Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Glurge: Man overcomes fright and intervenes in attack; saves his own daughter!
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 1999]
Origins: Many people have forwarded us this glurge and asked us to investigate and let them know whether it's true. We were a little daunted by the lack of detail, but we felt ourselves equal to the challenge.
We initially considered limiting our search to only those towns with "dimly lit streets," "clumps of bushes," and "trees," but we rejected this as impractical because people move around so much these days. If Judy had relocated since her ordeal, we might very well miss her. So, we contacted every woman in the USA named Judy and asked if this sounded like something any of them had ever experienced. No luck
Then we realized that Judy might have moved out of the country (or even died) since this event took place, so we tracked down every man in the USA with a daughter named Judy (thank goodness all that census information is
At this juncture Barbara pointed out to me that since the piece is undated, perhaps both Judy and her father had already passed away. So, we got busy searching through many thousands of genealogical tables and charts to find all the Judys of generations past and pose our question to their descendants. We came up empty.
When Barbara mentioned something similar that had taken place in her Canadian hometown, I suddenly realized we were being awfully America-centric. So, I took a few weeks' vacation from work, and we traveled around the globe to repeat the above steps in all the countries of the world. (American politics being what they are, however, we had to skip North Korea and Cuba. If you know anyone named Judy who lives in either of those places, please ask her to get in touch with us.) Would you believe it? Nobody named Judy, anywhere in the world, recalled something like this happening to her.
One of our volunteer staff members then called our attention to the obvious: nothing in the original glurge mentioned anything about Earth. Just because we've had limited contact with extraterrestrial civilizations doesn't mean "Judy" isn't a common name on some other planet. We beamed our query to the cosmos via radio telescope and settled in to wait out the many years it would take the message to reach some of the closest stars. Or hopes were briefly spurred when we received a tip that we should pay extra special attention to a planet orbiting Zeta Reticulon (a George
In a more serious vein, the story now traveling the Internet was lifted from a book published in 1997. In that other account, the girl's name is Katherine. The book's authors indicate the story was submitted to them by someone they refer to as Greg O'Leary, although they take pains to point out this is a pseudonym.
Last updated: 5 March 2007
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