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Shamboiling

If you remember any of the previous fads we’ve covered here, you’ll know that people used to do some very strange things. Rolling a bed was actually a way people used to spend their time. Today I thought we’d take a look at another crazy thing people were supposed to have done. We’ll get into the “supposed to” a little later.

Teens were said to have taken any old brand of shampoo and boiled it on the stove in order to release the ingredient ammonium lauryl sulfate. Once the shampoo hit the right temperature you could inhale the fumes (cause it’s ammonia right?) and receive a powerful hallucinogenic high. Meanwhile, there is no evidence that ammonium lauryl sulfate produces any such effect. In shampoo, all sulfates are only responsible for the sudsing of said shampoo. The only thing that sulfates are dangerous or destructive to is hair that has been colored as it strips keratin.

This so-called fad caught on — and it wasn’t actually a real thing — because it seemed to stem from a reliable source: CNN. Except that it actually came from a CNN iReport which is user-submitted content that CNN doesn’t check. People who didn’t know what iReports were focused on the CNN logo instead and spread the story virally. CNN had to update the post to state that they had contacted the DEA and other authorities who had no evidence of people ever engaging in the activity nor that it was true.