To the millions of Americans who wasted an entire afternoon on Thursday glued to their TVs watching in horror as the fate of a 6 year-old boy was dangling in a homemade helium balloon flying wildly out-of-control for more than 50 miles, hahahahaha you've been punk'd!
Turns out the responsible, caring parents who thought it would be brilliant to name their son Falcon, also decided an equally good idea would be to pretend that very boy now faced certain death trapped in a giant silver baker's hat floating high in the Colorado skies.
Talk about effective guerrilla marketing campaigns!
Except for the little fact that the boy was never in the balloon (as his parents claimed) but hiding in his garage attic just like mommy and daddy said he should.
"It has been determined that this is a hoax, that it was a publicity stunt," Larimer County Sherriff Jim Alderden told a press conference.
"We believe we have evidence at this point to indicate that it was a publicity stunt done with the hopes of better marketing themselves for a reality television show at some point in the future," he said.
It's not every day that a little boy climbs aboard a wayward UFO, triggers a media frenzy, massive search and rescue operation, and grips a nation in terror.
It's also not every day that the very same family happens to have also appeared on the reality show "Wife Swap," where one crazy family trades mothers with another crazy family and America gets to laugh at all the hilarious dysfunction that ensues.
But it wasn't until the Heene family began making the talk show rounds to deny staging the incident (with son Falcon vomiting every time he appeared on camera), that suspicions were aroused.
"You guys (his parents) said that, um, we did this for the show."
Well isn't that just the darned craziest thing! Turns out the father, who's also a storm chaser, amateur scientist and unemployed actor with dreams of stardom, planned the event for weeks to "create a situation where it appeared that Falcon was in the spacecraft to gain publicity and obtain notoriety for a reality TV show."
Alderden said Falcon and his brothers, who are 8 and 10, were "100 percent involved" and added the parents "could be charged with conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, making a false police report and attempting to influence a public servant."
"On the bizarre meter, this rates a 10," Alderden said
But on the ratings meter, it's off the charts!! Settle down Jon and Kate, you had your chance.