Claim: A woman leaves a graphic description of her previous night's wild date on a friend's answering machine. The friend forwards the message to
another friend, and within days it is being chain-forwarded by thousands of people to voice mail systems all over town.
Origins: The real thing, or a carefully crafted hoax? That was the question on everyone's lips in May of 1995 as The Message began making the rounds of New York office voice mail systems and started fanning out across the country. (A front-page story about The Message in the 2 June 1995 edition of The Wall Street Journal helped spread the word.)
An enthralled public fastened onto the few contextual clues within The Message: It was left for a lawyer named Steven (or Stephen); Steven had a girlfriend named Mindy; and the caller (and presumably Steven as well) was in New York— in an attempt to identify the mysterious woman who left it. To date, nobody has stepped forward to take credit for The Message, nor has anyone else been able to identify the participants. Anecdotal evidence indicates, however, that The Message was a prank pulled on its original recipient by a group of his friends.
From Her Lips to a Thousand Ears (The Wall Street Journal)
Last updated: 12 July 2007
Kneale, Dennis. "From Her Lips to a Thousand Ears: A Voice-Mail Tale."
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
Thank you for writing to us! Although we receive hundreds of e-mails every day, we really and truly read them all, and your comments, suggestions, and questions are most welcome. Unfortunately, we can manage to answer only a small fraction of our incoming mail.
Our site covers many of the items currently being plopped into inboxes everywhere, so if you were writing to ask us about something you just received, our search engine can probably help you find the very article you want.
Choose a few key words from the item you're looking for and click here to go to the search engine.
(Searching on whole phrases will often fail to produce matches because the text of many items is quite variable, so picking out one or two key words is the best strategy.)
We do reserve the right to use non-confidential material sent to us via this form on our site, but only after it has been stripped of any information that might identify the sender or any other individuals not party to this communication.