybody knows about Italian superstitions, but they can be quite interesting, as well as odd at the same time. Coming from an Italian family, I grew up constantly hearing these superstitions. First off, let me explain some of the things that are considered to be good luck and bad luck. Birds in the household are considered bad luck, and certain types of feathers are considered bad luck as well. If one hears a cat sneeze, then it is considered to be good luck. The strangest one is the idea that nuns are considered to be bad luck, and if you pass one, then you must touch iron, not wood, but a piece of iron. Also, if you pass a nun, instead of touching iron you could say to the first person that passes you, "your nun," so the bad luck is passed on to them.
The largest Italian superstition is the maloccio. The maloccio means the dreaded evil eye, which luckily there are ways to ward off the evil spirits that the evil eye brings. First, you could make the hand signal to protect you, which is extending the index and pinky fingers up, or one could wear the "corno," which is a horn shaped object, that is usually hung around the neck. But the question is, how does one get the evil eye? Well, it could be anything, from a dirty look, to a compliment. Also, how does one know if the "corno" or the hand signal worked? The answer to that is there is a test that one could do. The test is taking a bowl of hot water and placing a drop of olive oil in the center, if it stays in a droplet, then you fine, but if the oil separates, then it did not work.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Roomie Dies, You Get As for the Semester

I think we've all heard this one, and it has been the premise of several movies. I was simply curious if anyone knew its orgins.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Military Service and Being An Only Child

I have heard many times, probably because I am an only child, that being an only child automatically exempts you from being drafted for the military.
This so-called military law, is actually not true at all. This myth, was most likely spread and made popular through movies (for example, Saving Private Ryan; and The Fighting Sullivans). The actual law; which most likely was misunderstood and hence became the myth stated above; was created in 1948, "to safeguard the only remaining sons of families that had lost other children during the Second World War." So, the law only came into affect when one or more children were already lost during the war, and then the sole surviving child could not be drafted. This law changed a few more times after 1948, and was finally changed in 1971, "to extend the exemption to any son(not necessarily the only surviving son) whose father or brother(or sister) had died in military service."

The "munchkin suicide" in The Wizard of Oz

I am sure many of you heard or think they have seen the munchkin in The Wizard of Oz hang himself from a tree in the Woodsman sequence. This is something that people have told me about, as well as shown me. I must admit, that at first glance it comes off quite believable, but how could it be that the editors would not catch it or remember to cut it out, if it actually happened?
Well, the answer to that is, because it did not happen. First off, this scene happens before the munchkins were even used in the movie, so they would not have been on set. During the filming of this scene, the studio brought in many different types of birds from the L.A. Zoo to be used. What one is actually seeing, is a bird streching its wings out, probably a crane or an emu,which are both quite large birds. So in fact, there is no munchkin hanging himself, its just a large bird taking a strech. At, the website below, there is a clip of this scene of the "munchkin suicide." The clip is in black and white, which makes it easier to see that it truly is a bird, but in the colored version of the movie, it is a little harder to decipher.

Monday, June 07, 2004


Hey guys, I have two questions...
1) I heard that, “according to the dc laws”, none of the buildings in dc can not be taller than monument?

2) Because of the fact that the number “13” is known as an unlucky number, it does not even exist in some elevators? In other words, it follows like 11, 12, 14, 15…

Is that really true? I knew that it is known as an unlucky number but I did not know that people were taking that serious…

Amazing side-walk paintings

I found great 3D paintings at snopes. Although these paintings are done at flat pavements and with only chalk, they really look real. The sizes are also unbelievable. Check it out: sidewalk paintings.

Video Game Urban Legends

I'm not sure if these really counts as urban legends, and if you weren't a little grade school dork like I was you might not even know what I'm talking about, but when I was a kid and played a lot of video games, there were always countless BS rumors about various secrets that existed within the game. Typically they involved getting some female character (Mortal Kombat, Metroid) naked accomplishing certain tasks. In the case of NBA Jam, it was rumored you could unlock everyone from OJ to the Pope and put them on your basketball team. While this might not be urban legend and more the talk of kids who hadn't seen a Playboy yet, all kinds of other weird video game rumors circulated for as long as I can remember. I find it interesting that, unlike other urban legends, they have no historical basis, but tap into that same type of fascination. That plus the fact it was always a "friend of a friend" who swore up and down he saw Super Nintendo nudity.

Proctor & Gamble alleged evil connection

The President of Procter & Gamble appeared on the Sally Jesse Raphael Show and announced that "due to the openness of our society", he was coming out of the closet about his association with the Church of Satan. He stated that a large portion of his profits from Procter & Gamble Products goes to support this satanic church. When asked by Sally Jesse if stating this on TV would hurt his business, he replied, "There are not enough Christians in the United States to make a difference."

Cannibalism Puzzle


I finally got my internet consistently working and into this thing. I heard this riddle once, and then I found it on the internet and it is funny.

Two men went into a restaurant. They both ordered the same dish from the menu. After they tasted it, one of the men went outside the restaurant and shot himself. Why?

. . . . . . . . . .

The dish that the two men ordered was albatross. They had been stranded many years earlier on a desert island. When the man tasted albatross he realised that he had never tasted it before. This meant that the meat he had been given on the island was not albatross as he had been told. He correctly deduced that he had eaten the flesh of his son who had died when they first reached the island.

there are a bunch of riddles on this site (<--- i have safari, not explorer, not sure if this will show as a hyperlink)

Sunday, June 06, 2004

National Archives

Today I waited on a series of lines, totaling 1 1/2 hours, to see the National Archives. I finally made it up to view the Dec of Independence and it was completely faded. The only thing you could make out was the large and bold "John Hancock"- Everything else was illegible. The Bill of Rights was the same way. However, the Constitution was well preserved. My advice: not worth the wait. Not only did the massive amounts of misbehaved children on school trips make it very unenjoyable, but the bad condition of the documents was a big disappointment.

This was posted on the blog of a GW English professor whom i'm friends with. It reminded me of the job advertisment we talked about in class:

(from today's Washington Post Jobs section, page K4)

Writers: Abandon your dreams. And come work for us. Dream of writing the great American novel? Or the next hot Hollywood screenplay? We can help you forget those pesky aspirations. Come work in advertising instead. Sure, it may not be rewarding or... what's the word?... fulfilling. But if you can pour the same passion and flair into a direct mail piece, a sales brochure or an interactive promotion, you may be the morally bankrupt 'artiste' for us. Candidates should preferably have two years [sic] writing experience, marketing or otherwise, and a penchant for smart, inspired prose. Basically, the kind of people whose spirits we especially enjoy crushing.

Saturday, June 05, 2004


I stumbled across this one at "About Joel," a blog written by an expat in Korea (scroll down for the discussion of the UL):
In class, several of my girls were near tears about the latest urban legend to surface its ugly head in Korea. “빨간 마스크” (“Red Mask”) is the name and apparently it’s an imported urban legend from Japan. The rumor has it that a person, who had an extremely small mouth, had their mouth sliced (ripped) open from ear to ear in a botched plastic surgery. The person, who donned one of those masks you see doctors, old people, and the SARS paranoid wearing goes around killing people in an odd manner. The person will ask, “Am I pretty?” If the victim (apparently elementary school kids) says yes the mask is ripped away showing the gaping wound from ear to ear. The Red Mask then asks, “Even like this?” Apparently those who respond that the Red Mask is pretty are killed by receiving a gaping wound from ear to ear to match the Red Mask’s. Those who said the Red Mask is not pretty have their throats slit.

From Japan to Korea Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 03, 2004

It could happen to you

I don't know how many of you have seen the movie "It Could Happen To You" with Nicholas Cage. It is about the police man who doesn't have enough money to pay for a tip so he promises the waitress to split the money from his lotto ticket if he wins. Nicholas Cage ends up winning the jackpot and splits 6 million with the poor waitress.
Well, I was really surprised to hear that this happened in real life!
It Could Happen To You

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Penny and The Empire State Buiding

Supposedly, if one drops a penny of the top off the Empire State buiding and it hits someone, the penny will go through the person like a hot knife through butter. This is something that I (being from New York) had many people tell me on numerous occasions.
I never really believed it, but then again I never took the time to research it. So, what I found is that the Empire State buiding is 1,250 feet tall, and if a penny was dropped, it would hit the bottom in 8.8 seconds, and it would be traveling around 280 feet per second. According to the article, it might cause a fractured skull, but most likely it would not even break through the skin.

A speeder caught by photo...

I heard a news report on Chicago radio that a guy in California got a speeding ticket that was sent to him via the mail. It was one of those new "camera" set-ups that got him, where a camera is positioned along the highway, sans officer. The camera took the picture of his speeding car & tag number. A letter was generated by a computer & sent to him with the PHOTOGRAPH of his car speeding and the date & time of the offense. The letter went on to state that he had to send in a fine of $40. The story went that the guy was so mad that he sent back the letter with a PHOTOGRAPH of two (2) $20 bills. A week later he got a letter back from the police. He opened up the letter and inside was a PHOTOGRAPH of a pair of handcuffs!

Bonsai Kitten

Bonsai kitten... While the sound of it maybe considered interesting and rather peculiar, it made us wonder what is this all about? A miniature cat that can't grow? Well, it's actually about a cat that is being shaped into a bottle. The process of this sounds really horrific. At a really young age, kitten's bones are said to have not yet hardened and really flexible. Beacuse of this, when they are put into a vessel, jar, or bottle, they will grow into the shape of the container. They will stay in there until they are fully formed or if they don't survive the process then they will die. These conditions also apply with that, they eat and drink through a tube or straw, they certainly won't be able to move around freely and their wastes go through a small tube.

The site which sells the tools to create and the actual bonsai kitten itself:

Investigations about the authencity of this have been done and it is actually just a joke, some say that the site was actually made by some MIT students.

Camel Spiders

In the Gulf War in 1991 and the Iraq War in 2003, U.S. servicemen supposedly passed around stories about these so-called camel spiders. According to these stories, the camel spider can "grow to be as large as dinner plates, can run up to 25 MPH and making a screaming sound as they run, and jump several feet in the air." Also accourding to the story, they got the name camel spider because they jump up on to the camels stomach and eat away at it. They also have a venomous bite that has a numbing affect, so their prey do not know that they are being eaten alive. The U.S. soldiers supposedly would be bit by these critters during the night and find chunks of there skin missing in the mourning.
According to the article, when this info was presented to a spider expert, he said all those claims are false about the camel spider. These spiders can be found in the desert regions, they do get quite large(around a five inch leg span), they make no noise, and run at speeds of 10 Mph. They are also non-venomous. The article depicts a picture of them, and they certainly are quite nasty. Jason


Toothless George Posted by Hello

"River horse" on the Potomac? Posted by Hello

Nicole has posted on the presence of a hippo on the GW campus and the stories connected with it. See her post here and the GW explanation of why a hippo became associated with the university here.

I thought I would throw a couple of more wrinkles into the mix.

Two sets of George Washington's false teeth (widely mistaken to have been wooden) were made of hippopotamus ivory.
President Washington lost his teeth at a relatively early age. He suffered from poor dental health throughout his younger years. He had two sets of false teeth (dentures) made by the most prominent American dentist of his day, Dr. John Greenwood. They were carved from the finest hippopotamus ivory and gold.
A picture of his dentures can be seen here but it isn't clear whether these are the hippo ivory ones or not.

George Washington's own papers mention a "hippopotamus" in the mud of the Potomac near Mt. Vernon. However, the item in mention was not the African animal (of which there is probably no evidence of having existed in North America) but rather a type of dredging machine.
Even before Bloxham's arrival, Washington was experimenting with novel ways to increase the fertility of his farms. Certain that "the bed of the Potomac before my door, contains an inexhaustable fund of manure . . . if I could adopt an easy, simple, and expeditious method of raising, and taking it to the Land," he considered using a special dredge developed by Arthur Donaldson, the "Hippopotamus," to bring it to the surface. In the fall of 1785 he borrowed a scow belonging to George Gilpin to raise Potomac mud.
It isn't hard to imagine how with hippo ivory dentures and a "hippo" dredging the mud of the Potomac, it wouldn't be long before lore about the Washingtons fuse them together to create the story repeated by Pres. Trachtenberg about George and Martha seeing hippos cavorting in the river.

And, believe it or not, someone has found a connection between George Washington, hippo dentures, and cow tipping. Talk about cosmic convergence!

GW Hippo Statue

Since GW's mascot is a Colonial, you are all probably wondering why there is a giant statue of a Hippo in one of the quads (H/21st). It was donated to the class of 2000 by President Trachtenberg. GW also has a restaurant named after it (River Horse Bistro at the U Club). GW's website has an explanation of this legend.
I don't know if the link will work, so I also copied and pasted the explanation below.

GW's River Horse
Legend has it that the Potomac was once home to these wondrous beasts. George and Martha Washington are even said to have watched them cavort in the river shallows from the porch of their beloved Mount Vernon on summer evenings.

Credited with enhancing the fertility of the plantation, the Washingtons believed the hippopotamuses brought them good luck, and children on the estate often attempted to lure the creatures close enough to the shore to touch a nose for good luck.

So, too, many generations of students of The George Washington University.

Art for wisdom,
Science for joy,
Politics for beauty,
And a Hippo for hope.

How many hippos do you know with their own Web site?

Urban Legend - The First Champagne Glass

I was at happy hour o_O last week and was discussing this course with some people and we were trying to think up different urban legends when the bar tender mentioned one he had read in a book recently. There is an urban legend out there that the first champagne glasses (think of the flat-topped ones like you see in champagne fountains, not the flutes) were created from moulds of Marie Antoinette's breasts. I wrote it down to do some research on and actually found info on it at It was an interesting read.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

NY urban legends

I figured it was time for me to post something ...soooo...
I am from Westchester, NY, and in this town White Plains that is just about 10 minutes north of where I live, there is this street called Buckout Road. When I was younger, it was a spot my boyfriend and I would go to make out (haha) but it had many different urban legends surrounding it, and it was always very creepy. Anyway, that boyfriend that I mentioned created a webpage all about the urban legends surrounding the road, and whther they have a root in fact, or not. It is very interesting, and I suggest you visit it. Some of the legends include Albert Fish (the serial killer) living there, a house full of man-eating albinos (for our cannabilism genre), numerous ghost stories, and homocide stories. Here is the link to the webpage: href="">
( )
I hope you enjoy it.


heres the recap: space pen, Trojan horse, and a man who lives in a windmill

ok i just killed my post for the second time running, so for that i should be congratulated.
i had three points to make
1) re: space pen. could be a dig at the Russians implying they were too poor and ignorant to build a pen that works in space.
2) re: Nicole talking about Troy. Many ancient myths like latter day urban legends have changed over time and have different versions of them. Not having read Homer's Illiad, I am told that the Trojan horse most associate with the fall of Troy never actually makes an appearence. Also if you look at the story of King Midas, while most stories will agree he asked for the touch of gold, some say he became a wiser man but others say he was just as stupid and was punished with donkey ears!
3)was also wondering if anyone here has ever watched Jonathan Creek (as shown here on BBC america). its about a magician's assistant who lives in a windmill and solves very mysterious crimes - such as how a person can be killed in a locked room. Some of the mysteries take there base from urban legends.
There was something else but its completely slipped my mind.