Origin of Flash Mobs?

In Paul Krassner's 2003 book, Murder at the Conspiracy Convention and Other American Absurdities, he writes about an event orchestrated by radio personality Jean Shepherd (pp. 78-79):
One time, he called for a "milling" of his listeners across the street from the burned-out Wanamaker's department-store building, to take place on a certain day and time. Police came upon that scene, but nobody among this horde of citizen stragglers would reveal why they were congregated there. One cop complained, "This is like trying to break up a pack of friendly dogs." Finally someone spilled the beans, the dirty snitch, and police began to herd those who were milling around into an empty parking lot, asking passersby, "Are you waiting for Shepherd?" Of course, he didn't show up. He never said he would.
Further evidence that Shepherd may have invented "flash mobs" may be found here: http://www.flicklives.com/Misc/who_is.htm. Information on his I, Libertine hoax which was very similar to a 2003 "flash mob" in Rome may be found at http://www.bobkaye.com/ilibertine.html.

December 22, 2003

[Wikipedia now has a page on I, Libertine.]