In WARTIME by Paul Fussell, about World War II he talked about rumor and how quickly it spreads. I’m sure he enjoyed dropping it into this book.
“One narrative popular in Germany just after the war when food was scarce could have been written by Poe himself. It was said that a blind Wehrmacht veteran, tapping along the street with his white cane, encountered a healthy and amiable girl and asks her to help him by delivering a letter to a certain address. As she set off she looked back and saw the blind man stepping out briskly, his cane now abandoned. She was so suspicious that she took the letter not to the address indicated but to the nearest police station. The police went to the address and found a shop run by a couple. All seemed perfectly ordinary until the police stumbled upon a concealed cellar full of fresh meat, suggesting a black-market butcher shop. But closely inspected, says Douglas Botting:
the meat turned out to be human flesh. Until now the police had overlooked the letter
which the blind man had given the girl. When they opened it they found a piece of paper
on which was written a single, chilling sentence: ‘This is the last one I shall be sending you today.'”
Have a nice weekend