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The Baby-Roast, also known as The Hippy Babysitter and The Cooked Baby, is an urban legend, in which a baby is roasted alive at home, usually during the absence of a parent. The Straight Dope, a newspaper column devoted to exposing myths, reported that it "is one of the classic urban legends", however, there have been real life instances where babies have been roasted.
In some versions, the baby is accidentally cooked when miscommunication occurs. For example, "put the turkey in the oven and the baby in the bed" is wrongly heard as "put the baby in the oven and the turkey in the bed". Other variants set out that the doer of the deed was drug or alcohol-induced or an insane individual. In the end, the roasted baby is served as food to be consumed by the parents.
The person who roasts the baby is usually a babysitter, the baby's sibling, or the mother herself.
In real life, there have been documented occurrences of babies being roasted. When Virginian Elizabeth Renee Otte roasted her baby in 1999, the incident was cited as causing the legend to become true. In November 2006, a second case of real-life baby-roasting was reported.
In February 2012, Ka Yang of California was charged with roasting her seven-week-old baby to death in a microwave. In her defence, she claimed she was having a "seizure fit" when it happened. In May 2012, a British citizen was arrested by Thai police after being found in possession of six corpses of roasted infants, some wrapped in gold leaf, reportedly in conformity with a "black magic ritual". In Siberia in January 2013, a roasted, dismembered baby was found by its mother, the alleged perpetrator being the infant's intoxicated uncle.
In popular culture
- Jan Harold Brunvand (1 January 2001). Encyclopedia of Urban Legends. ABC-CLIO. pp. 6–. ISBN 978-1-57607-076-5.
- "Did a stoned babysitter once microwave a baby?". The Straight Dope. February 3, 1984.
- Jan Harold Brunvand (2001). The Truth Never Stands in the Way of a Good Story. University of Illinois Press. pp. 55–. ISBN 978-0-252-07004-4.
- Timberg, Craig (September 28, 1999). "Mother Charged in Baby's Death". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
- Greene, Thomas C. (November 28, 2006). "Mom cooks baby in microwave oven - police". The Register.
- "Mother 'burned her baby to death in microwave because she was having a seizure fit'". Daily Mail. February 23, 2012.
- "Thai police arrest man after babies' bodies found roasted, wrapped in gold leaf". msn. May 12, 2013.
- Stewart, Will (January 24, 2013). "Drunk uncle 'chopped up 18-month-old niece then roasted body parts in the oven' while looking after toddler for her mother".
- Goodin, Dan (August 21, 2009). "Baby-roasting BBQ pulled from Sears site". The Register.