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Snopes.com scopes out Boston Marathon conspiracies

4:13 PM, Apr 16, 2013   |    comments
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As with many tragedies that have occurred during the digital age, conspiracy theories and rumors related to theBoston Marathon Bombing have already started to spread. 

An article on Snopes.com, the site known for "covering urban legends, internet rumors, e-mail forwards, and other stories of unknown or questionable origin", says there are at least five flooding the internet right now.

The article addresses these trending tales, and provides what it claims as factual information to set the record straight:

1. Early Creation Facebook Pages

According to Snopes, there are claims of multiple Facebook pages dedicated to the Boston Marathon Bombing that have an origin date of prior to Monday, April 15- the day the tragedy occurred. 

Many consider that confirmation that the event was planned or staged as a part of a conspiracy, but Snopes highlights their previous research, showing one can change the name of a page after its been created. 

They also point out that users can choose the "born" date based on the original entity's start-up date, or even a person's actual birth date. 

These two Facebook pages had many raising questions- "Our thoughts and prayers go out to all involved in the Boston bombings" and "Thoughts go out to all involved in the Boston explosions"- but Snopes says the dates reflected on Facebook are not reliable.

2. Sandy Hook Child Killed in Bombing:

Many of you have probably seen the photo of a little girl wearing running gear and a race bib with claims that she was a Sandy Hook Elementary student killed in the explosions, and that she was running to honor her lost peers. Snopes states the rumor is false on many accounts:

  • Children aren't allowed to run the course
  • The young victim was eight-year-old Martin Richard, and he was waiting near the finish line for his father
  • The girl's bib in the photo says "Joe Cassella 5K", and was actually taken during that run in VA in May of 2012.

3. Woman Killed Before Boyfriend's Proposal:

One photo of a man keeled over in the midst of the chaos has been rumored to be of a distraught boyfriend who planned on proposing to his girlfriend as she crossed the finish line- "...but she passed away" says its caption.

Snopes says the caption is not likely true, since it began circulating before any deceased victims' identities were released other than that of eight-year-old Martin Richard.

4. Boston Globe Tweet:

Boston Globe's Twitter feed hosted the following tweet on the day of the explosions:

"Officials: There will be a controlled explosion opposite the library within one minute as part of bomb squad activities."

Snopes says many thought a "controlled explosion" planned for the same time as the marathon explosions classified the whole thing as a "false flag" operation-  known as "when forces of one power disguise themselves as enemy forces." 

However, they clarify that Boston Globe's tweet was posted "well after the initial explosions" and regarded "the demolition of a suspicious object..."

5. False victim:

The last of the conspiracies addressed in Snopes' article has to do with rumors that some Boston Marathon bombing victims are not actually victims, but people planted at the scene- "actors employed to pull off a staged event."

They highlight a trending image comprised of multiple pictures:

  • One is of a Boston Marathon bombing victim with a serious leg injury
  • Three others are of U.S. Army Lieutenant Nick Vogt- who is said to have lost his legs while serving overseas in 2011

Text written across the pieced together photos claims the victim in the bombing photo is actually Lieutenant Vogt, but Snopes scoped out this situation. 

They say the man pictured in the Boston Marathon photo has been identified as Jeff Bauman, Jr. of Chelmsford, MA by his dad, Jeff Bauman Sr.

According to Snopes, Bauman, Sr. posted a plea for prayers under the photo of his injured son surfaced.

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