Information On The Internet- Beware! Part 2
his second story is one of irony. In 1862, on the Civil War battlefield at Harrison’s Landing Virginia, Union Captain Robert Ellicombe risked his life attempting to save a wounded soldier crying out for help. The soldier, who died of his wounds, turned out to be a Confederate and, unbelievably, Ellicombe’s own son! He had been studying music in the South when the war broke out and unbeknownst to his father, enlisted in the Confederate Army. The grieving Ellicombe asked his superiors if his son could receive a full military funeral, complete with several members of the Army band playing a funeral dirge. His request was denied given that his son was a Confederate but, out of respect for the father, they would allow him to select one musician. Ellicombe requested a bugler and asked that he play a series of musical notes scrawled on a piece of paper found in the pocket of his dead son’s uniform. This request was granted and thus, the haunting melody, which we now know as "Taps", used at all military funerals, was born.
This ironic and poignant account of the origins of ‘Taps’ is completely false and its really no surprise that such a beautiful and mournful melody should pick up a legend or two about how it came to be written. This particular one dates back to the 1930’s. The only true fact is that it was composed in 1862, at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia but there was no dead Confederate soldier/son and no lone bugler sounding the music composed by the dead soldier himself. More then likely, Union Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield composed it, wanting something different then the customary 21-gun salute performed at the end of military funerals and a more soothing bugle call marking the end of a soldier’s day. Its melody was possibly a reworking of the French bugle call, ‘Tattoo’, their call signaling ‘lights out’. The call was quickly adopted by both armies and was to become the standard throughout the military soon after.
Though these examples, with their distorted facts and reworked take on history, are relatively harmless, others can be dangerously misleading. There is a viral email going around now claiming to be a cancer update from Johns Hopkins Medicine located in Baltimore, Maryland. The ‘update’ starts out with a very provocative statement:
AFTER YEARS OF TELLING PEOPLE CHEMOTHERAPY IS THE ONLY WAY TO TRY ('TRY', BEING THE KEY WORD) TO ELIMINATE CANCER, JOHN HOPKINS IS FINALLY STARTING TO TELL YOU THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE WAY.
The phony update continues, describing the properties of cancer cells, offering several alternatives on how to best treat cancer, ways to effectively prevent cancer through diet and supplements, and even how to kill or starve off existing cancer cells in the body.
The ‘update’ includes a number of statements that are presented as fact. These range from stating that the chemotherapy and radiation treatments performed today actually cause cancer cells to mutate more rapidly, making them more resistant and difficult to destroy and that surgery increases the likelihood that cancer will spread throughout the body to claiming that oxygen therapy kills cancer cells.
Johns Hopkins DID NOT publish this information nor do they endorse its contents. They point out in a detailed response on their website where they state right off that the ‘update’ comes from "John" Hopkins’ when the correct spelling of the institution’s name is "Johns" Hopkins. They go on to state that disseminating such misinformation has become such a problem that that the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, and other individual cancer centers like the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have posted warnings on their web sites. The insinuation that surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy do not work against the disease and that people should instead choose a variety of dietary strategies (eliminating milk, artificial sweeteners, increase their intake of vegetables, and even avoiding distilled water) is not only incorrect but leads people to question the very experts they need to listen to at a crisis point of their lives . Traditional therapies, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery to remove malignant tumors do, in fact, work. There is substantial and hard evidence that there are millions of cancer survivors in the United States alive today because of these very treatments. While it is understood that there are at times when these treatments don’t have the desired effects for every patient, or that sometimes they work for awhile and then stop working is not a valid reason for abandoning them entirely . Also, some forms of cancers are much more difficult to cure than others. These problems are the focus of ongoing cancer research.
For the complete response to this email hoax, go to www.hopkinsmedicine.org and search on ‘hoax’.