Whilst I was grumbling about urban myths being propagated by Peter Rhodes the other day, that excellent local blogger Linda Mason has crafted a fine blog post about such dissemination elsewhere. Neighbourhood watch newsletters are notorious vectors of urban myths, usually retold by people who believe them and mean well. Classics I’ve seen repeated this way include the LSD tattoo thing, which seems to be due a resurgence soon, the burglars code, which often gets an outing in the mainstream media, and even the hairy-handed hitchhiker (last time I saw that it was about Sainsbury’s car park on the Orbital at Cannock, for heaven’s sake).
Whilst it’s always wise to check receipts and take basic security measures, rumour and sigh like this is making us all suspicious of each other, which can’t be a good thing. As Linda says, if you’re ever wondering about something you heard, particularly if it didn’t happen directly to the teller, check with Snopes, the best legend debunking site on the net.
Snopes is always worth a browse, just to see how many things one holds as fact that actually aren’t true – like water swirling the drain in the opposite direction down under…
Yesterday my Spring edition of the South Aldridge Watch popped through my letterbox. This is the magazine for the local neighbourhood watch scheme. My attention was perked by the article shown aside.
I fully appreciate that these magazines are mostly put together by volunteers and I applaud their commitment and the time that they dedicate, however this little piece is a well known hoax that has been circulating for the best part of a decade and a quick check on the excellent snopes.com reveals all.