The Museum of Hoaxes
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Rachael Ray cooks her family and her dog
BMW's April Fool's Day Hoaxes
Jean Gauntt, the Immortal Baby, 1939
Cursed by Allah
The Great New York Zoo Escape Hoax, 1874
Snowball the Monster Cat, 2000
The disumbrationist art hoax, 1924
Princess Caraboo, servant girl who became a princess, 1817
Actress who claimed she was kidnapped by puritans, 1950
Cat that walked 3000 miles to find its owners, 1951
In 1945 there was a fake death craze following Roosevelt’s death
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 the internet, the rumors can spread faster, but also can be debunked faster. Consider this April 14, 1945 report from the New York Times, excerpted below:

Flood of Rumors Gives City Jitters
Legitimate and Ludicrous Calls Swamp the Switchboards in Wake of Roosevelt Death


Widespread jitters bordering on mass hysteria seemed to sweep New York yesterday in the wake of Franklin D. Roosevelt's death, as rumors of killings, accidents and deaths involving prominent persons flooded the city.

Newspapers, radio stations, government offices, banks and corner drugstores were deluged with thousands of telephone calls asking "is it true?" that such and such a person had been killed. The telephone calls in some cases followed patterns so closely that some harassed switchboard operators were convinced the wave was organized as a possible attempt to hamper communications. But the prevailing theory was that irresponsible and flighty persons had fallen prey to their own gullibility.

The names of Van Johnson, film actor, and Comdr. Jack Dempsey were linked by the majority of callers, including two that Commander Dempsey and the actor had been killed together in an automobile accident. Other names mentioned were those of Mayor La Guardia, Harry Hopkins, Robert Taylor, Herbert H. Lehman, Charles Chaplin, Frank Sinatra, Al Jolson, Errol Flynn, Babe Ruth, Jack Benny and Jimmy Walker.
Categories: Death
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jun 30, 2009
Comments (5)
"The telephone calls in some cases followed patterns so closely that some harassed switchboard operators were convinced the wave was organized as a possible attempt to hamper communications"... I'm convinced that Micheal Jackson allowed himself to die so that the internet would be slowed to a snail's pace on Friday morning, the day after his "death". I'm also convinced that Jimi Hendrix choked on his own vomit so that street musicians would apoplectically try and copy his licks, Lincoln let himself be shot so the telegraph system would overload, John Lennon stepped into MDC's bullets so his apartment house would finally get some foliage, and Marilyn Monroe overdosed on barbiturates so tabloid newsrags would become overly prevelant at supermaket checkouts, thereby crowding Reader's Digest, Redbook, and TV Guide to near extinction. I think I'll croak soon so MOH will crash. Not because it should, but because I can. You're welcome
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Jun 30, 2009  at  04:43 PM
During the second world war two political celebrities were reported with fake death.One is the American president-Franklin D. Roosevelt,the other is the British premier Churchill.
There are reasons for their fake death.
Now it is trendy again.What are the reasons?
Posted by Cindy Davison  on  Wed Jul 01, 2009  at  12:57 AM
I heard that shock rocker Marilyn Manson died last night in a car accident while high. is this true?
Posted by anonymous  on  Wed Jul 01, 2009  at  01:46 AM
No, anon, it's not true. CHARLES Manson died last night while carving symbols into his head with a sharpened toothbrush. Marilyn Manson is alive and unwell, as is his preference (also carving symbols into his body with a sharpened toothbrush, but he's better at it than Charlie). You're welcome
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Wed Jul 01, 2009  at  12:13 PM
Wow - I wonder if Jimmy "Dy-no-mite!" Walker will try to fake his own death again, like he did after the death of FDR...
Posted by Enohead  on  Sat Jul 04, 2009  at  12:48 AM
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