Stories that seem too bizarre to be true? Fact Checking the Wildest News stories I read this week


For most of us, ever since we were kids, we can remember some ridiculously fake stories circulating around. We all knew the story of bloody mary; you would summon her by going into the bathroom, turning off the light, looking into the mirror and saying her name 3 times. Of course that story is not true, although, personally, I would not try it. Then as we got older there were other weird rumors, I’m sure most people heard the one about Marilyn Manson removing his bottom ribs, to erm, facilitate autofellatio. What this taught me is that people love a good story, especially if it treads on the line of being (most likely) impossible. Unfortunately, I am not the only person who has ever realized this, and for as long as mass media has existed, fake stories always come along with them. But now, with social media holding almost 3 billion people, these “rumors” or “fake news” can get out of control. Adam Sandler, the actor, had to announce that he was not dead because of how far a rumor circulated through the media. It is imperative to check the reliability of sources, and more importantly, if the source does check out, read the article, not only the headline. In this article, I will go through a list of all the news stories I heard about, and read this week. Then I will show which proved to be true, and which proved to be false.


  1. Are the “You’ve Received a Compliment!” Texts linked to a Sex Trafficking Ring?

In late August, rumors began circulating that the app “IRL”, which sends unsolicited texts to contacts of users are linked to a sex trafficking ring. I did not hear about this until early September. One day, a multitude of people are re-posting stories of this tweet, telling girls to be careful. But none of this panic created was necessary, because this is false! This circulated all around my feed for days, and it could have been avoided with a simple google search.


2. Did a Man Die Shooting at Hurricane Florence?  

In September 2018, North and South Carolina faced Hurricane Florence. Hurricanes tend to bring a lot of fake news, pranks, and hoaxes. On September 13th, 2018, posted the article: “Myrtle Beach Man Who Shot at Hurricane Florence Dies After Bullet Ricochets,”. The article states,

“A 33-year old man from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has been confirmed as one of the first fatalities of Hurricane Florence after he ignored warnings and fired a weapon into the storm. According to a source who responded to the scene the 33-year old is believed to have fired a large calibre weapon earlier this afternoon; however, the bullet ricocheted and ended up entering the man’s head. It’s believed he died instantly.”

This is entirely false! Nothing was found to corroborate this story.

3. Did a Weather Report brace “heavy winds” during Hurricane Florence while people behind him unaffected?

While broadcasting live during Hurricane Florence in September 2018, reporter Mike Seidel, seemed to have possibly exaggerated the force of the winds. This is actually true! Video shows Seidel bracing the impact of the wind while two men behind him casually walk by. Nobody really knows if Seidel was faking or not but the headline was true!

Moral of the story (pun intended), do not believe everything you read online and always make sure you do your research before sharing the news of something that may have not even happened.