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.”


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.

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.”