Urban Legends: True or False?

Urban Legends: THE HOOK

Urban Legends

Urban legends--true or false? What is the truth behind those stories that go around; that circulate over the watercooler at the office, that go viral with email, that form the most interesting converstations at your local coffee shop? Here are some urban legends for your delectation, and the truth behind them. Find out whether these rather creepy tales actually happened:

  • The Hook
  • The Choking Doberman
  • The Birthday Suit
  • The Coat
  • Kentucky Fried Rat
  • The Magic Pill for your car
  • The Cremated Kid


THE HOOK

It is late in the evening on one fine summer night, and a young couple are parked in the local lover's lane. It's a remote spot surrounded by woods--an old logging road, as a matter of fact. The radio is on; a ltittle sexy rock-n-roll to set the mood.

The young couple start making out. Things are heating up, and the boy thinks he might just get lucky tonight! The girl, after struggling for a while, finally surrenders her bra.

Then--the music on the radio is interrupted by a news broadcast. There is a one-armed escapee from the lunatic asylum, who is very dangerous. He has used his "hook" arm as a murder weapon many times before. All local residents are asked to stay inside their homes with their doors locked, and to call the police at the least sign of disturbance.

The girl gets nervous after this broadcast. She can't help hearing noises--twigs cracking under the feet of (could it be?) the escaped lunatic, a weird scraping sound along the side of the car. In a panic, she locks all the car doors and insists that the boy drive her home. He does, reluctantly, but he was raised to be a gentleman, so he does, while she adjusts her clothing.

When they get to her driveway, and get out of the car, the girl screams loudly enough to wake her parents and bring out the neighbors. There is a hook dangling from the door handle on her side of the car.

The Hook

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The Hook

No, it didn't. A prosthetic hook arm is too rounded at the end, and the hook pincer part of it for picking up objects, is too blunt to ever be a weapon.

There is more than one version of this story: one version doesn't end so happily. The boy ends up dangling upside down from a tree limb immediately over the vehicle, because the car has run out of gas, and when they try to leave, after getting spooked by the funny noises and the story on the radio, the guy has to go get some gas, while telling the girl to stay put and keep the doors locked. She waits, and waits, and waits, and finally falls asleep in the car, waiting for her boyfriend to come back with the gas. Upon waking, it's morning--broad daylight, and when she gets out of the car, she sees her boyfriend dangling from the tree.

Something similar to this story actually did happen. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a serial killer nicknamed the Zodiac killer targeted young people in lover's lanes in remote areas of California. The Zodiac killer murdered four young men and three young women, all between the ages of 16 and 29. The case has never been solved, nor the killer caught.

The Choking Doberman

The Choking Doberman

A young woman who lived alone and had a doberman pincer for a pet, and also home protection, came home late one afternoon from work to find her dog whining and choking on the mat near the entrance. Alarmed for her dog's health, the young woman immediately took the dog to the animal hospital, where the veternarian removed four severed fingers from the dog's throat.

The dog made a complete recovery, and the police found the burglar with the severed fingers easily.

The Choking Doberman

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The Choking Doberman

No, it didn't happen. For one thing, an attack dog will go for the intruder's legs first, to get the taller entity on the ground. Then, the dog will go for the intruder's throat. So it isn't likely that the dog will sever the intruder's fingers.

Also, should the dog bite off the intruder's fingers and get them stuck in his throat, the dog would die of asphyxiation long before the young woman came home from work and could get him to the vet.

The Birthday Suit

The Birthday Suit

This is one of the funniest urban legends I've ever heard.

It starts off with a thirty-something man who owns and runs a home-remodeling business. It's his birthday today, and he gets up in the morning, greets his family, and has breakfast, wondering why his wife and children make no mention of the fact it's his birthday. Have they forgotten? Is he getting too old to celebrate birthdays?

Off he goes to work, greeting his employees, and wondering why none of them also seem to know or notice that it's the boss's birthday. He's a little hurt, but he dismisses this feeling in the pressure of business.

It's lunchtime, and his beautiful secretary asks him to her home for lunch. The boss, who has had a minor crush on the lovely secretary, accedes to this request with alacrity.

They go to the secretary's apartment, where the boss asks to use her bathroom to "freshen up a little". He removes his clothing in the secretary's bathroom, gets all naked, just to heat things up a little, and comes out, only to find his wife, his family and all his co-workers yelling "Surprise!" with completed astonished looks on their faces at his unexpected nudity.

The Birthday Suit

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The Birthday Suit

Yes, it did actually happen, and just that way! The main characters in the story understandably prefer to remain anonymous. But, oh yes, it did happen, with extremely embarrassing consequences to the gentleman in question. It almost, but not quite, cost him his marriage, and he vowed never, ever, to even think about cheating on his wife again.

The Coat

The Coat

This story takes place in a suburban shopping mall. A fairly well-to-do woman goes shopping for a new coat, around Christmas time. She goes to Burlington Coat Factory, where they have a huge selection and a wide price range. She's certain to find something to suit her, and wants to get a bargain.

The lady tries on several coats, modeling them in the mirrors provided. She isn't quite happy with any of them; finally she spots a beautiful blue coat, marked down 50%! She's ecstatic! She tries the coat on, and it fits her beautifully. But she feels something moving across the back of her neck, then she feels a sting. She thinks a bee has gotten in the coat somehow, and removes it posthaste, handing it to the store clerk, saying something stung her.

She goes out to her car--she isn't feeling very well, and thinks she might be allergic to bee stings. She faints in the parking lot, and a good Samaritan gets security to call an ambulance for her.

In the emergency room, the doctor finds a big welt on the side of her neck, and a smaller one on her hand. The doctor happens to be from India (where the coat she tried on was made) and recognizes the welts as bites from a cobra. The antidote is administered and the woman makes a complete recovery. When the authorities hear her story of how she got bitten, they go to the Burlington Coat Factory outlet in question, and retrieve the coat. It is crawling with baby cobras, who hatched inside the coat during its storage.

The Coat

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The Coat

No, it didn't. Though much of our bargain clothing is made in tropical countries which have various forms of poisonous wildlife, first of all, it would be a very strange case where a cobra laid eggs inside cloth of any kind. That wouldn't happen, ordinarily. A Burlington Coat Factory spokesperson has also denied completely that there ever has been such a case; there is no record of it or of any resulting lawsuit. Also: the Burlington Coat Factory warehouses and stores are all climate-controlled at 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and cobra eggs won't incubate and hatch unless the temperatures are over 80 degrees Fahrenheit. So no, it never happened.

Kentucky Fried Rat

Kentucky Fried Rat

This story has been around for a long time--I first heard it in grade school, and that was a while back.

A young couple, where both are working in fairly high-level, high-pressure jobs, come home from work. They have both worked late; neither one feels like cooking anything. Truthfully, they just want some food, a drink, a little TV, then a bath and bed. They're exhausted and overstrained from their demanding jobs.

The man offers to go get KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken). The woman agrees: she knows it isn't healthy and isn't on her diet, but at this point, she doesn't care.

While he's off getting the food, the lady in question sets a pretty table to make up for the pick-up supper, a little bit. The husband arrives with the food, and they sit down to eat. The woman bites into a bit of what she thought was chicken, and spits it out immediately. It's part of a rat tail, and the rest of the Kentucky Fried Rat is sitting on her plate.

They are appalled, naturally, and later on successfully sue KFC for one million dollars.

Kentucky Fried Rat

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Kentucky Fried Rat

No, it never happened. There has never been a lawsuit on record for any fast food chain, KFC included, for including a rat or any other vermin as part of a fast food meal. (And I would assume that if anyone, anywhere, found vermin in his or her food, they would sue the company that sold them the food. The only parallel case I've found is where McDonald's was sued by a lady who got burned by excessively hot coffee they served.)

The Magic Pill for Your Car

The Magic Pill For Your Car

This story has also been around for a very long time: supposedly a man invented a pill that you can put in the gas tank of your car. It either does one of two things:

  • You never have to buy gas. The car runs forever on just that one tiny pill.

OR

  • Your car now gets about 300 miles to the gallon of gas, just using this one tiny pill, every time you fill up, which becomes darn seldom.

The mysterious "powers that be" decide that with our fossil-fuel driven economy, the super pill for your car is too efficient and economical, and will put all the rank profiteers who own the oil companies out of business, or reduce their business to profit-smushing levels, so something has to be done. The oil companies paid to get all the Congressmen and the President of the United States elected after all, so the oil companies decide to call in some government chips.

The FBI and Secret Service track down the inventor and distributor of the magic pill for your car, and he disappears, taking all the new technology of his marvelous invention with him, and is never heard from again.


The Magic Pill for your car

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The Magic Pill for your car

Well, not quite. There wasn't ever a "magic pill" with the powers described in the urban legend to reduce or eliminate your gasoline intake.

There have been several fuel-efficient inventions or innovative methods of transportation that have been suppressed from being offered to the public by factions whose interest is in maintaining the current levels of fuel consumption in the United States.

Wind, solar, and other forms of energy that are alternatives to fossil fuels have all been sabotaged in their development and commercial applications by the oil interests. Also, there are two inventions which are patented, and for which working models exist, which both the oil companies and the car companies have worked to suppress. One is for a super-efficient carburetor, which enables your car to get about 150 to 200 miles per gallon. Another is tires for your car that not only never go flat, but also enhance the gas mileage of your car.

The Cremated Kid

The Cremated Kid

This story takes place in a Las Vegas funeral home, which was solely owned by a man who had custody of his six-year old son.

After school hours, the kid became bored with hanging around their living quarters, and wanted his father's attention. Being a rather mischievous child, he decided to surprise his father, and play hide-and-seek inside the coffins in the showroom.

The father had just taken delivery of a very deluxe, high-end coffin. Its wealthy owner had insisted on cremation, with no ceremony, in his last wishes, and the executors of this wealthy patron's estate made sure to follow his wishes.

There was some mix-up; the coffin was delivered to the crematorium without its legitimate deceased occupant inside. Instead, the coffin was cremated along with the funeral home owner's son, who had fallen asleep, waiting to surprise his father with his game of hide-and-seek.

Imagine the horrified consternation of the funeral home owner when he discovered this dreadful mistake!

The Cremated Kid

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The Cremated Kid

No, I'm very happy to tell you it never happened.

People aren't cremated inside coffins. They are cremated inside cardboard boxes. They are removed from their coffins before cremation. I'm not sure what happens to the empty coffins, but they aren't burnt along with the body.

Also: every crematorium is bound by law to make one last check for vital signs on the corpse before cremation. They would have discovered the sleeping boy and would never have cremated him alive.

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Comments 21 comments

Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 2 years ago from Upstate New York Author

It was true. Oddly enough, I didn't really feel sorry for the guy at all. Maybe because I'm a woman.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 2 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment! I had fun writing this one.


DonnaCSmith profile image

DonnaCSmith 2 years ago from Central North Carolina

That was a fun read. I scored 100%. I wasn't sure about the birthday suit, but it just sounded like a man so I checked "yes" LOL


Chuck profile image

Chuck 2 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

I enjoyed this Hub. I had heard of most of these urban legends and knew that they were not true.

But I had never heard the birthday suit one and really enjoyed reading about that one - especially when it turned out to be true!

Good work!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 2 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment!!! EWWWW! That's a really cool but gross story!


Richawriter profile image

Richawriter 2 years ago from On Top of the World

Wow, that was fun fun fun!!

Great hub you have here and a good idea too to compile all of these urban legends like this.

In England, regarding the KFC legend, we have a slightly different story. Our story concerns a guy/gal who was eating his/her chicken burger when she realized it had mayo in it. She took it back and complained that she hadn't ordered mayo. Upon checking the bun, the horrified staff found that the chicken breast had a cyst in it - needless to say, the customer disappeared to the toilet - sharpish!!!

Thanks and Happy New Year!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 3 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for reading and commenting.


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Good choices and I learned more here about urban legends thanks


Magdaleine profile image

Magdaleine 4 years ago

I like the story of funny birthday suit. glad to know that only this particular story is true, not the other ones :)


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment, SG.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

Makes you wonder how some of the urban legends get started. Someone has a lot of imagination. Some are based on "almost" true facts. Maybe some are wishful thinking! I enjoyed reading your hub! Voted up and interesting. Have a great day! :)


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment, Rob. I never hear the dog in the microwave before! Ewwww!


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

Hi; Gotta love those urban legends. My favorites are the Stolen Organ (the guy who gets drugged while drinking with a girl at a bar, wakes up at a motel somewhere with a surgical scar, goes to the Doctor and finds out that he's had an organ removed) and the dog in the microwave(the woman who just bathed her dog and was in a hurry to dry him so she figures that 30 seconds in the microwave will dry him off and the dog explodes). I wonder how these stories start.

Fun hub,

Rob


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment, Natashalh.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment, Phil.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 4 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

I've heard the KFC Rat and The birthday suit ones before, but the others I hadn't heard. Thanks for sharing, voted up and interesting.


Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 4 years ago from Hawaii

What a cool collection of urban legends and explications. I learned a lot from this piece, which I did not expect when I first clicked on it.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment, Sweetie.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 4 years ago from Southern California, USA

I remember the Urban Legends show that was on awhile back. Some of the episodes were filmed up in Crestline, California at a convenience store I used to go to with my niece and nephew, which was pretty funny to see on TV.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Oh, for sure! Apparently the guy who invented them was bought off, thankfully, and not killed or "made to disappear"! Thanks for the comment.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 4 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Gotta love Urban Legends, else there'd be nothing to talk about over campfires after dark! lol!

A former boss and his best friend both had those super-efficient carburetors back in the 1940s or '50s. Said a tank of gas would last "forever". When they eventually wore out and couldn't be rebuilt, they looked hi and lo for replacements, but there were none to be found. One auto parts store even told them they'd been ordered to ship any remaining super-carbs on the shelf back to the factory, which Boss and Friend assumed they were destroyed. Apparently so. Time to unlock that patent and bring them back, right?

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