Six great Colorado hoaxes

This weekend, the Denver Center Theatre Company's New Play Summit featured Great Wall Story, a play by Lloyd Suh based on the true — really! — story of how, in 1899, three Denver reporters came up with a hoax that the Great Wall of China was being torn down, and started an international scare. In honor of those intrepid reporters, here are six of our favorite recent Colorado hoaxes, compiled by Westword intern Hannah Thomas; for some older ones, go to "Top 4 classic Colorado hoaxes -- including a prehistoric body and man-eating rats!"

1) Balloon Boy, 2009, Fort Collins

It was an average day in the Heene household. You know, a "constructing a homemade balloon out of tarps, aluminum foil and duct tape that would be intended for travel purposes only" type of day. But it wasn't until six-year-old Falcon Heene supposedly climbed into the helium-filled balloon that the nation discovered what a successful prototype it was: The balloon, boy reportedly aboard, climbed to an estimated 7,000 feet and floated more than fifty miles to an area just northeast of DIA. The airport was shut down as two National Guard helicopters scrambled to rescue Falcon — but it was only after the flying-saucer-shaped balloon finally touched down that this story blew up real good.

2) Jenny DryErase, 2010, Greeley

Standing up for the downtrodden, Jenny DryErase used a dry-erase board to tell her co-workers — and the rest of the Internet — how she really felt about her job and her chauvinistic boss, the one who called her a HOPA (hot piece of ass). Turns out, the viral Internet message was a hoax perpetrated by theCHIVE.com, a comedy website, and Jenny was actually a squeaky-clean Greeley actress named Elyse Porterfield.

3) Global Warming, 2010, Loveland

Throughout his 2010 campaign for the Senate, Republican Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck repeatedly referred to global warming as a ruse. In fact, he stood in lockstep with Republican senator Jim Inhofe from Oklahoma, telling supporters that "Inhofe was the first person to stand up and say this global warming is the greatest hoax that has been perpetrated. The evidence just keeps supporting his view." And while 2010 ended up being the hottest year on record, Buck's campaign turned ice-cold.

4) Cougar Ban, 2010, Denver

After Democratic state senator Suzanne Williams raised concerns during the 2010 legislative session about stereotypical American Indian mascots in high schools, House Minority Leader Mike May responded with his own concern: cougar mascots. But May wasn't talking about the animal; rather, he was referring to 45-plus women who hit night spots looking to score with younger men. As such, he proposed that cougar mascots be approved by a "Cougar Council" that would meet at Elway's in Cherry Creek.

5) Craigslist Baby, 2010, Colorado Springs

Wanted: Someone with diaper-changing skills and baby-talking ability. When someone began posting ads on Craigslist saying that a baby had been dumped in a trash can and would die if no one rescued it, Colorado Springs police went into dumpster-driving overdrive. But since no babies were ever discovered, they concluded that the ads may have been sick hoaxes rather than ads from real people trying to get rid of their children.

6) Robot Attack, 2010, Denver

After someone cemented an eight-inch plastic robot under a Blake Street bridge last year, the Denver Police Department declared it a possible threat, shutting out civilians within one hundred yards. Then the DPD sent in a bomb-squad robot to settle the score. As rush-hour traffic piled up, the cops put an end to the tiny figurine's reign of terror by blowing it up. No one ever took credit for the prank, and the police have no suspects, but a group of artists held a wake for the robot later in the week.

 
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7 comments
Jeff
Jeff

What about all the DIA Conspiracy Theory Hoax? It's total BS. That should take the top award!

Debbied6000
Debbied6000

What about the guy that that stabbed himself and said that he was mugged on his way to work at Blockbuster in Edgewater. A three police department manhunt ensued. As it turns out he stabbed himself to get out of going to work. He said that he didn't want to get in trouble because he wasn't in uniform. I was the store manager at that store and my employees never let me live that one down. Anytime I directed them to do a task they told me they were going to stab themselves so they didn't have to do the task. That one made national news and Colorado was made fun of on the Tonight show as the hoax state. The CEO of Blockbuster saw the headline on CNN news and contacted the regional to ask what the hell was going on at the Edgewater Blockbuster. What some people won't do to get out of work!!!

SMC
SMC

How could you possilby have left out the 2011 Denver Broncos?

guest
guest

What about the terrorists that are going to blow up the Dillon Dam?

Brad
Brad

You're confused Global Warming is the hoax. Although you Kool-Aid drinkers won't accept that fact until glaciers are threatening Denver. Oh, I take that back, you'll probably blame the the glaciers on global warming.

guest
guest

the cayman in wash park lake!!

Shafi Jourabchi
Shafi Jourabchi

Who can forget that! a full grown cayman in Washington Park! They even ended up draning both lakes..... that is after a very cold winter.

 
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