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Fake News: Retired CIA Agent Did NOT Confess on Deathbed He Killed Marilyn Monroe

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Mon, 20 May 2019 14:49:52 Z)

Did a retired CIA agent named Normand Hodges confess on his deathbed that he killed Marilyn Monroe? 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 is several years old but keeps showing up on all kinds of websites that copy it without verifying the source.

The story originated from an article (archived here) on World News Daily Report where it was published on March 25, 2015 under the title "Retired CIA Agent Confesses on Deathbed: 'I Killed Marilyn Monroe'". It opened:

Norfolk, Virginia | A 78-year old retired officer of the CIA, Normand Hodges, has made a series of astonishing confessions since he was admitted at the Sentara General Hospital on Monday. He claims he committed 37 assassinations for the American government between 1959 and 1972, including the actress and model, Marilyn Monroe.

Mr. Hodges, who worked for the CIA for 41 years as an operative with top-level security clearances, claims he was often employed as a hitman by the organization, to assassinate individuals who could represent a threat to the security of the country.

Trained as both a sniper and a martial arts expert, Mr. Hodges says he also has significant experience with more unconventional methods of inflicting harm upon others, like poisons and explosives.

Screenshot of https://worldnewsdailyreport.com/retired-cia-agent-confesses-on-deathbed-i-killed-marilyn-monroe/

The website World News Daily Report is a humor 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.

On March 20, 2019 the site added a new header that included the slogan "Where facts don't matter" to make it clearer to casual visitors the published content is fictional:

factsdontmatter3.png

The site often uses images stolen without attribution from real news websites, sometimes showing real people who have nothing to do with the story, for example here:

Woman Says Newborn Photo Stolen for Satirical Fake News Story

That happened with this story too: the picture of the supposed CIA agent is actually a man named Michael Tyrrell who was handcuffed to his hospital bed on the day before he died:

Dying prisoners routinely chained to hospital beds

Glenda Jackson MP attacks 'disgusting and horrific' practice as Guardian learns brain-dead man was handcuffed in ambulance

The site 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.

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

About Lead Stories

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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