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Category: Death
40th Anniversary of Paul Is Dead Rumor (almost)
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jul 17, 2009
Magazines have begun to note the 40th anniversary of the Paul is Dead rumor (although they're two months early... the rumor began to circulate widely in September 1969). Contact Music managed to get a quotation from McCartney about the rumor. He claims to still be laughing it off. But interestingly, he also get the details wrong about how the rumor started: MCCartney's barefoot appearance in the photo [on the cover of Abbey Road] sparked wild rumours the rocker had died in a car crash - and the 67 year old admits he still has…
Categories: Death, Music, Urban Legends Comments (10)
Michael Jackson seen all over
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jul 06, 2009
The guy may be dead, but he's showing up all over the place. Michaeljacksonsightings.com has a few blurry pictures of the back of someone who vaguely resembles Jackson. They offer this as proof that Jackson faked his death. A family in Stockton, California have noticed an image of Michael Jackson in a tree stump in their front yard. They swear the image only appeared on the day he died. (I'm not seeing anything at all.) Then there's the ghost of Michael Jackson, which you can see in the video below. To me, it looks like someone's shadow.
Categories: Celebrities, Death, Pareidolia Comments (10)
The Great Death Rumor Craze of 2009: An Analysis
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 01, 2009
The glut of celebrity death hoaxes during the past week has been a textbook case of how rumors spread. It's a great example of collective behavior in action. As such, the death rumors provide an opportunity for journalists to discuss some of the things scholars have learned about the spread of rumors during the past fifty years of research. Unfortunately, the insights of social psychologists don't seem to be getting much coverage. Instead, journalists are focusing on the rumors as an internet phenomenon. See this CNN article as an example. It warns us that: The situation is calling attention…
Categories: Celebrities, Death Comments (3)
In 1945 there was a fake death craze following Roosevelt’s death
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jun 30, 2009
The fake celebrity death toll following Michael Jackson's death continues to rise. The body count so far: Rick Astley (found dead in a Berlin hotel room), Natalie Portman (fell off a cliff), George Clooney (fell off a cliff), P. Diddy, Jeff Goldblum (fell off a cliff), Harrison Ford, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Ellen DeGeneres, Louie Anderson. The media is describing this death rumor craze as an internet phenomenon. Of course, the internet is the medium through which the rumors are circulating. However, such death rumor crazes are not unique to the internet. There have been similar crazes in the past. The only difference now is that, thanks to…
Categories: Death Comments (5)
More Celebrity Death Hoaxes
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jun 29, 2009
It's been the week of the celebrity death hoax, triggered by the real-life deaths of a string of celebrities (Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and Billy Mays). The recent celebrity death hoaxes have included: Jeff Goldblum, Harrison Ford, Louie Anderson, Ellen DeGeneres, Britney Spears, and Miley Cyrus. In the case of Jeff Goldblum and Louie Anderson, the fake deaths were simply old rumors that were recycled. But in the case of Britney Spears, Ellen DeGeneres, and Miley Cyrus, pranksters hacked into their twitter accounts to post false death announcements.
Categories: Celebrities, Death Comments (2)
Jeff Goldblum isn’t dead, nor is Harrison Ford
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 26, 2009
In the wake of the news of the death of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, a rumor that Jeff Goldblum had also died began to circulate. Reportedly he died when he fell off a cliff while filming a movie in New Zealand. Then a rumor surfaced that Harrison Ford had died on board a yacht cruising off the coast of St. Tropez. Both Ford and Goldblum are still alive. In fact, the Goldblum rumor was simply a rehash of a three-year-old rumor that originally involved Tom Hanks falling off a cliff, and later Tom Cruise. Maegan has posted more details in the forum. Some links:…
Categories: Celebrities, Death Comments (0)
Michael Jackson Dies… For Real
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jun 25, 2009
It appears that Michael Jackson has died, which is only worth mentioning here because in addition to being the "King of Pop," he was also the King of the fake death rumor. Even The Onion satirically predicted his death back in 2005. But this time, it seems to be for real. Now the "he faked his death" rumors can start.
Categories: Celebrities, Death Comments (10)
China’s Fountain of Youth
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jun 15, 2009
ABC News has a report on the village of Bama, "China's Fountain of youth." People there are said to live unusually long lives. Out of the population of 500, six people are over 100 years old. The locals attribute this longevity to pure water (which is "a striking blue because of low alkilinity"), simple home-grown food, and a special magnetic field. Bama has become a big tourist destination in China. Billboards promote its special powers. New hotels are being constructed there. And you can shop at a store that sells products labeled "The 100-year-old Man." But the key phrase in the report is that "there are no birth…
Categories: Death, Health/Medicine Comments (9)
Online Pseuicides
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jun 09, 2009
Howard Swains recently reported in Wired on the phenomenon of fake online deaths. He writes: Many online tales of death and suffering are works of complete fiction, "pseuicides" dressed up as real-life catastrophes. Some are contrived to titillate or garner attention, some result from something more serious, and some are the result of a uniquely modern psychiatric disorder known as Munchausen by internet. And: In two investigations between 2007 and 2009, I encountered countless examples of fake deaths in…
Categories: Death, Identity/Imposters Comments (7)
Tila Tequila Not Dead
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 14, 2009
You can breathe a sigh of relief. Tila Tequila is not dead, despite the "tweet" posted on her twitter account claiming that someone had broken into her house and killed her and her dog. Seems that someone had hacked into her account. I have no idea who Tila Tequila is. I'm guessing she's some kind of D-list celebrity. [binside]
Fake death and fake funeral
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 09, 2009
Faye Shilling is accused of not only buying life insurance policies for people who didn't exist, but also of holding fake funerals for their (fake) deaths. She would fill the casket with "various materials" to make it the right weight, then bury it. And then, because she was afraid authorities would somehow later find an empty casket, she would file fake documents to indicate the body had been exhumed and then file more fake documents to show it had been cremated. [Daily Breeze]
Categories: Death, Scams Comments (1)
New Lincoln Death Photos
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 08, 2009
After President Lincoln died, there was a huge demand for photos of him lying in his casket. However, the army didn't allow any photos to be taken. As a result, a lot of fake Lincoln death photos appeared. I've posted about this before, and I have an example of a fake Lincoln death photo in the Hoax Photo Database. Mary Curtis just sent me an old newspaper clipping describing some Lincoln death photos owned by her grandmother. Unfortunately, no one knows where the photos are now. According to the clipping, she kept them "in a bank vault in a nearby town."…
Categories: Death, Photos/Videos Comments (7)
Fake Grave
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 06, 2009
Deacon Freeman Moore doesn't think that the fake grave someone dug behind his church was a funny prank. It had a black, wooden cross at one end, with the name "Eli" on it. He called the police, who did a bit of digging before deciding it was a hoax. [ajc.com]
Categories: Death, Pranks Comments (1)
The Mona Lisa Suicide
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 27, 2008
Occasionally I've run across references to a French artist who supposedly committed suicide because he was driven mad by the mystery of the Mona Lisa's smile. There aren't many details to the story. The Telegraph, in an article from 2003, summarizes the entire tale: On June 23, 1852, a young French artist, Luc Maspero, threw himself from the fourth floor window of his Paris hotel. In a final letter, he wrote: "For years I have grappled desperately with [Mona Lisa's] smile. I prefer to die." Many articles about the Mona…
Categories: Art, Death Comments (4)
Mystery Coffin
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 19, 2008
A woman walking her dog in the Welsh countryside recently found an empty coffin sitting in the middle of a field. The coffin had a note in it: "Jump in, you're next." No one knows who put the coffin there, but the likely suspects are local students since it's freshman week and there have been other pranks in the region, such as "a tree full of knickers and a young driver sticky taped into his car." Link: North Wales Chronicle
Categories: Death, Pranks Comments (4)
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