Friday, June 27, 2008

Fact or Fiction? Deadly "Toilet-lid spider" and other urban myths

Urban myths and legends. Ya gotta love ‘em.

A few years ago, I received a panicked-sounding email from a friend of mine, warning me about a venemous “Two-striped Telemonia Spider” that had been discovered lurking under the toilet lids in public bathrooms. I forwarded the email to my sister, who quickly informed me that the Two-striped Telemonia Spider is an urban myth.

She sent me to a web site called, where she’d checked out the story. Now, every time I read a scare story about some new threat or disease, it’s the first site I check out.

Here are are some of my favorite urban myths—click the links to the Snopes web site to find out whether they’re true or false.

A Killer Brew

More than a half-dozen people died in a beer flood in the 1800’s. Fact or Fiction?

Water woes

Reusing plastic water bottles can cause them to release carcinogenic toxins. Fact or Fiction?

The Case of the Vanishing Thighs

Thieves are stealing women’s thighs and replacing them with oatmeal (Okay, no matter what they say about this one, it really happened to me!). Fact or Fiction?

Penguins Need Sweaters

Following oil spills, crafters are asked to knit sweaters for oil-covered penguins. True or False?

The Freshest Loaf

You can tell which day a loaf of bread was baked by the color of its plastic twist tag. Fact or Fiction?

What about you? Have you been snookered into believing an urban myth, or discovered that something bizarre was actually true?


Camille Minichino said...

Last week a fierce-looking cougar; this week a menacing spider (or whatever) ... you're creeping me out, Kathryn!
Go easy on us next Friday, ok? I used to LOVE your graphics. lol

Kathryn Lilley said...

Sorry Camille, I have a creepy imagination--next genre stop for me as an author will probably be the horror aisle, lol!

Joe Moore said...

I can't believe you didn't mention anything about Elvis. I saw him in the mall just last week. :-)

Dana King said...

Another valuable website is I think Snopes may have more myths, but the truthorfiction search engine is easier to use. Both are valuable.

Kathryn Lilley said... is a great one, thanks! I'm adding it to my favorites.

Didn't see any Elvis sightings on Snopes, Joe, but found one about his motorcycle! I'll ask him about it next time I see him, grin.

Linda O. Johnston said...

What a fun topic, Kathryn--except for the spider. But figuring out which urban legends are true and which aren't is a pastime that can't be beat--especially for writers. We can use them in stories, real or not...

Kathryn Lilley said...

Thanks, Linda! My graphics are kind of like my blog version of a mood ring. You can really see the visual cues that the last couple of weeks have been a little rocky!