Fake News: Police Did NOT Discover Over 250 Penises During Raid At Funeral Employees Home

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Police Did NOT Discover Over 250 Penises During Raid At Funeral Employees Home

Was 54-year old Paul Houston, an employee of the McLean County Coroner's Office, arrested (again) after 250 penises were found at his home as part of his role in a suspected organ trafficking network? No, that's not true: a "fauxtire" website just copied an earlier hoax from a different website (which had stolen it from yet another site) and upped the number from 200 to 250 (and the older, original story spoke of over 3000).

The latest version appeared in an article published by Huzlers on August 23, 2018 titled "Police Discover Over 250 Penises During Raid At Funeral Employees Home" (archived here) which opened:

Police made an astonishing discovery this morning while executing a search warrant at the residence of a Bloomington mortician: 250 embalmed human penises.
Authorites suspected 54-year old Paul Houston, an employee of the McLean County Coroner's Office, of being implicated in an organ trafficking network.

Investigating several reports of missing organs and body parts, dozens of police raided his residence this Monday morning, hoping to find evidence of his involvement in the crimes.

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail and might have thought it was an original story:

Police Discover Over 250 Penises During Raid At Funeral Employees Home

Police made an astonishing discovery this morning while executing a search warrant at the residence of a Bloomington mortician: 250 embalmed human penises. Authorites suspected 54-year old Paul Houston, an employee of the McLean County Coroner's Office...

We debunked the earlier "200" version of the hoax here:

Fake News: Bloomington Police Did NOT Discover Over 200 Penises During Raid At Funeral Employee's Home | Lead Stories

Did the cops find over 200 penises during a raid at the home of 54-year-old Paul Houston, an employee of the McLean County Coroner's Office? No, that's not true: the story was made up by a fake news website imitating the look and feel of Fox News by using their logo and a similar domain name.

And the "3000" version here:

Fake News: FBI Did NOT Seize Over 3,000 Penises During Raid At Morgue Employee Home | Lead Stories

Hoax Alert An article appeared on fake news website World News Daily report which claimed in the title that the "FBI seizes over 3,000 penises during raid at morgue employee's home". The story opened: FBI agents made an astonishing discovery this morning while executing a search warrant at the residence of a Houston mortician: 3,178 embalmed human penises.

Huzlers styles itself as a "fauxtire" website and carries a disclaimer at the bottom of each page:

Huzlers.com is the most infamous fauxtire & satire entertainment website in the world. If it's trending on social media you'll find it here!

According to Splinter News the site is run by Pablo Reyes and David Martinez and according to Buzzfeed Reyes is involved with several other fake news websites. They tend to shy away from political stories, opting instead to write for a more "urban" audience, with stories about rappers, criminals and celebrities.

We wrote about huzlers.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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