In Light of Braff: Five Bizarre Internet Hoaxes

The world thought  Scrubs actor Zach Braff was dead yesterday for a few hours–suicide, they said. Turns out, it was just a Scrubs fan that had created a faker CNN page in 2007 that somehow resurfaced.

In an age where someone's Wikipedia page is edited spookily quick to reflect deaths and accidents, thanks to technology, the internet and, yes, Twitter, news–fake or not–travels fast. And outrage and panic travels even faster.

Check out this list we've compiled of the five bizarre internet hoaxes. From cryptozoology scares to this week's latest HIV scare, all this just goes to show that nothing has changed much about the human condition. H.G. Wells would be so proud.

1) Bonsai Kittens
It's the hoax that just won't die. Some time in 2005, a webpage was put up by a bunch of MIT grads students detailing instructions on how to grow your very own bonsai kitten: Just place a newborn kitten in a glass jar, attach some tubing for food and waste, drill a few holes in the jar, and voila! Cruel cuteness in a neat little jar.

Several investigations, including one by the FBI, later, it was unearthed soon after that it was all just a joke–any equipment that could supposedly be purchased through the site well, couldn't be–but of course, for years to follow, e-mail petitions protesting the e-savagery have been established.

2) Everything Will Give You HIV. Everything.
Fast food ketchup dispensers have been pumped with HIV-positive blood.
There are hidden, infectious needles in that movie theater seat you're
about to sit in. That gas pump handle you're about to use. That ATM
cash dispenser. The coin return in that pay phone. Everything you eat
will give you AIDS. Everything you touch will give you AIDS.
Everything. You. Do. Will. Give. You. AIDS. These e-mails are still
floating around out there and usually are usually written by a “police
captain” or “Red Cross worker” of some sort. Yeah.

3) The Montauk Monster

Everybody loves some good cryptozoology madness. And it's not just
limited to the armpits of America, folks–even fancypants Montauk had
its own little story to tell. In July 2008, the stinky, fuzzy,
purple-brown corpse of an unidentified mish-mashed, Dr. Moreau-type
creature washed up on a beach in Montauk, New York. It kind of looked
like a dog, it kind of looked like a raccoon, it kind of looked like a
turtle. Or maybe even a pig. But then it had the hard beak of a bird.
Soon enough, everyone from FOX News to Gawker had photos up and people
guessing. No one still knows for sure what the creature was, though
based on dental records, the most educated guess seems to be one fucked
up, waterlogged raccoon. Poor raccoon.


4) Lonelygirl15

The internet is a free market (for the most part). You'd be dumb to not
partake, right? Enter Lonelygirl15, a 16-year-old gal who started
vlogging (that's video blogging) some time in the summer of 2006. The
videos started out normal, covering your basic teenage issues, but then
the vlogs claiming that her family was involved with a cult came. In
one video, Bree even reports that her parents were kidnapped by said
cult. Soon after, fans grew suspicious and then the Los Angeles Times
unearthed that Creative Artists Agency was responsible for the
videos–Bree? Actually a 20-year-old actress named Jessica Rose. Rose
went on to star in a few different online series, won some web awards,
interviewed with some magazines, etc. Yawn.

5) Bigfoot's Body Discovered!
This one you probably still remember: Last summer, a couple of dudes in
George–with an internet radio show–last year announced their discovery
of the body of the long sought after Bigfoot. They claimed it was 7'7″
(you'd think Bigfoot would be taller?), weighed 500 pounds, and
released the photo you see above: Which, one pointless news conference
later,  turned out to be a really good, widely available for purchase
Bigfoot costume stuffed into a cooler. You'd think they would have at
least tried a little harder than making a trip to the local halloween discount store.

One Reply to “In Light of Braff: Five Bizarre Internet Hoaxes”

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