Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: A NYC firefighter's dare to Osama bin Laden brought about the crash of American Airlines Flight 587.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2001]
Origins: At 9:14 a.m. on Monday,
The plane carried 260 people (246 ticketed passengers, five unticketed infants traveling on parents' laps, and
Following so close on the heels of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the first thought on everyone's mind when news of the crash flashed around the world. Was this another terrorist strike?
The combination of this air disaster plus the weeks-earlier remarks by a firefighter from Rockaway created a fast-breaking rumor: Osama bin Laden had taken Michael Moran at his word:
Michael Moran, 38, brought the Rockaways' grief and spirit to a national cable television audienceThe rumor embellished Moran's "kiss my ass" comments into his telling bin Laden to "come and get" him, and bin Laden obliging by sending minions to hijack yet another plane, this one to be crashed into the boastful firefighter's neighborhood. In an America already nervous about the ongoing potential for further terrorist activity, the confusion-filled early hours following the downing of
Having lost his brother and
He added: "I live in Rockaway and this is my face."
Many firefighters and police officers live in Rockaway, and this community has been visited by the grim spectre of tragedy through the loss of a number of its inhabitants in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on
In October 2004, the National Transportation Safety Board put rumors to rest by stating its findings that the crash of American Airlines
This determination was in keeping with its preliminary findings which indicated that the appearance of the salvaged pieces of
Yet it was a startling coincidence that New York would so soon after that black Tuesday in September again be the site of a major air disaster, or that that plane would crash into the neighborhood of a firefighter who'd scant weeks earlier publicly let loose with fighting words that included where to find him should anyone want to come looking.
Barbara "rumor milled" Mikkelson
Sightings:   A song titled "The Ballad of Mike Moran" contains his famous "Kiss my royal Irish ass" statement.
Last updated: 27 October 2004
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