'Balloon Boy' and 8 Other Outrageous Media Hoaxes

We were duped! See the sagas that became our national obsessions -- before being revealed as complete fabrications (10 Photos)

Heather Graham on Oct 19, 2009 at 10:29AM

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'Balloon Boy' and 8 Other Outrageous Media Hoaxes

Steve Apps/AP

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Audrey Seiler: She Kidnapped Herself

University of Wisconsin-Madison sophomore Audrey Seiler disappeared for four days in March 2004 before walking out of a marsh on the south side of Madison, Wis., where she claimed to have been held hostage by an armed man. The investigation into Seiler’s abduction, which cost nearly $100,000, turned up a knife in the marsh where she’d been “found.” It also turned up a videotape that showed Seiler buying a knife, duct tape, rope, gum and cold medicine before she vanished. Her story quickly unraveled and police learned the kidnapping was a hoax designed to get the attention of Seiler's boyfriend. She ended up pleading guilty to two counts of obstructing an officer. Seiler received three years probation, during which she had to pay $250 monthly restitution to the Madison Police Department and seek mental health help.

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