Fact Check

Odd Questions Asked of snopes.com

A collection of unusual questions asked of snopes.com.

Published Aug 24, 2000


Among the hundreds of "Is this true?" queries we receive from readers every day, we usually find at least a few items that are obviously jokes or satirical articles. Rather than viewing this phenomenon, as some do, as yet another indicator of the imminent demise of critical thinking, we see it as part and parcel of what we do. Good satire, after all, has an air of believability to it — the satirist starts with reality and stretches it just a bit to spin a tale that will strike the reader as a ridiculous yet conceivable extension of current conditions. And jokes often have attributes in common with urban legends: they're narratives, they serve as expressions of social beliefs and customs, and they describe general, vaguely plausible events. So, if a joke is transformed into an urban legend by prefacing it with a "This is a true story" tag, it's not surprising that someone might venture to ask us if it really is a true story. (Indeed, our Jokes page includes articles we've written about dozens of the more prevalent jokes-cum-urban legends.)

Nonetheless, some queries leave us scratching our heads over just what readers are asking of us. They send us jokes, they seem to recognize that what they're sending us are jokes, yet they still ask us to validate something about what they're passing along. Under the conviction that perhaps greater minds than ours can fathom the secrets of some questions that have stumped us, we present below another collection of items that have been submitted to us for verification over the years:

Is this true?

Three men died on Christmas Eve and were met by Saint Peter at the pearly gates.

"In honor of this holy season," Saint Peter said, "you must each possess something that symbolizes Christmas to get into heaven."

The first man fumbled through his pockets and pulled out a lighter. He flicked it on. "It represents a candle," he said.

"You may pass through the pearly gates," Saint Peter said.

The second man reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. He shook them and said, "They're bells".

Saint Peter said, "You may pass through the pearly gates."

The third man started searching desperately through his pockets and finally pulled out a pair of women's panties.

Saint Peter looked with a raised eyebrow and asked, "And just what do those symbolize?"

The man replied, "They're Carols."

I think this is unmitigated garbage, can you tell me?

Every Beatles album has a small image of a hamster hidden somewhere within the artwork. This is a private joke referring to the fact that they were going to call themselves The Hamsters at one stage. These little images are difficult to find, and therefore all the more rewarding on locating them.

Clue: In "With The Beatles", look in George's left nostril.

A coffee table book of Bealtles album artwork, entitled "Where's Hammy?" will be published by Simon and Schuster in time for Christmas.

Found this while surfing the web, is it true?

THE WORLD'S LARGEST CAT, Verismo Leonetti Reserve Red, and the world's
smallest cat, Mr. Peebles, were scheduled to be photographed together in a
publicity event on Wednesday. Both hold Guiness Book World Records for
Longest and Smallest cat, respectively. While it is normal for some cats
to reject eachother upon meeting, an unexpected turn of events led to Mr.
Peebles's untimely demise.

It is unknown whether Verismo Leonetti "Leo" Reserve Red, a 4-foot-long
Maine Coon, ate breakfast on Wednesday morning. When he was introduced
to the 2-lb Mr. Peebles, they immediately took to one another. One witness
says, "Leo just started licking Mr. Peebles like a mother to a kitten."

Once the two were taken to the room with all of the cameras, things began
to get a little strange. Leo, who has been rumored to have performed in a

cat food commercial on one or two occasions, immediately climbed upon a
table and prepared by primping for the photo shoot. Mr. Peebles crawled
into a glass bowl to help emphasize his small stature. A photographer
thought that this would have been a cute scene, so he asked someone on the
set to move Mr. Peebles's bowl to the table where Leo was bathing.

"From there, it was a bloodbath," said photographer Peter Ellis. "That big
cat must have thought that the bowl was carrying his lunch." Before anyone
could intervene, the massive Maine Coon cat swallowed the tiny Mr. Peebles
and licked his chops as though he had just had a tasty meal.

At this time, it is not known whether anyone will be pressing charges.

I received this item about Einstein:

Einstein's birthday is March 14. He would now be 127. Few people remember that the Nobel Prize winner married his cousin, Elsa Lowenthal,
after his first marriage dissolved in 1919.

He stated that he was attracted to Elsa because she was well endowed. He postulated that if you are attracted to women with large breasts, the
attraction is stronger if there is a DNA connection. This came to be known as Einstein's Theory of Relative Titty.

Is this real? Somehow I think not.

Tennessee Ten Commandments

Some people in Tennessee have trouble with all those "shalls" and "shalt
nots" in the in the Ten commandments. Folks just aren't used to talking
in those terms. So, some folks in middle Tennessee got together and
translated the "King James" into "Jackson County" language. No joke,
read on:

The Hillbilly's Ten Commandments
(posted on the wall at Cross Trails Church in Gainesboro,TN.)

(1) Just one God.
(2) Honor yer Ma & Pa.
(3) No tellin' tales or gossipin'.
(4) Git yourself to Sunday meetin'.
(5) Put nothin' before God.
(6) No foolin' around with another fellow's gal.
(7) No killin.'
(8) Watch yer mouth.
(9) Don't take what ain't yers.
(10) Don't be hankerin' for yer buddy's stuff.

Now that's kinda plain an' simple, don't ya think? Y'all have a nice day.

Is this true?

The latest telephone poll taken by the office of the Governor of Texas asked whether people who live in Texas think illegal immigration is a serious problem:

35% of respondents answered: "Yes, it is a serious problem."

65% of respondents answered: "No esta una problema importante."

Could you check this one, not a joke, it is new to me.


Recently uncovered evidence indicates that this sport actually began in
eastern Europe and for many years was enjoyed by the Jews of the area.
Stories passed down from generation to generation told of Moses and Aaron
and their famous Desert Classic, which endured for 40 years. This great
tradition was re-born many years later in the fields and forests of
eastern Europe.

A shepherd, Velvel Gross, passed the time by hitting pebbles with his
shepherd's crook. The number of times he hit the stones became known as
Gross Score. He eventually decided to lay out an actual course by
utilizing adjacent farmers' properties. The playing area consisted of 18
segments - the number chosen to represent the Hebrew symbol Chai, meaning

The game could then be played by Wednesday golfers as nine
holes(half-Chai), regular golfers as 18 holes (Chai), enthusiasts and
fitness-freaks as 27 holes (Chai-and-a-half), and with the wives during
mixed play (double-Chai).

The putting surface was named after Lazar Green, because the shortest
grass was found on his property. The search for durable projectiles (which
could sustain repeated strikes with wooden sticks) led to the Rebbetzin's
kitchen, where her dimpled matzo balls were the clear-cut winners.

They came in 90 or 100 compression and were vigorously tested by a
mechanical arm called Iron Myron. Parva, or Par, meaning neither here nor
there, was the number of shots allocated to each hole. Faivel the Sissy
scored the first recorded Birdie, as onlookers shouted, "Not bad for a
Faygelah!" The Eagle was so named for Adler the Shtarker, who scored the
first amazing two-under-par!

Soon courses sprang up all over the land with such exotic names as Knobble
Beach, Grieven Valley, Seder Brook and the two richest clubs: Chelm Ridge
and Chai Ridge. This particular group was known as The Haymishe Five.

Membership in these clubs provided many diverse activities. Tournaments
such as Blintzis and Schnapps and Beat the Tsar (which was a shotgun) were
organized. Social events included Revolutionary Hop and Pogrom Night and
were and carefully planned.

A committee of men was responsible for the many rules and regulations that
all were required to observe. Men's and women's facilities were strictly
segregated according to Jewish law. A dress code was rigidly enforced, in
spite of the women's insistence on the right to bare arms.
Shortly thereafter, the top golfers in the land emerged and formed the
PGA, Polish Galitzianer Association.

And that, boys and girls , is the story of how the Jews invented golf.

Is this true?

A woman, standing nude, looks in the bedroom mirror and says to her husband, "I look horrible; I feel fat and ugly. Pay me a compliment."

The husband replies, "Your eyesight's damn near perfect."

(He never heard the shot.)

Last updated:   25 April 2009


    Mastio, David.   "The Strange Tail of the Outlawed Michigan Beaver Dam."

    The Detroit News.   5 April 1998   (p. B5).

    Associated Press.   "State Gives Beavers Cease-and-Desist Order."

    31 March 1998.

    The Wall Street Journal.   "The Spring Pond Beavers."

    3 March 1998   (p. A18).

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.