Ever since the first email accounts were created, there have been at least a few of them filling up the others’ in-boxes with bogus messages of one kind or another. Of the various types of spam that have circulated the worldwide web these many years, the urban legend has been the most enduring. Today we look at some of the classics; those whose titillatingly elaborate blends of believability, conspiratorial splendor, and downright outlandishness have suckered in about 9 out of every 10 AOL users who ever logged onto the ‘net. We give you, the 10 best urban legends ever in our email:
- The Elevens of 9/11 – During a time of exceedingly high emotions and a search for answers, this urban legend’s combination of numerical oddities and coincidences struck a chord with many. Of course, it was all just an attempt to create some pattern out of a chaotic event. Though we do admit to being somewhat weirded out by the Wingdings bit ourselves, the Q33 part was also proven to be untrue.
- Don’t Flash Those High-Beams! – As a supposed form of gang initiation, street thugs are reported to be driving the streets at night, with their headlights off in search of hapless prey. Their victims? Anyone foolhardy enough to flash their headlights.
- Facebook Cartoon Characters – An instant classic in that it morphed into two separate mutations, sending many recipients scrambling in opposite directions. At first it was an attempt to stop child abuse; then it was “discovered” that the whole idea was started by a group of pedophiles looking for a way to surreptitiously friend minors. Nonsense all around.
- It Takes Guts to Say Jesus – A warning sent out to unwary souls who would open a message with this subject line: that this is in fact a computer virus. This hoax has some legs, it’s been around for well over a decade.
- Cash Reward for Forwarding Email – According to this urban legend, recipients of this email will earn cash awards from Microsoft or AOL for each person they forward it to, and each person who then passes it further along. Typically accompanied by a note from a lawyer and relative of the originator with check in hand, complete with their contact info.
- Kidney Thieves – So renown is this story since its introduction that it’s been incorporated into movie plots. You know the one: an unsuspecting house guest wakes up in a tubful of ice, only to discover (gasp!) …
- Nigerian Scam – AKA the “Advance Fee” or “419” scam (for the section in the Nigerian penal code dealing with fraud), in some form or another it’s been around for decades. An email from a Nigerian official (or royal family member) requests that you assist them in releasing a huge sum of money. You must remit a fee to cover a transfer fee, tax or some other fee in order to get things rolling.
- The Devil and Proctor & Gamble – We remember this particular fable from as far back as 1969. According to legend, the CEO of Proctor & Gamble, during an interview on a TV talk show (Donahue, Sally Jesse Raphael, Dick Cavett, take your pick) declared that portions of the company’s profits went to the Church of Satan. When asked if he was concerned that this revelation would hurt his business, her replied that there aren’t enough Christians in the United States to make a difference.
- Spam ‘Til it Hurts – The names of the benefactors and their beneficiaries have varied over they years, but the premise is essentially the same: A billionaire or corporation vows to donate money for every forward of this e-mail, in order to save, or grant the dying wish of, a child.
- It Slices, It Dices … – Emails touting long lists of unusual uses for household products are some of our favorites. Some of the suggestions are downright comical, but enduring, legends.
In the case of WD-40, there are dozens of all-purpose functions for which this miracle product is uniquely suited to do: remove scuff marks, cleans bugs off bumpers, repels pigeons. The email goes on to say that the product was created at the former San Diego Rocket Chemical Company, and was so-named because it was the 40th attempt at a Water Displacement formula.
In this case, however, that’s all true.Taken From DSL Service Providers