Remember the tourist of death? That guy standing on the World Trade Center with a plane incoming behind him, supposedly this is the moment when 9/11 happened. That photo did a hell lot of rounds on the internet. But well, it turned out to be a hoax but it did fool many people before being torn down and declared as fake. Today, we take a look at ten such famous internet hoaxes.
No 10. Bill Gates Giving Away Money
Well, yes he is rich and he is a great philanthropist now but hey, you’ll never get any money by forwarding a chain letter. This is what happened in 1997, people were asked to forward an email to their contacts for testing a new email forward tracking system powered by Microsoft. The email said that you’ll get more money depending on how much your email gets resent by your friends. It would need to be quite a sophisticated system to keep track of such forwards.
No 9. Bill Gates Buys the Catholic Church
Quite a personality is Bill Gates. This one started in 1994 when a press release began circulating around the internet claiming that Microsoft had bought the Catholic Church. “The combined resources of Microsoft and the Catholic Church will allow us to make religion easier and more fun for a broader range of people” it quoted Gates as saying. It was so widespread and significant that eventually, Microsoft had to issue a formal denial of the release on December 16, 1994.
No 8. Gigantic Camel Spiders in Iraq
This one started in 2004 when an email started making rounds asking people to be sympathetic to the American troops in Iraq, not only because they have to be away from their families or because war zones are dangerous, but more so because they have to deal with absolutely horrifying prehistoric spiders. The email claimed that these spiders can run up to 25 miles per hour, could jump several feet in the air and could grow almost up to 1 foot in length.
This one was quite believable due to the photo that was attached with email showing some really big spiders, as it turned out it was just the angle that made them look so stupidly large.
No 7. Lonelygirl15
This was just a normal girl complaining about normal teenage problems until she started giving out details of the bizarre cult that her family was involved in. She even had a MySpace page where she would interact with her fans, but eventually people started to doubt and found out that this all was faked. It was actually a full-fledged web series created by EQAL under the working title “The Children of Anchor Cove.”
No 6. Charge Your iPod Using an Onion
This viral video showed you how to charge an iPod using nothing but an onion and a glass of Gatorade. The pseudo science did make it plausible but it frustrated a lot of people who were made to look stupid by plugging in their devices into veggies.
No 5. No Drunken Surfing
Well, not the one pictured above though, in 1994 the Congress was supposedly considering a bill that would make it illegal to surf the internet while drunk, or to discuss sexual matters over a public network. The hoax was so believable that it generated a slew of angry calls to congress which prompted Senator Ted Kennedy to issue a statement denying rumors of the supposed bill.
No 4. The Derbyshire Fairy
In 2004 Dan Baines of Derbyshire, England created what he told people was the corpse of a “fairy,” and put it up for sale on eBay and on his web site. This convincing prank resulted in his site getting over 20,000 visits in one day but he had to reveal that it was all a hoax. But fairy-believers would not take that with one person telling him “to return the remains to the grave site as soon as possible or face the consequences.”
No 3. Hercules the Dog
This hoax began in 2007 with this fake photo which was purported to be of the world’s largest dog. The email said “Hercules was recently awarded the honorable distinction of Worlds Biggest Dog by Guinness World Records. Hercules is an English Mastiff and has a 38 inch neck and weighs 282 pounds.” His owner Mr. Flynn says “I fed him normal food and he just grew.” Well yeah, believable.
No 2. Triple Waterspouts
This one began with a photo going around in emails in 2002 which showed a trio of menacing water spouts approaching a container ship as Hurricane Lili neared. But the National Weather Service of the US quickly debunked the photo and revealed it as a photoshopped piece of work. What really struck the meteorologist was three large spouts so near to each other.
No 1. The Blair Witch Project
This movie which came out in 1999 wasn’t so obvious to a lot of people in that it was fiction. Perhaps fueling the belief of it being real was a network of background web sites about the movie’s mythology created by the movie makers. The movie was taken to be an actual footage of kids disappearing in the woods by many.