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Terrorist Attacks Spawn Rampant Rumors

By Claudia Lynch, Benchmarks Online Editor

Quick, did you hear that Nostradamus predicted the attack on the World Trade Center? If you said yes, I bet it is because someone sent you E-mail about it. Is it even close to being true? No. This is just one of many rumors -- some true, some false, and some partially true -- that have been flying around the Internet since September 11. There are so many rumors, in fact, that About.com even set up a special area called"Rumor Watch: Terrorist Attacks on U.S." to track the rumors and attempt to verify them.

Some other common rumors that are circulating, according to the article "As Smoke From Terror Attacks Clears, Urban Legends Spread," are:

  • A story describing a Port Authority officer caught high up in a Trade Center tower as it collapsed, surviving by riding the debris all the way down.

  • Then there's the face in the smoke that.some have claimed can be made out in dark smoke along one side of the Trade Center in an Associated Press photograph taken last week. This has been called "the face of Satan" on some Internet postings.

  • Another E-mail circulating sees the number 11 as significant. It notes that the attack occurred on Sept. 11. The first plane to strike the towers was Flight 11. Sept. 11 is the 254th day of the year and 2+5+4=11. Also, the towers resembled a big 11 before they were felled.

If you feel like you have been taken in by these rumors/legends, don't feel bad about it. According to many mental health experts this is just the way many people attempt to make sense of seemingly incomprehensible disasters. Do us all a favor, though. Before you forward the next rumor that pops into your mailbox, check out one of these sites to at least make sure it is true.: