Just to prove that Internet rumors don't have to involve Barack Obama, Snopes.com describes the best tale to attach itself to a corporate trademark since Proctor & Gamble had to scrub a Satanic moon man off its products:
Claim: A pact with the Devil to save a cancer-stricken child resulted in the creation of the Hello Kitty brand….
The rumor gained its start from a 2008 e-mail rendered in Spanish, which asserted that the frantic parents of a 12-year-old girl stricken with cancer of the mouth made a pact with the Devil to bring to worldwide fame a character alluring to children in exchange for their daughter's return to health. The fatuous account asserts "kitty" is a Chinese word meaning "demon," thus Hello Kitty means "hello demon"—that is, those who fall for the character's charms are welcoming the Devil and all his minions into their hearts….The e-mail also asserts that Hello Kitty's lack of a mouth stems from that fictitious 12-year-old's illness; the girl had cancer of the mouth, so the character created to spare her life lacks that feature.
Snopes rules the rumor "FALSE," but who do they think they're fooling? The site quotes a Hello Kitty spokesman explaining the cat's reverse-Cheshire face: "Without the mouth, it is easier for the person looking at Hello Kitty to project their feelings on to the character. The person can be happy or sad together with Hello Kitty." Sounds like an occult ritual to me. Snopes also informs us that "Hello Kitty is Japanese, not Chinese, in origin, and we're wholly unaware of any Chinese language (there are many) wherein 'kitty' means 'demon.'" Note that it carefully avoids telling us what "kitty" means in Japanese. I smell a cover-up.
Bonus rumor: "Cabbage Patch dolls were designed to get people accustomed to the appearance of mutants following a thermonuclear war."
[Via Infocult, from which I also poached the picture.]