Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Street Preacher's Doomsday Sign blamed for rash of heart attacks

(Dayton, OH) A sign reading "The End is Nigh" was confiscated and its homeless owner arrested yesterday after heart attacks caused four people to collapse on the corners of East Monument Avenue and Main Street in Dayton.

"I read the sign and thought 'Oh my God, what if he's right?'" said Trish MacLean, speaking from her hospital bed at the St. Elizabeth's Medical Center. "I absolutely panicked. I was convinced the world was ending."

MacLean is reported to be in stable condition, but three other victims were not so lucky. Herbert Fraser, Desmond Crane and Malak Chang, all of Dayton, succumbed to cardiac failure shortly after collapsing on the same corner. Chang, the fourth victim, told paramedics on the scene that reading the sign had caused him to experience 'extreme terror' shortly before his collapse.

Dayton police say the sign was confiscated and its owner, a street preacher known merely as Righteous Joe, has been detained and questioned. "It's a perfectly ordinary sandwich board and he's been carrying it around for years," she said. "However, we have sent the sandwich board to the Centers for Disease Control and we will be attempting to ascertain Righteous Joe's identity before releasing him."

Asked if the rash of heart attacks could be in any way linked to the sign or its owner, spokesperson added, "It is far more likely that this is either a coincidence or perhaps an example of mass hysteria."

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