school busStudents and teachers at an Indiana middle school had quite a fright when a boy who they had been told died walked through the door.

Days earlier, friends of 14-year-old Michael Sinkfield received text messages from the boy's phone saying that he had been killed in a car crash. The texts claimed to be from his father. Word spread fast through the tiny town and the community was devastated by the news. So needless to say, when he boarded the school bus Monday, everyone was totally freaked out. The reason for his miraculous resurrection?

Turns out it was all a cruel hoax. Though no one knew it. People were posting messages to his Facebook page and on Twitter. "R.I.P. Michael Sinkfield... 1998-2012. He was one of the nicest people I ever knew. He is going to be in my prayers," wrote one student. Said another, "R.I.P. Michael Sinkfield. My brother and him were good friends and its so sad to see him so upset. Michael and his family will be in my prayers."

Teachers had even planned a meeting Monday morning to discuss how to address the death with students and help them through the tragedy. No one knew that Sinkfield's phone had been stolen and someone sent out the fake obit to his pals. "When I got on the bus in the morning, people were looking at me happy, but other people were crying," the teenager told reporters. "I asked them what was going on, and they told me what happened." His parents were also alerted to the ruse when they started receiving condolence calls that day. They have no idea who is behind it, but of course everyone is glad it's not true.

Can you imagine being told a friend, neighbor, or student suddenly died and then find out they are alive? It must feel like winning the lottery. Though this isn't the only "back from the dead" surprise in recent weeks. A man walked into his own funeral and, needless to say, scared his whole family. They thought they had seen a ghost, but there had been a mix-up when the body was identified. I am sure in both cases, everyone feels like this is one fright they are truly grateful for. Sinkfield's case is entirely different, of course. It boils down to a childish, mean, and completely asinine prank that traumatized an entire community. If they ever find out who did it, I hope they get punished somehow. 

Do you think death hoaxes should be against the law?

 

Image via bsabarnowl/Flickr