Monday, July 7, 2014

17 Bodies NOT found in Henderson, KY

Have we mentioned lately how much we hate fake television shows and news articles?  In case you’re new to the Medicine Show, let us quickly inform you that our mission is to seek out the truth and expose and shame those who would make a mockery of the weird and the paranormal.  Today we came across a fake news article blowing up our social media feeds, reporting that 17 bodies had been found in the Ohio River near Henderson, KY.  Because we have quite a few friends in Henderson and neighboring Evansville, IN and the high number of bodies it caught our attention.  A couple clicks later we confirmed that this was another of those fake articles from a satirical website.  Like the Paul Walker Death Hoax Hoax last year, such stories are often distasteful and idiotic.  Sadly, they are too often passed along as gospel truth with causal readers unaware that they have been duped.  In this instance, the faux article actually arose from a grain of truth, but the information in it is far off the mark.

These fake news sites post articles with supposed facts and quotes from what seems like officials to try and make them sound credible.  Fictional Henderson Police  Captain Owen St. Pierre was quoted as saying the remains could be the work of the country’s most prolific, active serial killer. It was reported that two of the recovered victims was found to have had extensive criminal histories, leading authorities to look into the possibility of a copycat of Dexter, the serial killer on the Showtime show of the same name who only killed criminals. 

What appears to be rescuers after a flood, posted by Empire News as in Henderson, KY

According to the fake article, a man walking his dog called the police saying he thought he saw someone floating in the Ohio River.  Police were said to have searched the area, finding 17 dismembered bodies in individual plastic bags in varying stages of decomposition.  Had someone dumped a number of bodies in the river at different times, allowing for the different amounts of decomposition, they likely would not have been found close together, as the river would have carried them away.  

Readers should have been tipped off that the story they were reading wasn’t on the level when they came across a quote from a member of the search and rescue team describing how they attempted to resuscitate at least one of the dismembered bodies.  “Kentucky law requires that an attempt be made to resuscitate if possible,” said Joseph Goldsmith, a member of the search and rescue team.  “I know it seemed to be a long-shot, given the body was in several different pieces, but they require us to make an attempt.”[1] 

We noted that the author of the article was A. Michael Smith.  A link took us to his bio page, which was identical to that of Aaron Smith, who wrote the fake story about Charles Manson being paroled last month. Readers curious about the author will find that he claims to have been among the first graduating class of Harvard in 1642, cryogenically frozen, and brought back to life in 1981.  After the Manson article got some coverage, it seems Mr. Smith may have thought slyly abbreviating his first name would trick readers into believing what they were reading was truth.  Sadly, looking at our social media feeds, it seems to have worked to some extent.

The (arguable) grain of truth the story sprang from was the Actual recovery of a leg from the Ohio River, near Henderson, on Friday.  A barge’s crew members found the leg, with a shoe on its foot.  The local coroner’s office took custody of the leg, which was transported to the state Medical Examiner’s office in hopes of extracting DNA.  Local rescue teams, along with divers, searched the waters for more remains Friday evening, finding nothing. 

The moral of this story is, Check Your Sources!! If no local or major news outlets are covering the story, you’re most likely reading satire. And if it comes from Empire News it’s definitely for (poor) entertainment purposes only. Now we’re on to investigating more serious matters, such as Michelle Obama’s abduction by alien sasquatches.

Links of interest:
Actual Article from The Gleaner, Henderson County newspaper about recovered leg

[1] At least 17 Bodies Found In Ohio River Near Henderson, Kentucky.  July 7, 2014. A. Michael Smith.