Example: Collected by Fowke, 1973]
This story was told to me by a friend who heard it on the news on the radio about a year or so ago. It is a factual account.
There was a girl and she was baby-sitting. The parents had gone out to a very big party and had left this infant at home with this sixteen-year-old girl. So she was babysitting and they phoned just to see if everything was all right. She said, "Oh, fine. Everything's great. The turkey's in the oven. The mother went, "Oh, okay, fine," and she hung up. Then she looked at her husband and went, "The turkey's in the oven? We didn't have a turkey!" He said, "What's the matter?" So they decided they had better go home and see what was the matter. Maybe there was something wrong with the babysitter.
They excused themselves from the party and went home. So they walked in the house and saw the baby-sitter sitting in the chair freaking out. She had put the little infant in the oven and had thought it was a turkey.
- The babysitter is a stranger to the couple, either because the parents have never left their child with a sitter before, or because the girl had just been recommended to them by friends or relatives.
- In most versions the baby is mistaken for a turkey by the sitter, but sometimes the girl tells the parents that their "roast" is done.
- The parents return home to find the hippie babysitter tripping on LSD, but other substances (such as marijuana and scotch) are sometimes mentioned.
Other "cooked to death" legends include:
- The Cooked Telephone Man: Worker who stands too close to microwave radiation is cooked by its rays.
- The Microwaved Pet: Old lady attempts to dry a wet poodle in the microwave.
- Brown Betty: Bride trying to gain a fast tan prior to her wedding day cooks herself to death in commercial tanning beds.
Some believed the scenario as described by Otte's representatives to be plausible, but others saw the tragedy as yet another teenage mother murdering her baby, then claiming diminished capacity on whatever grounds she could come up with. After psychological and neurological exams undertaken to determine Otte's competency to stand trial were completed, she pled no contest to involuntary manslaughter charges on
In November 2006, Ohio resident China Arnold was charged with the
Last updated: 6 October 2011
Brunvand, Jan Harold. The Vanishing Hitchhiker. New York: W. W. Norton, 1981. ISBN 0-393-95169-3 (pp. 65-69). de Vos, Gail. Tales, Rumors and Gossip. Englewood: Libraries Unlimited, 1996. ISBN 1-56308-190-3 (p. 295). Fowke, Edith. Folklore of Canada. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1976. ISBN 0-77103-202-1 (p. 264). Hannah, James. "Police Say Mother Microwaved Her Baby." Associated Press. 28 November 2006. Hannah, James. "Mom in Microwave Baby Case Has Record." Associated Press. 29 November 2006. Sanminiatelli, Maria. "Mother Accused of Killing Baby in Microwave Reaches Plea Bargain." Associated Press. 25 September 2000. Sanminiatelli, Maria. "Woman Who Killed Baby in Microwave Gets Five Years in Prison." Associated Press. 13 December 2000. Smith, Paul. The Book of Nasty Legends. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983. ISBN 0-00-636856-5 (p. 104). White, Josh. "Va. Mother Convicted of Death in Microwave." The Washington Post. 26 September 2000 (P. B1) Associated Press. "Dead Baby Found in Microwave Oven." 24 September 1999. Associated Press. "Mother Charged with Microwave Kill." 27 September 1999. Associated Press. "Woman Found Guilty of Microwaving Baby." 29 August 2008.
Also told in:
The Big Book of Urban Legends. New York: Paradox Press, 1994. ISBN 1-56389-165-4 (p. 62).