OK, maybe we should have known it was too good to be true. But we couldn't resist the story, offered by Reuters as legitimate, of workers in Budapest who drank a barrel of rum with a special flavor and then were mortified to find a pickled corpse at the bottom of the barrel. So we published it Thursday.
Readers soon began questioning the veracity of the tale and pointing out references to similar stories on urban legends sites. On Friday, MSNBC.com contacted a Reuters senior editor, who said our call was not the first and promised to try to get to the bottom of the matter. We altered our version of the story to reflect Reuters' efforts and inject a hint of skepticism.
On Tuesday, Reuters issued the following advisory: “The Budapest story headlined "Hungary workers get shock at bottom of rum barrel" issued on May 4 is withdrawn. Police said the incident, reported on a police magazine Web site, happened 10 years ago. Reuters has been unable to make any further checks to substantiate the story. There will be no substitute story.”