WorldNet Daily - Exposed : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Well, well. Looks like trouble in the world of Doom and Gloom.

A couple of threads here are referencing the "exclusive" from WorldNet Daily, around Banks seizing accounts:

WorldNet Daily Story

The supposed source is Greg Caton, president of Lumen Foods.

Lo and behold, what does Greg have to say?

False World Net Daily Report

"This morning I received a phone call from a friend of ours in Sulphur, Louisiana. 'You won't believe this,' Theresa Monceaux told me, a regular reader of the internet publication, World Net Daily. 'You're made the front page of World Net Daily and they're saying that your credit card company has accused you of fraud.' "

"That's not possible, Theresa," I said firmly, "This never happened, we have excellent relations with our processor, First Data -- and besides, I've never spoken to anybody at World Net Daily."

"Go see for yourself," said replied.

I did... and then I called our corporate attorney.

Those of us who have worked the web these five years or so know that it's easy for someone to make wild, unsubstantiated comments. But you normally don't see something this wild from an internet publication that expects to be in business six months from now.

I have sent the publisher of World Net Daily, Joseph Farah, a letter of my own, and I intend to make internet libel an issue in press releases that will be going out this week to publicize this kind of irresponsible journalism.

You can reach me at; you can reach the editor of World Net Daily, Mr. Joseph Farah at, and you can read about the legal results in these highly actionable misstatements of fact in your local newspaper. Soon.

-- Hoffmeister (, April 14, 1999


Even better, see this Letter from Greg Caton to WND: An Open Letter to the Publisher
of World Net Daily concerning
their false report of April 14, 1999
Lumen Foods
Lake Charles, La. 70601

April 14, 1999

Mr. Joseph Farah

Dear Mr. Farah,

I just read your latest headline (World Net Daily,
"Banks seizing Y2K supplier funds," 4/14/99), in which
our company has "front and center" prominent mention.
Frankly, I can't believe you people are so unbelieveably
irresponsible.  Your statements concerning Lumen Foods
are totally false, unconfirmable, pernicious, and libelous.

I made one very simple comment to Mike at y2knewswire about
a week ago, the only source you quote (because no one from World Net
Daily has ever talked to me-- ever):  last January we were
called by our credit card processor, First Data, to ask why
there was such a large increase in credit card sales.  
As most credit card merchants already know, if you have a
dramatic increase in sales, your credit card processor has
a right to "review" your account to make sure everything is
in proper order.   They are, after all, unsecured creditors.
Credit card companies have a right to ensure that their
merchants, any of one them, is not abusing their priveleges.
And their "review" policy stems (among other things, including
common sense) from many instances where a legitimate merchant
sells his company to another party, and that new party runs
overcharges, "stolen cards," or other fraudulent deposits at
the expense of innocent cardholders.  I totally see why credit
card processors have a "review policy," and I was not upset
when my card company asked me for information.
I was happy to oblige.

In our case, I gave a Mr. John Smith (yes, that's his real name)
in the Security Dept. at First Data our latest financials, access
to our web page, and our "hit count" script page so they could
verify the gigantic increase in traffic we were getting.

What happened?   We passed their review without further incident.

At no time was money in any of our accounts ever touched, as you
falsely report.   At no time did we ever get a call from our bank,
as you falsely report.  And at no time were we ever accused of
fraud, as you also falsely report.    

One small thing:  You quote me as President of Lumen Foods.  I am not.
I am this company's founder... my wife, Cathryn E. Caton,
is the President.   But this is small compared to your
other huge, aggregious errors.

Your comments are libelous, pernicious and irresponsible.
I expect a retraction and a full-page article explaining
what really happened.

What makes this situation so irresponsible is that no one
ever called me from World Net Daily.   For God's sake, you
could have ever called our 800 number (it's on our home
page) to ask if your reporter's comments were true.
You didn't even attempt to confirm the truthfulness of
your headline article.   How foolish.

Fact is, I can put you in touch with First Data to confirm
every one of my comments concerning credit card processing,
in general, and our standing, in particular.

To protect our company you can be sure that I will be
spending the balance of my day at the very places where
World Net Daily readers hang out (i.e.
letting them know that World Net Daily is not a place
where you will find responsible journalism.

Moreover (and this is regretable because we do not, by nature,
tend towards litigation) you can be sure that you'll be hearing
from our attorney.

Greg Caton
Lumen Foods  (
April 14, 1999 (10:35 a.m. CDT)
Lake Charles, Louisiana

-- Hoffmeister (, April 14, 1999.

Out-effing-rageous! I hope Greg sues the hell out of World Net. Please, y'all go visit his site at, order something, help pay lawyer's fees! Greg, one of the kindest people I know, sells great soybean meat-look alikes--the "fines" are particularly good value. Your kids will love the jerky (probably the regular flavor, although there's wild and hot pastrami). There are special Y2K dinners in 5-gall pails, good for 5 years. Soy milk. Mixes. Rice. Beans. Buckets, oxygen absorbers, etc. All kinds of good stuff

Lead time on regular products--shipped within 48 hours. (And I ate some jerky today that I got last August--nothing wrong with it.) The Y2K specials are running about 4 weeks behind.

-- Old Git (, April 14, 1999.

This sounds like a "setup" to me. I realize that WorldNetDaily is not real big on pushing the wonderful world of "Diversity & Multiculturalism", but they do confirm their sources.

I think it safe to say that WorldNetDaily was lied to by somebody. I wish I knew why...

-- Anonymous99 (, April 14, 1999.


A provider of perma-food for the underground bunker crowd is blindsided by one of the oracles of that same group. And now theories of a conspiracy? It doesn't get any better than this.

What's the shelf life of irony, if properly stored in a vacuum-sealed container?

-- Chuckles (, April 14, 1999.

I think it's obviously a setup, to discredit WND. They are scrupulous fact-checkers, and I hope they expose and trumpet this incident of "rat f*cking" rather than cave in to to legal threats.

They are stridently anti-NWO. They've made enemies of the Clinton administration, the Justice Department, and the Military by exposing Y2k, "domestic anti-terrorism" (police state) preparations, and other under- or non-reported subjects. They've broken a number of big stories, and stuck with others (the Clinton rape accusations) when others tucked tail and whimpered before their masters. Not hard to see why they were targeted.


-- Dano (bookem@blacksand.srf), April 14, 1999.

You are right Anonymous, it is a setup and the Supreme Court is behind it and other nefarious doings. Meet Diane!

Diane 'Swallows' An Onion

-- Sheesh!! (, April 14, 1999.

WorldNetDaily has been on top of MANY first rate stories. They have exposed many government coverups. I am sure there is a credible answer here.

My question to Hoffmeister, whose payroll are you on? Ray

-- Ray (, April 14, 1999.

Sure. Setup. By Whom?

Greg Caton? LOL. This guy is somewhere to the right of Infomagic on the Y2k scale. Check out some of his posts, at c.s.y2k or other places.

Y2KLOSERWIRE? Now that would be funny!

-- Hoffmeister (, April 14, 1999.

WorldNetDaily is either being setup, or has made a mistake. I rate them #1 for news on the 'net. They have COURAGE and INTEGRITY, what other news organization has that today! I will STAND by WND and see how this all pans out. Who's with me?

-- Buffalo Bob (, April 14, 1999.

Diane has at least one person who trolls using her name...I would suspect this is the case with the above citation to previous Yourdon thread about the Supreme Court...In past months, when Diane posts humor she says so plainly Definitely not Diane's style. I on the other hand LOVE The Onion and post links to them on a regular basis.

Here's one of my recent favorites: Bottom Of Barrel Dangerouly Overscraped, Experts Warn

Hmmmm,...Let's see,...where WAS that recent thread on "Disinformation"?

Can you say "whisper campaign"? I knew you could.

-- Donna Barthuley (, April 14, 1999.

I think that I will extend the same mercy to WND that I do to all of the other major media outlets. They make mistakes sometimes. I will still read WND. (If it really was a mistake and not a bad witness.) One thing that smells bad to me is that the article *was* protective of Lumen Foods. It was suggesting bank malpractice. Shouldn't the bank be suing? WND has got to know that stuff like this is bound to come up. What would they sue for anyway... freely speaking? If they sue WND, they sue us all.

-- Reporter (, April 14, 1999.

"They make mistakes sometimes"???

Sure, sometimes mistakes are made.

But directly quoting someone as making a call they never made, doesn't strike me as, errr, just a "mistake".

-- Hoffmeister (, April 14, 1999.

In this instance World Net Daily is wrong. Good. Any investigative journalist should be called on the carpet when wrong.

On the Urban Warior pieces, we found LOTS of confirming information from other sources.

(Yes, the Onion got me on this one ... mea culpua ... cleaning carpet).

But you must admit, that I try to check sources to confirm or deny. I posted because I wanted help from the group with that. If you really want some interesting reading, just go read Clinton's Executive Orders at the White House web-site to sober you up!


-- Diane J. Squire (, April 14, 1999.

They (WorldNetDaily) have also been specifically targetted for several audits by Clinton's IRS - the lawsuit is running now in CA - and so very likely could have been "set up" - if so, the question should become - by who?

If they have made an error - same question - who do it, what was his/her reference, etc. Note though, that the basic question and response of this particular interview was correct: there was a large increase in credit card sales TO a single institution, the bank noted this, the bank investigated the institution AND its customers.

My premis (in my original posting protesting the treatment of Y2K suppliers by the banking industry) was that unlike this instance in the past - where the credit records and accounts and basic function of th einvestigated supplier was NOT interfered with by the bank - is that NOW, apparently the banks are apparenetly deliberately (?) "slowing down" their investigation, keeping account frozen, keeping records, keeping money, losing interest on the money frozen, not allowing bills to be paid, and supplies sent, etc.

The possible difference between then and the later stories? - the pressure by (?) on (?) the banking industry from the administration, the degree of pressure that the administration wants to apply on the Y2K "suppliers", the degree of frustration and resentment that the administration has towards a group of people who refuse to listen to their line, ????

Another interesting question - how many of those who are actively in the Y2K supply business in different ways have been auditted, will be auditted by Clinton's IRS?

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, April 14, 1999.

How do we know that the statements were never made to WND?

-- Reporter (, April 14, 1999.

What about Greg Jones of Noah's pantry? Huh Hoff?

-- a (a@a.a), April 14, 1999.

In your defense, Diane, I would point out that 'governments' in perpetuity have as their raison d'etre that those they 'govern, rule, oppress', can't make their own decisions. Based on that, it's not that large a stretch to assume that the august old men (!) in DeeCee, might have the audacity to rule that us poor ignorant children can't be trusted to make our own decisions. Caramba! I better watch it,...every time I start sounding like Ted, the Unabomber, the men in the white coats pay me a visit. ;-)

-She wearing a flapping sheet, standing upon the hill, whispering, "It's all foma, folks."

-- Donna Barthuley (, April 14, 1999.


I've worked with a company experiencing exponential growth in sales. We were with Card Service International -- one of the companies the World Net Daily article quotes.

Every company has a monthly credit card sales range they are limited to, on the top end. You risk losing your account if you go over the limit. There were times when we reached our limit, mid-month and had to hold the CC sales to post on the first of the next month so as not to ruin our standing. Whenever we needed a limit increase, we had to apply for it, provide supporting documentation, and wait a week or so for a "decision."

It's normal operating procedure for CC merchant companies. Luckily, because we had a history of few chargebacks (returns) our monthly limits were always increased per request.


-- Diane J. Squire (, April 14, 1999.

World Net Daily is a rag. So right it reeks.

-- gilda jessie (, April 14, 1999.


Is seisure typical?

-- Reporter (, April 14, 1999.

I mean "seizure" of 60,000 in funds

-- Reporter (, April 14, 1999.


Remember when White House Operatives PLANTED the story about Clinton siring an illigetimate kid of a prostitute to discredit Clinton's detractors?

This Administration is FAMOUS for doing just this kind of thing.

This smells foul, and no, it wasn't me. Haven't had beano in awhile.

It's a Clinton set-up that smells as bad as a chili-cheese-onion- blossom-with-horseradish-dip-and-a-cold-Miller SBD.

-- INVAR (, April 14, 1999.

There's nothing wrong with the basis of the article. I think it a good thing that banks check on extraordinary purchases. I've been grateful the few times I've been called, knowing they were checking for possible fraud.

No, the point here is that WND apparently felt the need to sensationalize the article by attributing the quotes to Greg Caton, and make it appear Y2k Vendors are being singled out. Personally, I don't think it could have happened to a nicer fellow; some of the posts I've seen from him are pretty far gone. But that doesn't change what they apparently did.

How many other articles contain the same?

-- Hoffmeister (, April 14, 1999.

I'm not right-wing. I believe in affirmitive-action, diversity and tolerance, food-stamps, taxation... But WND has vindicated itself, like Drudge, and made a lot of enemies in the process. WND is socially conservative, but it also tells the truth about bankers trying to take over the world (and subsequent phenomenon). If you want to see "right wing", wait until Clinton's handlers get what they want. Left and right mean nothing to them; they are the crook and flail of the same old Pharoah, driving the herd...


-- Dano (bookem@blacksand.srf), April 14, 1999.

What they said about Lumen's may not have been true, but last week I had all my deposits frozen for a week. They requested an entire batch of invoices with names and addresses from me from a certain day. How do I know whether or not they contacted any of those customers? And freezing up my deposits caused me to have overdrawn checks because of automatic withdrawals that were made thinking that the deposits were in there. I totally believe the story as content because one of my suppliers has also had over $80,000 frozen for the last few weeks, some of that money being mine! Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

-- VendorX (a, April 14, 1999.

I BELIEVE YOU, VENDOR X! Thanks for posting.

This man is courageous even to post anonymously, given the billion-dollar mobilization against Y2k awareness now taking place. The elites are TERRIFIED of a loss of investor/depositor confidence. They are TERRIFIED at our loss of "faith in the system." To them SELF-RELIANCE is a "harmful virus" ("meme") that needs to be stamped out. This is just the beginning. Wait until the system does crash, and see what they'll resort to to keep people from determining the fate of their own communities. You'll see the true face of the globalist hive-masters who have been undermining your freedoms while you were sleeping.


-- Dano (bookem@blacksand.srf), April 14, 1999.

"globalist hive-masters"?

Who needs the GNBFI site when we have ultra-maroons like Dano bottom burping his NWO fears. Who said comedy was dead?

-- Y2K Pro (, April 14, 1999.

If World Net Daily says it's sunny, bring an umbrella.

-- Dirt Road (, April 14, 1999.


I wouldn't call the term seizure.

Placing the funds "on hold" until the investigation is complete, is allowable under the terms of the CC merchant agreement each vendor signs.

If they find the funds were unauthorized by the pruchaser, they'll back them out of your account and you could loose your charging abilities. It's up to you to "prove" purchases, especially with phone sales, and that they are acceptable. At least, at point-of-purchase, you have a customer signature for documentation.

There was a move last year to charge two different CC rates for companies with a majority of phone charge sales.

If you collected more information from you customer, and entered it in your electronic terminal, for verification, you'd get the lower rate. ID used is the "current" numbers of the purchaser's street address and their current zip code.


-- Diane J. Squire (, April 14, 1999.

WorldNetDaily will have lots more to EXPOSE in the coming weeks and months.Kkeep your eye on one of the FEW honest news sites.

Hoffmeister and crew keep on listening to Dan, Tom and Peter for the most up to date SHAM reporting on current events. Oh yes, and lest I forget if you really want to know what is being piped out of the WH listen their direct news conduit CNN.


-- Ray (, April 14, 1999.

I'm sure they will, Ray. I'm sure they will.

Heck, some of them might even be true.

-- Hoffmeister (, April 14, 1999.

This is truly beautiful. This thread shows the lack of objectivity of many of the D & G crowd on this forum. When USA Today or the Chicago Tribune puts out a Y2K story that is not doomer-friendly, the media and the paper are attacked, accused of spin, etc. Now when that bastion of truth, the World Net Daily pinches out a load of crap, they run to support it, whispering "conspiracy" and "set-up". You can pretty much bet that the wheels are turning at World Net Daily, and they'll will come up with some type of B.S. that blames their faux pas on a third party. BTW, I hardly doubt that the Clinton administration sees World Net Daily as threat, at least no more than the Weekly World News or the Enquirer. I hope the thread keeps rolling. I love to laugh.

-- brickhouse (, April 14, 1999.

The beehive is, and has been, a symbol of totalitarianism: from medieval heraldry to modern industrial socialism to the (massively, curiously, popular) X-files - "Y2kignoramus."

Totalitarianism. You read Sinclair Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here" (well, the cover, anyway) and thought: "Uh. Yup, he's right. It can't." No, it's not like the whole STRUCTURE OF OUR GOVERNMENT IS DESIGNED ON THE PRINCIPLE THAT TOTALITARIANISM IS AN EVER-PRESENT INTERNAL DANGER. When it comes, it will be thanks to pampered, perfumed pusilanimous pollyannas like you.

In any case, we'll find out, won't we?


-- Dano (bookem@blacksand.srf), April 14, 1999. sayeth the King of the fart-catchers...

-- Y2K pro (, April 14, 1999.


Were not talking about the Clinton administration here. We're talking about THE BANKS, yes? Since international banks control national economies, control the purse-strings for war and peace alike, we learned all about them in High-School: their origins, their owners; how they operate; their relationship to the micro-banking system; their history in financing international conflict, etc.. Hmm...didn't we? We must have learned about them. What about undergraduate studies? Surely that information is central to understanding macroeconomics., not there.

Must have been Worldnetdaily.

If you're idea of "objectivity" is "whatever shows up in USA Today," your mindless stupor is a walking advertisement for alternative news sources. You are thinking like a herd animal, a hive insect. Even when you're in line for the slaughterhouse, I'm sure you'll have a sarcastic quip for us.


-- Dano (bookem@blacksand.srf), April 14, 1999.

For what it's worth, there is as much "hive-mentality" here in the so-called free world as there ever was in any totalitarian state. Look to you own mind. Examine yourself, rather than criticize others...the rabid flames tell more about your hive-mentality than the average sleeper would suspect.

If you always do what you've what you've always done,
you'll always get what you've always got.
So if you want change,
try anything else. -from Neurolinguistic Programming

-- Donna Barthuley (, April 14, 1999.

I'm trying to make a point, and these adolescents can only drop their pants and wiggle their narrow pimply asses at me. "Yah-boo!" is not a rebuttal. When it comes down to the core issues, these amateur propagandists can only display their complete lack of substance.

I've brought up a number of ideas about the meaning of what's going on here, RE the topic of this thread, and all we get from them is: "Get in line" "Believe what you're told" "Don't research independently or trust your own judgement" "ideas counter to official opinion are ridiculous a priori" Well, this is crap, guys. That's why people are seeking out the DrudgeReport and Worldnetdaily. They're sick of the line their being fed to them by the media cartel, and they're repelled by the effect that diet of pablum has: minds (I use the term generously) like YOURS.


-- Dano (bookem@blacksand.srf), April 14, 1999.


Was that directed at me?

Maybe NLP will bring back the 4th amendment (just imagine it getting very very big, while the number of unconstitutional violations of our privacy gets very, very small). Maybe NLP will stop civil seizure, gun sweeps, etc.. These are the first thrusts in the rape of our "free" society - and I make no apology for this analogy. If you think I am "rabid" in my opposition to totalitarianism, you need to take a visit to a WWII cemetery and imagine how those guys would feel about our self-centered squandering of the freedoms they died for.

I've offered some principles, some ideas, and some directions for research and discussion. All I've gotten in return are jeers and new-age platitudes. I'm out of here.


-- Dano (bookem@blacksand.srf), April 14, 1999.

Other gems from WorldNetDaily:

"Referees conspire to divest Lakers of ball in 100-96 overtime loss"

"Liberal garment producers create penis-suffocating underwear"

"How Gary Coleman killed Nicole and pinned it on O.J."

"McDonald's to secretly reduce number of pickles on hamburgers from 3 to 2: Resultant reduction of carbohydrates to weaken the general populace and allow for the implementation of martial law"

"That stuff on your sandwich may not be mayonnaise: And it was probably put there by communists or liberals"

"WorldNetDaily endorses North/Bell ticket for 2004"

-- CJS (, April 14, 1999.


Very funny.

Except none of those can be found on WorldNetDaily. I think you're looking for

Some on this thread are discussing the merits of the WND story, and you're (perhaps w/o a malicious intent) just confusing things by attributing to WND, statements they didn't make.

Come to think of it, maybe that's the topic we're on.

Have a nice day.

-- louison (youcan', April 14, 1999.

Dano, my post was directed at anyone who consistantly looks outside of themselves, to external cues, for what's wrong with the world. Sakes knows, there is gobs wrong with the world. I refer to myself as one 'recovering from western civilization'. Be that as it may, to see "hive-mentality" only in so-called totalitarian states is a mistake. I'm not sure I was addressing my post directly to you....I get weary of gross generalizations, and people who post things full of "we" and "they", and "you, you, you". If you personalized your posts with first-hand experience I would understand better where you were coming from. Dogma is like neon lights...Instead give me your experience. Use I-statements. I realize popular culture does not encourage it, but it does go a long way toward clear communication. "I think, I believe, I feel, I see, I experience",...etc.

My main thought is that there is far too much projection of "the evil" outward upon all those "totalitarian states" OUT THERE. The so-called free place we live in is not as free as the PR would have us all think and believe.

"It's okay,...I mean you no harm." -from the movie "Starman"

-- Donna Barthuley (, April 14, 1999.

WND is a rag. They see a communist behind every bush, a socialist in every public toilet stall; if Clinton were to fall over dead tomorrow they would claim he did it to gain sympathy, or to make Ken Starr look bad, or to avoid dealing with his contempt charge, or to avoid responsibility for his illegimate, Siamese twin boys who have the mark of the beast on their pee pee's. But soybeans are great!

-- gilda jessie (, April 14, 1999.

I offer for consideration the "fact" that this thread - and the associated back-and-forth "I told you so" of almost equally "religiously" held views regarding the accuracy of WND, the mainstream liberal press, the Clinton Press, and the socialists - international, internal, and media-dominiating (and I'm looking at both sides here - both sides, including my own, have equally strong intolerant views) .

Anyway - this thread holds as its single premis the single "unsubstantiated" second-hand comments from a single unsubstantiated anomynous person who sent a single unsubstantiated email to a second person quoting a fourth person who claims he, in turn, was NOT interviewed by a national internet news company.

However, this fourth person did NOT deny anything in the report itself, and the only problem appears to be the fact that he was not "quoted" as indicated. But the facts of the article were not in dispute, the implication of the article were "backed up" independently by another person above, and the story itself - given the known prior behavior of Clinton's administration - is not shown to be wrong.

Though I admit - many new submitters certainly chimed in real quickly condemning one of the very few media outlets who oppose the crimes of this administration.

The rest are paid very well to maintain their support aren't they - 5 billion in anti-drug paid advertising and 4 billion in anti-smoking advertising extorted from the cigarette companies will certainly turn a few executive heads won't it?

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, April 14, 1999.

Mr. Cook, interesting post. Doesn't the WND back and forth remind you of the game of Gossip we played when we were kids.

-- gilda jessie (, April 14, 1999.

Gee, Robert, and I thought the premise of this thread was that WorldNet Daily had inserted a fabricated quote into an article, a quote immediately denied by the source.

My bad.

-- Hoffmeister (, April 14, 1999.

I encourage anyone who has endured this thread thus far to go over to for a week or so and catch one of the last independent news sources available. is the only other comparable source I can think of. Then, *gasp!* - make up your own mind. While that's still legal.


It's their word against WNDs, at this point.


Don't get "lost in the sauce." I'm aware of the intersubjective creation of reality. But sometimes you need to use a hammer, and treason and dirty tricks (like the sabotaging one of the last bastions of a free press) is one of those times.


-- Dano (bookem@blacksand.srf), April 14, 1999.

RUMORS ABOUND, e_indestructible_in_cyberspace+.shtml

Unfounded rumors can prove indestructible in cyberspace

By Patti Hartigan, Globe Staff, 04/09/99

phony Web site touting a mythical corporate takeover sent stock prices soaring - and then plummeting - on Wall Street Wednesday. It hammered home an important lesson that is often lost in the hype about the Internet:

You can't believe everything you read on line - even when it's relayed by well-meaning colleagues and friends. Rumors and hoaxes proliferate in cyberspace, and perfectly reasonable people are prone to believe them and pass them on.

''We trust technology more than the government,'' said Patricia Turner, a professor of African-American studies at the University of California at Davis and author of ''I Heard It Through the Grapevine.'' ''The Internet seems to be a sophisticated purveyor of information, so we think, `If it comes through expensive hardware, it must be so.'''

The bogus Web site, which looked like a page of Bloomberg News and ''reported'' the sale of an American technology company called Pairgain Technologies Inc., was obviously the work of a sophisticated snake-in-the-grass. And the fraud worked: Some investors were left sheepishly counting their losses, while some day traders, who use the Internet to capitalize on instant changes in stock prices, undoubtedly cleared a tidy profit.

Government regulators were searching for the source of the story yesterday, and Lycos Inc., which operates the service where the phony Web page appeared, said it would cooperate.

Hackers and hoaxers who alter pages or post phony sites are as old as the medium itself; just this week, a prankster set up a satiric page designed to convince browsers it was the official Senate campaign site for Mayor Rudolph Giuliani of New York. And cyber celebrity Matt Drudge routinely spreads rumors on his widely read Web site.

But the spread of misinformation on line isn't always malicious, although it is almost always infectious. As more and more people are relying on the Internet for information and communication, the old- fashioned urban legend - once passed from neighbor to neighbor by word of mouth - has proliferated in cyberspace. Tall tales of horror and doom, of corruption and gloom, breed rapidly in cyberspace, spreading as fast as a cold virus in a room full of toddlers.

Some of these rumors are harmless, like the widely circulated tale about the upscale department store that charged $250 for a cookie recipe. Others are annoying, like the chain e-mail promising good luck or quick cash. But still others have the potential to harm businesses or to inspire genuine fear.

A few examples: Have you heard the one about designer Tommy Hilfiger making racist statements on the Oprah Winfrey show? Have you been warned about asbestos in tampons or air freshener that kills pets? Have you been cautioned about kidnappers in mall parking lots or gang members lurking on highways or needles infected with the AIDS virus that show up in movie theaters and coin-return slots? Have you been alerted that the Voter Rights Act is set to expire in 2007, disenfranchising African-Americans?

None of these stories is true. But all of them have been circulating for years via e-mail and electronic bulletin boards. Enough people believe them to make these rumors multiply with a few taps on a keyboard and a click of a mouse.

Folklorists who study such trends say these rumors proliferate because they tap into deep societal fears. ''They touch on our ambivalence about the things we worry about, the things that concern us,'' Turner said. Rumors about the spread of the AIDS virus and tall tales about stolen kidneys, for instance, reflect common anxieties about infectious disease as well as a general concern about the health care system. And rumors about government conspiracies, such as the one about the Voter Rights Act, reveal an overall societal distrust of ''official'' information.

At the same time, these stories can stroke egos; people who pass them on to friends and colleagues often feel as if they are doing a good deed. ''It feeds a person's sense of self-importance,'' said Barbara Mikkelson, an amateur folklorist who with her husband, David, runs the popular urban legends resource site ''They think, `If I can warn you about this big scary thing that is happening in our world, for that moment, I will feel like I'm in the spotlight a little bit.'

''And you also have access to a wider audience,'' she said. ''Before if you got a great story, you'd make a photocopy and stick it up on the bulletin board by the elevator. Now all you have to do is hit the alt-forward key and send it out.''

The ease of transmission makes it nearly impossible to kill an Internet rumor, no matter how outrageous, defamatory, or potentially damaging. The Hilfiger rumor, for one, exploded on the Internet in 1996, and it's still going strong. According to the story, long proven false, the designer went on the Oprah show and said that he didn't want African-Americans or Asians to wear his pricy signature clothing. Both Hilfiger and representatives from the Oprah show issued statements denying the rumor - Hilfiger has never even appeared on the show - but the tale simmers down for a while and then reemerges apace.

That kind of story is what experts call a ''diving rumor,'' a tale that is repeatedly debunked but refuses to die. ''It's like one of those carnival games, where you have a mallet and you have to hit whatever comes up,'' said Gary Alan Fine, a sociology professor at Northwestern University and author of ''Manufacturing Tales.'' ''It comes up. It is batted down. Then a few weeks later, it comes up again in another place.''

A textbook example of a diving rumor emerged late last year. According to the original tale, Steve Burns, host of the Nickelodeon children's show ''Blue's Clues,'' had died in a car crash. The rumor fizzled, but a few weeks ago, it reemerged - with dramatic embellishment. The new version claims that the cable network is covering up Burns's death by using a look-alike in the show, a tale similar to the ''Paul is dead'' stories that circulated about Paul McCartney in the '60s and '70s.

But this particular story didn't just affect mature adults: It spread among young children, who were understandably distraught. ''Some people might think this is a joke, but it isn't funny for these children,'' said Angela Santomero, the show's co-creator and co- executive producer. ''They regard Steve as a great camp counselor, and that's why they're so upset.''

Daniel Anderson, a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a ''Blue's Clues'' consultant, said the rumors were likely started by cynical adults who are put off by the show's innocence. ''There is a resentment of the characters that have special places in the hearts of children,'' he said. ''But these kinds of rumors can be extremely destructive and are certainly upsetting to young children.''

Some urban legends wreak financial, rather than emotional, damage. But one man's rumor is another man's business opportunity: Several companies have been founded to monitor rumors on the Internet, providing a sort of electronic clipping service for corporate clients. In 1994, a company called eWatch was formed specifically to help corporations track rumors on line; it has since been bought by the Phoenix-based company WavePhore Inc. ''Some of these rumors are difficult to kill, and it's important to know where they're showing up,'' said eWatch co-founder James Alexander. ''You have to be looking for smoke, because where there's smoke, there is going to be fire.''

For $13,000 a year, clients receive daily reports, which are generated by computer software that scans the Internet. In one high- profile case, eWatch stepped in to do damage control when a rumor about Mrs. Field's cookies arose in 1995 after the verdict in the first O. J. Simpson trial. The television show ''Hard Copy'' reported that the cookie company catered a party for the jurors, a false story that spread like wildfire on the Internet. ''The company had a single- digit decrease in sales that couldn't be explained,'' Alexander said. ''The decision was made to respond, and we went into all the areas where the rumor was appearing and posted rebuttals. After seven to 10 days, the rumor disappeared.''

Most rumors aren't debunked that easily, though, and some say the tendency to believe them is rooted in a superficial society. ''We live in this tabloid culture,'' said Kay Gibbs, a South End resident who has been on line for several years. ''We read about the semen- stained blue dress, so why not have an on-line discussion about some stupid thing that turns out not to be true?''

For all of its chaotic freedom, the Internet has a dark side: Every day is April Fools' Day in cyberspace. Pernicious rumors are difficult to squelch and even harder to trace. ''It's hard to find the precise moment when an urban legend comes into being,'' said Mikkelson. ''It's like trying to find out where a river starts.''

-- PAM (pam@mill.girl), April 14, 1999.

What about Greg Jones of Noah's pantry? Huh Hoff?

What about Greg Jones of Noah's pantry? Huh Hoff?

What about Greg Jones of Noah's pantry? Huh Hoff?

What about Greg Jones of Noah's pantry? Huh Hoff?

What about Greg Jones of Noah's pantry? Huh Hoff?

What about Greg Jones of Noah's pantry? Huh Hoff?

-- a (a@a.a), April 14, 1999.

Hey 'a', the repeat button stuck?

See my post about halfway up the stack. For all I know, the rest of the story is the truth.

Or not.

-- Hoffmeister (, April 14, 1999.

PAM is Norm!


-- Dano (bookem@blacksand.srf), April 14, 1999.

Sounds more like Pam has done her homework about urban legends, and the replication of ideas on the Internet....I could be wrong of course. All this could be foma.

-- Donna Barthuley (, April 14, 1999.

Personally, I think WND did Caton a great advertising favor. I had never heard of Lumen and I buy lotsa survival food.

-- Betty Alice (, April 14, 1999.

I warned everyone about WND several weeks ago when they were buying the destroy Clinton stories hook, line, and sinker. Farah is a freemason working for the New World Order, and I hope someone finally sues him into oblivion.

-- @ (@@@.@), April 14, 1999.

Hi Mr. Hoff,

You might be interested in what another of the named people in the article said:

"WorldNetDaily story is true! Yes, as reported on, our merchant processing company, US Bank, did seize $38,000 in credit card funds from us for no apparent reason. They conducted a "review" of the account, told us they could not give us a release date, and refused to pay interest on the seized funds. After we threatened to leave them and find an honest credit card processing bank, they finally released the funds. We believe that US Bank deprived us of our funds because we are a Y2K-related company, and we have received word from a half-dozen other Y2K companies who have also had funds seized and also believe they have been singled out. Our editor, Mike Adams, was accurately quoted by WorldNetDaily.

This story is developing... and word is spreading. The funds seizures are apparently widespread and seem to be affecting Y2K companies everywhere. Stay tuned to Y2KNEWSWIRE.COM for exclusive investigative reports. "

-- Dean -- from (almost) Duh Moines (, April 14, 1999.

Folks, on the other thread ref bank payment delays, there is a post from someone who has had dealings with Diana at Brytlite ref lanterns. She indicated to him that their CC deposits have been held up and she hasn't seen a LOT of money. MAYBE we could ASK HER???? I know, going to a source we have had dealings with before on this forum might be a NOVEL CONCEPT, but.......


-- chuck, a Night Driver (, April 14, 1999.


Just a note --

I have ordered over 14 lanterns and 5 stoves from Diane at Britelyt Petromax. They ALWAYS underestimate the shipping time but are usually not more than a week late or so...

They are probably the most ethical and reliable y2k merchant that I've dealt with so far! I just saw that they are offering a promotion on their web site ( that has a special price for prepayment. I guess they are getting hit with the same credit card nonsense from the banks. I would never hesitate to order anything from them and have had most of my neighbors buy their lanterns. No one has ever had even the most minor complaint with them.

I'll agree with one of the messages that I saw here about the other petromax supplier called Geniol USA. They are from Florida as well and I had called them to order some products before finding Britelyt. They were very rude and quite nasty. I then asked to speak to the owner and the person with whom I was speaking told me that his name was Matt and that he was the owner. He told me that the only place I could find the lanterns was from Geniol. He then asked me if I was "ONE OF THOSE Y2K NUTS"! I just hung up on him.

I found the manufacturer's web site and they referred me to Britelyt and that's where I got my stuff. The owner Diane was the sweetest lady! She made me feel alot more at ease about the operation and safety of using the lamps.

Hats off to Britelyt! It's worth the wait...

-- Emily Kasbarian (, April 15, 1999.

See response here

-- Hoffmeister (, April 15, 1999.

I checked the original story and original quote with WorldNetDaily - they recognize that Greg Caton (of Lumen Foods) may not want to aknowledge his original quote, but stand by the original story.

AND - the original story, the facts behind the original story, and the widespread nature of the types of interference reported by the original story remain true, and have been verified (as much as possible) by additional independent reports from other Y2K suppliers - both anonymous and named.

Therefore, I conclude that the original story is correct as written.

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, April 15, 1999.

Big Deal, after all the junk that Bill Clinton has gotten away with, how dare you think you'll fare any better. Besides, I actually like reading worldnetdaily. Just like the clinton fans, I believe them even when they lie. Get a life and back off. Six months from now, no one is going to remember you or the story written about you anyway. The world has bigger problems than you. Give your pride a rest - it sounds like it needs it.

-- Why? (, April 18, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ