Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An Urban Legend Captured Aborning? Like A New Star

A report of some strange doings in France recently has been circulating on Facebook and elsewhere, I'm sure. The headline is garish: "Baby Dies As Group Jumps From Window Fleeing The Devil."
The story unfolds:

Baby Dies In Mass Jump To 'Flee From Devil'

1:43pm UK, Sunday October 24, 2010
Alex Watts, Sky News Online
A baby has died and 10 people have been injured after they jumped out of a second-floor flat window, apparently thinking they had seen the devil.

Police are investigating the incident which took place in the early hours in the small town of La Verriere, west of Paris.
(This foto appears exactly as it did, free of context, and floating in the story)
The baby was four months old and officers said many of the injured were children.
"Thirteen people were in an apartment on the second floor when, at around 3am, one of the occupants heard his child crying," said Odile Faivre, the deputy prosecutor in Versailles.

"The man in question, of African origin, who was completely naked, got up to feed his child, at which point the other occupants took him for the devil.

He was seriously wounded in the hand after being stabbed with a knife before he was thrown out of the apartment, via the door."

The 30-year-old man then tried to force his way back into the room.
"That's when the other occupants tried to escape by jumping out of the window, panicked by a fear of the devil," said Ms Faivre.

Police are questioning the naked man as well as another man who jumped from the window with a two-year-old girl in his arms.

Seven of those injured - who were African, possibly from Angola - were taken to hospital for emergency treatment.

Detectives are trying to find out if the group jumped voluntarily or were forced to jump.
My first reaction to reading this was that it had to be some kind of a send-up, a satire of some sort. The provenance of the story is Britain's Sky News, also a Murdoch property, if memory serves; sort of Faux Nuze--East. It veritably reeks of archetypal urban legend material: naked, hysterical Africans acting abysmally stupidly in some really obscure, yet plausible locale in the West, and tragedy, involving an "innocent baby" ensues. A sort of reverse Babar?

Of course it is possible that it is a true account of a real event, too. Independent verification could not be established. Google only produced references from other sites to this story.

No comments: