Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show People Being Cooked On A Spit By Cannibals In Haiti -- It Was 2018 Halloween Prop In China

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show People Being Cooked On A Spit By Cannibals In Haiti -- It Was 2018 Halloween Prop In China Halloween Prop

Does a video showing two bound human figures turning on spits over pits of hot coals provide evidence of cannibalism in Haiti? No, that's not true: This video shows a spooky prop that was part of a Halloween event at Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, a Chinese amusement park. Additional videos showing the same prop in the context of the park's 2018 Halloween events were posted on Instagram and Facebook. These additional videos, meant to promote a park attraction, clearly show that these are not real human bodies but lightweight dummies.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on X, formerly Twitter, that was published by @AlexNewsweekly on March 13, 2024. The caption on the post reads:

Haitians be cooking people like fried chicken. Cannibalism is real folks.

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:


Twitter screenshot

(Source: X screenshot taken on Fri Mar 15 14:49:28 2024 UTC)

Armed gangs had taken control of most of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, in March 2024 in a bid to force the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. Amid mounting chaos and violence in the country, Henry agreed on March 11, 2024, two days before the claim appeared, to resign once a transitional council was set up.

This video has nothing to do with Haiti, however. As India Today initially reported, its depiction of a cannibalistic scene is part of a spooky village set up at a Chinese theme park for Halloween.

Lead Stories found that a reverse image search with Google Lens for the above screenshot (archived here) led to several results. One linked to a fact check published by the Chilean media outlet fastcheck.cl. The fact check contains links to several additional videos of the Halloween props.

Another Google Lens result linked to a Spanish-language post on X from March 12, 2024, in which a user expressed frustration at the spread of disinformation about Haiti. The post included a screenshot of a now-deleted post on X (archived here). Also included in the screenshot was a community note that was attached to the deleted post. The note says:

The video is from a Halloween party. at Chimelong Ocean Kingdom Theme Park in Zhuhai, China, filmed in October 2018.
It's been circulating ever since as fake accusations of cannibalism to different countries.

The composite image below shows thumbnail images from the Instagram account @galaxychimelong, a travel page for the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom. The images showing some of the features at the park's Halloween event were posted on October 31, 2018.

Among these images is a video of a costumed worker casually turning a bound and naked figure on a spit. It is clear that the figure he is turning does not weigh very much because he is turning the spit with only one hand.


(Source: Lead Stories composite image of Instagram screenshots taken on Fri Mar 15 16:58:44 2024 UTC)

A promotional video was posted on the Facebook page Silly Nano Mag on October 17, 2018. The video ends with details about the dates of the Halloween event.

In the composite image below, the Google Lens translation of the original Chinese can be seen on the right. It reads:

Chimelong Ocean Kingdom
October 9th - November 4th (except October 15th, 19th and 22nd)
5:00 - 11:00 every night

(Source: Lead Stories composite image with Facebook screenshots taken on Fri Mar 15 15:04:42 2024 UTC)

At the 35-second mark (pictured above), the video shows some park visitors poking the rubbery dummy on the spit. This is followed by another scene of a costumed worker turning the spit. The post's caption, translated by Google, reads:

I watched the joyful Pumpkin Festival the day before yesterday, and today it's time to have an adventure that challenges your courage! The real-life layout of 'Nanyang Gu Village' really scares Sharp Jun to the point of leaving his heart. The smoky banana forest, the 'surprise' protagonists of classic Nanyang ghost stories passing by you one by one, and Ghostly music... [Timid friends, watch the video with caution, there is more at 44 seconds

Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims related to Haiti or that mention Haiti can be read here.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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