Real Life The Purge Hoaxes Hit The Woodlands Social Media
The day before Halloween in 1938, a rather young Orson Welles took to the radio airwaves and scared the living hell out of people. The broadcast was part of a re-enactment of the H.G. Wells book War of the Worlds, but innocent, unsuspecting listeners were duped into believing aliens had landed on Earth. This was during a time when America was ramping up for World War II in a post-depression economy.
Today, people tend to be a bit more savvy about the potential for hoaxes, particularly on social media, though people have even been fooled by the video of a monkey shooting at African soldiers who had taunted it that was a promotion for the new Planet of the Apes joint. Sometimes fakes can be pretty convincing, which is why a recent spate of hoaxes surrounding the latest installment in The Purge films have led to worries in cities across America and even investigations by police and the FBI.
Those include posts to Facebook regarding similar purge-like conditions predicted for, of all places, The Woodlands. Personally, the only thing I imagine residents there purging is the Olive Garden, but someone seems to think it was worth the threat and authorities have taken it seriously.
All these purge hoaxes allegedly began with a teenager in Louisville trying to prank people with a social media post about a real-life purge that was coming to the Kentucky city. Needless to say, the authorities were not thrilled. But similar hoaxes have popped up all over the country and even Canada, so much so that it leaves one to wonder if the makers of The Purge aren't behind it (they were named a runner-up for a Shorty Award for their social media campaigns on the first film). Even if they aren't, they must love the publicity.
It is amazing how creative viral marketing has become, much of it born from perhaps the greatest viral marketing campaign in history: The Blair Witch Project.