Back in 2014, respected satirical website The Onion published a story claiming that the American state of Ohio was replacing lethal injections for death row prisoners with a more humane “head ripping off machine”.
The report noted:
Seeking a more humane method of carrying out capital punishment, Ohio’s new machine yanks inmates heads from their bodies using painless, powerful robotic claws.
The report featured a slick, but, of course totally fake, TV news clip extolling the virtues of the new machine. In its original context on The Onion website, the report was an amusing and rather biting commentary on the ethics of capital punishment.
Most people who watched the entire video would quickly realise that the claims were not real news and were never intended to be taken seriously. If the outlandish descriptions of the killing machines were not enough to identify the clip as satire, then the blood spatted officials would surely do the job.
Nevertheless, the clip soon escaped it’s original context and began to circulate via social media. Several years later, it still does. And, despite the obvious absurdity of the story’s claims, a few wide-eyed users still mistakenly take it as real news.
At Hoax-Slayer, we’ve received a number of messages asking if the story is true. Hence this article just to set the record straight. 🙂
An example of the social media message:
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!