Stumbled across this rather fascinating Radio 4 documentary
about an incident that occurred in Glasgow in 1954: hundreds of children aged 4 to 14 swarmed one of Glasgow's cemeteries, armed with stakes and knives, hunting a vampire that they claimed had eaten two local boys. (No local boys were in fact missing.) American horror comics were blamed, and Britain instituted new censorship laws.
And here I thought that flash mobs and fast-spreading false memes were a product of the internet era.
I did get a chuckle out of the fact that the blurb on the iPlayer site lists Astounding Stories
(better known to modern readers as Analog
) as an "American Horror comic". I'm fully willing to believe that Astounding
was more lurid back in 1954, but I don't think it ever printed "horror", nor was it a comic.