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Hello, dolly

Posted Monday, November 24, 2008, at 3:39 PM

We got a call just now from a man angry because he claimed that a baby doll being sold at our local discount superstore is programmed to say something about Bin Laden.

I sounded a little skeptical, and he got the impression I was going to let the matter lie -- but I did check it out, at my go-to source for such matters: Snopes.com. Here's what I found:


Snopes, quite helpfully, has an audio file to which you can listen directly from their web site. It turns out that what some people thought they heard wasn't anything about Bin Laden, but the phrase "Islam is the light." My caller got his facts wrong, and it's obvious from his Bin Laden reference that he hadn't even listened to the doll himself but was reacting to a dire warning passed along to him by someone else.

Listen to the audio yourself -- or, even better, play it for a friend or family member without telling them why. I'm pretty convinced that this is just innocent random gurgling. I played the audio clip for a couple of co-workers, without any suggestions, and while they heard something that sounded like the word "light" they didn't hear anything about Islam. One actually thought she heard "God is the light."

My opinion is that if you hear any words at all in the clip, it's accidental -- like seeing Donald Duck in the random shape of a puffy cloud. That sort of thing happens all the time, which is why people occasionally claim to see the face of Elvis in their mashed potatoes or what have you.

Of course, now that someone has suggested to you what it is you're supposed to be hearing, it will seem more obvious. That's why I suggested you play the clip for someone else without giving them the back story.

Vigilance is one thing, but this is just alarmist.

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What do these toys say if you play their messages backward?

You know what happened to the guy who played his country music songs in reverse.

He got his job back,his family back,his hair grew back and his truck started working again.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Tue, Nov 25, 2008, at 3:01 PM

I thought my dog said "Yum Yum!" when I gave her a MellowMut treat..does that count? Maybe she was really giving some sort of spiritual message.

Heehee..alarmist is right.

-- Posted by Jacks4me on Mon, Nov 24, 2008, at 3:43 PM

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John I. Carney
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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.
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