Claim:   The University of Toronto is conducting a study regarding the effects of semen on human speech and is paying male volunteers $145 each to receive fellatio.

Status:   False.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2001]

Nice work!

Origins:   At first blush, the putative study described in the document shown above sounded just technical for some viewers to think it might be plausible:

Participants Needed for Research Studies

The Department of Otolaryngology is undertaking a joint study with the Department of Urology examining the effects of human semen on speech. Our objective is to establish whether acts of “rigorous” fellatio may contribute to pathology of the larynx. We are currently recruiting males willing to receive fellatio. The specific aim of this study is to ascertain whether proteases found in human semen are deleterious to the tissues that comprise the oropharyngeal cavity. Would you be willing to assist? A conditional honorarium of $145 will be provided.


fact, the aspect of this message that readers found most questionable was the word “otolaryngology,” which was about the only part of the prank that was genuine: the University of Toronto does have a Department of Otolaryngology (a medical specialty dealing with the ear, nose, and throat). However, they aren’t (and weren’t) conducting a study to establish whether “acts of ‘rigorous’ fellatio may contribute to pathology of the larynx.”

An obvious giveaway here was that in the faux flyer pictured above, the little slips interested parties were supposed to tear off and take with them contained no contact information other than an e-mail address which was not from the University of Toronto, but from a non-existent ‘Otolaryngology.MD’ domain.

Last updated:   18 September 2006