The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Instant Color TV Hoax, 1962
The Olympic Underwear Relay, 1956
The Great Wall of China Hoax, 1899
The Man-Eating Tree of Madagascar Hoax, 1874
Samsung invents the on/off switch
Fake Fish Photos
Female thieves hide money in their bras, 1950
The worms inside your face
The Stone-Age Tasaday Hoax, 1971
Life discovered on the moon, 1835
90 Day Jane
Jane has declared that in ninety days she's going to kill herself, and she's keeping a daily blog to share her experiences during her final months. She writes:

I am going to kill myself in 90 days. What else should i say? This blog is not a cry for help or even to get attention. It's simply a public record of my last 90 days in existence. I'm not depressed and nothing extremely horrible has lead me to this decision. But, does it really have to? I mean, as an atheist I feel life has no greater purpose.

As of today, February 11, she has 84 days left.

I can't predict the future, so I can't say with certainty whether Jane will or will not kill herself at the appointed time, but my hunch is that her blog is complete b.s. There are a couple of reasons for suspecting this. First of all, this is not the first suicide blog to have appeared on the internet, and they invariably end up being fake. Remember the "Countdown to Oblivion" blog, in which Jerry Romero declared he was going to kill himself on January 13th, 2005? When the date arrived, he posted a single-word message for all his readers: PWNED.

Second, her comment that "as an atheist I feel life has no greater purpose" strikes me as phony. It sounds like what a religious person imagines that an atheist would say. Most atheists, I think, would say that they don't need a deity to have a fulfilling, meaningful existence... thank you, very much. Our relationships with other people and what we do with our life is what gives it meaning.

In fact, I suspect that religious people are far more likely to commit suicide, since they view death as not being final. They might imagine killing themselves as a way to start over, either through reincarnation or by becoming a spirit. For instance, you don't often hear of atheist suicide bombers.

In this vein, there have been recorded cases of people who have committed suicide as an experiment, in the belief that they would be able to find out what life after death was like, and find a way to communicate that knowledge back to the living. For instance, the Jan 24, 1927 issue of the Chicago Tribune records the case of W. Cassels Noe, a medical student at the University of Wisconsin, who "shot and killed himself today, leaving a note saying he wanted to learn what was beyond the grave. The note, addressed to a Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity brother, promised him that Noe would communicate with him from the beyond as soon as possible and tell what death is and what it brings."

There's no evidence that Noe ever found a way to send his friend a message.

Update: I should revise what I said above. Having thought about it for a few minutes, I don't actually think that a person's religious beliefs (or lack of them) has any predictive value of whether that person is likely to take their own life. So I'll take back that line about religious people being more likely to commit suicide. It was a knee-jerk response to "Jane's" suggestion that she might as well commit suicide since she's an atheist. I'll simply point out that, just as there are certainly depressed people who commit suicide and declare that they don't believe in God, there are also plenty of people who kill themselves because they think they're going on to some kind of afterlife. The Heaven's Gate cult here in San Diego was one of the most famous examples of that here in America.
Categories: Death
Posted by The Curator on Mon Feb 11, 2008
Comments (75)
another internet pseu-icide. I hope it is for a book or movie and not just a random cry for attention.
Posted by Daniel  in  new york  on  Tue Feb 12, 2008  at  03:47 PM
Am I the only one amused by the Google ads for this post? Right now I'm getting "Depressed Teen?
Look for Signs of Danger. Records Everything, Leaves No Trace." and "New Horizons Academy
Therapeutic Christian Boarding School for Your Struggling Teen". The perils of basing everything on keywords.
Posted by Natalie  in  Minneapolis  on  Tue Feb 12, 2008  at  03:49 PM
Doesn't it strike anyone as odd that there is a sitemeter on the page since day one... the day she claims 'I did not intend for anyone to find this'...

http://www.sitemeter.com/?a=stats&s=s4490dayjane

is the link in the pagecode...
Posted by Realpaladin  in  The Netherlands  on  Tue Feb 12, 2008  at  05:41 PM
She's on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8636613675
Posted by Mikey B  in  Chicago  on  Tue Feb 12, 2008  at  06:30 PM
atheist or not, i watched the video of her dressing, which was great and everything...but she obviously uses a treadmill or something. suicidal people don't workout. they get fat and make blogs, then they kill themselves and nobody cares. f is for fake.
Posted by cluckinfold  on  Tue Feb 12, 2008  at  10:16 PM
She ended her project.

She wrote: "I feel a massive sense of responsibility to my art, but more importantly the readers of this blog. My closeness to this project must have made art seem like reality to many people. That is not a reaction that I expected nor can I morally justify. This is why my project, 90DayJane, will be taken down in the next few hours."

Art, whether you think it`s good art is up to yourself.
Posted by Chris  in  Utrecht  on  Wed Feb 13, 2008  at  03:32 AM
I don't believe this. How can this be art? I thought about it and it was possible that it was an experiment for social behaviour online. But art? A huge amount of people really felt sorry for her and tried to help her.
She even made the news here in Belgium...
She should be ashamed of herself!
Posted by Starlight  in  Belgium  on  Wed Feb 13, 2008  at  05:54 AM
lulz. If shes gonna commit suicide shes justs some stupid emo fag who doesnt appreciate life.
A useless waste of flesh and bones.

However, I have my doubts. I dont think shes really gonna commit suicide. Its just another hoax.
Posted by Zero  in  in ur pantz suckin ur P3nz0r  on  Wed Feb 13, 2008  at  08:03 AM
Its fake. I mean, a chick that plays Halo?? Impossible!
Posted by Zorro  in  somewhere  on  Wed Feb 13, 2008  at  08:07 AM
ATTENTION,

Jane's blog HAS BEEN MOVED TO

http://90-day-jane.blogspot.com

excaim excaim excaim
Posted by papiros3  in  http://90-day-jane.blogspot.com  on  Wed Feb 13, 2008  at  08:30 AM
It's a hoax, she's admitted it.

http://www.flumesday.com/2008/02/13/90-day-jane-a-hoax-takes-down-site/
Posted by Seaneen  on  Wed Feb 13, 2008  at  08:57 AM
ChristopherCole wrote: "[Y]es it could be how a religious person thinks an athiest would think. But it could also be how an overly logical person thinks an athiest would think."

I fail to see how it is an 'overly logical' inference about atheism.

For a start, atheism is just the lack of belief in gods, it does not automatically mean that an individual does not believe in some form of continuation of the individual after death, or that there is an intrinsic lack of meaning to life. The concepts of reincarnation and karma require no belief in gods, so someone (though not, perhaps, a rationalist) could still believe in these concepts and remain an atheist.

Secondly, even where it is true that an atheist does not believe in any form of afterlife, that does not mean that they would see (their) life as having no great purpose. This would be to imply that purpose can only be applied from the outside, which is neither a proven nor logical conclusion.

The confusing of atheism and nihilism is a common misconception among many overtly religious critics of atheism (as is the confusing of atheism and scientific/material naturalism). This is not the sort of category error made by someone who (to commit a 'no true scotsman') is atheist in more than name only.

It is logical to think that life without gods has no meaning? Only a theist would say so.
Posted by David B.  on  Wed Feb 13, 2008  at  10:21 AM
Well put, Christopher! I certainly feel that my life has meaning, but that meaning comes from my relationship with the world around me, not from some invisible giant in the sky.
Posted by Terran  in  Florida  on  Wed Feb 13, 2008  at  10:47 AM
The point is maybe even if this person is faking this blog, there really are people out there who feel worthless and want to commit suicide. I value life to its fullest. I believe with all my heart that every one on this earth has a purpose and is here to fulfill that purpose. but sometimes there comes a point in peoples lives when they don't know why they are here and they want to end their life. religious or not, its not the right thing to do. but also doesn't it make life more exciting to know that when we do die there will be something else? that there is something to look forward to after we die? I believe with all my heart in Jesus Christ and that i will go to heaven. but for non believers there is hell and i wouldn't think anyone would want to go there. any for those who are thinking i am just full of it right now, please just take the time to look it up and give it a chance.
Posted by anonymous  on  Wed Feb 13, 2008  at  11:10 AM
David B, I wrote that it might be an overly logical person due to my experiences with a few such people. Including one whom I watched go from agnostic / leaning atheistic to Christian, I forget which denomination. He did this over a period of slightly less than one year. I do not remember what it was that started him on the road, but we worked in the same shop and had a few discussions. I was a believer / leaning apathetic at the time and contributed nothing but a willing ear. I do think that someone who is overly logical could come up with the idea that atheism could lead to suicide, they could also come up with any number of ideas and have a full chain of impeccable logic to support the idea.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Wed Feb 13, 2008  at  11:22 AM
Anonymous - look what up? If you don't believe, you don't believe, and looking something up isn't going to change that. Anyone can put something on paper and just because someone put something on paper (or on clay tablets, or beaten hides) a couple thousand years ago doesn't mean it's true. I don't believe everything I read, and you shouldn't either.

I've known two people that have committed suicide and in both of their cases it had everything to do with severe clinical depression, and absolutely nothing to do with religion. A lot of people that have severe depression do not understand that they have a condition that can potentially be treated, and even the people that do seek treatment do not always find a drug that can help them.

Physiology is a tricky thing, and depression makes your mind play tricks with your judgment and causes you such deep pain that it feels like just the act of breathing is unbearable and the weight of the world is crushing you. When someone is suffering in this way, the act of committing suicide is not a cry for attention or an act of selfishness, it's simply the only way they can see to escape the pain of being alive. It's not something anyone does lightly.

If you condemn someone for this, it only means that you have no true understanding of depression and no real empathy.
Posted by Terran  in  Florida  on  Wed Feb 13, 2008  at  11:47 AM
No one contemplating suicide should be ignored, or treated as a hoax.
Nobody really wants to kill themselves. What people really want is to be happy and successful.The problem lies in being so ill that it becomes difficult if not impossible for the ill person to conceive of ways to accomplish those goals,and the only apparent solution is to quit altogether.
Realizing that you have a problem is the first big step. The second step is seeking out help for that problem, whether that help be proffesional or peer support.
From here on out, it is important to stay on your medication, the third big step.
Then most of the things that need to be done are "baby steps". Little things that have to be done every day to make yourself feel better.
Even seriously ill people do recover and go on to lead happy and successful lives. No one says it's easy. Some of the things that need to be done will seem hard at first. But it is better than being sick!
Among those people who have made dramatic recoveries from mental illness, they all almost universally say, " I reached a point where I couldn't live that anymore. I had to do something"
Ultimately, each of us is responsible for our own welness.
Posted by Ron  in  Des Moines, Iowa  on  Wed Feb 13, 2008  at  01:03 PM
Whow. That
Posted by May  in  /  on  Wed Feb 13, 2008  at  02:17 PM
"I wrote that it might be an overly logical person due to my experiences with a few such people. Including one whom I watched go from agnostic / leaning atheistic to Christian, I forget which denomination."

Which is neither evidence for or against him being logical, overly or otherwise.

"I do think that someone who is overly logical could come up with the idea that atheism could lead to suicide, they could also come up with any number of ideas and have a full chain of impeccable logic to support the idea."

And you are entitled to your opinion. However, I do not see how two unconnected concepts such as the existence of gods and the worth of life can be correlated through 'impeccable logic'. I doubt you or your friend could come up with any such logical sequence, impeccable or otherwise, if you tried.

Also, 'impeccable' logic from identical premises would reach identical, or at least compatible, conclusions. Anything else would be a logical contradiction in violation of Aristotle's law, and would indicate that either your logic or your premises are wrong (hence not impeccable).
Posted by David B.  on  Wed Feb 13, 2008  at  02:19 PM
Seems like people like to spread rumours. The guy (papiros3) who posted the post saying that her blog has moved is spreading virus/trojan.
Posted by Chris T.  on  Wed Feb 13, 2008  at  05:31 PM
David B, no, I disagree that starting from the same position and using impecable logic will result in the same conclusion. Not necessarily even close. I have seen people take both sides of an argument, at different times, and logically argue each side with no flaw in their logic. I first mentioned the idea of an overly logical person becasue I have seen that sort of person and can see where they might make such an argument about atheists. The incident I refer to took place in 1973/74. I can remember the incident but there is no way that I could remember the details of the discussions that happened on this subject, or any of the other subjects where I experienced the person's overly logical way of thinking. If I were the sort of person he was I probably could come up with a logic chain similar to his, the chain that he used to reach his conclusion to become a Christian. I am not a very logical person in that respect. I am too emotional and prone to making leaps to reach a conclusion. And this is even though, as an electronics technician, I was trained to think in a logical manner - and expected to perform my maintenance duties in such a manner.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Wed Feb 13, 2008  at  09:18 PM
If you hate 90 Day Jane, you'll love this:

http://90daypbj.blogspot.com/
Posted by Peanut  on  Wed Feb 13, 2008  at  09:34 PM
I'm not religious, but I do know studies show that atheists are not as happy as people that do believe in a higher power. Your, "It sounds like what a religious person imagines that an atheist would say" truly shows what an uneducated simp you are.
Posted by urclueless  on  Thu Feb 14, 2008  at  01:58 AM
Jane has announced in the news her su
Posted by Arinka Linders  in  Houten, Netherlands  on  Thu Feb 14, 2008  at  04:25 AM
urclueless:

Perhaps people are atheists because they're unhappy or unsatisfied with religion.

Actually, that would be an interesting survey: of the people who convert, how many were unhappy before meeting church members?

How many would describe themselves as lonely?

How many close friends did they have, and what did they do with those friends?

How many of these people have had episodes of depression?

And of atheists, how many have had depressive cycles?

How many were socially isolated? If so, were they unhappy?

Who were their associates at the time if/when they decided to stop believing?
Posted by tess  on  Thu Feb 14, 2008  at  07:52 AM
>>I'm not religious, but I do know studies show that atheists are not as happy as people that do believe in a higher power. <<

Isn't that pretty much the same as saying, "Ignorance is bliss" ?

Most of the atheists I know personally (including myself) are people that think really seriously about things, and I would guess that anyone that spends a lot of serious thought on anything (whether they be religious or not) is likely not as "happy" as people that blindly go through life expecting someone or something else to take care of things for them. "Happiness" isn't the only important thing in life, and not being happy is NOT the same thing as being depressed.

I think many people that turn to religion because they feel empty inside and they are looking for something to fill up that emptiness. I, however, don't feel empty inside, so I don't feel any need for religion.

(And no, I'm not lonely OR socially isolated, thank you very much! I'm mildly offended (but also amused) that people might make that assumption about me just because I don't attend church.)
Posted by Terran  in  Florida  on  Thu Feb 14, 2008  at  08:22 AM
Come on people, don't get disheartened. If we try and make her change her mind -- maybe, just maybe she'll restart the countdown:

http://kill90dayjane.blogspot.com/

Thanks.
Posted by anon  in  UK  on  Thu Feb 14, 2008  at  11:19 AM
anon in UK - I like your style.
Posted by Terran  in  Florida  on  Thu Feb 14, 2008  at  11:31 AM
When somebody wants to commit suicide, they just do it. They don't go announcing to the world. They just take their lives in a snap.

They leave notes behind, but they are found after the suicide.
Posted by KSho  on  Thu Feb 14, 2008  at  01:26 PM
Chris T. is right. The post from "papiros 3" contins a destructive bad link. Alex, I'd remove that post if I were you.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Athens, Texas  on  Thu Feb 14, 2008  at  02:06 PM
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