In French researcher Jean-Noël Kapferer he published in 1989 a book titled Rumors , in which he tried to explain their origin, what they are, why they are created, how to stop them... including several examples such as the case of Orleans (France) in 1969:the rumor spread that in women's clothing and footwear stores run by Jews, women were kidnapped and then sold as sex slaves. There was even talk of victims (28) and the methods used to drug them. In this specific case it was possible to stop with another rumor:the word was spread that those who spread the rumor of the kidnappings were Nazis who were once again regaining prominence in France; quickly the rumor died.
It tells of another case that must be the last straw:a verified piece of news, albeit a bit poor, that after passing through several newspapers returns to one of them and arrives so distorted that it does not recognize it and turns it into a rumor:
During World War I, the German newspaper Kölnische Zeitung reported the capture of the city of Antwerp by the German army:"The [German] bells rang with the news of the fall of Antwerp «. Based on this news, the French newspaper Le Matin reported as follows:"According to the Köilnische Zeitung, the parish priests of Antwerp were forced to ring their bells once the defenses had fallen «. The British The Times gave his version:«Acaccording to Le Matin, which reproduces a news from Cologne, the Belgian priests who refused to ring their bells after the fall of Antwerp have been deposed from their functions «. The news becomes more complicated when the Italian Corriere de la Sera makes it public. :«According to The Times, which cites news from Cologne commented on in Paris, the unfortunate priests who refused to ring their bells have been sentenced to forced labor «. And to top it off, the news came back to Le Matin :«According to a report from the Corriere de la Sera, via Cologne and London, it has been confirmed that the barbarian occupants of Antwerp have punished the priests who heroically refused to ring the bells, by hanging them upside down , like a live clapper »
I suppose that each of the journalists wanted to contribute their grain of sand…
Sources:The crooked lines of journalism - José Manuel Burgueño, The book of unusual events - Gregorio Doval, Scientific thought against rumour