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Casino snakes reach meme status: Facebook stories of slithering snakes a hoax

Rampant rumors online that snakes are biting gamblers at an eastern Pennsylvania casino resort are all a hoax, say officials.
Rampant rumors online that snakes are biting gamblers at an eastern Pennsylvania casino resort are all a hoax, say officials.Zimbio/Getty Images

Reports of casino snakes biting customers took on meme status this week, after the myth got its start on Facebook. Reps from the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Pennsylvania finally had to issue a statement denying the persistent rumors that snakes were slithering around their establishment and biting customers.

"There have been no reported incidents of snakes on our property," casino rep Julia Corwin said in a statement issued Tuesday. "We do not allow any animals on property with the exception of Service animals.", she said according to the Allentown Morning Call on Jan. 28.

Corwin said that she and the casino wanted to just let the rumor die a natural death, but she chose to prepare an official response because it spread so quickly.

The legends repeated over and over in emails and on Facebook are very consistent. Supposedly a "close family friend" went to the casino, noticed a bite they first assumed was from an insect, but were then told by their doctor that it was a snake bite.

The doctor then tells them that they're the 14th patient bitten at the Sands Casino in the past week. The story continues that the snakes are being brought in by gamblers who consider the reptilian creatures lucky.

A first-grade teacher from Moore Township, Jennifer Horn, gave a possible explanation of how this meme may have gotten started Tuesday. She was at the casino back on Nov. 10 when she felt what she thought was an insect bite.

Horn said the next day her doctor indicated it looked like a snake bite. By the time the Bethlehem Health Bureau heard about the case, it was too late to look back at the Sands' surveillance video.

Horn was treated with antibiotics. The health bureau closed the case after St. Luke's and Lehigh Valley hospitals reported that neither had treated a snake bite in 2013.

But that didn't stop the incident from taking on a life of its own and spreading across Facebook, until it became a full-blown legend this week.

So there you have it, a mutant 160-foot squid from the waters outside the Fukushima nuclear plant didn't wash up on a California beach, all newborn babies are not being micro-chipped across Europe, and snakes are not slinking around the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pa..