Monday, November 2, 2015

The "Needles" and "Razor Blades" in Halloween Candy Hoax

A Winnipeg mom is warning parents to carefully examine Halloween candy after she found a sewing needle poking out of a small chocolate bar her daughter collected on Saturday night.

Jennifer Tichborne said the candy's wrapper looked like it had been tampered with and when her daughter broke the chocolate bar in half, she saw the needle. Its eye still had thread attached.

"I freaked," Tichborne said.

"I didn't know what to think of that. I just couldn't believe I was actually looking at it."

Tichborne said she must have missed the candy when she first inspected what her daughter brought home. She posted pictures of the finding on Facebook so other parents would be reminded to check their kids' treats, too.


Last year at Halloween:

Annamarie Born told CTV Winnipeg she was shocked to discover a sewing needle lodged in a chocolate bar one of her daughters collected while trick-or-treating.
"My other daughter bit into it and said something poked her, and she spit it on the floor," Born said.
Born picked up the chocolate bar and found a sewing needle inside it. At first glance, the packaging and the chocolate appeared normal, but upon closer inspection she could detect a small hole in the candy bar where the needle could have been inserted.
Luckily, her daughter wasn't hurt, but Born said she’s still in shock.
"It's disturbing that somebody would actually do this to children's candy," she said.
Born and her children were trick-or-treating in the area of North Kildonan. Residents there said they're disgusted that something like this could happen in their neighbourhood.

First off, I'm not saying that this mother is lying, but in 99% of these reportings (or more), it's found to be a hoax, perpetrated by children, or mentally ill parents.  There have been instances in decades past, where a man was given the death penalty for deliberately spiking his son's candy bar with cyanide, and killing him, then blaming tampered candy.  

Another time a man found wrapped chocolate at his work at the post office, only to give it away to children, without realizing that the small candy bars were laced with marijuana, in some elaborate drug smuggling operation.  In another case, a child accidentally consumed his uncles heroin, mistaking it for candy, and died.  However, the are barely any credible confirmed cases of stranger tampering with candy.

I'll dissect the mother's story:

1. "On Saturday night, Tichborne took her daughter trick-or-treating on all streets between Winnipeg's Strathcona and Clifton Streets and then between Dominion and Garfield Streets. They also made their way between Sargent and Wellington Avenues and then from Wellington to Notre Dame Avenue."

Check Google maps.  You will realize that it would be impossible for a speed walker (let alone a mothers and small child), to walk that distance within a 3-4 hour time frame.  In fact, one would be hard pressed to go from home to home, delivering mail in an 8 hour shift.  We are talking about all streets in between Strathcona and Clifton, then Dominion and Garfield.  At the very least from Sargent at the south, and Notre Dame at the north.

I compared the area I used to walk as a child, in my neighborhood, and it is anywhere from 10-15 times the distance, and it took my parents and I at least three hours to trek less than 10% of that distance.

2. The dead giveaway.  Look at how the Aero bar is cut.  It's cut nearly perfect, yet there is a needle sticking out of the bar.  Even just throwing an Aero bar in a container, and walking that distance, small pieces of the bar would shred, or at least break off if it were legitimately tampered with.  There is no way you can walk a dozen city blocks, and have it remain perfectly divided it two.

3. Why would these people appear on camera, or conduct numerous interviews with the media, without first filing a report with the Police.  Better yet, why was nobody ever charged in the past with this type of activity by the Winnipeg Police? If this really happened, it would be a #1 priority for any Police department, as it would inflict bodily harm on an innocent child, not to mention the paranoia of other residents of the community.

4. History:"]

"Poisoned candy myths are urban legends that malevolent individuals could hide poison or drugs, or sharp objects such as razor blades, needles, or broken glass in candy and distribute the candy in order to harm random children, especially during Halloween trick-or-treating.""]

"We checked major newspapers from throughout the country from 1958 through 1988," he said, "assuming that any story this horrible would certainly be well reported."

Well, they found a total of 78 cases and two deaths. [The two deaths Best was referring to were the O'Bryan murder and the accidental poisoning of Kevin Toston.] Further checking proved that almost all of the 78 cases were pranks. The deaths were tragically real, but they, too, were misrepresented in the beginning.

The pranks, he said, were all of kids — after years of hearing similar stories — inserting needles or razor blades into fruit, not realizing (or maybe realizing) how much they frightened their whole town.

"My favorite," Best says, "was the kid who brought a half-eaten candy bar to his parents and said, 'I think there's ant poison on this.' They had it checked and, sure enough, there was ant poison on it — significantly, on the end he had not bitten." Of course, the youngster had applied the poison himself. 

Best has tried mightily over the years to destroy this particular myth, but obviously to no avail. "It's the old problem of trying to prove a negative," he says.

What investigators found

In one of those cases, it turned out that a child who died after supposedly eating Halloween candy laced with heroin had actually happened upon a stash of the drug in his uncle's home.

In other cases, children who were initially thought to have died as a result of poisoned Halloween candy were found by pathologists to have succumbed to natural causes.

In one of the very few incidents in which Halloween treats were actually implicated in the death of a child, investigators discovered that the fatal sweets had been poisoned by the child's own father, who had recently taken out a life insurance policy on his son.</i>

"Tainted Halloween candy is a contemporary legend, spread by word of mouth, with little to support it," Best concluded.

Like most contemporary ("urban") legends, this one has more to reveal about our collective psyche than it does about real-world events. "Contemporary legends are ways we express anxiety," Best explains. This legend shows just how anxious we can be.


Please spread this post.  It's about time this urban legend dies, and children can enjoy Halloween without these attention seekers creating unnecessary panic in the community.

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