Summary: Email claims that Michael Jackson actually died many years ago and that the star's decayed body has recently been discovered buried at the Neverland Ranch. It suggests that an "other worldly" impostor has been playing the role of Michael Jackson for a number of years (Full commentary below.)
Status: False - This is part of a fake "news report" that began circulating in 2005. The report was originally published by the satirical website "The Onion".
Example:(Submitted, July 2009)
Subject: SHOCKING NEWS
SANTA BARBARA, CA -During a search for evidence at the Neverland Valley Ranch, investigators discovered a corpse that has been identified as that of Michael Jackson, Santa Barbara police officials announced Tuesday.
"Coroners have officially pronounced Michael Jackson dead. From what we can tell, he died between 18 and 20 years ago," forensic investigator Tim Holbrooke said. "We are not certain, at this time, who-or what-has been standing trial in that Santa Maria courthouse."
According to Holbrooke, Jackson 's corpse was buried just inches below a stretch of the miniature-train tracks that run throughout Neverland. The largely desiccated corpse wore the remains of a red, zipper-covered leather jacket and a single glove.
"We positively identified the body as Jackson by his dental records and DNA," Holbrooke said. "But even before we conducted a single forensic test, we began to suspect that that we'd uncovered the real Michael, and that the disturbing figure claiming to be Jackson was a fake."
Holbrooke said that, although the corpse was in an advanced stage of decomposition, when investigators compared the body to early-career publicity photos of Jackson , they saw a striking resemblance in bone structure and facial features. But when they compared the body to photos taken after 1987, the resemblance was negligible.
"This discovery raises a lot of questions, but it also sheds light on a number of disturbing incidents," Holbrooke said. "Frankly, Jackson had been acting pretty strange."
Forensic experts and music critics are postulating that Jackson was dead before the release of the multi-platinum album Bad. Detectives are currently analyzing the lyrics to "Man In The Mirror" for any clues relating to a look-alike entity that many suspect murdered the youngest member of the Jackson 5 and assumed his identity.
"We believe that Neverland served as some sort of freakishly whimsical tomb constructed by Jackson 's killer," Holbrooke said. "We also suspect that all of the iniquities that occurred on that ranch were the work of the imposter. I wouldn't have ever thought it possible, but we are looking at a situation where the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old cancer patient is the tip of the iceberg."
Holbrooke said that, while the living Jackson is the leading suspect in the murder investigation, he "could be another victim of some sort."
"Basically, we have no idea what type of creature we are dealing with," Holbrooke said.
A member of the investigative team that discovered Jackson 's body described the experience as "otherworldly."
"As we neared the perimeter of Neverland, the dogs started whining and howling like crazy," Santa Barbara County detective Frank Poeller said. "We had to pull them into the house. When we got to Jackson 's bedroom, one of them almost choked himself to death on his leash trying to get out through the window. Minutes later, the same dog led us to the corpse."
A representative from Jackson 's self-created label, MJJ Productions, said he was not surprised to find out that the current Jackson is an imposter.
"When we were recording 'Heal The World' for Dangerous, I could tell something was terribly, terribly wrong," MJJ manager Luke Allard said. "Michael didn't seem like himself anymore. He'd demand bizarre food and sit for hours in a hyperbaric chamber. His appearance began to become more and more peculiar. Soon afterwards, he started wearing a mask and confiding in a chimpanzee."
"I remember thinking, 'This man has become a monster,'" Allard said. "If only I'd known how right I was."
Back in 2005, an email began circulating that claimed that the real Michael Jackson was dead and that an impostor, possibly of supernatural origin, had taken his place. Of course, these claims are untrue. Soon after Michael Jackson really did pass away in June 2009, this old satirical piece once again gained momentum and began circulating rapidly around the world.
The message is disguised to resemble a genuine news report and includes images of the supposed discovery of Jackson's body and "the creature that claims to be Michael Jackson". According to this "news report" the corpse of the real Michael Jackson was found buried under miniature-train tracks at Jackson's Neverland Ranch. Supposedly, forensic tests indicated that the body has been there for many years. The story implies that the entity later claiming to be Michael Jackson was in fact an otherworldly figure - perhaps a demon.
It hardly needs to be stated that there is not even a shred of truth in this ridiculous and far-fetched tale. The story is satire, and was presumably intended to amuse and entertain. This tale originated from a feature published on the satirical news site, The Onion.
When viewed in it's original context on The Onion website, it was quite clear that the story was satirical and not intended to report a real incident. In fact, all stories featured on the Onion website are satirical in nature. Unfortunately, because the story began circulating in the form of a sourceless email forward, some credulous recipients actually believe the story to be true in spite of its fantastic claims. And the June 2009 demise of Michael Jackson has apparently breathed new life into this tired and tasteless old hoax. Hopefully, a closer examination of the information in the message should reveal its satirical nature to even the most gullible of readers.
Although some might still find the piece amusing, Jackson's family and his legions of fans around the world are unlikely to share that amusement.