Urban Myths Verified: Legends That Found Reality

By Sophia Maddox | April 13, 2024

They're Drugging Your Candy

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 As Halloween approaches, sinister whispers begin to emerge. One of the most chilling tales parents tell is that of malevolent individuals who tamper with Halloween candy, lacing them with drugs ranging from LSD to Rainbow Fentanyl. The cautionary tale has become so entrenched in popular culture that many parents diligently inspect or even discard candies that appear tampered with, for fear of their children being drugged. However, when we peel back the layers of urban legend and delve into the real story, we find that the widespread fear is largely unfounded. However, there have been isolated incidents which contributed to the fear. 
 

In 1959, a dentist from California, William Shyne, distributed laxative-laced candies to children during Halloween. He faced charges for indecent conduct and unauthorized distribution of medication. In the 1970s, a young boy tragically died from consuming cyanide-laced Pixy Stix. However, the candy was not laced during trick-or-treating, but had been poisoned by his own father who hoped to cash in on life insurance. 

Poison in the Pills

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This campfire story speaks of evildoers who poison aspirin or other easily accessible medications, turning a routine act of seeking relief into a potential death sentence. However, the fear of tampered over-the-counter medicine is not just an urban legend—it has real, horrifying origins. The most infamous and tragic case that fueled this fear happened in the Chicago area in 1982. Over a few days, seven people died after ingesting Tylenol capsules that had been laced with cyanide. This series of poisonings, commonly referred to as the "Tylenol Murders," remains unsolved to this day.

The panic that ensued was nationwide. Millions of bottles of Tylenol were recalled, and the case led to a sweeping change in how consumer products, especially medicines, were packaged. The "Tylenol Murders" were so infamous that they even inspired several copycat and hoax events.