If you doubt some of the things you read on the Internet, despite their fervent claims of verity, bookmark one of the following sites. They track the origins and strange lives of Internet hoaxes, rumours and junk mail, and even find a legitimate item or two out there. When you get that next heartrending plea for electronic signatures, go to your urban legend debunking site and, finding that particular message listed, rest assured that you are not being apathetic, just smart.

• Urban Legends and Folklore (http://urbanlegends.about.com/culture) is the easiest to navigate and most joyously sarcastic of the bunch.

• Urban Legends Research Centre (http://www.ulrc.com.au) lets you submit a research request.

• Urban Legends Reference Pages (http://www.snopes.com) sorts items by category (animals, Coke, sex…) and offers a good list of books and other sources of information on urban legends.