10 Weird Urban Legends from Around the World
6 A daughter leaves her ailing mother in a hotel room to pick up a prescription across town. When she returns, both the mother and their hotel room is missing without a trace, and the hotel staff refuses to recognize both her and her mother. It is later revealed that the mother was dying of plague. So, the staff got disposed of her body and refurnished the room to avoid any negative impact on the hotel’s image.
On November 14, 1897, The Philadelphia Inquirer published the story of the vanishing lady entitled “A Mystery of the Paris Exposition” by Nancy Vincent McClelland.
It was later featured in novels and movies such as So Long at the Fair and The Midnight Warning. These adaptations contributed to the popularity of this very strange urban legend that goes as follows;
During the international Paris exposition, an ailing woman had gone missing from her hotel room. When her daughter returned from a trip across town to get a prescription, she was unable to locate her mother. Even the hotel room where she had left her mother was “missing,” and the staff denied seeing both the mother and the daughter before.
However, it is later found out that the woman was killed and disposed of by the staff as she was dying from plague and the hotel was afraid that this could impact its image and business. (1, 2)
7 The position of hoofs of an equestrian horse statue symbolizes his fate in battle. If the horse has both front legs up in the air, the rider died in battle. If he was wounded, the horse has one front leg up. The rider died outside of battle if the horse is standing on all fours. Also, if the rider is dismounted and standing next to his horse, both were killed in battle.
Equestrian statutes are portraits of rulers or military commanders mounted on a horse. The oldest such statue in the West dates back to the ancient Greeks of the sixth century BCE.
The urban legend surrounding such statues goes like this:
If the horse is rearing, the rider died in battle. One front leg up indicates that the rider was wounded in battle. If the rider died outside of battle, the horse is standing on all four legs. Also, if the rider is dismounted and standing next to his horse, both were killed in battle.
Though there are examples where the hoof symbolism holds true, there are also examples of it not being true, like in the case of the 1998 statue of James Longstreet in Gettysburg National Military Park. The horse has one foot raised, but it is known that Longstreet was not wounded in battle.
Instances, where the fate of the rider does correlate with the hoof position of the horse should be taken as a coincidence as there are many instances where this symbolism simply does not fit. (1, 2)
8 Takako Konishi froze to death in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota after traveling from Japan to Fargo in North Dakota in search of the buried cash hidden by the character Carl Showalter in the 1996 Cohen brother’s film Fargo.
Konishi had arrived in Minneapolis in November 2001 and had traveled to Bismarck and Fargo in North Dakota. She then finally moved to Detroit Lakes in Minnesota where her body was discovered in a field on November 15, 2001.
The Fargo legend arose as a result of the language barrier. When traveling in North Dakota, she had spoken to Jesse Hellman, a police officer in Bismarck, asking her way to the city of Fargo. She could not speak English and he could not understand Japanese. A misunderstanding caused the officer to assume she was in search of the hidden treasure in the movie Fargo.
The story was misreported even by the media, and the treasure-hunt theory became popular.
But in reality, Konishi was depressed and committed suicide by lying in the snow after drinking two bottles of champagne. She had even sent a suicide note to her parents and disposed of most of her belongings. (1, 2)
9 The bite out of the Apple, Inc. logo alludes to the cyanide-laced apple that mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing ate to kill himself.
In 1954, Alan Turing died after eating an apple that was laced with cyanide. Whether it was a suicide or an accident is still a matter of contention, but the half-eaten apple found by his bedside, and the Apple, Inc. logo has sparked many imaginations.
The founders of Apple have honored the man’s contribution to coding and computers by taking a bite out of their Apple logo.
As nice and inspiring as the story may sound, it is simply not true. The story is denied by Rob Janoff himself, the creator of the famous logo. He doused all speculations by revealing that the iconic bite was to make the logo appear more like an apple and not some other round-ish fruit. (1, 2)
10 Glass is a liquid that flows slowly. This is the reason why glass windows in older houses are thicker at the bottom as it slowly flows downwards due to gravity.
This legend has made its way even in school textbooks. Though it may sound a bit logical as some old window panes like stained glass windows in old churches are indeed thicker at the bottom.
But this uneven proportion is due to the way glass was manufactured back in the day. In medieval times, spun glass was cut into sheets that had thicker edges
As thickness varied, some builders preferred to install them thicker-side down for structural strength, but this was not a universally accepted practice. Many old structures have glass panes that are thicker in various orientations. (Source)
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