Does the Pinocchio Effect apply to email?

If it did, somebody out there would have a really long nose.

Contrary to a widely circulating gag, Disney is NOT eyeing Bellmawr, N.J., for a new historical theme park called Disney's America.

Not truth to it, said two Bellmawr Borough Hall staffers.

The rumor, though, did prompt a TV camera crew to trek to the Camden County burg to investigate, and lead to a note on Wikipedia's entry for "Disney's America" that "this was only a rumor."

Apparently, as an April Fool's joke, someone rewrote a 1993 press release about a proposed Virginia project.

"West of Washington, D.C." became "east of Philadelphia."

"Announced today by Michael D. Eisner, chairman and CEO" became "announced today by Robert Iger, chairman and CEO."

Funny how someone forgot to change the quote about the park being "an ideal complement to visiting Washington's museums, monuments and national treasures."

So convenient! Just 125 miles away!

A new branch of the PATCO High Speed Line supposedly would link to Disney's America, Mickey & Company's third U.S. theme park.

Who says?

"DRPA spokesperson Ed Rendell."

Kind of understates his job, don't ya think?

Not that there's obvious humor.

Except maybe for that part about how reclaiming "a once forgotten and dangerous landfill" fits Disney's "core Corporate values."

There is one kernel of truth, though.

"We have been looking at projects in the Philadelphia region for 20 years" is a quote supposedly from Iger.

Looking, yes. Building, no.

After opposition in Northern Virginia killed the original Disney's America project in 1994, civic leaders in the Philadelphia area cried, "Why can't us?"

Or something like that.

Councilman Joseph C. Vignola invited Disney to consider sites like the Naval Shipyard, slated to close the following year.

In early 1995, a developer pitched Disney on his 4,200 rolling acres in eastern Berks County.

Disney formally declined the shipyard idea that March.

In 1998, however, another Disney dream came a-knocking - an indoor amusement park called DisneyQuest.

Mayor Rendell high-fived Goofy at the announcement of the project, to be built at Market Street East.

In 2000, however, Disney backed out, leaving an ugly reminder that lasted for years - a big hole in the ground at Eighth and Market Streets.

The city may have sunk tens of millions of dollars into that hole, according to published estimates at the time.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.