For more than four decades, a strange story has circulated both inside and outside of the academy concerning a 1970s experiment in which foods dyed strange colors were served under “special” lighting that made them appear normal. When the true colors of the meal were revealed, the experimental subjects became agitated and ill. This article explores the origins of the story and its proliferation in prominent newspapers, magazines, and peer-reviewed journals, and speculates as to the nature of its appeal and endurance.

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