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Long before social media was around to keep us up to date on the ever-evolving zeitgeist, urban legends, myths and rumours of the ‘90s were spread in the schoolyard, often beginning with the whispers of something along the lines of “my cousin’s friend told me this true story …”
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Probably one of the most infamous of said rumours were regarding shock rocker Marilyn Manson, whose provocative rise to fame in the mid-’90s saw an explosion of wild stories supposedly about the singer do the rounds.
They ranged from the more innocent speculations that he appeared on The Wonder Years, to the far more bizarre allegation that he had a rib removed in order to perform autofellatio on himself, plus much more.
In his 1998 autobiography, The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell, the ‘Dope Show’ hitmaker addressed several of these rumours, albeit sarcastically, saying:“If I really got my ribs removed, I would have been busy sucking my own dick on The Wonder Years instead of chasing Winnie Cooper? Plus, who really has time to be killing puppies when you can be sucking your own dick? I think I’m gonna call the surgeon in the morning.”
Despite this, those outside Manson’s fanbase are often shocked upon learning that the self-proclaimed God of Fuck didn’t actually sacrifice puppies into a bloodthirsty crowd of fans at his show. They simply continued to assume the tale was legitimate because, well, it was Marilyn Manson, the musical equivalent of the boogeyman—or so we had been led to believe.
We’ve rounded up some of these infamous rumours surrounding Marilyn Manson, and take a look at the (surprising) origins of some of the more shocking stories.
Marilyn Manson had a rib removed in order to be able to blow himself:
Straight into what is probably the most well-known rumour of them all, the ‘SAY 10’ rocker has long been rumoured to have had a rib (or ribs) surgically removed in order to perform autofellatio on himself.
Ignoring the physical impracticalities of such a surgery, Marilyn Manson has addressed this countless times since the story emerged nearly three decades ago, but for whatever reason, people still believe this insane tale to this day.
The rumour likely began after the 27th of December 1994, when Marilyn Manson was arrested after a show for “violating the adult entertainment code”.
Police arrested him after being under the impression that Manson had performed oral sex on a man while performing on stage, but as it turns out, he wasn’t—rather, it was Jack Off Jill vocalist, Jessicka, who was apparently wearing a prosthetic penis at the gig, with Manson stimulating oral sex on the appendage.
He was held for 16 hours before being released without charge.
He had the audience slaughter puppies at his shows:
You all remember this one; it’s the story of ‘some sick dude Marilyn Manson’ who threw puppies into a crowd of rabid, Satan-worshipping fans, telling them he would not be starting the show until the puppies were killed.
Speaking to Spin in 2009, Manson dismissed these insane rumours, explaining that they had been spread by a radical Christian group who wanted his shows shut down.
“The Christian Coalition said I was throwing puppies and cocaine into the audience and demanding they kill the dogs and do the drugs, when, in fact, I’ve never hurt an animal and I don’t give away drugs for free.”
Substitute ‘Marilyn Manson’ with ‘Ozzy Osbourne‘ or Alice Cooper and you’ve got one of rock’s oldest rumours, used as a tool to sway youths from the evil of rock ‘n’ roll.
Even Alice Cooper himself has noted this phenomenon, once saying: “I hear 10 Marilyn Manson rumours a day—I used to hear that many Alice Cooper rumours.”
“I never set a German shepherd on fire. We had the kitten thing, too, [tossing a bag of kittens into the audience to be killed]. Here’s another one: Marilyn Manson’s father was Captain Kangaroo. It was in every newspaper that my father was Mr Green Jeans. Every time I hear a new Marilyn Manson story, I can tell you what’s going to happen next because I’ll tell you what happened to me.”
Marilyn Manson was Paul in The Wonder Years:
In what is probably the most wholesome of Marilyn Manson rumours, there were whispers circulating that the star—prior to his musical horror/glam rock persona—played the role of Paul Pfeiffer, Kevin Arnold’s geeky, Milhouse-esque mate on The Wonder Years.
Considering that Manson was 19 when the series started in 1988, this already seems wildly unlikely. In fact, Marilyn Manson And The Spooky Kids formed in December 1989, when he was at college, and during the time that the third season of The Wonder Years was airing on TV in the US.
Oh, plus there’s the fact that Paul was actually played by child actor Josh Saviano – and Manson’s real name, as we know, is Brian Warner.
He planned to take his life on stage:
On Halloween night back in 1996, whispers had spread that Manson had planned to take his own life while performing at the Convention Centre in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
Obviously, that didn’t end up happening, with Manson addressing the rumour during a 1999 interview with Rolling Stone, saying:
“I started to think, ‘Maybe I have to kill myself, maybe that’s what I was supposed to do.’ Then, when we were performing on Halloween, there was a bomb threat. I guess someone thought they would take care of the situation for me. It was one of those moments where chaos had control.”