'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

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

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'Balloon Boy'

The nation was gripped by the story of 6-year-old Colorado boy Falcon Heene, who reportedly floated away in a giant helium balloon from his parents' backyard. Before it was revealed that Falon was never on board the craft, the story dominated the cable news networks for days. Ultimately, authorities determined that the episode was a hoax set up by his parents to land a reality TV show deal. The stunt, two weeks in the planning, was apparently a marketing ploy by Richard and Mayumi Heene, who met in acting school in Hollywood and have appeared on the ABC reality show Wife Swap. According to local authorities, the pair will likely face felony charges. There’s no estimate yet of how much the needless air rescue cost federal and local governments.

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