December 1, 2003

I check my email nonchalantly. I do the same thing every day. Usually I am distracted by the cat or perhaps conversation with my roommate. Today, with my roommate far and away, it was the cat. I turned to see a forward awaiting me which I generally delete on sight, out of principle, unless it's from someone I trust and respect. It was. So I opened it. I scrolled past the usual lineage of previous senders until I reached type that explained the mythos of the attachment. Apparently a group of friends visiting the Sundarbans (I may be butchering the name - email forwards are not especially geographically accurate) had stopped to take a photo. One friend posing, one snapping. The one snapping purportedly screamed and fell over in a dead faint only to die, two days later, in hospital. He had suffered a massive heart attack. When the film was developed it was revealed that an eerie, footless, wicked-eyed woman hovered beside the subject of the photo. The email claimed that none in the group saw a woman present at the time. But there she was on the film. Faintly greenish, decidedly creepy, and definitely sans pieds.

This is, of course, a hoax.

I have no proof save common sense. If the digital wizards of the world can shrink or enlarge J.Lo's posterior for movie posters, erase all trace of pores in supermodels, and conjure blurred Sasquatches between trees, then I assure you it would be no great task for them to superimpose a bizarre female image over an otherwise bland vacation photo of a smiling young man. It's not that I doubt the existence of supernatural events or beings. It's just that I doubt their ability to appear so neatly in photographs that make their way into my email box as forwards.

The point isn't the validity of the footless female photo. Hoax or no, the image was shudder-inducing. So the point is that I only ever receive these sorts of emails on nights when a) my roommate is out of town, b) I am listening to the soundtrack to Bram Stoker's Dracula, and c) I'm over-tired and prone to the power of suggestion. Digital wizards of the world, gather around. Come close. I ask you, have you nothing better to do with your time than muck about with the holiday photos of strangers? Is there no other outlet for your creativity? Could you not imagine a more profound way to disperse your vast storehouse of technical knowledge? Just think what might be accomplished should you decide to use your power for good and not random evil.

And at the very least... STAY OUT OF MY EMAIL!

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