Satire: Dead Man Mistaken for Haunted House Prop

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A fake article claims that a man had died in a popular haunted house and his body was mistaken as a prop for two weeks. The story is fabricated satire.

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Satire

This shocking piece of bogus news was created by Empire News, a known entertainment satire website. The fictional article tells the story of a popular residential haunted house in Waukegan, Illinois which draws thousands of visitors annually. Unbeknownst to visitors and residents, a 71-year-old man somehow passed away inside the attraction and had gone unnoticed for two weeks, apparently being misconstrued as a prop. A gory and macabre twist is taken when the story describes how two children had discovered the decomposing corpse.

Again, this article is a piece of fake satire that has arrived just in time for the upcoming Halloween holiday.

Similar Real Event

Believe it or not, this Empire News article may have been inspired by a real event. In 2009, the New York Times reported on a 75-year-old man who had committed suicide on his apartment balcony in Marina del Rey, California. Apparently, the man shot himself in the eye and had died hanging over some patio furniture strewn about the balcony. Due to the fact that the event occurred in October near Halloween, neighbors residing in the affluent apartment complex may have believed the man was actually a Halloween decoration. It was discovered that the scene was real five days later.

Empire News

Empire News is one of a dozen or so satire sites which have achieved notoriety over the last two years through their nonstop release of fake news stories which occasionally go viral when they are mistaken as authentic news. They are often spread through various social media channels by susceptible users who share links to the stories with friends.  At times, the articles may be appreciated and recognized as fictional satire, yet as sharing continues the bounds between fiction and reality can become obscured. The end result is a potentially viral meme.

There is a revealing ‘About / Disclaimer’ link at the bottom of every Empire News page. If the madcap nature of the stories isn’t recognized as satire, visiting this link clues readers into their true nature. Here readers can see for themselves that Empire News identifies as a satire site which exists for entertainment purposes.

Summary

A dead man has not been mistaken for a haunted house prop. The article which claims this comes from a known entertainment website called Empire News which publishes fictional satire that is sometimes confused with real news. Empire News may have been inspired to create this story by real events described within a 2009 NY Times article in which a man committed suicide on his apartment balcony and was mistaken for a Halloween display for five days.

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