Fact Check

The Message

A woman's ribald telephone message describing her previous night's date is forwarded all over town.

Published Jan 25, 1998

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.

Status:   Undetermined.

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.

Additional Information:

    From Her Lips to a Thousand Ears From Her Lips to a Thousand Ears (The Wall Street Journal)

Listen to The Message
The Message

Last updated:   12 July 2007


  Sources Sources:

    Kneale, Dennis.   "From Her Lips to a Thousand Ears: A Voice-Mail Tale."

    The Wall Street Journal.   2 June 1995   (p. B1).

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

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