Monday, May 3, 2010

No, A Man Did Not Die After an Eel was Inserted in His Rectum.

Despite the provocative headline in the Huffington Post, I am thoroughly unconvinced that a man in China has died after having an eel shoved up his rectum.
A Chinese man has died after an eel was inserted in rectum by friends as, reports claim, a joke.

Doctors in Sichaun, China, apparently found the creature, a 50cm Asian swamp eel, in the 59-year-old man's rectum after he had died from internal bleeding.

Yeah, and he also died from playing video games for 72 hours straight, and from an exploding cell phone battery, and from watching "Avatar," and he was murdered by lesbians in a town in Sweden where no men are allowed, and he lost his hearing from kissing too long.

I don't believe it. Every so often there is a strange, unverifiable story from China, or another country in the far east, it gets reported by some source, somewhere, and then it gets picked up by hundreds of other sources that just quote each other, and don't do anything to try to verify it.

Follow the link on the Huffington Post story. It takes you here. You get a hyperlink at the top of the story, under the word "Eew." Clicking on said hyperlink gives you an alert that the url is invalid and cannot be loaded. Then there is a block quote containing the following (presumably obtained from the mystery "invalid" link:
A man has died after an eel that was inserted into his rectum gnawed away at his bowels, causing agonising injuries which were eventually fatal.

The 59-year-old man, a chef, was reportedly taken to a Sichuan hospital complaining of abdominal pain, dehydration and a great deal of anal bleeding. He was soon diagnosed as being in a severe state of shock.

Doctors were mystified as to the cause, and obtained permission from his family to undertake an exploratory laparotomy. Cutting open his innards, they discovered a 50cm long Asian swamp eel lodged in his rectum.

Though dead, the eel had apparently already wrought havoc on his innards, biting its way through his intestines prior to dying. Internal bleeding and infection rapidly set in.

He was reported to have eaten a lot of eel the previous day, but otherwise doctors had no idea how the creature had got there. His condition quickly worsened.

He lingered for 10 days in intensive care but eventually succumbed to the injuries and sepsis.

The likely cause was eventually established - he had apparently been drinking with friends, and had passed out. His friends had decided it would be amusing to insert a live eel into his anus whilst he was comatose.

Police have reportedly begun an investigation.

You'll note the story has no real facts. No names, no places; just a "59 year-old chef" taken to a "Sichuan hospital"-- this is typical of these stories. There's nothing that's in any way verifiable. Just some truly horrific or bizarre story that's too good not to pass along, even if it's not true.

Following this block quote, the author of the posting avers,
And this really isn't a joke. Here's the report by the China News Agency, via Sichuan Online. You can't make this shit up.
The link takes you to a Chinese language website. I can't read Chinese so I have no idea what that page says.

But it doesn't matter. Chinese "news" agencies are notorious for their inaccuracy. I have already covered this ground extensively.

They all follow the same pattern. Some outrageous story is reported by a "news" source in a far eastern country. Some credulous western "news" outlet picks it up without bothering to do anything to try to verify it. Then it gets linked by thousands of other sources, often with some snarky comments, and finally ends up on some big credulous aggregator, like the Huffington Post, and then is "retweeted" by thousands of other credulous people.

If only people would exercise a little critical thinking-- they'd save themselves some time and embarrassment. You're being played!

How many times must I say this??? A man didn't die when an eel was inserted in his rectum!


Laurie said...

I translated the page with Google translator and it tells the same story but says the man, though once on the edge of death, is now recovering.

Ricky Sprague said...

Wow, thanks for checking that.

So this guy-- who doesn't exist anyway-- went from being dead, to being on the edge of death, to recovering.

How long before the "eel" turns out to be an "ulcer"?