What is a ‘Rumour’?

Suppose that a little old lady, with a black cat, who lives in a little cottage, and wears black clothes, appears from time to time at just the place where something awful happens. It is possible to envisage that a ‘rumour’ might spread that she was a witch and caused the awful thing that happened. There might well have been, in medieval England (and later in the USA), many such incidents. In fact, it might well have been true that there was almost always a little old lady with a black cat somewhere in the vicinity of awful happenings. Because of the likelihood of the presence of a little old lady with a black cat, a ‘Rumour’ spread around that it was the little old ladies with black cats who ’caused’ the awful incidents. It is also easy to see how Parliament, at that time, could be inundated with stories of witches, comprising of little old ladies with black cats. MPs do not know what to make of it, and so they appoint a ‘committee’ to investigate. This committee employs people to ‘search out the truth’. Thus is created a body of people who are tasked to find witches, if they can.

Curiously, their objective is not to FAIL to find witches. If they do not find witches, then they will have failed. To justify their existence, they must find witches.


In Nazi Germany, a ‘Rumour’ appeared that Jews were responsible for all sorts of ills in society, along with homosexuals and gypsies. ‘Witch-finders’ were employed to ‘seek out the truth’, and, sure enough, they found such witches, as required by their jobs. As they searched, more and more such witches were discovered. Before long, so many witches were discovered that a plan needed to be devised to exterminate these witches.


Around 1945, or earlier, a few ‘witch-finders’ searched for a reason for awful happenings, being the recently discovered RUMOUR of an ‘epidemic’ of lung cancer. These people discovered the ‘witch’s spell’, being the enjoyment of the smoking of tobacco. But who were the witches? Clearly, there was only one answer, which was that tobacco companies were the witches. For a while, these tobacco company witches used spells to deflect the RUMOURS, but, after a while, the witch hunters prevailed, and the RUMOURS were spread far and wide.

The ‘science’ of epidemiology was very useful to the witch finders. It was easy to convert the use of epidemiology from the discovery of FACTS, to the discovery of CORRELATIONS – aka RUMOURS. From these rumours, it was easy for the witch finders to create fear of tobacco companies and tobacco.

With amazing speed, the witch finders were able to spread the RUMOURS all over the world. The merest whiff of tobacco smoke cast a spell over the whiffer. All was lost. ‘Premature Death’ was inevitable. But, even worse, according to the witch hunters, the RUMOUR affected children so that their bodies and brains were inevitably damaged beyond repair.

And so the RUMOUR spread all over the land. Mountains, beaches, walls, trees and all living things were spell-bound by SECOND HAND SMOKE, which, inevitably, became THIRD HAND SMOKE. The witch hunters had finally elevated their ‘science’ to a position where it was not only witchcraft but also a LAW OF PHYSICS.


And after a while, the AUTHORITIES who set up the witch finder system became fearful. But rather than remove the witch finders, they decided to eradicate the RUMOURED witches – the tobacco companies – along with the ‘familiars’ of the witches, being smokers. The authorities declared the ‘familiars’ to be ‘disgusting, filthy, stinking’. Right-thinking publicans were ordered to take the law into their own hands and to exclude these ‘disgusting, filthy, stinking’ familiars from their premises, to which they readily agreed. As a consequence,many of the publicans impoverished themselves, but who cares? THEY DID THE RIGHT THING!


It was not sufficient, however, for the witch hunters to be satisfied with gobbling up smokers. They needed other prey, and so they targeted drinkers and fatties. More RUMOURS were put about, and very successful they were. Study after study confirmed the RUMOURS. The efforts of the witch hunters were extremely successful, according to their press releases.



It is hard to see when and how the witch hunters will be removed. It is even harder to see how the witch hunters will be brought to justice as the witches that they themselves are.



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