December 10, 2009
"How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is a Dr. Seuss story that most people have read. Each year around Christmas time, the old myth that the story was based in Charlottesville is spread.
From the first release of Dr. Seuss's beloved book, Charlottesville's Wahoos were hooked on Who-ville.
'People are always surprised to learn the truth about it because its nothing like most people imagine," says Dr. Jared Loewenstein, a UVa Reference Librarian.
For years, UVa's Head of Reference has been proving the myth untrue, stating that Seuss's book is merely fiction, and not about the 'Hoos.
"Originally in the book, who's were actually spelled w-h-o-s not h-o-o-s, and that fact seems to have gotten lost somewhere in the whole story."
Since the Hoo spelling similarity has been addressed, let's put another coincidence to rest, like the "house on the hill" reference.
"I know students in particular always like to look up there and talk about the house and some of the legends associated with it. I think it's largely because it's the sort of some place you can't go and see, so its easy to start making up stories about it," says Dr. Loewenstein.
Although the urban legend makes for a great story, there's really not much truth to the allegory.
Apparently, Whoville and Hooville are two very different places, but the myth still lives on.
We welcome your comments on this story.