Top 10 Urban Legends of 2009

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Filed under: Fact or Fiction?, Urban Legends

Top 10 Urban Legends of 2009
by David Emery
About.com Guide

Here, in ascending order of popularity as gauged by reader interest and site traffic, are the Top 10 Urban Legends, Rumors, and Internet Hoaxes of 2009:

ladygaga-20010. August ‘Mars Spectacular’
Circulating for the sixth year running, this email hoax describes a “once in a lifetime” celestial phenomenon \”” the closest encounter between Mars and Earth for the past 5,000 years \”” which already occurred in 2003. Read more…

9. Burundanga Drug Warning
“In Katy, Texas a man came over and offered his services as a painter to a female putting gas in her car and left his card,” begins this overwrought message. “She said no, but accepted his card out of kindness and got in the car. Almost immediately, she started to feel dizzy and could not catch her breath. She tried to open the window and realized that the odor was on her hand; the same hand which accepted the card from the gentleman at the gas station.” Read more…

8. Breast Infestation
“The picture is horrible but I felt that I should share with you. After anthropologist Susan McKinley came back home from an expedition in South America, she noticed a very strange rash on her left breast. Nobody knew what it was and she quickly dismissed it, believing that the holes would leave in time. Upon her return she decided to see a doctor after she started developing intense pains. To Miss McKinley’s surprise, they found larvae growing and squirming within the pores and sores of her breast.” Read more…

7. The Diabolical Conspiracy to Tax Handguns
“Senate Bill SB-2099 will require us to put on our 2000 1040 federal tax Form all guns that you have or own. It may require fingerprints and a tax of $50 per gun. This bill was introduced on Feb. 24. This bill will become public knowledge 30 days after it is voted into law. This is an amendment to the Internal Revenue Act of 1986. This means that the Finance Committee can pass this without the Senate voting on it at all.” Read more…

6. Air France Crash Photos
Days after the disappearance of Air France Flight 447 over the Atlantic Ocean with 228 people aboard, photos began circulating along with the claim they were taken inside the passenger cabin moments before the plane broke apart. Not so. Fans of the TV show Lost may recognize the images as screen captures from the pilot episode in 2004. Read more…

5. Jamie Lee Curtis Is a Hermaphrodite
“Dear Guide,” begins one of several inquiries I’ve received on this subject, “I’ve heard from a few places that Jamie Lee Curtis is genetically male. I know it is genetically possible for something like this to happen \”” Ms. Curtis is the only famous person I’ve ever heard linked to this ‘problem.’ One of my best friends is convinced it’s impossible.” Not impossible, necessarily, but highly unlikely. Read more…

4. Quick, Add Your Cell Phone to the Do Not Call Registry!
Still going strong after five years, this urgent message claims a directory of cell phone numbers is about to be published and advises users to add their numbers to the Do Not Call Registry to prevent an influx of telemarketing calls. Read more…

3. Lady Gaga Is a Hermaphrodite
Early in 2006, rising pop star Lady Gaga joined the ranks of alleged celebrity “hermaphrodites,” the scuttlebutt being that she was born a man and had a sex-change operation. The rumor machine shifted into high gear in August, when folks started saying they saw a flash of Lady Gaga’s “man parts” in a concert video posted on YouTube. Gaga’s people had a one-word response: “Ridiculous.” Read more…

2. ‘Hallmark Postcard’ Virus Warning
“You should be alert during the next few days. Do not open any message with an attachment entitled ‘POSTCARD FROM HALLMARK,’ regardless of who sent it to you. It is a virus which opens A POSTCARD IMAGE, which ‘burns’ the whole hard disc C of your computer. This virus will be received from someone who has your email address in his/her contact list. This is the reason why you need to send this email to all your contacts.” Read more…

1. Free Laptop from Ericsson!
“The Ericsson Company is distributing free computer laptops in an attempt to match Nokia that has already done so. Ericsson hopes to increase its popularity this way. For this reason, they are giving away the new WAP laptops. All you need to do to qualify is to send this mail to 8 people you know.” Read more…


photo: Minneapolis / St. Paul City Pages