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Hoax Alert

Fake News: NO Knoxville Man Suspected Of Creating 'Real-life Human Centipede', NOT On The Run

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Fri, 31 Aug 2018 21:14:52 Z)

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Is a man from Knoxville, Tennessee suspected of creating a "real-life human centipede" and is he now on the run? No, that's not true: a two year old hoax has been cut up and stitched together again, changing the location, but otherwise the story still is not real. It was then republished on a website pretending to be USA Today

The story reappeared in an article published on or around August 31, 2018 by a website at usatoday-go.com (not the real usatoday.com) titled "Knoxville man suspected of creating 'real-life human centipede' on the run" (archived here) which opened:

Residents in Tennessee's Knoxville have been urged to be on the lookout for a suspect, described as a Caucasian male between the ages of 50-60, who is wanted for questioning over a shocking discovery inside a local warehouse. According to sources familiar with the investigation, the gruesome find was made after authorities responded to an anonymous tip-off from a member of the public.

"We received a phone call from a concerned citizen who reported hearing suspicious noises from a warehouse just beyond the city limits," said an investigator. "Upon arriving at the address, the first responders found the premises were locked and appeared abandoned, but a small blood stain found near the office door gave probable cause for a full search."

Once inside the warehouse, investigators were appalled by the scene that confronted them. "After a career of thirty years, dealing with some of the most heinous crimes you could imagine, this was by far the worst," said one investigator. "As we entered the building, we saw a group of three women crawling on the floor on their hands and knees in obvious distress. It wasn't until we approached them that we saw the full extent of their situation."

Screenshot of http://www.usatoday-go.com/2018/08/31/knoxville-man-suspected-of-creating-real-life-human-centipede-on-the-run/

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail, possibly making them think it was a real news report:

Knoxville man suspected of creating 'real-life human centipede' on the run

Residents in Tennessee's Knoxville have been urged to be on the lookout for a suspect, described as a Caucasian male between the ages of 50-60, who is wanted for questioning over a shocking discovery inside a local...

The man in the composite drawing that supposedly represents the suspect is actually an artist's rendering of what villain Norman Bates from Psycho might have looked like:

Artist Draws Horror Villains As They Were Originally Written - Bloody Disgusting

Yes, Dracula totally had a mustache. We all have images in our minds of what the most iconic literary-based horror villains look like, but oddly enough, those images often don't look at all the way the characters were originally written; the images in our heads, of course, come from the films that brought those characters to the screen.

That, and the story already appeared two years ago in the Alabama Observer, a notorious fake news website that no longer exists. Only then the story was set in Alabama:

Alabama man suspected of creating 'real-life human centipede' on the ...

archived 10 Oct 2016 16:48:47 UTC

We suspect usatoday-go.com is just the latest in a long string of fake sites set up by the same person. Don't fall for this hoax.


: The story is now also appearing on foxnews-us.com, a site run by the same owner which is imitating the real foxnews.com.

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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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Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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