Author Archives: Jacob Treat

Meaning of a full moon to the Emergency Services

Informant Background:

This informant is a senior at USC in the Naval ROTC program. The daughter of a navy chaplain, she spent a lot of her life traveling. Despite having to move, she still claims she had a every enjoyable childhood and made many lifelong friends because of it. She can easily recount the many games and stories her and her friends would play.

 

Informant’s story:

“I’m not sure if this counts as folklore, but I have family who are cops and EMT’s and they all swear up and down that things are always busier on a full moon. My aunt’s an EMT and she actually has an alert on her phone to tell her when there’s a full moon.”

 

Analyses:

Through out history, the moon has been attributed to having a curious affect on humans. This can be turning them into a werewolf, or just being crazy. The word “lunatic”, meaning insane person, even stems from the latin word “luna” meaning moon. Though there is absolutely no evidence to support this idea, statistically it is true that hospitals and police stations become a hub of activity on moonlit nights. This could possibly be an evolutionary instinct bred into us before artificial light sources were created. When the moon was dim, early humans would be at an incredible disadvantage to any nocturnal predator. When the moon is out and in full intensity, early humans would be able to preform tasks at night and remain active through out it. This instinct could permeate through history to present day, allowing us to subconsciously notice the moon’s current phase and give us the suggestion to go out that night. Using statistics again, if more people are going out at one point in time, there is a higher chance for those people to get hurt, hurt others, party too hard, and other less than desirable actions. There is no evidence suggesting that lunar radiation has any affect on the human mind.

Candyman

Informant Background:

This informant is a sophomore at USC in the Naval ROTC program. Very soft spoken and polite, she grew up in Anaheim California. Considering herself a typical teenager through high school, she had a fondness for the urban legends that circulated throughout the school.

 

Informant’s story:

“Something my friends did in high school as almost an initiation type deal was the ‘candyman game’. It’s a lot like that ‘bloody Mary’ thing except at my school it was the candyman. What we did is we’d take turns going into the bathroom alone with a flashlight, look in the mirror, and say ‘candyman’ 3 times. If you did it right, you were supposed to see a blood covered black guys with a hook for a hand standing behind you. I don’t know why he was black though. I think they made a movie about it and he was black so we just picked up on it. I don’t know. Anyways, we would scare the heck out of each other. Either the people would bang on the door scaring the person on the inside, or the person on the inside would scream scaring the people on the outside. It was actually really fun. obviously nothing happened to us, but on a couple occasions one of us would freak out, saying they saw something behind them. It never happened to me though.”

 

Analyses:

The story of the candyman’s origin has a variety of stories with the common theme of him being slave in the 1800s who had sex with a plantation owners daughter and was viciously murdered because of it. The variations come with the nature of his relationship with the plantations daughter and the way in which he was killed. In regard to he and the woman’s relationship, some stories suggest they were in love, and others suggest she was raped. As to his death, the stories generally involve some form of animal, mainly death by killer bees or by vicious dogs. The most widely accepted origin is about a man by the name of Daniel Robitaille, a slave who was told to paint the daughter of his plantation owner. Because of their time together, Daniel began to fall in love with the woman. When her father found out, he sent a mob to track him down and kill him. His death involved getting his hands cut off and was covered in honey to be stung to death by killer bees. His last words were a curse on the men that killed him and that he would come back to have his revenge. This tale is interesting as the subject is a very serious historical topic about the abuse of slaves, yet its played by middle to high school girls. It is unclear how the myth began to involve the mirror or how he got the name “candyman,” though this could be attributed to him being covered in honey. Though candyman is a timeless legend, it gained popularity in 1992 when the movie “Candyman” came out, thus regenerating the story.

Lost Kidney

Informant Background:

This informant is a sophomore at USC in the Naval ROTC program. Very soft spoken and polite, she grew up in Anaheim California. Considering herself a typical teenager through highschool, she had a fondness for the urban legends that circulated throughout the school.

 

Informant’s Story:

“There’s an urban legend I first heard about in high school, but it’s pretty popular. It’s about a guy who’s out at a club or bar or something and he meets this really pretty girl. She buys him drinks and gets him really drunk. What he doesn’t know is that she actually drugged him. They both go back to a cheap motel where he blacks out. When he wakes up, he’s sitting in a tub full of ice and a huge pain in his side. He reaches down and feels stitches. That’s when he realizes that the lady took his kidney.”

Analyses:

The drunken kidney theft is a classic cautionary tail of the use of caution when going out drinking and how a beauty can be used as a tool. The man is so blinded by the fact that this beautiful woman is talking to him, he doesn’t realize her ulterior motives or her spiking his drink. It’s also important to note the violations of western social norms in this story. Generally it is common for a man to buy a girl a drink as a gesture suggesting that he finds her attractive. This act generally scarcley happens the otherway around, in which a beautiful woman buys a man a drink (not to say it doesnt happen). It is also important to note that it is never a man tricking a woman to get her kidney, but always a woman. This legend works to aid the misogynistic idea that women will use their beauty to trick men into giving up something valuable, the kidney possibly being a symbol for wealth. While this idea is technically true, the same can be said for male beauty used to manipulate woman as well. Another thing to note that’s not so important that it is interesting, is that the organ is a kidney, and never any other organ. Though the legend is older than the 90’s, in 1997 a chain letter was spread using the premise of the urban legend, propelling it even further. This legend has been used in many different movies, videos, and tv shows, such as family guy or the popular Youtube video “Charlie the Magical Unicorn.” There have been no reports of  the events in this urban legend ever actually happening.

 

1997 Chain letter:

 

“Dear Friends:
I wish to warn you about a new crime ring that is targeting business travelers. This ring is well organized, well funded, has very skilled personnel, and is currently in most major cities and recently very active in New Orleans. The crime begins when a business traveler goes to a lounge for a drink at the end of the work day. A person in the bar walks up as they sit alone and offers to buy them a drink. The last thing the traveler remembers until they wake up in a hotel room bath tub, their body submerged to their neck in ice, is sipping that drink. There is a note taped to the wall instructing them not to move and to call 911. A phone is on a small table next to the bathtub for them to call. The business traveler calls 911 who have become quite familiar with this crime. The business traveler is instructed by the 911 operator to very slowly and carefully reach behind them and feel if there is a tube protruding from their lower back. The business traveler finds the tube and answers, “Yes.” The 911 operator tells them to remain still, having already sent paramedics to help. The operator knows that both of the business traveler’s kidneys have been harvested. This is not a scam or out of a science fiction novel, it is real. It is documented and confirmable. If you travel or someone close to you travels, please be careful.

Regards
Jerry Mayfield
Austin Ops Engineering Manager
Telephone: 512-433-6855
Pager: 512-613-3710

From: Patty Radford@Desktop@PCPD Hou, on 12/16/96 10:33 AM:

Yes, this does happen. My sister-in-law works with a lady that this happened to her son’s neighbor who lives in Houston. The only “good” thing to his whole story is the fact that the people doing this horrible crime are very in tune to what complications can happen afterwards because of the details precautions they take the time to set up before leaving the room. The word from my sister-in-law is that the hospital in Las Vegas (yes, Vegas) prior to transferring him back to Houston stated that these people know exactly what they are doing. The incision, etc. was exact and clean. They use sterile equipment etc. and the hospital stated that other than the fact that the victim looses a kidney there has not been any reports of other complications due to non-sterile, etc. tactics that were used.

Please be careful.

From: Kathy White@OS Dev@Sys Hou, on 12/13/96 3:25 PM:

Sadly, this is very true. My husband is a Houston Firefighter/EMT and they have received alerts regarding this crime ring. It is to be taken very seriously. The daughter of a friend of a fellow firefighter had this happen to her. Skilled doctor’s are performing these crimes! (which, by the way have been highly noted in the Las Vegas area). Additionally, the military has received alerts regarding this.”

 

computer art

Informant Background:

This informant is a sophomore at USC in the Naval ROTC program. Very soft spoken and polite, she grew up in Anaheim California. Considering herself a typical teenager through highschool, she had a fondness for the urban legends that circulated throughout the school.

 

Informant’s story:

“Well, something popular today that I’m pretty sure everyone knows about are the little faces you can make using the symbols on a key board. There’s like, the normal smiley face with the colon and parenthesis, the surprised face with the colon and capital ‘O’, and a bunch of others. They can be really simple like those or more complex lie [explanation how to make the following face] (^_^). I’ve seen some really complex ones though. Like, full dinosaurs and stuff. I don’t know who has the time and patience to make them, but I just copy and paste them into my Facebook and chat and stuff.”

 

Analyses:

What the Informant is what is known as “ASCII art”. “ASCII” which stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. It is essentially source code that changes numbers into other symbols that aren’t numbers, as computers can only accept numbers. These symbols include the entire alphabet, every grammatical symbol, and any other symbol you can put into a text box. There are a total of 128 of these symbols. “ASCII art” is the ability to take these symbols in order to create some form of design. As the informant noted, these designs can be as simple as the classic :), to as complicated as designs spanning several lines, consisting of hundreds of characters. These designs are used primarily as reactions, meaning the design is posted in response to something else that was posted. With ASCII art becoming so common, many separate programs have been designed to recognize these series of symbols to actually create the picture in which the symbols are supposed to represent. These cartoons that replace the symbols are known as “emojis” and are common among such programs as Facebook, imessage, and Kik.

 

Examples of ASCII art:

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

……(\_/)
……( ‘_’)
…./””””””””””””\======░
/”””””””””””””””””””\
\_@_@_@_@_@_/

 

……………………………………..________
………………………………,.-‘”……………….“~.,
………………………..,.-”……………………………..“-.,
…………………….,/………………………………………..”:,
…………………,?………………………………………………\,
………………./…………………………………………………..,}
……………../………………………………………………,:`^`..}
……………/……………………………………………,:”………/
…………..?…..__…………………………………..:`………../
…………./__.(…..“~-,_…………………………,:`………./
………../(_….”~,_……..“~,_………………..,:`…….._/
……….{.._$;_……”=,_…….“-,_…….,.-~-,},.~”;/….}
………..((…..*~_…….”=-._……“;,,./`…./”…………../
…,,,___.\`~,……“~.,………………..`…..}…………../
…………(….`=-,,…….`……………………(……;_,,-”
…………/.`~,……`-………………………….\……/\
………….\`~.*-,……………………………….|,./…..\,__
,,_……….}.>-._\……………………………..|…………..`=~-,
…..`=~-,_\_……`\,……………………………\
……………….`=~-,,.\,………………………….\
…………………………..`:,,………………………`\…………..__
……………………………….`=-,……………….,%`>–==“
…………………………………._\……….._,-%…….`\
……………………………..,<`.._|_,-&“…………….`\

 

 

 

……………………………………….. ………………………_,-~”¯¯”~-,
………………………………………….. …………….__„-~”¯¯:::,-~~-,_::::”-
………………………………………….. ……….„~”¯::::::::::::::”::::::::::::::::::::::\
………………………………………….. .__„„„-“::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::”~-,
……………………………………__-~”::,-‘:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ::::~-,
………………………_______~”___-~”::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ::: :: :::::::::::”-,
………………….,~”::::::::::::::¯¯::::::::: ::::::::::::::::::::::::: :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::,: |
………………..:/:::::::::::::::::__-~”:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::_,-~”:’\’-,:\:|:\|::\|\::\:|
……………….,’::::::::,-~~”~”_::’,::|::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: :: :::,~ ‘:\’-,::’,”-\::”:”::::::::\|:|/
……………_,-‘”~—-“:::/,~”¯”-:|::|::|:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::,~”::\’-,:\;;’-‘;;;;;;;;;;;,-‘::\::|/
…………,-‘::::::::::::::::’-\~”O¯_/::,’::|:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::,-‘,::\’-,:|::”;;;;;;;;;;;;,-‘:\:’-,::\
…………|:::::::::::::::::-,_’~’::::,-‘::,’:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::,-‘:\’-,:\’-,’;;’;;;;;;;;;;;;;,-‘:\:::’\-,|”
…………|::,-~”::::::::::::::”~~”:::,-‘::::::::::::::::::::::::_,-~’:\’-,|:”‘”;;;;;;;;;;;;;;,-‘¯::’-,:’,\|
………../::/::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::_,„-~”¯\:\’-,|;”-‘;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;,-‘–,::\-:\:\|
………/::::|:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::,-‘;;’-‘;;;;’,/;\/;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;,-,|:::\-,:|\|..\|
……./:::::::\:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::,-‘;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;,-~”'(“-,\:::|\:|::”
……,’:::::::,’::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: :,-‘/;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;,–‘::::::/”~’
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..,’::::::::::::”,:,-~”¯::::::::”-,::::::::::|:::/;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;,’:::::::|::::,’
./:::::::::::::::|:::::::::::::::::::”-,:::::::\:::|¯¯¯”””~-,~,_/::::::::,’:::/
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::”~-,_::|::\: : : : : : |: : \::::::::/:/
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::”,:::::::::::::”-‘:::\: : : : : : |: : :\::::::\
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::”,:::::::::::::: ::::\: : : : : : \: : : |:::::;;\
::::::::::::::::::”-,:::::::::::::::”,:::::::::::::::/|\ ,: : : : : : : |::::,’/|::::|
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::::::::::::::::::::::::”~-,_::::::::::::::”~-,_:::”-,/|/\::::::::::: \::: \”-/|::|
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::”~-,__:::::::::::’,”-,:::”_|/\:|\: : : : \::\”:/|\|
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::”~-,_:::::\:::\:::”~/_:|:|\: : : ‘-,\::”::,’\
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::”-,_:’-,::\:::::::”-,|:||\,-, : ‘-,\:::|-‘-„
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ::,-,'”-:”~,:::::”/_/::|-/\–‘;;\:::/: ||\-,
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: :/…’-,::::::”~„::::”-,/_:|:/\:/|/|/|_/:|
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: |……”-,::::::::”~-:::::””~~~”¯:::|
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: |………”-,_::::::::::::::::::::::::::::/
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::\ …………..”~–„_____„„-~~”

Feet Up!

Informant Background:

This informant is a sophomore at USC in the Naval ROTC program. Very soft spoken and polite, she grew up in Anaheim California. Considering herself a typical teenager through highschool, she had a fondness for the urban legends that circulated throughout the school.

 

Informant’s Story:

“When I was little and I was in the car with my mom, when we were about to go over train tracks my mom would say, ‘feet up’ and we all would put our feet up until we were across the tracks. Apparently if we left our feet down it was considered bad luck.”

 

Analyses:

This story is most likely related to the fact that railroad tracks are electrified, particularly the third rail. If one were to step on this rail they would be electrocuted and so the idea came to pass to avoid electrocution by raising your feet so you don’t touch it, or to possible keep you from grounding yourself. Other variations include doing the same action, but instead making a wish, or lifting your feet when crossing a bridge, instead of or in addition to railroad tracks.