The truth is under the rug

A few weeks ago, while doing research (if you can call it that) for a column, I came across a site devoted to myths and legends. I thought I had visited just about every genre of Web sites, but boy did I miss a big one.

Paranormal Web sites seem to be fairly normal these days. Not that I'm completely surprised by this, but I was shocked to see the latest reports of phenomena. I really must be out of the loop because now there are theories on Mothman, Owlman and Goatman out there. I swear I did not pull these names from an episode of "Power Rangers."

If you don't believe it, go to The Shadowlands Mysterious Creatures page. You'll also see The Loveland Frog, a 3- to 5-foot frog; The Jersey Devil, which was described as having "a head like a collie dog and a face like a horse ... wings about two feet long ... and it had horse's hooves"; and Richard Simmons, a creature so gruesome a description would make you immediately stick your head into the nearest bucket.

Throw in aliens and ghosts and you now have enough mysterious creatures to overtake China in population. How could you not be intrigued by Mokele-Mbembe, a brontosaurus that lives in the Congo? More importantly, for those of you who plan to stay put, in fear that Richard Simmons could be outside RINGING YOUR DOORBELL, there are a few things you need to know about computer myths and legends.

There are plenty of computer virus legends. The folks at Vmyths.com have put together a complete list of hoaxes that have cycled through numerous computer users. It's a good thing they did because that saved me time in researching and making up something.

If you receive a message alerting you of a potential virus, and you aren't positive there's something to fear, you should visit Vmyths.com. Besides being able to scan hoaxes and myths alphabetically, there are also a handful of tips, including How to Spot A Virus Hoax, Ways To Reduce Virus Hoaxes and False Authority Syndrome. The third has to be my favorite. Sometimes I'll receive virus warnings from friends who received them from friends who received them from five forward generations of people before received them from Goatman. I'm not saying you shouldn't be careful; I am saying you should be leery if the information does not come from a qualified technician.

But enough about viruses. I want to find real myths, like the amphibious hard drive or the scanner with webbed feet. So I found a picture of the The Apple I computer. I guess it was supposed to be the first personal computer, unless this is just a cruel joke, because it looks like a computer Abe Lincoln may have used.

If there's anything else that's disturbing you, like why you still hear Christmas music occasionally on the radio or in the mall in late January, I recommend you do research by using google.com. As everyone knows, google's slogan is "If you can't find it here, either it doesn't exist, or Richard Simmons is sitting on it."