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10 Crazy Urban Legends About Creepy-Crawlies

by Gregory Myers
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Most people find insects, spiders, snakes, rodents, and other creeping, crawling creatures to be disturbing and often frightening. Whatever the reason, we have long been fascinated by the slimy, horrid tales of these creatures (whether they’re true stories or not). Warning: You might not want to eat during this one.

10Dead Mouse In Soda

This legend has many different variations, likely due to the incredible amount of people who have actually tried to sue soft drink companies over allegedly finding all or most of a mouse or rat in their soda. The most recent one was a man who bought a can of Mountain Dew from a vending machine at work. After taking a hearty swig, he realized there something was horribly, horribly wrong about the taste. He spit it out and found a dead mouse curled up inside his previously sealed can of soda.

He sued PepsiCo after the alleged incident, citing trauma and stress caused by getting a mouthful of dead mouse. However, PepsiCo’s defense is possibly the most disturbing part of this tale. The company supplied an expert witness who explained that the man’s claims were quite literally impossible. According to this expert, the mouse’s body would have been completely dissolved and impossible to distinguish as anything but jelly after spending so long in an acidic soda like Mountain Dew.

9The Beehive Hairdo

This legend very likely predates the Internet, as the beehive hairstyle hasn’t been popular since the 1960s. The story goes that a teenager was preparing for an upcoming dance and really wanted to make her hair stand out, so she used sugar water in her hair in an effort to keep it really stiff. She then wrapped it up tightly overnight in a coiling beehive shape. The next day, her hair looked just as good as she had hoped, and she continued with life as usual.

As the weeks went on, she started to become a little obsessed with her ‘do. She did whatever it took to keep it looking nice, including not shampooing the sugar water out of her hair. She started to get headaches and just feel physically terrible in general. She didn’t understand what was going on, but she failed to see a doctor. Eventually, she collapsed as rivers of blood ran from under her hair. Upon examination, it turned out that she had a colony of bugs living under her hair and literally eating her alive.

8Licking Envelope Leads To Parasites

Our story goes that a woman had licked an envelope and received a painful paper cut. For a while, she didn’t think anything of it because it was just a small cut, but it continued to be painful for a long time. It even started to swell. It eventually got so bad that she knew she needed to go to the hospital. The doctor who examined her saw the swelling on her tongue and decided to operate right then and there, either to remove the lump or drain pus. (It varies depending on the version of the tale.) As the woman sat wide awake and the doctor prepared to make an incision, a live cockroach crawled its monstrous way out of her mouth in one of the most horrifying birth cycles imaginable.

7Snake Measures Its Owner

This story involves a couple who had a very large pet python but didn’t bother keeping it locked up. They kept the snake properly fed, they reasoned, so there wasn’t much to worry about. Eventually, the snake stopped eating for a while, and they wondered if he was sick. Even stranger, they started finding their pet lying out lengthwise next to them. They decided to take the snake to the vet to find out the cause of this disturbing behavior. Alarmingly, the vet told them that they needed to get rid of the snake right away. When they asked why, he explained that the snake had been measuring them and starving himself in preparation to gorge himself on some fresh, delicious human owner.

6Termites Spread Through Mulch

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina, an urban legend was going around that had a lot of homeowners running scared. According to an email forward, many of the trees that had fallen in the hurricane were being turned into cheap mulch that was coming soon to a store near you. Unfortunately, this mulch likely contained large numbers of Formosan termites.

This legend has a grain of truth to it, as termites could potentially spread through mulch. However, the particular story is unlikely. New Orleans has carefully quarantined any wood that might be infested with termites.

5Child’s Brain Gets Infested With Ants

Our tale begins with a small boy who was tired from playing and decided to lie down for a nap. He fell asleep with some candy scattered around near him, and this attracted some ants that were nearby. The little boy woke up unaware that anything was amiss until he started to feel itchy. As time went on, the itchiness got worse, and he started to get headaches. When the headaches got worse and nothing would make the itchiness go away, the little guy’s mother took him to the hospital.

At first, the doctor was utterly baffled by the problem. After taking an X-ray of the child’s head, he discovered that ants had crawled into the child’s brain and formed an entire colony. Because the insects were crawling all around his brain, the colony was inoperable, and the little fella did not survive. Of course, leaving candy lying around actually results in little more than some inconvenience and a can of Raid, so this tall tale was no doubt invented by some very cruel and lazy mothers.

4The Unexpected Computer Failure


The story goes that an older woman, the type who’s not likely to be very computer-savvy, called tech support with a serious problem. The night before, she had started hearing rather strange hissing sounds coming from her computer. She explained that when the noises began, she decided to shut down the machine for the night and see if it just needed a rest. When she tried to restart the computer the next morning, it emitted more of the same strange hissing sounds and began to smoke. The support tech quickly realized they were out of their depth over the phone and sent someone to the old woman’s house to deal with the problem. When the technician opened the case, they found a snake curled up inside: It had been attracted to the power source.

Pictures of the so-called snake in the computer have been going around for a while and are actually apparently legit. However, the details of the true story are quite different from the legend. It actually took place in an office in Australia, not an elderly woman’s home. While the snake was a venomous red-bellied black snake, it didn’t prove to be very dangerous, because it turns out that snakes can’t survive large amounts of electricity coursing through their slithery, slimy bodies.

3Restaurant Closed For Serving Mice And Rats

The story starts in Atlanta, Georgia, and surrounds a small chain of Chinese restaurants. Imagine you’ve just eaten at your local Asian-American food joint. After you go home, you check the news and see them mentioned. Your stomach starts to turn as you learn that one franchise of the chain restaurant you just visited was shut down for having some very strange secret ingredients in their food.

The police had received a tip about some suspicious imports the restaurant had been receiving and decided to investigate. Upon searching the restaurant, the police found evidence that the owners of the establishment had secretly been serving mice and rats to their customers. They also found puppies and kittens ready to be cooked and served as food. The legends often include pictures of some of the packaged, frozen rodents, but there is no evidence of such a closure occurring.

2Snake Sewn Into Lining Of Coat

According to legend, a woman visited a local discount clothing outlet to try on new winter coats. While wearing one of them, she felt a strange prick on her skin. Instead of inspecting the coat further, she simply put it back and went about her day. Before long, she fell ill and eventually ended up in a coma. Though the coma lasts several weeks in the tale, she is somehow able to ascertain what happened. The winter coat she had been trying on was imported from another country and had a deadly viper sewn into the lining.

The story is a bit over-the-top, as it seems impossible for a snake to survive a trip overseas alive while trapped inside a coat. Strangely, though, this tale is widely believed, with outlets like Burlington Coat Factory receiving calls on a regular basis to ask questions about the story.

1The Deadly Stick

A woman in Texas was supposedly out walking her dog when it started sniffing around a twig near their garage. The dog recoiled in pain, and the woman realized the “twig” was actually an insect known as a walking stick. At first, she didn’t think much of it, but then her dog’s eye started swelling up badly. When she took him to the vet, she found out that the poor dog had a chemical burn on his eye that was caused by the poison that the insect had secreted. The woman sent pictures of the insect to entomologists, who identified the specimen as a foreign walking stick that had made its way to our shores and was much more poisonous than the ones we are used to.

While no evidence exists of any such foreign species, the story is plausible. There is a species of walking stick insect native to the United States that is capable of excreting a toxin that could be very painful and cause burns on sensitive areas like the eyes. Perhaps next time you are near a twig, you should keep your retinas shielded. Don’t take any walks in the woods.

+The Grossest Cookie Ever

One legend that’s been passed around the Internet for a long time occurs in an unspecified foreign country, where a young woman purchased a package of Oreo cookies with chocolate cream. Excited to eat the delicious cookies, she opened the package and saw something very strange. Where she would normally expect pure chocolate goodness, there were small white spots all over and inside the cream. She examined the packaging but found nothing to suggest that the white dots should be there. To her horror, she realized that the entire cookie was full of maggot eggs. She returned the cookies, although some of the eggs had horrifyingly dissolved into the cream. She got her money back, but presumably her taste for Oreos was never to return.

You can follow Gregory Myers on Twitter.

fact checked by Jamie Frater