A babbling brook that alarmed onlookers when its waters turned a deep shade of crimson last week was caused by an ink spillage, an investigation has found.
Some residents who live near Billing Brook, in Northamptonshire, feared that there may have been a fatality in the river - while other more outlandish explanations suggested it was a sign of the apocalypse.
Pep Finn-Scinaldi, 28, who lives close to the brook, said: "At first I thought something had died as it looked like blood but when it was all the way along we said it must have been a whale to create that much blood."
One Facebook user commented: "The start of the book of revelations. Thou local waters will turn red like blood is the sign of the coming of the Anti-Christ."
However, an investigation by the Environment Agency found that nothing more dramatic than an ink spillage had caused the water to flow red."The red colour was caused by a water-based ink," a spokesman for the agency said.
"The water has returned to its natural colour and, apart from the discolouration, we do not believe there were any negative environmental effects," the spokesman added.