Author Archives: Mistoura Bello

Urban Legend – United States

Bottled water in your car…..very dangerous, woman!!!!
This is how Sheryl Crow got breast cancer. She was on the Ellen show and
said this same exact thing. This has been identified as the most common
cause of the high levels in breast cancer, especially in Australia.

A friend whose mother was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The Doctor
told her: women should not drink bottled water that has been left in a car.

The doctor said that the heat and the plastic of the bottle have certain
chemicals that can lead to breast cancer. So please be careful and do not
drink bottled water that has been left in a car, and, pass this on to all
the women in your life. This information is the kind we need to know and be
aware and just might save us!!!! The heat causes toxins from the plastic to
leak into the water and they have found these toxins in breast tissue. Use
a stainless steel Canteen or a glass bottle when you can!!!

Let every one that has a wife/girlfriend and daughter know please.

Karen sent this message to me via email.  It was forwarded to her on the social networking site Myspace by several of her friends.  The message was titled “Warn all Women” and people who got it were asked to send it to every woman in their lives to protect them from possibly getting cancer.

The urban legend reference site has a few variations of the email on their website.  It has apparently become so widely circulated that it landed in the “Hottest 25 Legends” on the website.  The site contends that after all their research; they have come to the conclusion that the legend is false.  One version of the legend states that reusing water bottles will cause one to ingest carcinogenic compounds that seep into water.  Another states that the bottle releases these chemicals specifically when it is left in a car.  Some of the versions claim that a celebrity is responsible for the sudden public knowledge of the subject, while others claim that someone closely related to the individual visited a doctor who imparted the information upon them.  All of the versions that I read specify that the cancer in question is breast cancer.  One version went so far as to name the specific carcinogen, diethylhydroxylamine, which is produced.  A Google search of this chemical confirms that it is used in plastics, but there was no mention of carcinogenic properties.  It is also not the chemical used in the plastic from which water bottles are made.  That chemical is diethylhexyl adipate, which has been proven not to be carcinogenic in humans.

Annotation: “Bottle Royal.” Snopes. 25 June 2007. 15 Feb. 2008

Urban Legend – United States

Sad Wal-Mart Story

A sister and her brother were inside a new Wal-Mart. The sister at eight years of age and the brother seventeen years of age. The brother was wanting to buy a present for his little sister because her birthday was coming up. As they were about to leave, she had to go to the bathroom. Her brother showed her where the restrooms were and he began looking at earrings he thought she might like for her birthday. As he started o buy the earrings, he saw people running from the end of the store screaming and yelling with fear. In the next moment he smelled smoke and saw flames. He ran to his little sister as fast as he could but when he got to the bathrooms the fire was already blazing. He knew he had  to make sure help was coming. When the fire trucks arrived it was already too late. They assured the family that there were no survivors. Two days later the family got a call from the hospital. They told them that they had someone there by the name of Sandy. They asked, ‘How did you get this number?’ The hospital replied that the little girl had a purse clutched in her little hand with a card that gave her name and number on it. The family drove to the hospital to see their little angel. While they thanked God for her survival, they noticed her arms were burnt so severely they were both amputated and her face was burned and she needed surgery. The family didn’t have any health insurance and very little money to cover the bill. This family needs our HELP!
NOTE:Every time someone reposts this story, YAHOO will take $2.00 off the hospital bill. DO
Wal-Mart Story’. God knows who you are. Karma knows it could happen to you!

I actually received this message several times.  Janee forwarded this message to me on the social networking site Facebook.  She had received it from a friend.  The message follows the format of many similar email forwards claiming to tell the story of lost, injured, or otherwise impaired persons who will receive money for each time a message is forwarded.  All of these messages are false for several reasons. First of all, there is no way that these companies can track these emails or forwards because they do not have the technology to do so.  AOL also states on its restrictions/limitations page that it does not give money to individuals.

This specific email can also be found on the Snopes website, but it is still forwarded often by people meaning to be good Samaritans.  The money donated in the message has been attributed to AOL, Myspace, and in later versions to Facebook. It has apparently been circulating as far back as August of 2003.
Annotation: Mikkelson, Barbara. “Wal-Mart Fire.” Snopes. 17 Aug. 2007. 17 Feb. 2008


Superstition – Nigerian

“A woman cooking Moi-Moi on her period must twist a piece of foil into a line, knot it, and drop it into the boiling pot of water, or the dish will stick to the bottom of the pan, and the food will not be edible because it will not set.”

Moi- Moi is a Nigerian dish made from mashed black eyed peas, corned beef, onions, tomatoes, and peppers.  The ingredients are combined and rolled into foil.  This is then placed in a pot of boiling water for about an hour.  When the mixture is done cooking, it is removed from the pot and left to cool and set.  Afterward, it is cut into patties and served.

As a child, I often cooked this dish and several others with my mother.  Not long after I began menses, I was making the dish with my mother and she asked if I was menstruating.  When I replied that I was, she told me that I was to take a piece of foil and roll it into a wire.  I was to then twist it into a knot and drop it into the pot.  When I asked her why we did it, she could not give me an answer about its origin.  She told me that she learned it as a young child in Lagos, Nigeria from her maternal grandmother.  I later witnessed several of my aunts and my grandmother do the same thing when preparing the dish for a large family gathering.  I have not witnessed anyone perform this ritual when making any other dish.

After researching many superstitions involving menstruating women, I found several that relate to cooking.  These include:

– Fruits canned by a menstruating woman will spoil in the can

–  mayonnaise made by a menstruating woman will curdle

-Wine made in the presence of a menstruating woman will turn to vinegar

– Bread made by a menstruating woman will not rise

-Butter churned, or jelly/jam made, by a menstruating woman will not set

I personally believe that these superstitions derive from misunderstandings and curiosity about menstruation.  Many societies feel that blood is an impure substance, and the fact that most often when blood is pouring from an individual it means that an injury has occurred or death is soon to follow makes the process of menstruation unnerving.  This is probably why it was thought that unless some sort of ritual was performed to prevent it, a menstruating woman touching an item could contaminate or ruin it.

Annotation: Mikkelson, Barbara. “Monthly Taboos.” Snopes. 14 June 2005. 21 Apr. 2008 <>.

Superstition – Nigerian

“The menstrual blood of a woman put into a man’s food can cause him to fall in love with the woman who the blood belongs to.”

As the first born female child of Nigerian parents, I was often responsible for several household chores.  One of these chores was cooking dinner for the family when both of my parents were at work.  On one particular occasion, I told my mother that I was going to hire a chef when I was an adult so that I would not have to cook.  My mother looked at me very seriously and told me that it was necessary for me to learn to cook.  She told me that I should never hire a cook or maid because she might try to steal my husband.  She gave several means by which this might occur, but the story that stuck with me was of a woman who she knew who claimed that the reason her husband had divorced her was because the maid was putting blood in his food.  He was indeed married to his former maid, but I can’t really decide what to attribute that to.

In the realm of folk belief, blood is often linked to passion, strength, death, life, and courage.  Many cultures believe that blood (particularly menstrual blood) has curative properties, and many more believe that a woman’s menstrual blood holds the power to captivate a lover.  It has been said that a man who ingests the menstrual blood of a woman is bound to her forever.  It is considered the most potent substance for love potions.

These beliefs are still regarded as true by certain groups around the world.  Growing up in a Muslim family in a large city in Nigeria, my mother would probably never have been exposed to these ideas had it not been for the village children who attended boarding school in the city.  She learned this superstition from her peers as a youth.  Many who use menstrual blood in spells claim that the use of menstrual blood in rituals was very common before the fear of blood borne diseases arose.  They contend that one can surmise this from the root of the word ritual, because it is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning menses.  Other scholars argue that rtu simply refers to any regular order in nature.

Buckley, Thomas, and Alma Gottlieb. Blood Magic. CA: University of California P, 1988.

Sternbach, Ludwik  Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 98, No. 2 (Apr. – Jun., 1978), pp. 195-198  <>

Religious Superstition

“Jinn reside in restrooms and one must keep the bathroom door closed to prevent them from entering the home.  One should also recite [“Oh God! I seek refuge with You from male and female devils”] when entering the restroom.”

[Allaahumma innee a`oodhu bika minal-khubuthi wal-khabaa’ith]

Afeez heard this superstition from his mother.  As a child he was frequently chided for leaving the bathroom door open.  He does not know whom his mother originally heard this superstition from, but he noted that he also heard it from a former ethics teacher when he went to a Muslim school.  She told him that the shaiyateen (Jinn who harm humans) live in the bathrooms of homes.

This very likely derived from the times when restrooms were simply holes in the ground.  There is a Hadith (a saying which Sunni Muslims attribute to the Prophet Mohammed) which states that one should not urinate in a hole because it is the residence of the jinn.  When modern toilets and restroom facilities were created, it is likely that the superstition followed from the former belief.

The wider belief in jinn as spirits that antagonize humans is an old Middle Eastern belief.  Many words, such as genie, derive from this and are used to describe spirits that can usually not be seen by humans yet can have an effect on outcomes for humans.  The Jinn are purportedly created from smokeless fire and have the ability to conceal both their physical form and truths from humans.  This gives them a great advantage which they use to create mischief amongst humans.

There are several classes of jinn, and they are responsible for various acts of evil amongst humans; however, jinn are said to lead lives similar to humans.  They are said to marry, have families, die, follow religions, and have free will.  The class of jinn that would reside in bathrooms is among the most abundant and longest lived.  Shaiyateen are said to dwell in deserted, dirty places, some of them are said to have been alive as far back as the seventh century.