Have any of you ever heard the following urban legend? When I was a kid growing up in New England in the 80s, I heard a story that went something like this:
"A little boy was playing around in his house. He tried balancing himself on a basketball. While on top of the basketball, he took a plant that was hanging from the ceiling, and wrapped the long ropes of the plant holder around his neck, just to horse around. He lost his balance, slipped off the basketball, and hung himself."
I suspect this is a completely bogus urban myth, because it has all the signs of one:
1) Everybody who told this story, swore that it happened to the son of a friend of a friend or a friend. Of course, they could never say who (what town, the name of the kid, when exactly it happened, etc.)
2) It's a story that people love to tell and really want to believe on some level. Namely, parents loved to tell it because they thought it was a good "real" story with the lesson of "Don't horse around with things involving your neck, kids.", or similar.
3) It sounds physically impossible. I can't imagine a hanging plant with strings long enough for a kid to wrap around his neck, tight enough so that he wouldn't unravel or stretch the ropes out enough to be able to touch the ground after falling off the basketball. Never mind strong enough to support all the additional weight.
It got so ridiculous that my brother got yelled at for standing on a basketball in the livingroom. "Don't do that!" my mom yelled. "A boy HUNG himself doing that!" It didn't matter that there was absolutely nothing hanging from the ceiling anywhere in the room, nor even any furniture near where he was standing.
I've never been able to find any information about this story. Trying to search on the details these days brings back a more recent story about a kid who hung himself on a basketball hoop, but obviously that's not the same story, and not from the same time. You have to wonder how these things get started, though.