(aka the Urban Legends
Reference Page) is very nearly the definitive website for busting urban legends and chain emails. They really have Shown Their Work
, and while some things simply don't answer to proof or disproof, it's possible to demonstrate that some claims couldn't possibly be true.
So when someone sends you some stupid email, or posts on Facebook
saying "Bubble Yum is made of spider eggs
!" point them to the right place to figure out that no, it isn't. Or that "Amanda Bundy
needs your prayers!" (she recovered years ago). Or, what about Craig Shergold
? You know, the boy who was collecting greeting cards years ago? Well....Snopes checked, and Mr. Shergold made a full recovery, is now a healthy young man and — having collected upwards of 33 million
greeting cards — respectfully requests that people stop sending them.
- Adult Fear: The "Parental Nightmares" section.
- Blatant Lies: Reading this site is a fast way to learn never, ever to trust a forwarded email. Many of the hoaxes documented have never had even a grain of truth at their hearts. Even the ones marked "true" are relative, as every single accompanying email has at least some lying and embellishment.
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: A Real Life example here, which shows a letter informing students of the Adlai E. Stevenson High school that they can donate money to the school in exchange for being pardoned for tardiness or bad grades. Thankfully, it's fake.
- Chain Letter: The emails recorded on the site generally ask people to forward it to everyone they know. They don't specify a quota or threaten bad luck, but still push the urgency.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Some of the chain emails that they investigate are conspiracy theories. Among other things, they have examined and debunked the "Clinton body count" list, theories about Barack Obama's birthplace, and various 9/11 theories.
- Of course, don't tell such theorists to check Snopes - they're obviously part of the conspiracy (regardless of what said conspiracy is).
- Easy Road to Hell: A common urban legend about a paper made on whether hell is endothermic or exothermic states that hell must be really hot and getting worse because everyone has been cursed to go to hell by at least someone else in the world... and because he's not yet slept with a woman who said it'll be a cold day in Hell when she does.
- Eskimos Aren't Real: The famed Taco Bell $2 Bill story.
- Fun with Acronyms: The Repository of Lost Legends.
- Glurge: A whole section on it, in-universe (and they are the Trope Namer).
- Poe's Law: Many of the rumors cited are ostensibly news articles but are actually from parody or satirical "news" sources. The Onion, The Daily Currant, and Weekly World News are common offenders.
- Politically Motivated Teacher: Quite a few Urban Legends archived and discussed here have such teachers, typically involving them teaching a lesson to their students or getting into a fracas with a student of a different political alignment. A few examples (of varying degrees of truth) include a professor giving his students a hands-on lesson about socialism, a teacher having veterans come into her class to impart patriotism to her students, and a Hollywood Atheist professor attempting to disprove the existence of God...by dropping a piece of chalk.
- Schmuck Bait: The Repository of Lost Legends (T. R. O. L. L.), which purports to be just as true as the rest of the site. It isn't, and is designed to remind people that even seemingly authoritative sources, themselves included, can sometimes be fallible or inaccurate. Humorously, a TV series on urban legends fell for one of the joke entries.
- Yahoo!'s "Who Knew?" feature totally fell for the joke entry about how California's flag supposedly was meant to have a pear on it instead of a bear.
- Shown Their Work: Considering it's driven almost entirely by two people, those two people always make sure to cite their sources when proving or debunking an urban legend.
- Understatement: "Borneo is a fair distance from Palm Beach."
- Your Costume Needs Work: Charlie Chaplin lost a Chaplin look-alike contest. This one's actually marked as true.