However, three days later the same paper conceded that the story was "without foundation" and actually a "pure hoax". The story had been written under a fictional name and left in the letterbox of the newspaper. It had been used in "good faith" due to the recent spate of thunderstorms and the occurrence of "similar, though less alarming accidents" elsewhere. The actions of the hoaxer were condemned for creating "serious alarm in the minds of those who had friends residing in the place to which the accident was assigned."
In spite of the retraction of the story, it continued to be printed in papers up and down the country including the piece below from the Birmingham Journal, right up until 5 August!