Was a 22-year-old man named Josh McDermott from Beavdr City, New England struck by lightning and did this cause him to have a permanent erection? No, that's not true: the story was made up by a Canadian entertainment website that makes a living by publishing fictional stories often involving weird crimes, bizarre sex acts or strange accidents. It is not real. The story recently started being shared around again on social media so we looked into it.
The story originated from an article published on April 28, 2017 by World News Daily Report titled "Man Struck by Lightning Has Permanent Erection Says Doctor" (archived here) which opened:
Beaver City, NE | Josh McDermott, 22, has been in erection for the past 17 weeks since he was tragically hit by a lightning bolt while hiking last January during a trip to Mexico.
The young man that was left with a long scar down his chest, abdomen and onto his genitals, still vividly remembers the tragic moment.
" I felt my dick light on fire and it's been hard since "
- Josh McDermott, victim
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
Man Struck by Lightning Has Permanent Erection Says Doctor
Beaver City, NE | Josh McDermott, 22, has been in erection for the past 17 weeks since he was tragically hit by a lightning bolt while hiking last January during a trip to Mexico. The young man that was left with a long scar down his chest, abdomen and onto his genitals, still vividly remembers the
The picture is from a real lightning strike victim but it happened in 2015, the victim was named Ryan Cross, it was in Idaho and no boner was involved:
Man Survives Lightning Strike
An Idaho man survived being struck by a lightning bolt that entered through his head and exited his back. KTVB's Andrea Lutz reports.
Idaho Man Survives Lightning Strike and Has the Scars to Prove It | The Weather Channel
An Idaho man is recovering after he was hit by lightning over the Memorial Day weekend. Ryan Cross, 34, was camping with friends over the weekend near Idaho City, KTVB reports. They were lost on their 4-wheelers when a sudden storm with heavy hail came up.
The website World News Daily Report is a well known satire website specialized in posting hoaxes and made up stories. The disclaimer on their website is pretty clear about that even though you have to scroll all the way down the page to find it:
World News Daily Report assumes all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website - even those based on real people - are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any person, living, dead or undead, is purely a miracle.
It is run by Janick Murray-Hall and Olivier Legault, who also run the satirical Journal de Mourréal, a satirical site spoofing the (real) Journal de Montéal. Very often their stories feature an image showing a random crazy mugshot found in a mugshot gallery on the internet or on a stock photo website superimposed over a background of flashing police lights or crime scene tape.
Articles from the site are frequently copied (sometimes even months or years later) by varous fake news websites that omit the satire disclaimer and present the information as real.
NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes worldnewsdailyreport.com as:
A website that publishes hoaxes and made-up stories that are often widely shared and mistaken for news.
According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.
We wrote about worldnewsdailyreport.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:
- Fake News: Saudi Man Did NOT Eat Two Of His Four Wives To Survive 13 Days Stranded In The Desert
- Fake News: Saudi Man NOT Sentenced To 1000 Lashes For Performing Oral Sex On a Camel
- Fake News: Coast Guard Employee Did NOT Tell Cops She Was Forced Into Prostitution By Government Shutdown
- Fake News: Chinese Lunar Rover Finds No Evidence of American Moon Landings (Exactly As Expected...)
- Fake News: United Airlines Pilot and Copilot NOT Fired, Did NOT Have Loud Sex During Flight