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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Doctor Did NOT Say Man Struck by Lightning Has Permanent Erection

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Wed, 16 Jan 2019 14:32:06 Z)

Was a 22-year-old man named Josh McDermott from Beavdr City, New England struck by lightning and did this cause him to have a permanent erection? No, that's not true: the story was made up by a Canadian entertainment website that makes a living by publishing fictional stories often involving weird crimes, bizarre sex acts or strange accidents. It is not real. The story recently started being shared around again on social media so we looked into it.

The story originated from an article published on April 28, 2017 by World News Daily Report titled "Man Struck by Lightning Has Permanent Erection Says Doctor" (archived here) which opened:

Beaver City, NE | Josh McDermott, 22, has been in erection for the past 17 weeks since he was tragically hit by a lightning bolt while hiking last January during a trip to Mexico.
The young man that was left with a long scar down his chest, abdomen and onto his genitals, still vividly remembers the tragic moment.

" I felt my dick light on fire and it's been hard since "
- Josh McDermott, victim

Screenshot of https://worldnewsdailyreport.com/man-struck-by-lightning-has-permanent-erection-says-doctor/

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Man Struck by Lightning Has Permanent Erection Says Doctor

Beaver City, NE | Josh McDermott, 22, has been in erection for the past 17 weeks since he was tragically hit by a lightning bolt while hiking last January during a trip to Mexico. The young man that was left with a long scar down his chest, abdomen and onto his genitals, still vividly remembers the

The picture is from a real lightning strike victim but it happened in 2015, the victim was named Ryan Cross, it was in Idaho and no boner was involved:

Man Survives Lightning Strike

An Idaho man survived being struck by a lightning bolt that entered through his head and exited his back. KTVB's Andrea Lutz reports.

Idaho Man Survives Lightning Strike and Has the Scars to Prove It | The Weather Channel

An Idaho man is recovering after he was hit by lightning over the Memorial Day weekend. Ryan Cross, 34, was camping with friends over the weekend near Idaho City, KTVB reports. They were lost on their 4-wheelers when a sudden storm with heavy hail came up.

The website World News Daily Report is a well known satire 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. Very often their stories feature an image showing a random crazy mugshot found in a mugshot gallery on the internet or on a stock photo website superimposed over a background of flashing police lights or crime scene tape.

Articles from the site are frequently copied (sometimes even months or years later) by varous fake news websites that omit the satire disclaimer and present the information as real.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes worldnewsdailyreport.com as:

A website that publishes hoaxes and made-up stories that are often widely shared and mistaken for news.

According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.

We wrote about worldnewsdailyreport.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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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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