The Hanging Munchkin is a well known hoax, claiming that in the original prints of the classic film version of The Wizard of Oz (1939), contains accidental footage of an on set suicide by one of the Munchkins when 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 1990s at least, 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 look 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 this is during the filming of the movie, one of the Munchkins committed suicide (perhaps due to loss of love) on set by hanging 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, but 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, than 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.