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Hoaxes & Myths

True Stories

These are rumors, stories, pleas for help, and chain letters that were thought to be hoaxes but turned out to be true.

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


NY State Lottery Draws 9-1-1 on 9/11/02 - This is NOT a hoax. Amazingly enough, of the 7 New York State lotto games, one involves choosing a 3-digit sequence between 000 and 999. In the second of two such drawings held on 9/11/02 the numbers came up 9-1-1. As explains, it isn't all that amazing since the odds of hitting this combination is only 1 in 1,000. Since there were two drawings that day, the odds dropped to 1 in 500. Tempting fate, 5,631 people selected the 9-1-1 combination netting each of them $500, which means that the total pay-out for that drawing was $2,815,500.00.

Child Dies by Falling on Knife in Dishwasher - This is NOT a hoax. Tragically found this to be a true incident that happened to a 5 year old Kentucky girl on January 22, 2003. This type of fatality is rare, and has happened at least twice before... in 1997 in Great Britain, and 2001 in Vancouver, BC Canada.

Court Documents Prove Molestation by Michael Jackson - This is NOT a hoax. In 2003 The Smoking Gun web site ( printed the text of a confidential 1993 court document that claimed that Jackson molested a 13 year old boy on multiple ocassions in 1992 and 1993. The undisclosed settlement between Jackson and his victim is estimated to be between to be $15-$40 million dollars.

American Idol Contestant Disqualified for Porno Connection - This is NOT a hoax. Francelle "Frenchie" Davis, thought by Entertainment Weekly to be one of the top six contenders for the coveted title of "American Idol", was abruptly disqualified by FOX television for supposedly appearing, four years previous, on the "Daddy's Little Girls" pornographic web site, which supposedly caters to pedophiles. The Smoking Gun restates one of the rumors. Claims that she was topless, nude, and/or masterbating are so far unfounded, but American Idol has a short history of dismissing contestants, not for a questionable incident, but for lying or omitting facts about the incident.

Per Frenchie herself, in a televised interview with the ladies of ABC's The View on Monday, March 10, 2003, the models on the site were all over the age of 18, and she did NOT pose topless/nude, but rather posed in lingerie. Although Ms Davis refuted the rumor, she refused to elaborate on her own suggestion that there were other reasons she might have been disqualified, and she offered no solid evidence to prove that she didn't appear topless.

Recaps aren't kept on The View's web site indefinately, but for as long as it's still available, here's the link to the March 10 text. Below is a direct quote from the recap that pertains to Ms Davis.

"...Next, Frenchie Davis, a former American Idol favorite, was here to set the record straight about allegations of a past involving pornography. Frenchie was eliminated from the talent competition when a scandal erupted that implied there were nude photos of her on a porn website that featured underage girls. On today's show, Frenchie defended herself by stating that she initially posed in lingerie on a website that was not geared to men visiting underage girls, and that she is not aware of the theme of the website in its current state. After bringing her side of the story to the table, Frenchie showed us why she was a top contender when she sang Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing..."

Man Fleeing From Police is Decapitated by Iron Fence - This is NOT a hoax. On February 15, 2003 a man fleeing from Atlanta GA police fell or jumped from a freeway overpass and was decapitated when he hit a wrought iron fence. includes a discussion of this story and 3 gruesome photos of the scene at the link above. CAUTION: One of the photos is a close-up of the head stuck on the fence - a particularly gross and surreal sight.

Man Fixes Torn Scrotum with Staples - This is NOT a hoax. To make a painful story very short, this hoax-like tale is of a 40-year old man who, while sexually gratifying himself on a fan belt, gets his privates caught in the fly-wheel, then uses staples to self-repair himself. has the gory details at the link above.

Saddam Hussein Has Financial Stake in Popular U.S. Magazines - This is NOT a hoax. Iraq's Saddam Hussein owns a holding company which owns a share of a French media giant which in turn owns the publisher of Car & Driver and Woman's Day along with other publications. has the details.

Iraqi Wall Mural Apparently Depicts World Trade Center Attack - This is NOT a hoax. On March 26, 2003, U.S. Marines from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force found a wall mural in the city of Nasiriya that depicts planes flying into twin towers. The mural doesn't absolutely identify the buildings as the Trade Center, and it isn't known whether or not the mural pre-dates the September 11, 2001 WTC attack in New York City. has a photo of the mural.

Websters Dictionary Includes Non-Existent Word - As it turns out, for five years, Webster's New International Dictionary included an entry for "dord", a word that does not exist. has an interesting article explaining this mistake.


And Let's Not Forget Strange-but-Mostly-True News Articles:

Weird News Headlines at - Some headlines are from foreign news sources that have either not done their homework or have a political agenda to accommodate.



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