Celebrity death hoaxes have become such a pervasive part of the internet that when a celebrity really dies, particularly a young celebrity, people legitimately wonder if the news is real or fake. And that's exactly what happened after actor Paul Walker died in a car crash on Nov. 30.
Adding to the uncertainty was the manner of his death. A lot of death hoaxes feature death-by-car-crash (that's the way Paul McCartney supposedly died
back in 1966), so when the news came in that Walker (star of the Fast and Furious car-racing film franchise) had met his end in a crash, it did sound a bit hoax-like. But that's the way it actually happened.
And then the satirical news site MediaMass posted a spoof story
claiming that the report of Walker's death was a hoax. A screenshot of this story soon began to circulate on Twitter, Facebook, etc. MediaMass eventually took down the story and replaced it with a note saying his death was confirmed
, but too late.
So this is a "reverse death hoax" because the claim that the news was a hoax was itself a hoax.
Also, David Emery notes
that an image has been circulating that's supposedly a gruesome postmortem shot of Walker. This is a hoax. The person in the photo is actually a Christian missionary who was "injured in a construction mishap two years ago in the Democratic Republic of the Congo."