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Hoax or scientific experiment gone wrong?

Updated on October 18, 2009
photo courtesy of David Zalubowski, AP
photo courtesy of David Zalubowski, AP

I find the question of whether or not parents, who include their children in their schemes to either make money illegally or get publicity illegally, disturbing and compelling. In the video here, an intriguing story is being told. Whether or not what is being related is true, we may never know.

The drama took place Thursday of this week in Fort Collins, Colorado. A little boy was thought to have climbed inside a balloon his inventor father Richard Heene has constructed with his three sons. As the balloon floated across the country, the entire nation was mersmerized while an intensive search insued.

The Larimer County sheriff, who originally said the parents were telling the truth, when they said their son was missing, is now attempting to press criminal charges believing the incident to be a publicity stunt.

Evidently, this family had been on the reality show "Wifeswap" Whether or not this bolsters the question of publicity seeker is interesting to contemplate. The whole event is being investigated and I imagine we will hear many contradictory opinions and explanations.

For the complete story and video interviews:

NOTE: At 3:00 EST today (10/18) Sheriff Alderden, of Larimer county Colorado, reported that "The parents who set off a worldwide drama by reporting their 6-year-old son was inside a flying saucer-like helium balloon hurtling over Colorado concocted the stunt to market themselves for a television show." The parents met in acting school. They apparently wanted to further their careers.

Do you think this was a publicity stunt?

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    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      jiggy???Thanks for the comment.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 8 years ago

      People get jiggy on us. Thanks for the hub.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Thanks for the comment, Pete. I don't think it was a accident. I don't care too much about it either, except for the effect it might have on the children.

    • Pete Maida profile image

      Pete Maida 8 years ago

      If the media didn't gives these people celebrity for pulling off the dumb stunts we wouldn't have as many. Yeah maybe it was an accident, but in any case if we didn't make a big deal out it people wouldn't do this sort of thing. I frankly don't care one way or another.

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

      The media feed into exactly what this family wanted, more fame and celebrity. The less attention we give these antiques the less of a thrill these families will get out of it. However, as long as their our reality tv shows like Wife Swap, there will always be families that want to be in the limelight. It is hard to get a job these days, and I cannot exactly be judgmental of people who use the entertainment industry to make their bread and butter. What they are doing is not exactly any worse than the exploits of high profile actors and other celebrities. With that being said I would never do what these families do though.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      @GL You may be right about that. Thanks for the comments.

      @mayhmong Unbelieveable how some parents will use their kids to get ahead. Wouldn't be the first time.

    • mayhmong profile image

      mayhmong 8 years ago from North Carolina

      Its ashame that the kids were taught to lie about this matter too.

    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I think this family was in cahoots with with the television networks to boost ratings. I was at the nail salon at the time (one of my 7 deadly sins) where I became totally distracted from my lotus pedicure; force to witness this rubbish for a solid hour. What's happening to CNN?

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      You know, you're right about that. Negative publicity seems to work as well as positive. But I think the whole situation is despicable

    • Dao Hoa profile image

      Dao Hoa 8 years ago

      The police department is giving him more media coverage when they arrested him and this flame of fame will feed itself as the case drags on.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Thanks for the great comments, AIDY, My sentiments completely. You just know the kids are going to suffer because of this. What a thing to do to your kids...dragging them in on this ridiculous scheme. I guess a lot of people were pretty obsessed with it. Well they got publicity alright, but they will be getting something else they didn't bargain for in the package.

    • profile image

      Am I dead, yet? 8 years ago

      I had the terrible misfortune of being obsessed with this story, so I searched the Internets for videos of this family on 'wife-swap' and Oh my the husband carried on so much on the show. Then on to CNN where there were recaps of this interview and I observed the 'uh-oh' looks on their faces when the child stated that 'they said' this was for a show--then the father taking offense to a very simple question asked by Wolf Blitzer.

      Then when it came out yesterday it was a hoax--I became upset because I did not want any harm to come to this child--thinking he was in this balloon and oh my, he could die. Then to only be laughed at, well the entire nation--the world even; by those parents to created this farce! How dare they take advantage of a concerned public--abused emergency efforts, etc. I hope that they learn a lesson from this. I hope that they really do. They got the publicity, but not the kind of publicity that they wanted.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Thanks for commenting, Dolores. Yeah, they sure are in trouble now. It'll be interesting to see what the consequences are.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Well, alek , did not vote because it's all come out in the wash. The idea that those people would so terrify America, how many people were sitting there watching the TV , scared to death, praying for that kid and the family to find it all a big fake. It's disgusting. Well, they are in trouble now.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Yes, at this point it is still a puzzlement. And we may never know the real truth. Thanks for the comment, Brian.

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 8 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      Hard to say whether this was a genuine case of a little boy getting into something he shouldn't have or a stunt by the parents. Guess it is up to the authorities to sort out the truth and if it was a stunt then that is pretty despicable.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      @cindy: Well, all of us with children are wondering where these parents are coming from. I suppose there's a possibility it happened as they said it did, but it sure is hard to believe.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      @Tom: Thanks for the comment. I think you're right about wanting to add to the feeling fame evokes. But using your children has got to be the worst.

    • cindyvine profile image

      Cindy Vine 8 years ago from Cape Town

      Goodness, I wondered what the balloon boy headline was all about. Is this father crazy or something?

    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 8 years ago from Ohio

      Hi Alek.....Sometimes when people get a little taste of fame, they want it again so bad, they will do anything to get it.


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