The internet-enabled hoax genre continues, as a young American woman admitted to creating a fictional family. Emily Dirr created a family including a Mountie father, pregnant then killed mother, and cancer-stricken child ("Warrior Eli"). She also built up a supporting cast of characters numbering perhaps 80.
The hoax sprawled over the internet across a series of platforms: multiple Facebook accounts and groups, email, Yahoo Answers, Xanga, CaringBridge, instant message, a now-dead Friendster clone, and text messages. Dirr also snarfed photos from Flickr. Physical artifacts were involved: fake bracelets supposedly made by the ailing boy (image left) and drawings. A Web-based charity received donations spurred by events in the hoax. Hundreds of people followed over more than a decade.
Gawker has a fine account.
(thanks to Peter Naegele)