A young couple makes out at an isolated clearing, when the girl hears a scratching outside the car. Her boyfriend tells her to ignore it, but she can't. So, they drive away, and only once returning home discover a hook lodged into the roof of their car...
This, of course, is a tired morality play designed to scare teens into remaining abstinent ("If you have sex, it might KILL YOU!"). So, it was all a huge lie, right? Nope. It had its origin in the Tarkana Moonlight Murders of 1946, where a serial killer really did attack eight victims, including two sets of couples necking on a local "lovers lane" stretch of highway.
Why do people still think that New York city has alligators living in its sewer system? Well, the story took off in the '30s, when the NY Times printed some articles about alligators living in the sewers. In actuality, the gators came from the yards of people who had brought them to the state illegally from Florida.
Then, in the '50s, the book The World Beneath the City was published, in which the author claimed to have witnessed the underground gators first-hand. In truth? The author was a big, fat liar just out to sell books.
You know this one well enough. A babysitter keeps receiving strange phone calls, only to eventually be told by police, "The calls are coming from inside the house!"
While that may have never happened, in 1950 there was actually a case in Columbia, Missouri of a babysitter being murdered, along with a strange phone call taking place. You see, after she put the toddler to bed, an intruder somehow made his way into the house. She made a panicked phone call to the police, which cut off abruptly before they could trace it. By the time the parents returned home, it was too late.
It's a story that's already so horrifying, one has to wonder why we bothered to add all those false details at all.
We've all heard the tale: A person goes to a hotel room with a stranger, passes out and wakes up to find that one of their kidneys is missing. Ridiculous, right? How do these stories even get started?
After doing some digging, we found a 1989 article in the Los Angeles Times about Ahmet Koc, a single-kidneyed Turkish man who did indeed claim that his spare kidney was stolen from him! The real story, though? He sold it, got caught, then tried to weasel out with an excuse.
When you call someone a "lemming," it's because you're trying to say that they blindly follow orders without thinking about logic or reason. This is because lemmings are known to jump off cliffs to their deaths during migration.
Where did we get that idea? From a 1958 Disney nature documentary, White Wilderness. In it, producers staged scenes in which they forced lemmings to jump into bodies of water, as the narrator explains, "They've become victims of an obsession ”” a one-track thought: 'Move on! Move on!'" It was a total lie, and the Walt Disney company was roundly punished for it...if by "punished" you mean "won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature."
What kids haven't spent a night at a sleepover or summer camp attempting to conjure the spirit of Bloody Mary in the mirror? It was said if you lit a candle and said her name three times, she would appear, staring back at you.
Here's the thing, though: "Bloody Mary" really did exist. Kind of. Mary Tudor was the queen of England from 1553 until her death in 1558. During her short reign, she took to her favorite pastime: burning Protestants at the stake. Yup, she spilled a lot of blood (hence her nickname).
As for why people think she appears in mirrors, it's mostly just because her name sounds kind of cool, along with the so-called "Strange Face Illusion" in which a person's own image starts to distort when one stares at it long enough. So, if you gaze into a mirror repeatedly chanting "Bloody Mary," yeah, you may see something weird eventually, but it won't be the former Queen of England.
So the story goes, a woman, driving alone, keeps getting flashed with lights by the truck behind her. She becomes scared and eventually evades that creepy motorist, only to find out that he was simply trying to warn her...of the killer in her own backseat!
Terrifying, sure. But true? Maybe.
According to Snopes, there was an actual incident in 1964 when a murderer hid in the backseat of a car...but it wasn't a random woman's car, it was a police car. And you'd better believe the criminal most certainly didn't escape.
Every so often, your aunt that you never really talk to shares that story on Facebook about Coca Cola being so bad for you that it could dissolve a human tooth overnight.
Let's get right to the facts: No, a tooth will not dissolve in Coke overnight. Would it dissolve eventually? Sure. That's because of the presence of phosphoric acid in the drink. In truth, the same would happen if you left a tooth in a glass of orange juice for an extended period of time. But, the fact is, we don't hold soda in our mouths for weeks on end. We drink it.
So, please send this article to that aunt next time she bothers you on Facebook. Or, better yet, get to know that "unfollow" button.
Hysteria gripped America a few decades ago, as parents everywhere told their children not to eat apples from strangers, for they could contain deadly razor blades and needles inside.
Where did they get that idea? Well, this one first began as a "poisoned Halloween candy" myth when, in 1974, an 8-year-old's Halloween candy was indeed poisoned...by his father. It was a life insurance scam.
Since then, the myth evolved to razor blades in apples, which brings up a simple question: What kids would ever want to eat apples on Halloween?
Have you heard the story about the family who, while on vacation, smelled something wretched coming from under the mattress? They call the manager, who removes the mattress, only to find...a dead body!
Even scarier: This one actually has happened. Like, a bunch of times. The earliest known instance was in 1982, in which a mafia contract killer named "The Iceman" really did kill a guy in North Bergen, NJ and stuff his corpse under the bed. The room continued to be rented out to other couples over the next four days, until the body was eventually discovered.
See, not everything you hear on the Internet is a lie. Just most things.
For some reason, lots of people actually believe that, if your college roommate dies, the school will for some reason give you an automatic 4.0 GPA. This idea went on to become the basis for the film that killed Zack Morris' shot at a movie career, Dead Man on Campus.
The truth behind this one isn't terribly interesting, I'm afraid. The fact is, lots of schools have bereavement policies for students in tough times. However, that doesn't mean straight-A's; it means greater flexibility with due dates and the option to take an 'Incomplete' without penalty. Yay for bureaucracy facts!
You see a car without its lights on, so you do the ol' headlight flash to let them know to turn them on. Big mistake. Turns out, that car was full of street gang pledges, and you've just cemented yourself as their ceremonious "first kill."
This myth has circulated for decades, and originated as a cautionary tale regarding the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in the 1980s. The Hells Angels were notorious for being tough dudes with whom you'd rather not engage. People were commonly warned not to engage with any motorists, because you never know who might be Hells Angels. The story then warped and evolved from there.
Picture this: You pick up a hitchhiker and they're acting kind of weird. You're like, "whatever." Then, you turn around...and they're gone! Vanishing Hitchhiker myth: Confirmed!
If you think you heard the first version of this story when you were a kid, you're wrong. This one dates all the way back to the New Testament (Acts 8:26-39), in which an Ethiopian picks up Phillip on his way home. They get to talking and Phillip baptizes the traveler. Next thing you know, Phillip disappears, and the Ethiopian is all like, "Whoa."
...You know, I have a real knack for summarizing the good book. I should go into a career as a biblical scholar.
It's said that, in 1967, at the height of the Beatles' popularity, Paul McCartney was killed in a car crash. The music industry producers couldn't bear to have their profits lost, and so they replaced Paul with a look-alike.
This whole story is, of course, completely bonkers. Paul McCartney is very much alive, and he plays dozens of concerts every year. Heck, he just swung through Columbus, Ohio recently. Dead people don't go to Ohio.
The whole story originated because Paul was indeed involved in a car crash in 1967. But, you know, he survived. Then, when he stepped away from the limelight for a little while in 1969, the story really took off.
...Also, the people who thought they were hearing backwards messages hidden in Beatles songs were on drugs.
Whispers have been going around for decades of purported snuff films (that is, movies in which an actor is actually murdered on screen). Everybody has a friend whose uncle's neighbor's brother has seen one.
The term "snuff" comes from the word used to extinguish a candle. It was first used in association with films by Ed Sanders in his profile of the Manson Family. One anonymous member of the family claimed that a "snuff" film might have existed, though in that particular case the "actress" was already dead before they turned on the camera.
Since then, people have reported alleged snuff films many times, all of which turned out to be hoaxes. The reason? It would be a really stupid idea to actually film someone's murder. I mean, talk about damning evidence...