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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Hoaxes

Atheist Forces Touched by an Angel Cancellation

by Ken Newquist / January 1, 2003

Has the dead hand of a notorious atheist succeeded in getting the federal government to ban the word "God" from America's airways, thus forcing CBS to cancel Touched by an Angel? In a word, no.

This hoax has been circulating since 1975, and shows no signs of going away, despite the fact that its primary antagonist, atheist Madeline Murry O'Hare, is dead. It was circulated for years in print form before making the jump to e-mail. More recent versions make reference to Murry O'Hare's disappearance and the subsequent discovery of her body, but they're just as bogus as the original.

Anti-Microsoft Activist Promises to Destroy PCs, Data With Beautiful Virus

by Ken Newquist / December 30, 2002

The "Life is Beautiful" e-mail hoax claims a new virus will wipe the hard drives of anyone who triggers it while its cyber-terrorist author goes on to fight Microsoft in court.

The e-mail alleges the virus is contained in a PowerPoint presentation, but while such files can contain viruses, this online threat is bogus.

Sick Little Rachel Hoax Promises Money from AOL, ZDnet

by Ken Newquist / December 11, 2002

An e-mail claiming to be raising money to save a kid dying of brain cancer claims you don't have a heart if you delete the message (no doubt it will have been stolen by a rampaging band of kidney thieves looking to branch out into new markets). Updated with a mutated version in December 2002.

AOL To Help Save Baby Natalie From Brain Cancer

by Ken Newquist / December 11, 2002

When I was a kid, I told an outrageous lie: that my grade school principal was going to pay me .25 cents for each piece of garbage I picked up at the school. My parents immediately saw it for the fiction that it was.

Unfortunately, people on the net aren't quite so observant when it comes to heart-pulling e-mail scams such as this one, which promises that AOL will donate 5 cents for every email forwarded to treat an infant with brain cancer.

Heroin Needle Hoax Continues to Haunt McDonald's Ball Pits

by Ken Newquist / September 30, 2002

"Mommy ... it hurts!" Those words struck fear into the heart of Kevin Archer's mother ... but that fear was nothing compared to the horror she felt the next day when she found her son dead of a heroin overdose. The child had been playing in a McDonald's ball pit when a heroin-filled syringe had pierced his bottom, sending the deadly drug coursing through his veins.

It's a horrifying tale ... but it isn't real.

Photo of Helicopter-eating Shark is a Hoax

by Ken Newquist / August 26, 2002

Here's the set-up: a helicopter is raising a diver up out of the ocean when suddenly an immense great white shark jumps out of the water for a quick (and fatal) bite. It sounds like a scene from a movie (say Jaws II or Deep Blue Sea, and it seems to unbelievable to be real.

Fortunately for the diver and the helicopter, the photo is fake, and so is the story behind it.

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