Death hoax

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A death hoax is a deliberate or confused report of someone's death that turns out to be incorrect[1][2][3] and murder rumors.[3] In some cases it might be because the person has intentionally faked death.

Celebrities death hoaxes[edit]

"James Ross Clemens, a cousin of mine, was seriously ill two or three weeks ago in London, but is well now. The report of my illness grew out of his illness; the report of my death was an exaggeration."

Mark Twain, 1897.[4]

In recent years fake death hoaxes about celebrities have been most widely perpetuated via the Internet. However they are not a new phenomenon; in 1945 following the death of Franklin Roosevelt there were hoax reports of the deaths of Charlie Chaplin and Frank Sinatra, among other celebrities of the time.[1][5] Possibly the most famous hoax of this type was the "Paul (McCartney) is dead" rumour of the late 1960s.

Hoaxes about the death of a celebrity increase in frequency when genuine celebrity deaths occur. With the 2009 death of Michael Jackson, which closely coincided with the deaths of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Billy Mays and Patrick Swayze, hoax reports emerged concerning the deaths of a number of celebrities.[6] Paul Walker's death in December 2013 sparked rumours of Eddie Murphy dying in a snowboarding accident.[7]

Other cases of celebrity death hoaxes fueled by social media include Jon Bon Jovi,[8] Celine Dion,[9] Jerry Springer,[10] and many others.

Politician death hoaxes[edit]

On 18 March 2015, a Death hoax website reported false news of Lee Kuan Yew death (first prime minister of Singapore. The suspect is an unidentified minor who created a false webpage that resembled the PMO official website.[11] Several international news organisations reported on Lee's death based on this and later retracted their statements.[12][13] On 20 March 2015 Acting Director of the Criminal Investigation Department, Assistant Commissioner of Police Sekher Warrier, advised members of public not to spread falsehoods.[14] in the meantime on 23 March 2015 Lee Kuan Yew dies. However, on 8 April 2015 the AGC added that the decision to issue a stern warning to the student, which was done in the presence of his parents, was taken after "careful consideration of all relevant factors" including his personal circumstances and readiness to accept responsibility.[15]

Death denial rumors[edit]

An opposite phenomenon is death denial rumors: claims that a person being alive, despite official announcements of death.[2] Notable cases are Elvis Presley, Andy Kaufman and Tupac Shakur.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Celebrity Death Hoaxes". MSN UK. 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  2. ^ a b "Hippo eats dwarf: a field guide to hoaxes and other B.S.", by Alex Boese, 2006, ISBN 0-15-603083-7 , pp. 261, 262
  3. ^ a b "Ordinary reactions to extraordinary events", by Ray Broadus Browne, Arthur G. Neal, 2001, ISBN 0-87972-834-5, chapter "Dead or Alive", pp. 21-42
  4. ^ Frank Marshall White, "Mark Twain Amused," New York Journal, 2 June 1897
  5. ^ "FLOOD OF RUMORS GIVES CITY JITTERS". New York Times. 1945-04-14. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  6. ^ "Celebrity hoaxes continue after Jackson death". Ninemsn Australia. 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  7. ^ Selby, Jenn (4 December 2013). "Paul Walker tragedy sparks Eddie Murphy Twitter death hoax". The Independent. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "Musician Started Bon Jovi Death Hoax". Rolling Stone. 28 December 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  9. ^ Whiteman, Bobbie (30 October 2013). "Celine Dion makes two appearances in New York following Facebook death hoaxes". Mail Online. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Considine, Austin (19 September 2012). "One Comeback They Could Skip". New York Times. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Singapore Police Identify Suspect in False Web Post About Lee Kuan Yew". wsj.com. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  12. ^ "Singapore dismisses Lee Kuan Yew death report as hoax". cnn.com. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  13. ^ "Police looking into hoax website that falsely announced death of Mr Lee Kuan Yew". http://www.straitstimes.com. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  14. ^ "Student below 16 identified as suspect behind fake PMO announcement on Lee Kuan Yew". http://www.straitstimes.com. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  15. ^ "Student who posted fake PMO announcement on Mr Lee Kuan Yew's death given stern warning". http://www.straitstimes.com. Retrieved 8 April 2015.