From the archives


The truth about urban legends

January 2006

Authorities suspect the Satanist president of Proctor and Gamble of revenge in the theft of an investigative humor columnist's kidneys. Jim Watkins was found in a tub of ice at the Holiday Inn Express after the illegal removal of both kidneys.

The controversial author is known to have made a number of enemies and, thus, possible suspects. Watkins was the first to reveal that the P&G logo is an occult symbol, that Madeline Murray O'Haire is petitioning FCC to ban all religious broadcasting, and that KFC is growing headless chickens.

Watkins last remembers flashing his lights at a car coming toward him with the lights off. Awakening from anesthetic, he stumbled to a pay phone and felt a prick when he reached in the coin return. A Post-It note read, "Welcome to the real world, you now have AIDS." While waiting for police to arrive, Watkins was bitten by a brown recluse spider hiding in the public toilet.

Fortunately, Watkins' extensive medical bills will be paid by the large cash sum he received from Microsoft by e-mailing a chain letter to ten thousand of his closest friends. Soon after, however, his computer's hard drive was commandeered by cyber cultists when he opened a "COMPUTER VIRUS WARNING" e-mail.

Watkins hopes to set a Guinness world record by having his ten thousand closest friends e-mail him "Get Well" wishes, but warns don't use "Blue Mountain" electronic greeting cards as a virus could fill your hard drive with sappy sentiment and goofy graphics.


Okay, okay, I'm just kidding. But, I'll bet a bag of Oreos (which don't really contain spider eggs) that you've gotten at least a half dozen of these e-mail warnings just this week, right?

Of course, none of you have forwarded these hoaxes on to your e-mail list. You've followed my journalism professor's advice: "VERIFY! VERIFY! VERIFY! If your mother says she loves you, check it out." (And in this age of genetic engineering, make sure she's your mother!)

And, I'm sure no Christians have forwarded those Satanist, FCC petition e-mails that make all people of faith look like "asses" (I'm, of course, using the King James Version term here since the New International Version is a feminist plot to destroy the family. Not!)

You can easily verify these stories by going to It's a wonderful resource with extensive research into the origins of these myths, rumors, and hoaxes. (And that picture of a giant German rabbit weighing 22 pounds and measuring over 3 feet you just received—that's authentic!)

And I'm sure you always use the BCC: (blind carbon copy) on your mass e-mailing so a) your friends don't have to wade through hundreds of addresses to get to the message and b) you avoid some marketer stealing your e-mail list right off your message.

Seriously, please forward this on to all your e-mail friends. Get the word out to save all the bandwidth for worthwhile communication like

Copyright © 2006 James N. Watkins

Related site:
Verify! Verify! Verify!
Conspiracy theories

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