Reiko Asakawa: Where do rumours like this start?
Ryuji Takayama: They don't start with one person. People fear it, and the rumors start flying?
Reiko Asakawa: Fear?
Ryuji Takayama: In other words... People hope things will end up like this!
− Ringu, 1998
“When shared anxieties are coupled with uncertainties and a lack of understanding about how our new world works, the conditions are such that we find a potent combination of ingredients for the onset of rumors.
“…one of the earliest and perhaps most widely known classification schemes [for rumors] was suggested by Knapp (1944)…Wedge drivers represent a second form of negative hearsay in that they are intended to divide group loyalties or otherwise undermine interpersonal relations”
− Rumors and Rumor Control: A Manager’s Guide to Understanding and Combatting Rumors
How do rumours start? I don't know. But I suppose it was only a matter of time before the general speculation turned into a specific smear. The more challenging question for the victims of the rumour is: how do you get it to stop?