Wednesday 27 May 2020
Why would anyone go to the press and tell a story that made no sense whatsoever? Experience shows that deliberately seeking to make yourself a laughing stock is one of the rarest of human motives. For a bit of fun? Hoaxes like that follow a pattern. Usually they are inspired by something strange already published - say a bigfoot or a flying saucer. That is the impetus for some smart Alec to come up with a tall tale on the same topic. The idea is to produce something halfway plausible - something which will be published - so that you can sit around with your friends, laugh, and disclaim: "Would you believe? They actually fell for that baloney!" But producing something completely over the top out of the blue is usually not on the agenda. In any case, after three years, when everything has been forgotten, it is unlikely that somebody completely different will go to a different newspaper and relate a story arguably similar.
Or perhaps something which made no sense really did visit Sydney, Australia half a century ago.