Living in a digital age, we are all aware of when and how a piece of media goes "viral". We can almost see it happening before our eyes. The following article was first published in America in January 1886 and, though it took a lot longer to spread, it did get passed all around the world in the preceeding months.
CURIOUS CHRISTIAN NAMES
THE BURDENS IMPOSED UPON SOME CHILDREN BY ................................PREJUDICED PARENTS
"What a name that young man has," said a clergyman yesterday to a News gatherer as the person indicated left his presence.
The New York Times
The same article appeared in other American newspapers in the following weeks, as well as newspapers in Britain, Australia and New Zealand in the preceeding months (I have so far found eight reproductions). The article was replicated as above, with only a small change to the first paragraph in some cases:
"What a name that young man has," said a clergyman to the reporter of an American paper, as the person indicated left his presence....
The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent
An "urban myth" is described as "a form of modern folklore consisting of apocryphal stories believed by their tellers to be true."* We hear the story from somewhere or other, store it the back of our minds, only to recall it at a later date, uncertain of where it was we originally heard it -- the details rather fuzzy. We all know many concerning names: Abcd, Ledasha, Orangejello and Lemonjello... Here is a little insight into how the above "viral" article fell into urban folklore up to six years later:
TO THE EDITOR OF THE STANDARD
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
.For those unaware of the "Punch and Judy" reference