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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Transspecies Man Did NOT Abandon Family to Live Naked in the Forest As a Squirrel

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Fri, 02 Mar 2018 13:14:10 Z)

No, Alan Meyers, an electrician and father of two from Dyersburg, Tennessee did not abandon his wife and children to go live naked in the woods because he believes himself to be a (transspecies) squirrel. If you read an article about that somewhere and you believed it you were taken in by a satirical website.

The story originated with an article published on World News Daily Report under the title "Transspecies man abandons family to live naked in the forest as a squirrel" on March 1st 2018 (archived here) which opened:

A man who describes himself as an "animal stuck inside a human body", has decided to abandon his wife and children to live the life of a squirrel in the woods.

Alan Meyers, an electrician and father of two from Dyersburg in Tennessee, has always described himself as a squirrel stuck in a man's body and has been for years a militant of the transspecies movement.

Mr. Meyers was diagnosed with a condition called clinical lycanthropy, a rare psychiatric syndrome that involves a delusion that the affected person can transform into, has transformed into, or is a non-human animal.

We haven't been able to definitively identify the man in the picture but it appears to be taken from following stock photo which has been around since at least 2008:

Human being Man Nature - a Royalty Free Stock Photo from Photocase

Buy this Royalty Free Stock Photo on Human being Man Nature Tree Forest Naked Power Healthy for your Website, Book Cover, Flyer, Article, Blog or Template.

squirrelman.jpg

The website World News Daily Report is a well known satirical website specialized in posting hoaxes and made up stories. The disclaimer on their website is pretty clear about that even though you have to scroll all the way down the page to find it:

World News Daily Report assumes all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website - even those based on real people - are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any person, living, dead or undead, is purely a miracle.

It is run by Janick Murray-Hall and Olivier Legault, who also run the satirical Journal de Mourréal, a satirical site spoofing the (real) Journal de Montéal. His stories often get copied by "real" fake news sites without attribution and with the omission of the satire disclaimer, causing many people to believe the story is real. Or folks might just see the story on social media where there is no obvious indication the article is just a joke:

Transspecies man abandons family to live naked in the forest as a squirrel

A man who describes himself as an "animal stuck inside a human body", has decided to abandon his wife and children to live the life of a squirrel in the woods.

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk
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