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Our Favorite Urban Legends Debunked

Halloween scare

Someone ruined the fun for all of us, spreading this cautionary tale about razor blades turning up in apples, candy and other treats given out at Halloween. Intense parental candy-scanning ensued, though actual occurrences of booby-trapped goodies were extremely rare. Most of the fear-mongering developed because of the 1982 Tylenol-tampering scare.

Colorful pool

boy in swimming pool.

boy in swimming pool. (Image credit: Dreamstime.)

Pool owners, or parents, or just mean older boys could notice the doings of rule-breakers if they so chose, according to a widespread legend. Chemicals that turn pool water red at the hint of urine are an embarrassing prospect but, thankfully for some, they just don't exist.

Chicken-tumor sandwich

People can tell if someone is likely to cheat by the sound of their voice

People can tell if someone is likely to cheat by the sound of their voice (Image credit: Dreamstime)

Possibly the most gag-inducing legend out there, the tumor-in-the-chicken-sandwich story involves a woman who discovers that the mayo in her lunch isn't mayo, after all. It is a growth belonging to the chicken, rather, that has exploded in her mouth. The fact that most fast food chicken is so hyper-processed is a good thing, for once, and makes renders tale, well, incredible.

Coffee surprise

She's holding a warm cup o' Joe, so now's the time to approach for a favor, at least according to new research suggesting when we hold warm objects we are more generous.

She's holding a warm cup o' Joe, so now's the time to approach for a favor, at least according to new research suggesting when we hold warm objects we are more generous. (Image credit: Dreamstime.com.)

Canada's iconic coffee and donut shops keep customers coming back with their fresh-brewed goodness. Or is it something else? According to this tale, American visitors who either got hooked or had reactions after drinking this famous coffee blamed the outlet for lacing its recipe with nicotine. The story was so widespread that the company had to issue a press release denying the coffee contains anything addictive (besides, um, coffee). It's their story and we're sticking with it.

Arachnid explosion

A female redback spider (the large one) has just killed her male suitor after one session of sex, as the male didn't meet her courtship demands.

A female redback spider (the large one) has just killed her male suitor after one session of sex, as the male didn't meet her courtship demands. (Image credit: Ken Jones.)

This freaky sci-fi legend has a family returning from holiday with a souvenir cactus. After a while in its new home, the thing begins to pulse or hum before finally exploding with thousands of tiny baby spiders. Creepy, for sure, but scientists say spiders rarely burrow into plants, let alone lay their eggs there. Darn, and you were already contemplating which coworker to give a cactus too.