An event that has cyber-scientists and paranormal investigators scrambling for explanations has caused local retiree Herbert "Old Herb" McGillicuddy, 87, to experience a virtual "choking" while trying to navigate the World Wide Web, specifically during his daring attempt to "use the Googles."
The incident occurred late Sunday afternoon when McGillicuddy, motivated by the promise of seeing pictures of his grandchildren and the potential of understanding what a tweet is, powered up his dusty desktop computer, affectionately known as "The Contraption." After several failed attempts to open what he called "The Interwebs Explorer," including one near-miss where he almost initiated a nuclear launch, Old Herb finally made his way onto the internet and typed his first query: "How to Use the Googles."
Witnesses report that's when things turned surreal. Muriel, Herb's wife of 60 years, recalled a sudden whirlwind of dust and digital bits, like something from Tron. I knew we shouldn't have trusted that damned fandangle with its dot-coms and instant gram crackers! The next thing I know, Herb is clutching at his collar, gasping for air.
There is a great deal of confusion among cyber analysts. Leading experts from TechHaunt, an organization specializing in cyber-paranormal activity, suggest it might have been the ghost of Dial-Up Past seeking revenge. Initial theories ranged from a supernatural USB cord to an aggressive computer virus named "Choke.exe."
While we've seen our share of paranormal activities, such as cursors disappearing and autocorrects not working, digital choking is an entirely new chapter in techno-hauntings," explained Dr. Luna Spectre.
In the meantime, the tech community is on high alert. There are heated debates on forums, with some programmers wondering if this is an undocumented feature of HTML or a severe case of user error.
As a result of this event, internet safety campaigns are emerging around the world. What is their message? There has also been an increase in sales of talismans, amulets, and other protective gear, such as anti-ghost firewalls and spirit-friendly antivirus software.
For Old Herb, he's sworn off digital communication in favor of analog methods. "If the Googles can throttle a man's neck, who knows what the Face-Books or the Tweeter can do," he declared, installing a rotary phone and pulling out his trusted pigeon, Fred, from retirement.
The tech companies have not yet commented on whether exorcisms will be included in future updates.