It apparently began with a Raleigh couple’s decision to catch a matinee showing of the film “Atonement” last month.

It became an e-mail warning of a possible terrorist attack, forwarded among friends and friends of friends. Even after Raleigh police investigated and ruled out the tale of cloaked Muslim women mysteriously fanning out across a multiplex with briefcases and text-message phones, it continues to multiply.

At least 20 forwarded versions of the “Atonement” e-mail already have bounced across the country to the inbox of, a popular Web site devoted to debunking urban legends and examining weird news items. And the traffic is only picking up, said Barbara Mikkelson, who operates the Snopes site with her husband, David, from their Los Angeles-area home.

“It’s definitely one of the growing rumors we’ve been seeing,” she said Wednesday. “It’s always like a snowball rolling down the hill. It starts small, then very quickly it starts building up because you forward it to a friend, and then they forward it to their friends, and then it just keeps going from there.”

The e-mail says that shortly after the movie trailers ended, someone dressed “as a Muslim woman” head to toe in black with only the eyes visible slipped into the same row as the couple at a North Hills Stadium 14 theater. The cloaked figure kept their attention as she clutched a briefcase and received and sent a series of text messages. . .

Raleigh Police Department employees were among those who received a version of the message on their personal e-mail accounts, and the department investigated the supposed incident. Police spokesman Jim Sughrue said investigators concluded the incident did not happen. (MORE)


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