Did anyone hear the shameful account of the man who joined an English, online forum, calling himself 'Nowhere Mum' recently?
It is a perfect example of how most people just do not realise what impact they have on the world and the people in it, purely because of a sad and pathetic lack of self-esteem. It is 'It's a Wonderful Life', without the happy ending.
This guy introduced himself as a young, single mother with two young children, and quickly made a lot of friends on the forum, who took him at his word, and believed every one of them. The more he built up her character, the more sympathetic the other members became, and many did their best to help this young mother with words of advice and sympathy, as she seemed to be in real trouble and begging for assistance. This carried on for many weeks or even months, and the single mum became more solid and believable with each posting.
Then, one day, the man decided that 'Nowhere Mum's two young children were to be killed in a car accident, leaving many of the forum members - who felt they had come to know and love this young woman - distraught with grief, and frantic with the sensation of helplessness.
Some of them tried to set up a financial fund for the poor woman, and many posted messages of sympathy on other sites and newspapers, until the situation became so out of hand that the man had to come clean and admit that this woman and the two children never existed.
He now realises the extent of the psychological and physical damage that this little hoax caused, and how this damage will reverberate into the future for an - as yet - unknown period of time. A potentially truly horrible case of 'cry wolf'.
It reminded me of some of the more unfortunate consequences of playing around with ouija boards, and how spirits can be pulled out of thin air and made solid. The real tragedy of this story is that many top quantum theorists are beginning to believe that it is easier than you might think to accidentally create a parallel universe where such an event might take place, and you could think those children into existence just as easily as thinking them out of it.
So remember when you listen to the news coming from Haiti, that there may be a purpose to 'disaster fatigue' after all.