Balloons and the ethics of hoaxing

The World

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last five days, you’ve seen the ‘Balloon Boy’ story, in which a Colorado family claimed that their 6-year-old son had climbed into a homemade helium balloon which then floated across the nation’s television screens for the next four hours. When the balloon finally crash-landed, would-be rescuers discovered the boy had never been in the balloon, but had purportedly been hiding out in his family’s attic. Over the weekend, the local sheriff accused the Heene family of deliberately hoaxing the public.

We’re joined by famous hoaxter Joey Skaggs; Skaggs has been pulling off hoaxes since the 1960s, and he claims that his website, The Art of the Prank, was one of the first to claim this as a hoax. He agrees that the Heene story feels like a scam and says it violates all the ethical rules of hoaxters.

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