Huffpost Style

'Maggots In Hair Weave' Story Almost Certainly A Hoax

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If you thought this story was unbe-weave-able, you were right.

On Monday, the Kenyan Standard reported that a Kenyan woman suffering from severe headaches learned that her pain was caused by flesh-eating worms living in her hair weave and burrowing into her skull. The horrifying tale was picked by IReportersTV.com, The Daily Mail, MSN Australia, and the New York Daily News.

But a little light Googling reveals that the story is almost certainly a hoax.

Barbara Mikkelson of Snopes.com points out that the same story has been surfacing periodically since 2010. In each version, Mikkelson writes, the name of the woman and city are different, but "the text of the tale [is] largely untouched."

She really isn't kidding about that text being untouched. The story published this week purports that Irene Myangoh, a personal assistant at a law firm in Nairobi, was exposed to the flesh-eating worms because the hair used to make her weave came from a worm-infested corpse.

The story includes a quote from "surgeon Dr. C.K. Musau," who "urges ladies to be very careful with what they put on their heads, and adds that it is better to appreciate natural beauty and be content with what God has blessed them instead of chasing artificial beauty."

This phrasing is suspiciously similar to that of a 2010 version of this story about "Krystal," a PA at a law office in Windhoek, Namibia. That version does not mention a Dr. Musau, but does conclude with the statement:

Lesson: ladies we should be careful with what we put on our heads, it is better to appreciate our natural beauty and be content with what God has blessed us with than to chase artificial beauty.

Another 2010 version about "Laimi" from Windhoek is nearly identical to the one about "Krystal", as is a version about "Irene" from Westlands, Kenya, found in a 2010 chain email obtained by HuffPost Weird News.

None of these stories include dates, times or the name of the salon.

Not only is the 2013 article clearly plagiarized from chain emails of the past, but the story itself is also "impossible," according to Mikkelson. She writes that:

The "worms" one sometimes sees on corpses are actually maggots, the just-hatched offspring of such flies. Human hair intended for weaves, hair pieces, or wigs is carefully washed, sorted, and matched with tresses of similar color and texture very early in the process of turning it into a fashion accessory. Ergo, even if the hair used had been taken from a corpse and had through that association become infested with fly eggs, those future larvae ("worms") would have been washed away by the first cleaning given those strands during the sorting process.

Snopes.com's David Mikkelson told HuffPost Weird that he's not sure why this story resurfaced in a newspaper after a three-year hiatus. There "are a lot of legends that never really go away," Mikkelson said, noting that "a lot of times," a legend's popularity "has to do with what's going on in the world."

He added that the story's moralistic ending about artificial beauty makes him wonder if the tale originated from some kind of instructive fable.

So, ladies, if you're considering getting a weave, don't let the chilling tale of Irene Myangoh stop you. She likely isn't real. But if you did fall for it, don't feel too bad -- weave all been there.

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