You can't believe everything you see. USA TODAY Network highlights six memorable hoaxes. Were you fooled?
1. Balloon boy
In October 2009, Richard and Mayumi Heene of Colorado claimed their 6-year-old son, Falcon, had been carried away in a UFO-shaped balloon. The balloon floated 50 miles for two hours before crashing gently into a field. It turns out Falcon was nowhere near the balloon and was safe at home all along. The Heene family had hoped the stunt would help them land a reality TV show. Instead, they landed in jail.
2. Runaway bride
Jennifer Wilbanks was set to marry John Mason on April 30, 2005, in Duluth, Ga. Four days before the wedding, Wilbanks disappeared. Three days into her disappearance, Wilbanks called Mason from Albuquerque, saying she had been abducted and sexually assaulted. Wilbanks later recanted the story and said she ran away because of personal issues. Wilbanks and Mason ended their engagement.
3. Snowball the monster cat
In a photo that went viral, a man holds his 87-pound cat named Snowball. The photo appeared on Good Morning America and The Tonight Show. Snowball was no monster after all — just a normal cat enlarged by photo-editing software.
4. Alien autopsy
In 1995, British producer Ray Santilli said he had footage of an alien autopsy after a UFO crash near Roswell, N.M., in 1947. Santilli claimed the film came from a retired military cameraman. In 2006, Santilli was the executive producer of a comedy movie called Alien Autopsy based on his "discovery" of the autopsy footage. Shortly before the movie's release, he admitted the footage was fake.
5. Milli Vanilli
In 1990, the Germany-based dance-pop duo Milli Vanilli won a Grammy. Soon after, the group's members Fabrice Morvan and Rob Pilatus were spotted lip-syncing in concert. Their producer, Frank Farian, revealed that the album's lead vocals were those of other singers but credited to Morvan and Pilatus. With this revelation, their Grammy was revoked.
6. Swiss spaghetti harvest
Perhaps known as the original media hoax, the BBC "reported" on April 1, 1957, that Switzerland was experiencing a bumper spaghetti harvest. Viewers called in wanting to know how they could get their own spaghetti plant. According to the online Museum of Hoaxes, the BBC responded, "Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."
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