Just some of my favorite internet hoaxes for April Fools!

1. Tourist Guy

If you look closely at the above image, Midtown Manhattan is clearly discernible in the background behind our blissfully unaware subject, indicating that the photographer is facing north from the location of the twin towers. Only one of the planes that collided with the World Trade Center on September 11 approached from that direction — the first, American Airlines Flight #11, which struck the north tower (One World Trade) at 8:45 a.m.  The trouble is, the north tower had no rooftop observation deck like the one pictured here; even if it had, it wouldn’t have been open to tourists at such an early hour.

The Tourist Guy

There are further discrepancies to ponder:

  • Why isn’t the fast-moving aircraft blurry in the photo?
  • Why doesn’t the subject (or the photographer, for that matter) seem cognizant of the plane’s high-decibel approach?
  • The temperature was between 65 and 70 degrees that morning, according to news reports. Why is this man dressed for winter?
  • How did the camera survive the 110-story fall when the tower collapsed?
  • How was the camera found so quickly amidst all the rubble?
  • Why did this one-of-a-kind, newsworthy photo never appear in the media until after it had already been well circulated via email?

1. Save Toby!

Some folks are up in arms about a site called SaveToby.com, wherein it is claimed that a cute, fluffy bunny named Toby will be cooked and eaten unless his owner receives $50,000 by June 30, 2005. Word on the Net has it that there used to be a disclaimer at the bottom of the Save Toby home page stating it’s all just a joke, but as of this writing it is nowhere to be found.

The image “http://savetoby.com/i/toby1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.We can still suppose with a reasonable amount of confidence that Toby’s in no real danger, however, given that the concept is an obvious rip-off of "Save Bernd," a prank Website where a similar hapless critter has been held hostage for the past six months while its owner supposedly awaits a cumulative ransom of 1,000,000 Euros. The fine print at the bottom of Bernd’s home page reads: "It’s a joke."

I should note that while the PayPal buttons on Save Toby do (at the moment) lead to a functioning account where "donations" can be made (which I don’t recommend), it is NOT the same account displayed in a screenshot on the home page, which lists a purported $14,000+ in moneys collected so far even though PayPal says it is currently unable to receive funds. Caveat emptor!

3. Bill Gates Sends You Money

Bill Gates wants to send you money: You would be paid for every e-mail you forwarded. Grandparents and the mildly retarded fell for this one again and again. Most people forwarded it with a disclaimer saying they figured it was probably fake, but sent it around just in case. Jackasses. Gates himself is reportedly still pissed off about this one, as he sits atop his giant pile of money while wearing his suit made of $100 bills.