The large mass of folks who’ve been relying on the New York Post for coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings might well suppose that nine people have come back from the dead.

Following the Monday afternoon events, the New York Post cited a “federal law enforcement source” for its account that 12 had perished. Even as official accounts settled at three dead, the New York Post continued clinging to its number, saying the death toll “could be as high as 12.”

But now: In a story that hit the tabloid’s Web site early this morning, the New York Post appears to be abandoning its claim that 12 people died in the attacks. Titled “Vile villain’s deadly payload,” the piece addresses the status of the investigation into the terrorist acts and includes this bit about casualties:

The Boston Marathon bomber used a pair of six-liter pressure cookers packed with metal nails and ball bearings to rip his helpless victims apart at the finish line, authorities said yesterday.

The terrorist put the pots in black nylon bags, and, perhaps, put those bags into light-colored bags, and placed them at viewing areas on Boylston Street, where the blasts killed three and wounded more than 170.

Perhaps the New York Post will be firing its trusty “federal law enforcement source.”

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.