In 1942 there was a man called “the phantom barber”, who would sneak into people’s homes in Mississippi at night and cut their hair
The “lucky cigarette” tradition of flipping a cigarette upside-down and saving it until the end of the pack originated from the myth that 1 cigarette in every Lucky Strike pack contained marijuana.
Aka Manto is a malicious spirit from Japanese urban legends that kills people in public bathrooms. In one version, it first asks its victims to choose between red and blue toilet paper: if they pick red, the victim is sliced to pieces, if they pick blue, they’re choked to death.
Kuchisake is an Japanese urban legend of a woman who either mutilates the faces of children or slices the children in half. Since the 1970s some Japanese schools became increasingly concerned that they require students to return home in groups under teacher supervision.
In South Korea, it is commonly and incorrectly believed that sleeping in a closed room with an electric fan running can be fatal. According to the Korean government, “In some cases, a fan turned on too long can cause death from suffocation, hypothermia, or fire from overheating.” The Korea Consumer Protection Board issued a consumer safety alert recommending that electric fans be set on timers, direction changed and doors left open. Belief in fan death is common even among knowledgeable medical professionals in Korea. According to Yeon Dong-su, dean of Kwandong University’s medical school, “If it is completely sealed, then in the current of an electric fan, the temperature can drop low enough to cause a person to die of hypothermia.” Whereas an air conditioner transfers heat from the air and cools it, a fan moves air without change of temperature to increase the evaporation of sweat. Leaving a fan running in an unoccupied room will not cool it; in fact, due to energy losses from the motor and viscous dissipation, a fan will slightly heat a room.
A peculiar arcade game called Polybius mysteriously appeared in a Portland arcade in 1981. Playing the game would reportedly result in severe headaches, intense nightmares, and amnesia in the several days and weeks that followed. Some people even became depressed or suicidal. After a few weeks, the game abruptly vanished from the arcade and was never seen again.
There is a Japanese urban legend about a spirit who haunts public bathrooms and will ask you if you want red or blue toilet paper.
During WW2 it is suspected that soap was made from human corpses.
If your vehicle registration plate includes the allegedly cursed number 39, people in Afghanistan might think you’re a pimp.