A “report” in 2005 published by satire publication The Onion saying Michael Jackson’s corpse was found at his Neverland Ranch has gone viral once again, tricking many into believing that Jackson actually died more than 20 years ago and an impostor has been masquerading as the pop singer. Jackson died in June 2009.
“Coroners have officially pronounced Michael Jackson dead. From what we can tell, he died between 18 and 20 years ago,” a fake quote in the article reads.
The satire added: “Jackson’s corpse was buried just inches below a stretch of the miniature-train tracks that run throughout Neverland. The largely desiccated corpse wore the remains of a red, zipper-covered leather jacket and a single glove.”
The Onion is a satire news publication that was founded in 1988.
According to its disclaimer, “The Onion is a satirical weekly publication” and it “uses invented names in all its stories, except in cases where public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental.”
On social media sites, numerous people thought the Michael Jackson article was real.
“I just read Michael Jackson real body was just found and died 20 years ago. #whatislife,” one person wrote on Twitter.
Added another: “Am I the only one who heard about this Michael Jackson story & how they found the real body & that he’s been dead for longer than we thought.”
Said another, “Someone please tell me they didn’t really find Michael Jackson’s supposed body buried in his own backyard.”
The story had more than 350,000 shares on Facebook.
It’s not the first time The Onion has tricked people.
Last year, a large number of people believed an article saying that George Zimmerman won the lottery was real. Another article published later in 2013 saying rapper Eminem was “horrified” to hear that his daughter was dating a man “raised on his music” also fooled many.