| More

Scoot's Blog

Tune in to "The Scoot Show" for lively, candid discussions about news, politics and culture with WWL's "Radical Moderate!"

Weekdays 1pm-4pm

Twitter: @scootwwl
Email: scoot@wwl.com
Facebook: Scoot on the Air

Scoot: Poison in Halloween Candy - Just a Myth

One Halloween myth demonstrates that it is true - the media can easily start and perpetrate hysteria because people believe what they want to believe.
Every Halloween parents are warned that trick-or-treating is dangerous. Sinister people have been known to put poison in Halloween candy and razor blades in apples and treats given to children on Halloween night.  The fear of children being poisoned or injured by sharp objects embedded in their innocent treats led to local hospitals offering complimentarily x-rays of trick-or-treat candy and many parents took advantage of the opportunity to have their children’s candy x-rayed.
The fear of evil people with the intent to harm or kill children fits perfectly into the mystery of Halloween night. But the truth is – there were never any actual cases of strangers tainting Halloween candy with poison or sharp objects. So, how did this widely believed myth grow to the point of being a credible Halloween threat?
In 1974, a Waco, Texas man named Ronald Clark O’Brien did purposely put cyanide in candy that he gave to his 8-year-old son, Timothy O’Brien. Timothy died as a result of eating the candy.  It was later discovered that Ronald had a large insurance policy on his young son and the tainted candy was an attempt to collect the insurance money. Ronald Clark O’Brien was convicted of murder and executed by lethal injection in 1984.
It was that tragedy in 1974 that spawned the popular myth that evil people are lurking in neighborhoods across America with the malicious intent of poisoning and harming innocent children as they trick-or-treat Halloween night.  We are all guilty of believing incredible stories that have been proven to be urban myths. It is human nature to be excited about sharing new information with others.  So, when we hear a story that has all the elements of something incredible and we will get credit for informing others – the temptation to believe and share the story becomes overwhelming.
There are very credible “ghost stories” most of us have believed and passed on to others. We wanted to believe those amazingly haunting stories so we could be the ones to enlighten others with our knowledge of a scary story we know will be shared with many others. Our desire to believe bizarre stories overpowers our rational thinking.
But the media is also to blame for giving the public what it wants to hear rather than what it needs to hear. I’m not exactly sure how the incident of a father putting poison in his young son’s Halloween candy in 1974 evolved into a media frenzy about the new dangers of trick-or-treating, but it appears the media fed on the public’s willingness to accept as fact a threat that never was real.
As we continue to analyze the relationship between the media and the audience in our society on “The Scoot Show” on WWL, it is fair to place blame on both the media and the audience for the false fear that has been conjured up about the dangers of Halloween treats. It appears that a story legitimately reported in the media was misinterpreted as a widespread phenomenon, rather than an isolated case. And when one person tells a story to another person and that person tells it to yet another person, each individual adds something extra to the story until it becomes a story that instills mass panic and fear.
A simple warning that it is possible to taint Halloween candy with poison could easily have led to the belief that such incidents have occurred. When a simple warning reached the level of hospitals offering to x-ray children’s Halloween candy, the story became totally legitimate.
Both the media and the audience may be to blame for the perpetration of the poison Halloween candy myth, but it should be acknowledged that the media instinctively has more interest in a story that causes fear in the minds of Americans than in a story that defuses fear.
Over the years the stories that dealt with warning people about poison and dangerous objects in Halloween candy were much more high-profile in the news than any stories that attempted to set-the-record-straight that the fear is completely unwarranted and indeed a myth.
We all love to believe a good ghost story and society loved embracing a new fear that fit the ambience of Halloween night! Maybe the thought that there is really something to fear in the midst of the innocence of trick-or-treating on Halloween gave adults a reason to be afraid.  And being afraid seems to be part of the human existence.  Why else would we willing go to a movie we know will scare us?

Tags :  
Locations : Texas
People : BrienRonald ClarkTimothy

10/30/2013 4:27PM
Scoot: Poison in Halloween Candy - Just a Myth
Please enter your comments below.
10/30/2013 8:35PM
Takelonger than a couple of minutes to express athought and you are DROPPED! What Class WWL!!!
10/30/2013 8:40PM
Halloween Candy
That story predates the 1974 incident. I remember hearing it as a young child in the 60's.
10/30/2013 9:01PM
LOL and the clown Scooter Boy believe Obama's lies .. seems Scooter is
the demWIT ...
10/30/2013 9:03PM
Perhaps Scoot will volunteer to be the official candy tester ...
and then swallow a razor blade ... LOL.
10/30/2013 9:06PM
If the OLD hippie Scooter did not get trashed for being an ásshole,
he would get no response at all. LOL.
10/30/2013 9:09PM
Poor Scooter. He needs a hug from Angela.
10/30/2013 9:23PM
The president’s disapproval rating stands at 51 percent, tying an all-time high for Obama.
Guess Obama being King of the World and loved by billions is a myth as well.
10/30/2013 10:05PM
Obama out whining and blaming everyone but himself again today ...
what a total piece of human debris.
10/30/2013 10:10PM
Putin topples Obama in FORBES power ranking...
Obama is a petulant child and laughingstock around the world.
10/30/2013 10:12PM
Bankrupt solar firm took stimulus money, reportedly left $3.7M toxic site ...
another Obama FAILURE and waste of taxpayer money.
10/30/2013 10:16PM
Joe Biden will dress up as an Obama Blow-Up Doll this Halloween.
.. he will likely be chased by gay activists.
10/30/2013 11:04PM
Advice .. just turn Obama off if he come on TV or radio. I have not listened to him
for over six years. Why subject yourself to such a negative, hateful man as Obama. He is a Marxist. Hope we can survive his tyranny.
11/01/2013 11:52AM
Was a Houston Police Department Homicide Detective and was present when they brought O'Brien's body into the Harris County Morgue following his death by lethal injections.
09/25/2014 12:28PM
The truth About Halloween
Everything about the poison in candy etc is real.God is real.Satan is real .And satan works through people willing t. Gain power in this world.there are witches and demons and all the above on Halloween.this is why Christians don't celebrate such an evil day.ignorant people don't believe all the things that happen to kids on Halloween.and as for scoot he is ignorant to the fact that things like this are true.Don't believe anything he says.he obviously isn't Christian to believe what's happening in this world.
Title :
Comment :
Recent Posts
Tag Cloud
No Tags Found !