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True or False?

Snopes.com analyzes those pesky urban legends so you don't have to

By Jessica Lyons

PLEASE STOP emailing me netlore. Don't send me cautionary tales about opening a virus-laden sponge in my mailbox or buying asbestos-laced tampons. I may have believed in Santa until the sixth grade, but I'm no dummy. I know that I'm not going to earn a lifetime supply of Gap jeans or save a child dying of leukemia by forwarding an email.

Fortunately, www.snopes.com is here to clear up the confusion. The San Fernando Valley Folklore Society's Urban Legends Reference Pages valiantly separates the netlore wheat from the chaff. Bill Gates doesn't want to send you scads of cash for forwarding an email; roach eggs have yet to hatch on anybody's tongue; and your kidneys are safe from the black market--even in New Orleans.

A handy color-coding system labels hundreds of urban legends as true, false or undetermined. The legends are even separated into categories for easy reference: what's new, what's currently circulating, toxin du jour, sex tales and more. Guess what? The vast majority of the stories are false. Sure there are a couple true tales; for example, a film about serial killers Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka is in the works. But it's not going to do any good to add your name to the email and forward your protest to everyone you know.

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From the March 7-14, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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