November 5, 1999

Don't believe everything you read, especially if it's on the Internet. Because of my public visibility and presence on various web pages, I get a lot more e-mail messages than most people do. So I probably see a higher percentage of rumors than most people. Yet, I am amazed at the number of rumors flying around the Internet.

Let's see. . . There are the relatively harmless ones like the promise that you will get free M&Ms if you forward an e-mail message to someone. This apparently has mutated into the belief that IBM will send you a free computer if you forward a particular e-mail. Supposedly IBM is doing this because of a recent merger between Hewlett-Packard and Gateway. As my teenage daughter likes to say, Yeah right! Oh, and don't forget about the GAP offering free clothing because of a supposed merger with Abercrombie and Fitch.

Some other rumors are harmful to companies. One example would be the false rumor that the President of Proctor and Gamble announced he was a Satanist on the Sally Jesse Raphael Show. The original rumor had this happening on the Donahue Show. And then there's the rumor that the designer Liz Claiborne told the Oprah audience that she donates profits to the Church of Satan. None of these rumors are true, yet these e-mails show up in my in-box on a regular basis.

Finally there are the "fear" e-mails. These include the rumor that ATM deposit envelopes are laced with cyanide and that pay phone buttons have LSD or strychnine on them. Another is that HIV-tainted needles can be found in some movie theater seats.

Well, I could go on, but you get the idea. When you read something or hear something, check it out. [Webservant's note: In my humble opinion, the Urban Legends and Folklore page should come automatically bookmarked in new computers! It's at] It's quite possible it's nothing than a false rumor.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.