Shock Horror: Folklore of Disaster

SHOCK HORROR: The Folklore of Disaster


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© Warren Fahey


A large percentage of the jokes, urban myths and illustrations in this book will be vaguely familiar to many readers because they all belong to that mysterious creative process we call folklore. Just as mysterious is their creative origin and ownership with most happily residing under the banner of ‘anonymous’. This is not a joke book for the subject is far too sensitive and in many cases concerns the unnecessary loss of lives. It is a serious attempt to understand where jokes come from, how they are circulated and, most importantly, how we use humour to unconsciously share grief when faced with disastrous situations.

This book is also a study of how the Internet has developed to become an important distributor of folklore.

I am indebted to the many people who assisted me in collecting the many examples cited in the book. In particular I thank Russell ‘Big Russ’ Hannah, Mike Salter, Marita Blood, Stephen Wall, Morag White, Doug Ford, Richard Mills, Graham Seal, Julian Ward, Keith McKenry, Mel and Stuart McCarthy, Tim Nicholas, Jim Leesses, Vincent Brophy, Rob Willis, Carol Higman, Stuart Coupe, Valda & Jim Low, Greg Bracketeer, Roger Holmes, Geoff Morgan, Bruce Cameron, Paul Hemphill, Geoff Francis, Peter Hicks, Tony Squires, John Thompson, Gilly Darby, Greg Peacock, Garth Nix, Jeanette Wormld, Kate Andrews, Marcus Holden, David Gool, Rebel Penfold-Russell, Paul Stewart, David Mulhallen and Rowan Webb. I also thank the anonymous creators and those who dutifully pass these jokes into cyberspace. Obviously there is absolutely no way to identify individual ownership of particular illustrations or jokes and I take this opportunity to thank anyone who has discovered their work in this collection. You should be flattered that your creation has tickled the fancy of folklore and found its own journey into cyberspace.

                                                                                    Warren Fahey