How it got started
Early last month we told you about a YouTube internet hoax concerning Berkeley Springs. The story went that the military was about to conduct a training exercise here. Soldiers were to go door to door and confiscate guns from local people. Sheriff Vince Shambaugh and Mayor Susan Webster were supposed to know all about it, though they really didn't.
Here at The Morgan Messenger, we received a few emails from folks wondering if it was true. Of course, we told them it wasn't, but too many people were all too willing to believe the worst.
Fears were expressed of a local reaction from West Virginians seeing the military collecting citizens' guns, and dozens of people wrote the website to bemoan the leftward, gun-taking direction of America.
Now, Sheriff Shambaugh says he's gotten to the bottom of it. Seems that a 17-year-old juvenile posted the hoax. The Morgan County youth had been dissatisfied in some dealings with police, Shambaugh said.
Trouble is, once those wild stories start circulating, it's hard to stop them.