Here are some responses to my last Grrr! column...
Shelly in Wisconsin: A guy I work with swears he heard a true story on the radio about a soldier during the Civil War. The soldier had been shot through the scrotum. The bullet then traveled through the wall of the bedroom of a sleeping virgin. The bullet enters her uterus, and a child is conceived. When she notices her growing belly, she is mystified about how she became pregnant. She later meets the soldier who shared the bullet with her and they fell in love. They found out through later conversation that he was actually the father and I suppose they lived happily ever after. The fact that this guy from work believes this story makes me crazy. I'm no doctor, but I feel pretty confident that it's impossible to become pregnant in this manner.
Casey writes: I am sure you already know about this but just in case. When I receive legends and other questionable info (warnings, chain letters etc. ... they always seem obvious to me), I check out www.snopes.com and then reply with the link to the explanation if it is false. Not sure why I seem to be the only skeptical fella, but I at least try to keep some reality in it for my sucker friends.
Zada in Philly: Mike: This is a true story. My Mom, brother and I were driving back from Oklahoma to California, and my Mom liked driving best at night because it was cooler, and our old Dodge Dart station wagon didn't have air conditioning. We were in Texas, out on a lonely dark highway, when my Mom said she needed to rest and we pulled over to the side of the road. We left the car doors open, windows down, to get some air. Suddenly, we saw some lights in the distance disappear.
Then the silhouette of a big tree not far from us disappeared. My Mom shouted for us to get in the car, we slammed the doors, rolled up the windows and were suddenly in the middle of a huge sandstorm. It rocked the car back and forth, and we thought we were goners. Suddenly, it was over. After a while, my Mom decided to start driving, and we started down the road and the heavens opened up over us with a huge deluge of rain. Pounding, impossible-to-see-through rain. Again, my Mom pulled over to let it pass us; she couldn't see the road to drive. All of a sudden, we started hearing things hitting the roof, and my Mom got out the flashlight and got out of the car to look at the roof. She said OH MY GOD, and shined the light down on the road. All over the road were little frogs and little silver fishes, and when you looked up, they were falling out of the sky all over the road! We couldn't believe it, in the middle of a desert, it was raining fishes and frogs. Needless to say, when we got back home and told people this story, they all acted like we were insane. They would slowly edge away while saying, really? But I swear it was the truth. Fishes and frogs were raining all over our car.
Tim in Columbus, Ohio: My brother and I used to thumb rides home from work as teens, and we lived out in the country about 4 miles out of town. One night we were walking as we hadn't much luck in getting a ride when an old model Ford from the '60s pulls up and a little old lady rolled down the car window and offered us a ride, as far as her place three miles or so up the road. She seemed like a good sort, so we piled in. She asked us a few questions, like why we were walking etc. and was a really nice lady. Made a wonderful impression. She let us off at the driveway of her home and we watched her drive up the long drive and park the car into the garage. So my brother and I settled in for the rest of the walk and wearily set out on the side of the road again. Within a few moments a friend from school named Mike, who lived just across the street from the old lady's house, saw us walking and went out, got his car and came down the road to offer us a lift, which we gladly accepted. On the way we mentioned how nice the neighbor lady of his was, and he responded like we were pulling his leg. He said that house had been vacant for years. We got a bit heated as we thought he was messing with us as well, so we all settled it by turning the car around and going back to the old lady's house. When we went over and knocked on the front door there was no answer, and peering in through the dirty windows, we only saw sheet-covered furniture. My brother and I thought maybe it was a realtor that had come to look at the house to sell, so we went over to check the garage. We got the side door open and saw the old Ford sitting there covered with an old tarp and looking like it hadn't moved in years. I don't even drive down that stretch of road anymore, and that was over 20 years ago.
Peter in Houston: Two dormmates in college were in the same science class. The teacher had just reminded them about the midterm the next day when one dormmate — let's call her Juli — got asked to this big bash by the hottest guy in school. The other dormmate, Meg, had pretty much no interest in going and, being a diligent student, she took notes on what the midterm was about. After the entire period of flirting with her date, Juli was totally unprepared for her test, while Meg was completely prepared for a major study date with her books. At the end of the day, Juli spent hours getting ready for the party while Meg started studying. Juli tried to get Meg to go, but she was insistent that she would study and pass the test. The girls were rather close and Juli didn't like leaving Meg alone to be bored while she was out having a blast. Juli finally gave up, using the excuse that she would cram in homeroom the next day. Juli went to the party and had the time of her life with her date. She headed back to the dorm around 2 a.m. and decided not to wake Meg. She went to bed nervous about the midterm and decided she would wake up early to ask Meg for help. She woke up and went to wake Meg. Meg was lying on her stomach, apparently sound asleep. Juli rolled Meg over to reveal Meg's terrified face. Juli, concerned, turned on the desk lamp. Meg's study stuff was still open and had blood all over it. Meg had been slaughtered. Juli, in horror, fell to the floor and looked up to see, written on the wall in Meg's blood: "Aren't you glad you didn't turn on the lights!
Just to reinforce my point about Urban Legends:
Michael L in McLean, Va.: When I was in college, I heard this one about a girl who lived in a dorm at a nearby college: A girl and her roommate each lined up dates for Friday night. The girl was going to a party with a guy from one of her classes; her roommate was going to a movie with a guy she had met at the mall. When the girl returned from the party well after midnight, she entered the darkened dorm room and saw that her roommate was already asleep on the top bunk, so she quickly and quietly undressed and climbed into the lower bunk and went to sleep herself -- never turning on the light so as not to wake her sleeping roommate. She went to sleep at once. The girl awoke early in the morning because something was dripping from the top bunk onto her face. As she sat up she realized the dripping liquid was blood. She frantically climbed out of bed and climbed up to check on her roommate, only to find that her roommate's throat had been slit so severely that her head had been virtually severed. She screamed and climbed down to run to the phone. As she did, she saw scrawled on the mirror in lipstick: "Aren't you glad you didn't turn on the light?"
Danny in Alexandria, Va.: Several years ago, my girlfriend and I were out at Lookout Point overlooking the lake. We were enjoying the beautiful night looking at the stars and listening to romantic music on the radio. All of a sudden a news flash came on over the radio warning people to be on the lookout for an escaped murderer who escaped from the local prison. The radio announcement went on to describe that the way the man killed his victims was by using the hook that he had for a hand.
My girlfriend got scared and wanted to go home immediately. I told her she was being unreasonable. I finally gave in and rolled the windows up and took off to her house to drop her off. On the way, I noticed that the passenger window would not go up all the way. When we got to her house, I walked around to the passenger side to open the door for her when I noticed the reason why the window would not go up all the way. There was a hook hanging there.
Delwin in Ponca City, Okla.: I have lived in Wisconsin and Oklahoma as an adult. In both states I have heard about Cry Baby Bridge where there is a bridge, normally it is dark or creepy, where you can hear a baby crying at night. The story is about how a mother and newborn were killed or the mother killed the baby and you can still hear it crying, hence the name. High School kids love these creepy stories especially near Halloween.
MC in Portland, Ore.: While at work a couple weeks ago, I had a vendor come in from a nationwide shipping company, a smart older man who warned me that “when I go to a certain suburb in my city, that I shouldn’t flash my lights at a passing car that doesn’t have its lights on because" this is where I interrupted him and said, “they will shoot at me, or turn around and follow me and shoot me for a gang initiation?" and he said, “Yes, it is very scary." I tried explaining to him that it was an urban legend, and when he didn’t know what that was I just told him, “never mind, I will try to remember that so I don’t get killed by some gang member in Gresham, Ore.” I didn’t think that the car lights legend was still around, and so old too. The town it happens in and the person’s name changes, but it always seems to have happened to someone the storyteller knows…
Now, every time I see a car with no lights on, I take my life into my own hands and flash my lights at them, just for the thrill of taking the risk of getting gunned down. Heck, if it happened, I could tell someone about it, and how it happened.
Chris A. writes: My favorite is the one where somebody sees an ad for a "1968 Chevrolet." When the person shows up to look at the car, it is a never-before-driven 1968 Corvette parked in a garage, tires flat and covered in dust but in pristine condition. Some old lady supposedly bought it for her son when he was in Vietnam, the son later gets killed in the war and she stores the car for 20 or 30 years, then decides to sell it for some unusually low price.
Paul M. writes: Your column today on URBAN LEGENDS remind me of one of my greatest grrrs. It is people who pass on Internet hoaxes and urban legends that aren’t true. These people receive the article from someone and then pass it on to everyone else in their address book. It only takes about five minutes to check out these articles on the Web and determine if they are true. A lot of times, these articles do great damage to innocent people and companies. When I receive one that is a true hoax I send a “reply to all” and inform them that if the sender would have taken the time to check it out they would have found the item to be a hoax.
Regina C. writes: Back in 1975, in the foothills of Los Gatos, Calif., we were horseback riding in the middle of the afternoon. All of a sudden the horses spooked. We could hear the noise of wind rushing through the trees, however, the trees were not moving. Not a single blade of grass of moving, not a leaf twitched. However, the horses started hopping around and we could hear the “wind." After about five minutes, it stopped just as suddenly as it started. We felt chilled all over, as if an evil presence had passed. I’ve never forgotten that day.
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