Tag Archives: kidney

Kidney Urban Legend

The informant is a male in his 50s. He was born to two Greek parents in New York. He was brought up in the Greek Orthodox Church. He lived in the Bronx for most of his youth before moving to the suburbs in Connecticut. He has worked as a journalist for most of his life, a job in which he spent a good deal of time in the Middle East as a foreign correspondent. He now lives in Southern California as a software developer. He is divorced with three children.

The informant heard this story while working a journalist. Other journalists he worked with would tell it to him, all claiming that the story was completely true, that it happened to their own cousin or another person just one step removed from the teller. The first time he heard it, he believed that it might be true. It intrigued him because if it was true, it would make a very good story for a newspaper or magazine. Although he first thought there might be some veracity to the story, in the journalism business the informant has learned to always be very skeptical of any story presented as “happening to a guy I know” or any such construct. He considers the story to be apocryphal, similar to UFO stories, in as much as it is impossible to confirm, especially for the standards needed in journalism. The informant has had this story retold to him many times by journalists he encounters, each time with some variation in the details, but very rarely, if ever, tells the story himself to other people. He has also heard it told where the man in the story wakes up in an ice filled bath or on a beach.

Text: A guy on vacation wakes up on a park bench in a different country. He wakes up and is in tremendous pain. When he gets a chance to look in the mirror, he finds that there is a gigantic scar on his back. He has no memory of what that might be. And he goes to a doctor and it turns out that one of his kidneys has been removed. He has been kidnapped and his organ removed and sold.

Analysis: This urban legend was told to the informant by his fellow journalists on multiple occasions. This legend probably appeals to that profession for two reasons. Firstly, as the informant indicates, such a story is plausible and would make a very good story. His initial interest in the story was to see if it would be possible to prove and be generated into a journalistic investigation. The second reason this legend was probably so popular among journalists, especially international correspondents, is that, for people who constantly travel around the world by themselves this story might resonate the underlying fears that accompany constant movement in strange locations. In the legend a man is abducted while on vacation and removed to a different country. At least in this version, the victim and crime are connected to travel. International correspondents would of course be comfortable with travel, but they would also be aware of the dangers of constantly moving about alone.