Fact Check

Urban Myths Board Game Error

Urban myths board game falls for joke about Blackbeard's using a nursery rhyme to recruit pirates.

Published April 11, 2004


Claim:   An Urban Myths board game fell for a joke about Blackbeard's using a nursery rhyme to recruit fellow pirates.


Origins:   When we published our fictional "Pocket Full of Wry" article several years ago — a ridiculous little piece of fiction

about buccaneers' belting out the nursery rhyme "Sing a Song of Sixpence" in taverns as a covert method of recruiting fellow pirates — we never imagined it

Urban Myth

would grow such a pair of legs.

The piece was created as a spoof of the fervently believed notion that many nursery rhymes (such as "Ring Around the Rosie") encode hidden messages and as an object lesson in the pitfalls of false authority syndrome — not to mention as a handy little device for catching those who "borrow" material without due diligence. In the next several years our humorous article made quite a name for itself: it was cited in a number of news articles, published on a variety of web sites as the authoritative explanation on the origins of "Sing a Song of Sixpence," and even reported as true by a television program dedicated to "debunking" urban legends.

We thought this one had run its course, so imagine our surprise when a friend recently presented us with a gift of the Urban Myth board game, which challenges players to identify whether the common beliefs stated on game cards are true or false, and we found a familiar story again reported as true:

Urban Myth board game

We noted with sardonic amusement the card that immediately followed this one in the deck:

Urban Myth board game

Last updated:   2 November 2013

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

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