Of course consumers want toys to be safe. No one wants to give a child a doll made with toxic materials, or a gadget that might spontaneously combust. But for all of the real-life mishaps that have afflicted toy lines, there are plenty of crazy conspiracy theories about toys, too. You've probably heard a few of these myths about toys, from the spooky to the downright silly.
Plenty of toy myths focus on government meddling, whether out of parental fear that shadowy powers are out to corrupt innocent young minds, or just garden-variety paranoia. And then there are the stories that are almost too weird to consider. Why would Beanie Babies be filled with spider eggs? And could Pokemon actually cause cancer?
If you're curious about toy conspiracy theories, be prepared to laugh, cringe, and do a whole lot of eye-rolling.
In April of 2015, a story circulated about a couple who bought a "rare" Princess Beanie Baby from a garage sale. This limited-edition toy was made to commemorate Diana, Princess of Wales, and proceeds benefited her memorial fund. The couple researched the value of the bear, and found that it was worth an astounding $93,000. They promptly put it on eBay for that price, and '90s kids everywhere went rushing to their old toy collections to see if they had any winners, too.
Bad news, collectors: this story is false. Most Beanie Babies are still selling below their original asking price, including Princess.
Video Game Cabinets Were Used To Experiment With Mind Control
Ever since the invention of video games, concerned parents have worried that they're a corrupting influence on the mind. All those worries came to a head when a rumor began spreading about a video game cabinet in arcades that could possibly control people's minds.
The legend of Polybius goes a little differently depending on who you hear it from. In Portland, OR in the early '80s, an arcade game supposedly started making people feel a little funny. They had headaches, did strange things, and felt like they could not control their actions. Then, mysterious men in black would show up to the arcade and collect data from the machine.
To this day, there is no actual evidence that the game existed, though there are many fan versions. Some have compared it to project MKUltra, but in reality, there is no sign that Polybius or any other video game has been used for mind control.
Furbies caused serious alarm for some parents. That anxiety stemmed from a myth that Furby could be used as a spy listening device, and was actually originally built for that purpose. After all, it could recognize your voice and respond to it - didn't that mean it was recording you? Even the NSA reportedly banned the toy from their offices, for fear it could be used to record information and spy for foreign forces.
Furby's manufacturer, Tiger Electronics, responded to the hysteria: "Although Furby is a clever toy, it does not record or mimic voices. The NSA did not do their homework. Furby is not a spy!"
Disney VHS tapes are rumored to be quite valuable. If you look on eBay, you may even see some of the tapes - particularly those featuring a black diamond that says "Classics" - priced at thousands of dollars. So, is this rumor true?
Not quite. Some tapes may be priced that high, but they're definitely not selling. In reality, most Disney VHS tapes sell for under $100.