Claim: In March 2005, investigators discovered the corpse of Michael Jackson buried at his Neverland Ranch, more than four years before he was reported dead.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, December 2013]
Origins: Back in March 2005, when Michael Jackson was still alive and undergoing trial on sexual abuse charges, The Onion published an article positing that police investigators had found and identified the decomposed corpse of the immensely popular entertainer buried on the grounds of his Neverland Ranch, and that the person on trial in his name was an imposter:
"Coroners have officially pronounced Michael Jackson dead. From what we can tell, he died between
According to Holbrooke, 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.
"We positively identified the body as Jackson by his dental records and DNA," Holbrooke said. "But even before we conducted a single forensic test, we began to suspect that that we'd uncovered the real Michael, and that the disturbing figure claiming to be Jackson was a fake."
Holbrooke said that, although the corpse was in an advanced stage of decomposition, when investigators compared the body to early-career publicity photos of Jackson, they saw a striking resemblance in bone structure and facial features. But when they compared the body to photos taken after 1987, the resemblance was negligible.
The Onion 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.
Last updated: 1 January 2014