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Hoaxes & Myths

September 11 Hoaxes & Rumors

Hoaxes and rumors that all relate to the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

Can't find what you're looking for below? Check these hoax debunking sources...
About.com Urban Legends & Folklore | Snopes.com | TruthOrFiction.com

Click on the title to see the complete hoax text, a description, brief history, reporting date in a new browser window. In many cases, the hoax description site may also include reactions from hoax subjects, an extensive history, and provide links to additional analysis and interviews.

9/11 Hoaxes | Based on Fact | True Hoaxes

9/11 Hoaxes

WTC Jews Stayed Home on 9/11 - The hoax claims that Jewish employees of companies based in the World Trade Center stayed home from work on September 11, 2001. This is a hoax. The online newsmagazine "Slate" investigated this claim, and concludes along with snopes.com that it is false.

al-Qaeda Has Nukes in U.S. Cities - In this hoax, a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda supposedly revealed that they have already placed nuclear weapons in 7 U.S. cities. This is a hoax. Snopes.com has determined that this is a hoax, and they provide a very extensive discussion.

FEMA Had Foreknowledge of Attack - This hoax claims that the Federal agency charged with responding to disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), had foreknowledge of the attacks on September 11, 2001. This is a hoax. Snopes.com has done their research and found that the Massachusetts Urban Search and Rescue Task Force was first on the scene, arriving on the evening of September 11. In a slip of the tongue, no less in an interview on the CBS Evening News, Tom Kenney, an officer with the all-volunteer Massachusetts group, simply got his days mixed up saying... "...We arrived on, uh, late Monday night and went into action on Tuesday morning...", thus "proving" to conspiracy buffs that the government was complicant - even though it wasn't a FEMA, or any Federal government official, who gave the misleading intereview. Snopes.com has an audio recording of the interview that you can download (ram format), a quote from an investigative reporter from the Boston Herald, and alot of back-up information.

Taxis Stay Away From WTC on 9/11 - Per this hoax, there were no taxis anywhere near the World Trade Center or the neighborhoods surrounding it on September 11, 2001. This is a hoax. Although snopes.com has concluded that this is false, they could not offer any more than an explanation of why such a rumor would start. Nonetheless, all credible sources refute the notion that somehow NYC taxi drivers were in on the conspiracy.

Airline Passengers Still Strapped in Seats - This hoax, with several variants, claims that when some residents were allowed back into their apartments weeks after the terrorist attacks, they found decomposing bodies still strapped into their airline seats. This is a hoax. Research by snopes.com found no credible proof that such incidents had been witnessed as of December 2001 (their report now contains outdated information). We now know, more than a full year later with the completion of the site clean-up, that no airline passenger bodies were recovered in any form. Investigators concluded that all passengers and crew were quite literally vaporized... cremated in place, thus making the World Trade Center site (aka "Ground Zero") a mass grave until the dust and debris were transported to the Fish Kills landfill on Statan Island - which one could now argue is a mass grave.

Mother Cat & Kittens Found in WTC Rubble - This story hasn't been labeled yet as a hoax by snopes.com, so there's the possibility that this is one lucky cat-family. This story has been reported on several local news stations (Minnesota's WCCO and Denver's 9News).

Another cat tale spreading across the Internet is NOT a hoax... It's the story of "Precious" a 9-pound Persian who was found by emergency workers in the debris of her 7-story Liberty Street apartment building 18 days after the terrorist attack on the WTC. Although suffering from eye injuries, burns, smoke/dust inhalation, starvation, dehydration, and mouth sores from drinking contaminated water, Precious is alive and back with her owners. This story is described in a Reuters article reprinted on Animal Planet's web site on October 18, 2001.

Man Rides WTC Rubble as Building Falls - This hoax, in several variants, claims that one or two occupants of the WTC rode chunks of the falling building down to safety. CBS Television live coverage (later repeated in a documentary titled "What We Saw") reported that a police officer who fell from the 80th floor, had been pulled from the rubble. This is a hoax. Unfortunately this hoax wasn't squashed before it was picked up by Newsweek and reported as part of a lengthy article titled "Ground Zero" in their September 24, 2001 issue (Newsweek has since retracted this part of the article).

9/11 Nostradamus Prophecy - This hoax claims that supposedly in 1654 - which by the way is 88 years AFTER his death in 1566 - Nostradamus predicted that "In the City of God there will be a great thunder, two brothers torn apart by Chaos, While the fortress endures, the great leader will succumb, The third big war will begin when the big city is burning". This is a hoax. Salon.com weighs in on this with a good article. Snoopes lists "enhanced" variants that include the day and month, and talk of "metal birds".

Unsuspecting WTC Tourist Photo - This hoax borders on completely sick or genious, depending on your viewpoint. A photo of a tourist on the top of the World Trade Center supposedly shows a plane just before it strikes the building on September 11, 2001. This is a hoax. This hoax was in wide circulation in the months following the tragedy. The CIAC site discusses this photo in length, and provides proof that the original photo of the tourist was doctored.

The original print of the pirated photo is included as part of the evidence. Snopes.com also addresses this hoax. An update from snopes.com apparently answers the question of authorship. In November of 2001 a Hungarian man, named Peter, admitted to the hoax and produced a copy of the photo along with similar snapshots of himself from the same session. He admitted that he was the creator of the hoax photo. WIRED News interviewed Peter and published the story online November 20, 2001. The Center for the Scientific Investigation of the Paranormal (CSICOP) also offers a statement on this subject, and includes photos of this and other questionable images.

This hoax is also on the "Photo-Manipulations" page.

Anti-U.S. Dunkin Donuts Warning - This chain letter calls for a nation-wide boycott of Dunkin Donuts based on two events that didn't really happen. This is a hoax.

Snopes.com provides text of the variants of this hoax, a seemingly complete history, and some of the other hoaxes targeting other companies.

Budweiser Pulls Product From Store - This chain letter recalls the supposed elation of two seemingly Middle Eastern men to news of the September 11, 2001 tragedy, and Budweiser's patriotic response. In a variant, Pepsico's supposed response is also mentioned in this chain letter. This is a hoax. In response to CIAC's investigation into this claim, Anheuser-Bush has denied that any such incident ever took place.

And from snopes.com more discussion and the chain letter's history.

CNN Used Old Film Footage to Fake 9/11 Reaction - This hoax claims that the CNN video footage of Palestinians celebrating in the streets after the 9/11 attacks, was video footage shot in 1991 during the invasion of Kuwait. This letter is a hoax. Eason Jordan, CNN's Chief News Executive, confirmed that the video was in fact shot on Tuesday, Septeber 11, 2001 in East Jerusalem by a Reuters TV crew. Snopes.com offers the following proof of the video's authenticity... (a) the video includes comments of a Palestinian praising Osama Bin Laden (who's name was unlikely to come up 10 years prior in Kuwait), (b) the video includes vehicles manufactured after 1991. The argument that the video showed Palestinians in broad daylight several hours after the attack, even though Palestinian territory is several time zones AHEAD of New York, is not valid. Eastern Daylight Time in the United States is in fact 6 hours BEHIND the area of the Middle East referred to as Palestine. 9:00 am in NYC would have been 3:00 pm in Palestine, and Jerusalem would still be bathed in sunlight.

Authored by a Brazilian student, the story has since been recanted in a UK Independent Media Centre report. The student's university, UNICAMP -- Universidad Estatal de Campinas-Brasil, issued an apology - which can be viewed at snopes.com. Reuters, the international news agency who's photographer's shot the footage, issued a statement, on CNN online.

The 9/11 Palestinian street celebrations were independently reported by Reuters, the Los Angeles Times, and The Jerusalem Post, who's photographer's were threatened for capturing the images. The snopes.com link to Reuters is broken, the LA Times link requires free registration first, and the Post's link displays the current issue (from there you'll have to search).

The Center for the Scientific Investigation of the Paranormal (CSICOP) also offers a statement on this subject.

Prophecy From a Folded $20 - This hoax claims that folding a $20 bill, as demonstrated, produce pictures of the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon - predicting the events of 9/11. This is a hoax. Although this is an interesting exercise, it wasn't contrived until nine months after 9/11... predictions happen BEFORE the event.

September 11 Warning from Afghani Boyfriend
Putting Words in Nostradamus' Mouth
Everything Adds Up to Eleven
UFO Seen in Sky Above Burning Trade Center Towers
Wingdings Font Applied to "Q33 NY"
Klingerman Virus - The Sequel
Although the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of the Paranormal (CSICOP) usually investigates UFOs, they devote a section of their web site to debunking September 11 hoaxes. Sections include: Charity Scams, Nostradamus, Coincindences (everything adds up to eleven), Strange Images, Misinformation, Psychics, Fonts & Fools, Bogus Biohazards.

Based on Fact

Satan's Face in Smoke of WTC - A photo of the burning WTC before it's collapes supposedly shows the face of Satan in the smoke. While the face is there if you want to see it, the photo is authentic. CIAC includes links to the photographer's web site where the photo is viewable.

Check out CSICOP's Hoax Watch for this and other strange photos.

True Hoaxes

See also True Hoaxes for September 11-related items that turned out to be true.

 

 

 

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