Share this blog on at least 3 social handles and you will be blessed with virality (the internet kind, not the illness) and a boost of at least 50 followers. Sound familiar? At one point or the other, we have all deleted mails that threatened to kill our families, or us (by 12.23 am tonight), or where we would be visited by creepy old ladies and clown people. Though not forwarding a chain letter in my early teens would answer for a lot including my subpar love life, or the little girl with no eyes sitting at the foot of my bed with a knife every night, I for one did not believe these internet sensations. The internet of course is one of the best ways to get information or spread information, and it is pretty fast. But this speed also has a slightly negative effect as no one can really verify a story on the internet before it gets viral. We’ve already covered DHMO, and continuing in the same vein, we have for you some of the most popular internet hoaxes. This time however, these have already been debunked; we’re just collecting our favorites for you to see.
The Blair Witch Project
Arguably the most iconic scene of the movie, with all the snot and the tears, made most people believe in the complete authenticity of these tapes. The movie came out back in 1999 when the internet was still in its early years, and there were not many people dissecting every new thing. In June 1998, the website www.blairwitch.com went on air. This was the seed that led to a viral campaign for the movie. Different and highly grossing as it was, it’s still just a movie.
The Derbyshire Fairy
The original press release (Source)
Do Fairies Live at the Bottom of Your Garden?
Maybe not anymore but a recent discovery would suggest that they probably did. What appear to be the mummified remains of a fairy have been discovered in the Derbyshire countryside. The 8-inch remains complete with wings; skin, teeth and flowing red hair have been examined by anthropologists and forensic experts who can confirm that the body is genuine. X-rays of the ‘fairy’ reveal an anatomically identical skeleton to that of a child. The bones however, are hollow like those of a bird making them particularly light.
This one was started by Dan Baines, a prop maker from Derbyshire. He made this “fairy corpse” as an April Fools prank in 2004 and put it up for sale on eBay. As the offers started flooding in, Baines had come clean about the whole hoax. However, a lot of fairy believers refuted the hoax claim as a means to cover his tracks. One man even sent Baines a message telling him to return the remains to their grave or face the consequences. Go figure!
Bill Gates Giving Away Money
This is one of the feeds that began circulating the net some time ago. It even managed to gather for itself a few witnesses testifying the authenticity of the post. Bill Gates does wish to give away money to some people, through his charitable foundations, but sharing a post or forwarding an email will definitely not help you in that.
The Onion Charger
A YouTube video by HouseholdHacker showed how you could use an onion and some Gatorade to charge your iPods. As interesting as it might sound, this one too was unfortunately a hoax, fanned by the fact that the channel did in fact show a number of genuine hack videos.
Back in 2006, a video blog was posted by lonelygirl15 on YouTube. The girl introduced herself as “Bree” and the vlog was a completely ordinary, bored teenager vlog. However, slowly, her story started morphing as she started revealing the occult practices of her family and the very mysterious disappearances of her parents. Finally, the Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles took credit for the entire scripted story, revealing lonelygirl15 as a 19-year old actress named Jessica Rose. Still, the channel remained popular till 2008, when the series finally ended.
Not that we want to turn you completely cynical, but there is something to be said for taking your news with a pinch of salt, especially if it’s on the internet.