We got an email this evening from a friend, one of those types of emails that has been forwarded something like 5 times or more, warning of a serial killer that lures women out of their houses by playing a recording of a crying baby. Something about the way it was written made me think “urban legend,” so I dug around a little bit on the Web.
It is an urban legend; the Snopes page debunking it is here. I think it’s the first time I’ve seen an urban legend so new that it’s practically gestating; interestingly, the text of the email we received has some slight variations on the one posted by Snopes. Urban legend evolution?
Here’s the full text of the one we were emailed, the only thing I edited out was the annoying >’s from all the forwarding:
This is scary!
Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on
her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird.
The police told her, “Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.” The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over.
The policeman said, “We already have a unit on the way,
whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.” He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby’s cry recorded and is using it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby.
He said they have not verified it, but! t have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby’s cries outside their doors when they’re home alone at night.
Please pass this on and DO NOT open the door for a crying
baby. This email should probably be taken seriously because the Crying Baby theory was mentioned on America’s Most Wanted this past Saturday when they profiled the serial killer in Louisiana.
PLEASE send this to friends and family.
Note the variations from the Snopes version; the most interesting addition to the one we received was the bit about America’s Most Wanted. Designed to give a bit more authenticity, perhaps?