TAMPA - According to Snopes.com, a website that strives to prove or disprove all manner of rumor, hoax and urban legend, the "Lights Out" gang initiation rumor began in the early 1980s, when the Hell's Angels biker gang were said to be using this type of initiation.
CLAIM: Prospective new gang members are being initiated by killing the drivers of cars who flash their headlights at them.
The website says no such gang initiation has ever been proven. The story, however, lives on and on.
It first appears in print in 1993, when a scare swept the United States with the help of fax machines and email. The rumor spread across the nation through the internet and fax machines again in 1998.
In 2004, the hoax found a new life in Britain, and in 2005, both Canada and Mexico were inundated with similar false stories.
The latest incarnation seems to have begun in November 2010, and is being passed along through cell phones as a text message.
Find out more about the history of the 'Lights Out' rumor at Snopes.com
Other gang-related rumors and hoaxes Snopes.com claims as false include:
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