Hoax Archive: Categories
The Kidnapping of Nicole Riche, 1950 (March 29, 1950)
At 3 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, April 1, 1950 the 22-year-old French actress Nicole Riche walked into a Paris police station dressed in a flimsy white negligee. She had been missing for over two days. When the police questioned her about where she had been, she spilled forth a bizarre tale about being kidnapped by "Puritans" who kept her in a room without food while they lectured her about the immorality of her life. Finally, she said, her captors abandoned her in the Fontainebleau Forest, where she was found and helped to safety by kindly gypsies. The police believed none of her tale, and rightly so. Her "kidnapping" turned out to have been an elaborate publicity stunt designed to promote Paris's infamous Grand Guignol theater. More→
Bride of Bigfoot (May 1976)
Cherie Darvell was a member of a film crew searching for Bigfoot in the woods outside Eureka, California. Unfortunately for her, she found Bigfoot and he abducted her. Or so she claimed. Humboldt County organized a search party to find her, but without success. (Total cost for the search: $11,613. Humboldt County tried to sue Shasta County to make them pay a portion of the cost, but a judge struck down their suit, ruling that the search for Bigfoot had been an "exercise in futility.") A few days later, Darvell walked into a nearby resort, looking none the worse for wear, despite her experience as a Bride of Bigfoot. When reporters tried to ask her questions about her ordeal, her only response was to scream. Her fellow filmmakers, Ed Bush and Terry Gaston, later released a movie showing her being carried away by Bigfoot. It crossed the minds of a few people that the "abduction" had been simply an elaborate publicity stunt.
The Runaway Bride, 2005 (April 2005)
Georgia residents Jennifer Wilbanks and John Mason were to be married on April 30, 2005. But four days before the wedding Jennifer disappeared, sparking a nationwide search for her. She reappeared three days later in Albuquerque, New Mexico claiming she had been kidnapped. According to the statement she gave police, she said that while jogging on April 26 she had been grabbed by two individuals, a "hispanic male with short black hair and rotten teeth" and a "heavy set white female with blonde, frosted shoulder length hair." They had thrown her into the back of a van, sexually assaulted her, and then driven her to Albuquerque, where they let her go. During questioning, the police told Wilbanks they were skeptical of her story, and eventually she confessed it was false. In reality, she admitted, she had fled her home, taking a greyhound bus first to Austin, Texas and then to Albuquerque. She had done so "because of the pressures of the wedding" and because "the list of things she needed to get done and no time to do it made her feel overwhelmed." More→