Lady Gaga last night dedicated her show in Manchester to a fan named Ana who had just died of leukemia, even as we were reporting that she might have been the victim of a hoax tailor-made to take advantage of her close connection to her fans. Gaga had written “Ana Monster” on her body, and said that she’d “cried all day.” Crushable has found new evidence that strengthens our belief that Lady Gaga has been the victim of a hoax by Twitter user “JoelxSoul,” and we’re really pissed at him for making Gaga cry!
Internet hoaxes involving faked illness, abuse, or death are common enough that they’ve developed their own psychiatric term, Munchausen by Internet.
The most infamous case, that of Kaycee Nicole, lasted from 1999 to 2001 and involved a 19-year-old girl dying of leukemia who turned out to be a very-much-alive 40-year-old woman. This case is different from traditional Munchausen by Internet because, instead of trying to hoodwink an internet community, it is specifically aimed at influencing one particular celebrity.
On Tuesday, Ana tweeted “Gaga is trending in Baltimore” which suggests, though does not prove, that whoever was writing the Twitter was based in Baltimore. There are only two hospitals in greater Baltimore which handle pediatric oncology. One does not comment on its patients as a matter of policy. The other could confirm that no one matching Ana’s description passed away yesterday in their facility.
Granted, this is not proof that “Analilmonster” was a hoax. Since her Twitter gave no other hints of her independent existence, it is impossible right now to find any more information about her. Last night, Joelxsoul came back on Twitter to write “what some of you are saying about my family is not acceptable. Truly sorry it came to this.”
If Ana is not a hoax, her existence should be incredibly easy for her brother to prove. If that happens, we will be loudly and deeply sorry. Since there has so far been no evidence, we fall back on our skepticism of the whole episode’s timing. It is unlikely that a girl who has been a diehard Lady Gaga fan would start a twitter about her only five days before her unexpected death. It is even more unlikely that her brother would start his Twitter the evening before her death.
The health effects of Twitter appear to be far graver than anyone would expect. Gaga’s camp has not yet responded to requests for comment on the apparent hoax.