No Way of Knowing: Crime, Urban Legends, and the Internet

By Pamela Donovan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE

Stolen Body Parts

This chapter concerns the forced extraction of vital organs from living people by people aiming to profit from the resale of the organs for transplant. One of the versions currently circulating has a man lose one or both of his kidneys to a seductress who drugs him in a hotel room. When the man awakes on a bed of ice in a bathtub, he sees a note that informs him, “Call 911 or you will die!” When he does this, the 911 dispatcher asks him to look at his back to see if he has stitches. He does, and it is determined that his kidney has been stolen. The victim does live to tell.

This version contrasts somewhat with organ theft rumors that circulate globally, particularly in the Third World. In these versions, organ thieves are said to leave their victims, often street children, to die after stealing their hearts, kidneys, livers, or eyes. 1 In a manner similar to that of the snuff film rumor in the First World, the Third World organ theft is a semi-constructed social problem. Reports of organ theft routinely surface in Latin America and Asia, promote investigations, but are followed by less-publicized findings of evidence that such practices did not occur. International media sources have given these allegations credibility on occasion, ignoring follow-up reports (Radford, 1999:36-38; Genge 2000:64). Like the snuff film legend, the Third World organ theft rumors appear as explanations (for missing children or foreign adoptions, for example) rather than narratives. 2 By this I mean that the form of recounting need not adhere to a discrete narrative form as described in the above paragraph, with a set scene, event, and denouement. In the case of Third World organ theft rumors, the allegation is offered as an explanation for children gone missing, or for the presence of white foreigners, or for general ill-health in children.

In this study the version described at the beginning will be the focus. This “First World” version appears to circulate somewhat independently of the Third World version, and does not appear to have any on-record partisans at all. It is told as a discrete narrative, and that narrative has become highly standardized on-line even where the local details have been altered.

The following features characterize the currently popular text: first, the legend merges an older femme fatale legend with the new menace of stolen body parts; second, debunkers of this legend take a proactive stance and accuse promulgators of causing social harm; and third, the legend includes

-61-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
No Way of Knowing: Crime, Urban Legends, and the Internet
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - The Market in Snuff Films 27
  • Chapter Three - Stolen Body Parts 61
  • Chapter Four - Shopping Mall and Theme Park Abduction Legends 85
  • Chapter Five - Debunkers and Their Orbit 111
  • Chapter Six - Crime Legends and the Role of Belief 133
  • Chapter Seven - Crime Legends, Protection, and Fear 157
  • Chapter Eight - A Summary 189
  • Appendix 1 197
  • Appendix 2 201
  • Notes 203
  • Bibliography 217
  • Index 229
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 238

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.