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`Flatheads' follow Flatley - or dream of it

Meet the "Flatheads": fans of Michael Flatley. Their electronic fan mail - including swooning mash notes, murky New Age philosophy and coded messages - pours into the Visitors' Book on the "Lord of the Dance" Web site (http://www.lordofthedance.com).

It is a global village of pen pals bonded by Flatnaticism."It's like a huge family - some are sickos but most are wonderful people to meet," says Judy Sykes, a Wilmington, Del., housewife and former Marietta, Ga., resident who credits "Lord" Web pages for pulling her out of depression over the death of her son. "On the Web, no one has to know that I'm 61 and too old to have a crush on Michael Flatley."

Pat DiCarlo, a 55-year-old Realtor from Laurel, Md., says she got so "obsessed" with Flatley after seeing four of his shows that, during her vacation in Maine, she woke up her husband of 29 years and told him that at dawn she was flying home four days early to catch "Lord" again, in Baltimore.

"There's something mesmerizing about Michael that goes beyond entertainment," DiCarlo says. "He triggers some kind of emotional response that changes peoples' lives. It's like I've discovered something Irish that was submerged. Now I have something exciting to compete with all my Italian in-laws."

Flatley doesn't have time to read all the e-mail, but there is awe in his voice when he speaks of "the amazin' amount of it." Other recent postings:

- It all started when the unicorn on my china cabinet told me that she wanted to live with Michael . . . - Caeri (no address listed)

- Since I talked to Michael (after a performance) I've been floating above Cloud 9, somewhere over Flatleyland. My husband said, "No way are you going to Atlanta. I hope you have all of this out of your system now." He has no clue how much more this is in my system than ever before. - Kaz (no address listed)