Some of the wildest new urban legends involve the addictive game app Pokemon Go. As this interactive new game sweeps the world, incredible stories are circulating in the media. It’s not true that Pokemon Go was designed for Satanists. And a teen did not kill his younger brother for messing with his Pokemon app. But many of the bizarre stories you’ve heard are absolutely true. Two people really did fall off a cliff playing the game. One player got stabbed by an attacker … but kept playing. It’s tough to separate fact from fiction with all of these strange tales, but here are some real incidents that have occurred in just the first couple of weeks since Pokemon Go’s emergence as a cultural phenomenon.
10. Two Players Fell Off a Cliff While Playing Pokemon
Two men in Encinitas, Calif., really did fall off a huge bluff while playing Pokemon Go. One man fell almost 90 feet to the beach below, while the other man fell about 50 feet. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that firefighters used ropes and harnesses to rescue the one man from the cliff. Both men were taken to a trauma center for treatment.
9. PokeStop Found at Facility For Sex Offenders
While Pokemon characters can seemingly be found everywhere, there are special gathering spots called PokeStops and gyms where players can capture Pokemon and collect tools needed in the game. Some of these stops have been found in totally inappropriate places — including one stop at a sober-living facility for sex offenders. The owner of the facility in San Luis Obispo County, Calif., told the LA Times he didn’t know what Pokemon is. “I have no idea who put the stop … because we don’t want kids showing up here.”
8. Man Gets Stabbed Playing Pokemon … But Keeps Playing
Michael Baker of Forest Grove, Ore., was out around 1 a.m., looking for Pokemon. When another man approached, Baker asked if he were playing the game, too. The man responded by stabbing Baker. But Baker kept playing Pokemon, only later going to get eight stitches in his shoulder. “I basically risked my life,” he admitted. Police have not made any arrests in the incident.
7. Man Parks Illegally to Catch Pokemon, Causes Accident
Texas A&M police reported that an illegally parked car was struck from behind. The driver had abandoned the car to capture a Pokemon. The accident prompted the Texas Department of Transportation to tweet out the following common sense: C’mon Aggies, #WeShouldntHaveToTellYouThis -Is #PokemonGo worth endangering others and a wrecked car?
6. Two Players Help Capture Suspect in Attempted Murder
Two 20-something Pokemon Go players in Fullerton, Calif., were in a local park when they spotted a man bothering a woman and her children. The two men warned the man and started following him. When the man hassled another mother and her children, touching one of the kids, the two men — both Marine Corps veterans — detained the man and called police. When police arrested the man, they found he had an outstanding warrant for attempted murder.
5. Players Have Found Dead Bodies
A woman playing Pokemon Go near Riverton, Wyo., discovered a dead body floating in the Wind River. “I woke up this morning, and I wanted to go get a water Pokemon, so I just got up and went for my little walk, a walk to catch Pokemon,” the woman told local news source County 10. Local police said the man apparently drowned. Another player in New Hampshire also recently discovered a dead body.
4. Pokemon Players Swarm Holocaust Museum
PokeStops are turning up in many inappropriate places. One such place is the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. As the Washington Post reported, the museum has been home to three PokeStops. Just picture the scene — young players walking around glued to their mobile phone screens, gleefully chasing and catching Pokemon in a place dedicated to the memory of millions of Jews and other victims killed by the Nazis. One unconfirmed report showed a screen image of the Pokemon Koffing — it’s famous for emitting poison gas — outside an auditorium that features testimonials of people who survived the Nazi gas chambers. It’s hard to believe game developers could be that clueless, but really, most people would agree that Pokemon don’t belong in the museum, and other somber spots like Arlington National Cemetery.
3. Man Shoots at Pokemon Players in Front of His House
Law enforcement officials around the world are warning that Pokemon players should avoid trespassing on private property; some say it’s only a matter of time before an armed homeowner mistakes gamers for criminals. Two teens were sitting on a street at 1:30 a.m. when a man walked out of a nearby house and fired shots at the car. The teens sped off, and thought someone had just been trying to scare them, until the driver’s mother found bullet holes in the car the next morning. The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident.
2. Man Finds Pokemon Figure As Wife Ready to Give Birth
One minute, Jonathan Theriot was sitting by his wife’s hospital bed, as she prepared to undergo a C-section. The next, he was catching a Pidgey that appeared on her bed. “As soon as it popped up, I was like, oh my gosh, there’s a Pidgey sitting on your bed!” he told BuzzFeed. “So, I screenshotted it, then caught it and showed it to her.” He posted the photo to Imgur, where it quickly went viral.
1. Pokemon Players Have Been Robbed
Pokemon Go allows players to interact with and lure other players to PokeStops. And that creates the potential for criminals to use the app to lure players for evil purposes. In what appears to be the first such incidents, four teens in O’Fallon, Mo., were arrested on robbery charges. They are suspected of being involved in almost a dozen armed robberies where they baited Pokemon Go players to a certain area and then robbed them.
Other Pokemon Go players have been robbed simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time (late at night, wrong side of town, deserted area, etc.) It goes without saying that you should use common sense in avoiding potentially dangerous situations while playing this game.