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The hanging figure

The Hanging Munchkin is a well-known hoax, claiming that the original prints of the classic film The Wizard of Oz (1939), contains accidental footage of an onset suicide by one of the Munchkins. In reality, it was just a bird brought on set from the Los Angeles Zoo.

The Alleged Sighting, Theories, and Explanation

Although the rumor dates back to the '90s, it first blew up when a video was posted on YouTube in 2011 by a now-defunct channel titled SuicidalMunchkin. The video claimed to be footage of an old VHS copy of the movie. The scene is in the forest shortly after Dorothy and Scarecrow meet the Tin Man as the trio sings "We're Off to See the Wizard". If a viewer watches the scene on a digital copy of the film and looks in the background, they actually will see some sort of bird. In the grainy video, however, it appears to be a small person hanging from a rope. The alleged story to accompany this goes that is during the filming of the movie; one of the Munchkins died by suicide perhaps due to loss of love, and hung himself from the roof of the studio and the filmmakers later accidentally captured the aftermath of it on the film.

Proponents of this story claim that during the 1988 restoration of the movie, the horrific incident was edited out and replaced with the bird seen in all modern versions of the movie. The video was proven false by many people online, who took videos of that same scene on other pre-1988 copies of the movie and saw that it contained no hanging figure. In reality, it was the same bird found in modern versions of the movie. It was concluded that the video which showed a hanging munchkin was a hoax. Whoever had uploaded the video most likely had meticulously edited the hanging figure in place of the bird. They then copied the edited footage onto a VHS tape and recorded the edited scene off his TV screen, and uploaded it from there. Despite being shown to be false, the hype around it leads to many people being fooled by it to this day as it is occasionally discussed and even got debunked in a Snopes article first published in 1997 written by its founder David Mikkelson.

Coincidently in regards to the 1902 show production, L. Frank Baum himself almost approved that the Tin Man’s new heart would have come from a person who died from suicide.

See also