Public Blushes

My heart was filled with the joy of April. My hunger for hoaxes had been building and the web was awash with wicked pranks. I read a "pre-emptive strikes on 'vampires'" article (dated March 31st) and immediately pegged it as an April Fool's joke. It had all the right components. Everybody knows that backward people in small villages have strange customs. One can spin outrageous tales about Romanian traditions and most of the world will have no means to check up on you.

I read about inexplicable fires in Canneto di Caronia. The church's ghostbuster suspected devils. Scientists were baffled. The town's mayor was desperate but still holding back on performing goat sacrifices. I saw the date on the news report and chuckled with delight. What a beautiful hoax! The story was spreading.

Neil Gaiman has drawn my attention to reports on the fires dating back to February. It's not a hoax. In the game of weird, reality trumps fiction yet again.

Now I see the vampire report appeared as early as March 24th. Pfft. I should have learnt by now never to underestimate what people will believe and what they will do based on their beliefs.

Just because a report looks unbelievable and is heavily publicised around April 1st, doesn't make it a joke. People are strange. Nature is a continuing source of intoxicating novelty.

With vampire heart still on my fork
I read April's demon-fire talk.
Obsessed with illusions
I jumped to conclusions
and made myself look like a dork.

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