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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Two Altar Boys NOT Arrested For Putting Weed In The Censer-Burner In Santiago de Compostela

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Thu, 06 Dec 2018 08:05:19 Z)

Were two altar boys in Santiago de Compostela, Spain arrested for putting weed in the censer burner instead of incense? No, that's not true: a South African website copied a story from a Spanish satire website. It is not real.

The story reappeared and went viral again via an article published by The Wild Child on December 5, 2018 titled "Two Altar Boys Were Arrested For Putting Weed In The Censer-Burner" (archived here) which opened:

What started as a joke ended with the future of two altar boys from Spain. They were detained overnight, after having surprised them putting weed in the censer-burner of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The censer-burner is used the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela to celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord. Several assistants stated that in this occasion the holy precinct was suddenly covered in an odd smell "it did not smell as always, it was a familiar smell but I could not relate it to anything, but in my son's bedroom sometimes smell like that".

Screenshot of http://thewildchild.co.za/two-altar-boys-were-arrested-for-putting-weed-in-the-censer-burner/

Users on social media only saw this title and thumbnail:

Two Altar Boys Were Arrested For Putting Weed In The Censer-Burner

We debunked an earlier copy of this hoax back in February 2018:

Fake News: Two Priests NOT Arrested After Putting Weed Into A Thurible | Lead Stories

Did you read the story about the two priests in Santiago de Compostela in Spain who were arrested after they put weed in the thurible? It is not true: it originated on a Spanish satire website. (If you didn't know: a thurible is a vessel suspended by chains that is used to burn incense during various Christian worship services.)

The original story came from "There Is News" (archived here). That site carries a "Legal Warging" (archived here) that reads:

Legal Warging

The site "There is news" (http://thereisnews.es) (hereinafter referred to as TIN) is a humor site whose purpose is entertainment.

The content of TIN is fiction and does not correspond to reality.

All references, names, brands or institutions that appear on the site are used as contextual elements, as in any novel or fiction account.

(Note that the site thereisnews.es doesn't exist, only the .com version is live)

The site is the English language version of the Spanish satire site Hay Noticia, which is owned by Spanish humor website/collective La Fabrica de la Comedia S.C.

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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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