Home > Urban Legends > Kidney Stealing

Kidney Stealing

By: Chris Welsh - Updated: 4 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Organ Theives Kidney Theives Organ

One of the most frightening of urban legends is the one about the organ harvesters. Based very tenuously on real life events the story about the waylaid traveller waking up to find his kidneys gone is one that has grown to mythical proportions.

The Kidney Stealing Urban Legend

The stories vary in the details, but the kidney stealing urban legend always follows a similar spine of activity. In it a person is in a place far from home when they lose consciousness and wake up the next morning in distress. The most common- and most recent- version has them waking up in a bathtub filled to the brim with ice and a sharp pain at their side. Taped to their chest- or the mirror- or the door- is a note that says “Call 911”. The paramedics arrive after the call to discover that the victim is missing one or both kidneys, the victim of a well connected, well financed band of skilled organ thieves.

This story has been around for a couple of decades, but the advent of email has caused it to spread like wildfire. What once was a story told in the hushed tones of a storyteller at the local watering hole has become a missive passed along from co-worker to co-worker, somehow gaining credibility along the way.

The Origin of the Kidney Stealing Urban Legend

In 1989 four Turkish men were involved in what was an illegal kidney harvesting operation- but not an unwilling one. These men either answered ads or, in one case, placed an ad regarding the selling of a kidney. The men were taken to the Untied Kingdom, where the operation took place. One man later recounted his experience but cast it in such a light to suggest that he was duped. The British papers picked up this story and ran with it, causing quite a stir world wide. Both the seller and the buyers in this case were prosecuted by the Turkish government.While not precisely the story of the luckless traveller suckered out of a kidney, one could see how this true story could be an inspiration for the urban legend. The first telling of the tale had the traveller wake up in an alley, or in his bed. Later telling put him in an ice filled bath tub, often sewn up in an odd show of compassion, with the 911 note added for good measure.

Final Thoughts

Before the version that had a weary traveller drugged unawares before relieved of his kidney, the story was that a married man intent on debauchery was duped by a prostitute. The more current version is more frightening because of the randomness, while the former version has a sense of just desserts about it. A similar spawn of the kidney stealing urban legend has the married man and prostitute, and the drugging and waking up with a note, but the contents of the note are different. Accompanied by the note is a syringe, and the note reads “you have been infected with AIDS.”

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Candy
    Re: A Black Cat Crossing Your Path
    black arent evil there god giving creechers of this planet evil is killing ppl ppl killing ppl are killers and evil demons i seen
    20 November 2017
  • GafB
    Re: Do Birds Flying Into A Home Equate To Death?
    @Linda - you may just live in houses that have a lot of crows around. But it's certainly unusual.
    20 November 2017
  • Linda
    Re: Do Birds Flying Into A Home Equate To Death?
    A couple of months ago I was in my living room when I heard a strange noise I opened my door to find a black…
    18 November 2017
  • Karen
    Re: Do Birds Flying Into A Home Equate To Death?
    If a black bird with white belly long tail flew inside your house what do this mean.
    2 November 2017
  • Milly
    Re: Bloody Mary
    @Pumpkinhead - they were told at a time when it was easy to frighten people and when people would believe in anything. For instance, witches were just…
    2 November 2017
  • Suse
    Re: A Black Cat Crossing Your Path
    @Insightisright - that's nice. My black cat runs to meet my car, it knows the sound of my engine. Perhaps this cat knows the…
    2 November 2017
  • Pumpkinhead
    Re: Temporary Tattoos can Scar
    I use temporary tattoos a lot and I have never got a scar from them. I see people wear them all the time and they don't get scars…
    2 November 2017
  • Pumpkinhead
    Re: Bloody Mary
    I was told that you had to say her name three times. I don't believe in urban legends, myths, superstitions, and old wives tales. I believe that they…
    2 November 2017
  • Insightisright
    Re: A Black Cat Crossing Your Path
    I have to drive down an alley way to access the parking spot I have where I live. There is this really adorable young black cat…
    2 November 2017
  • AmyG
    Re: Do Birds Flying Into A Home Equate To Death?
    @Sal - I hope he wasn't looking after it for a friend LOL.
    31 October 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the TimelessMyths website. Please read our Disclaimer.