Furbys are back! As it returns to shelves, revisit some of the wild urban legends around Hasbro’s notorious toy.

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Furby toys are making a comeback courtesy of Hasbro. (Photo: GIF by Jay Sprogell for Yahoo / Photo: Getty Images)

Furby toys are making a comeback courtesy of Hasbro. (Photo: GIF by Jay Sprogell for Yahoo / Photo: Getty Images)

They’re baaaaack. It’s been seven years since those cuddly, squawky balls of fur known as Furbys were widely available on toy shelves. On July 15, Hasbro will release an all-new Furby line at most major retailers, including Amazon. This marks the fifth Furby generation after the 2016 batch, and this latest iteration has a host of new upgrades including more voice modes and over 600 unique responses to prompts.

It’s no accident that Hasbro picked this summer to re-launch the Furby-verse. After all, the interactive toy first hit shelves 25 years ago during the lucrative 1998 holiday season, and became that year’s must-have product. The toy giant is certainly hoping that history repeats itself, especially since the Furby brand has been dormant for the last few holiday cycles.

But Furby’s return also means that the various urban legends surrounding the toy will be going viral again as well. In case you’ve forgotten, here’s Yahoo Entertainment’s refresher on some of the bonkers myths that have attached themselves to their fur — which isn’t animal fur, we swear! — over the past quarter century.

A matter of national (in)security

Their name is Furby… that’s it, just Furby. Not long after the first wave of toys hit shelves in the late ’90s, the National Security Agency decided that Hasbro’s pint-sized robot toys might be spies in disguise. As reported in The Washington Post in 1999, the NSA issued a so-called “Furby Alert” banning the toys from security-laden locations like Maryland’s Fort Meade out of concern that the recorders built into their circuitry might tape state secrets that were being banded about the offices.

But Furby creator David Hampton has since put the kibosh on the suggestion that they had licenses to snoop. Speaking with Mel Magazine in 2022, he said that his creations didn’t record what they heard. Instead, they came pre-programmed with hundreds of English words that were unlocked as people communicated with them. “At first, it would start out speaking Furbish… and as you interacted with it more, you would advance the ‘age’ of the program, and so more and more English words would be introduced,” Hampton explained.

“[The NSA was] sucked into the illusion that Furby could learn and repeat things, so they just banned it,” Hampton continued. “But if they had just called me, they would know that the Furby was incapable of any of the things they were worried about.”

The haunting of Furby house

Type “Haunted Furby” into any search engine, and you’ll instantly be greeted by long lists of videos, images and message board threads describing allegedly possessed toys and the sometimes-drastic steps owners have taken to “exorcise” those demons. Early website like Furby Autopsy provide glimpses of what the toys look like when they’re stripped down to their metal bones, resulting in their slow deaths.

If anything, the Furby creep factor grew with successive generations. Reviews of the Furby Connect in 2016 referred to it as the “Spawn of Satan” due to its steady stream of nonsensical chatter and unnerving noises. And then there’s the theory that Furbys have been apex predators all along, eager to feast on human flesh.

Don’t expect the fifth generation of Furby toys to put those rumors to rest. But Hasbro is emphasizing that they want kids to see Furbys as friends, not foes. “Kids told us that it was important for Furby to be their ultimate best friend,” Kristin McKay, VP and general manager of Hasbro fashion and preschool, says in a statement received by Yahoo Entertainment. “A furry companion to do all the things a BFF would do, like dance to music, share fortunes, meditate, mimic each other in silly voices, and even put on a light show.” As for practicing the dark arts… well, that’s really more of a Gremlin thing.

Swearing is caring

Furbys may not be demonically possessed, but according to some parents they do have Pazuzu’s foul mouth. Adults have consistently complained that certain words — like “Hug me” for instance — sound a heck of a lot like swear words when coming out of a Furby’s mouth. Page Six reported in 2000 that a Wal-Mart store returned all of its Furbys to the manufacturer after parents complained.

But a spokesperson for the Hasbro-owned Tiger Electronics insisted that Furbys always keep it PG. “There is absolutely no foul language in Furby,” the spokesperson told Page Six. “It is simply a case of people mishearing.” And that’s the bleeping truth.

Doesn’t play well with others

IMADE DISTRIBUTED FOR HASBRO - FURBY PARTY ROCKERS creatures rock out in Hasbro’s showroom at the American International Toy Fair, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, in New York. Available this month, each of these funky friends has its own personality, and make a lively companion for the FURBY toy. (Photo by Jason DeCrow/Invision for Hasbro/AP Images)

Hasbro premieres Furby Party Rockers at the 2013 Toy Fair in New York. (Photo: Jason DeCrow/Invision for Hasbro/AP Images)

If you believed the rumors, Furbys had the power to make hearts stop and planes fall out of the sky. Reflecting the tech confusion that accompanied the early-aughts tech wave, it became a misguided, but widely-held misconception at the time that the relatively low-tech Furbys could frak up high-tech equipment.

The Federal Aviation Administration was particularly concerned that the toys could interfere with airline equipment, putting air travelers potentially at risk. That explanation never washed with experts, though. “I can just see the announcement being made: ‘Turn off your laptops, put away your gameboys, and don’t play with your Furby’,” aviation safety consultant Mike Boyd joked to CBS News in 1999.

Meanwhile, some hospitals actually considered a Furby ban after erroneous reports suggested that electromagnetic waves they emitted caused medical machines to go haywire, including defibrillators and ventilators. But a Canadian-led study corrected that suspicion with hard science, with the authors concluding it was “very unlikely” that Furbys would botch an important surgery.

Our fur-by friends

Ever wonder why a Furby is so soft? Well, it’s not because their fur comes from our furry dog and cat friends. That particular canard circulated for years after the toy line’s launch, with the Humane Society even allegedly sending out a press release decrying the practice. But much like the story, that press release was false and required a real correction from the Humane Society, per newspaper columnist Richard Roeper. So what are Furbys made of? Just snips, snails and… standard colorful acrylics. Your household pets can officially breathe sighs of relief.

Hasbro’s new Furby toys will be available July 15 at most major retailers including Amazon.

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