(Investigator 52, 1997 January)

At the Skeptics supper in December Dianne Smerdon spoke on folklore in modern society:

Cat disposal stories began in 1906. For example, a lady drove over a cat. She put the dead cat in a paper bag and left it on the back seat while going shopping. Another lady stole the paper bag, looked inside, and died of a heart attack.

In the 1980s ankle-slasher stories circulated in America. They were about a man hiding under a car and slashing  women's ankles with a knife as they walked past. Police investigated but failed to confirm any incident. In Australia were stories of razor blades attached to a water slide half way down.

Another set of stories concerned vengeful or jealous spouses who filled the family car with concrete from a concrete truck.

A further set is about the theft of body parts. For example, a man returned to Darwin from a holiday in Bali and died. Autopsy revealed that his kidneys has been removed.

The term "urban myth" was introduced in 1981. An entertaining book is Urban Myths (1995) by Graham Seal.

Another guest speaker at the Skeptics was David Raggat, marketing manager for Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd.

David Raggat

Mr Raggat said that reports of dope, including cocaine, in coke are false.

Also false are reports that the acid is able to dissolve coins and teeth. He said he tried to clean coins in both Rosella Tomato Sauce and Coca-Cola and the tomato sauce did the better job.

John Foley, Skeptics SA secretary, said he once lost a tooth. He didn't seriously believe in the tooth fairy and therefore placed the tooth in Coca-Cola. The tooth did not dissolve away.