“There is an orange-red van driving around the Island that steals children… It takes children one by one, so be careful! And go for two.. please share as much as possible!!!” said the writer in the post, the wording of which, along with a photo of the allegedly suspicious van, was published by the police on Wednesday on the X network.
But the police drew attention to the case because of the spread of the alarm, not because children were disappearing in the place.
“We can assure the public that we currently do not have any reports regarding a van ‘stealing’ children in Ostrov in Karlovy Vary. The post, which was placed on social media, is being dealt with by police officers from the local district department,” the police said.
In addition, the very wording of the text raises doubts about the stated statement, for example, there is no mention of any crew and its origin or motivation for the action. It is also not entirely clear what exactly is meant by the fact that the car picks up the children “one by one”, when the subject of the sentence is missing, although it can be assumed that it is precisely the units of whole children that are meant.
The truck presented with a specific color is strikingly reminiscent of a similar legend about the black ambulance, which comes from the deep past and whose version was “popular” among people in the days of socialist Czechoslovakia, when not only children were haunted by this story.
Urban myths stemming from our fears and human desire for mystery
At that time, a mysterious dark-colored car was supposed to drive unnoticed through the streets of cities and abduct, in addition to children, young people who were then awaiting death for the purpose of transplanting their organs to mobile interested parties from the capitalist West.
According to experts, the spread of similar stories and rumors has been closely linked to human communities since time immemorial and is dealt with by folklorists. In addition to collecting legends, researchers from the field of so-called verbal folklore focused on orally spread stories also find out information about the society in question.
Neruda was already laughing at the black ambulance
Although it is not clear from the post from Ostrov what nationality the crew of the van was supposed to be and whether they had any at all, or whether the targets of the thefts were supposed to be Czech children, the fact is that one of the usual features of urban legends, in addition to having horror elements and often in front of something they warn, there is general hatred towards everything that is foreign, often towards minorities.
There is a connection with a series of recent cases where criminal investigators dealt with alarmist messages spread on the Internet about Ukrainians, which were also complained about by members of the Roma minority, saying that they felt threatened by them.
At the same time, it was not just false nonsense on social networks and, for example, in July the situation escalated into a large-scale Roma demonstration in Krupka, when the instigation was an alleged incident in which, according to claims on social networks, a group of Ukrainians should have attacked Roma children.
“Glory to Putin!” The Roma in Krupka broke free from their chains. The police are deliberately letting it run its course
In addition, a warning was sounded in the comment of one of them that it was supposed to be a pedophile who kidnapped children.