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April 01, 2007


Charles Henry

Very good write-up for this episode.
I was a little shocked to learn that the story never happened! All this time I had thought it was a weird-but-true historical event.

I was also surprised to learn that the source was Alexander Woolcott's collection of articles, "While Rome Burns".

I have that book, well a 1942 reprint edition of the '34 original, and I cannot find any reference to any Vanishing Lady stories in this collection. Was the story dropped from later editions? I wonder if it's an urban legend in itself that Woolcott wrote an article about this Parisian urban legend..!

Love your site, very glad I found it.


Hi Charles,
Thanks so much. I'm glad you found us, too! I don't have a copy of While Rome Burns here in front of me, but I do have a copy of The Encyclopedia of Urban Legends by Jan Harold Brunvand. In the footnotes for the entry about "The Vanishing Lady" he references pages 87-94 of the 1934 edition of While Rome Burns. - Christine


Very cool! I just listened to this episode, totally enthralled! Thank goodnes for the internet age where I could look it up quickly. This story really gave me chills!

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