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Top 10 Craziest True Stories Behind Memes

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Owen Maxwell

You've seen them hundreds of times, but they somehow get even stranger when you discover what happened behind the scenes. From Doge, to Senior Freshman, to the IKEA monkey, find out the true stories behind the viral sensations! WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Craziest True Stories Behind Memes.

Special thanks to our user boxtroll for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Shocking+Stories+Behind+Memes.

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Script written by Owen Maxwell

Top 10 Craziest True Stories Behind Memes



You've seen them hundreds of times, but they somehow get even stranger when you discover what happened behind the scenes. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 CraziestTrue Stories Behind Memes.
For this list, we're looking at the events that somehow managed to make internet heroes even more fascinating. We're basing our choices on shocking back-stories, consequences of fame, and twists we never saw coming from infamous online celebrities.

#10: ‘Doge’ Almost Died Before She Became Famous

After a childhood in a puppy mill, the world's most photogenic Shiba Inu was almost put down. That is, until Kabosu was adopted by her new owner Atsuko Sato in 2008, who quickly uploaded photos of the adorable canine online. Sadly most of the dogs in Kabosu's litter weren't adopted and were ultimately put down over time. Years later, old photos of the Shiba blew up on the internet and “Doge” was born. Kabosu is now the face of an anti-puppy mill movement in Japan, where she is also considered a minor celebrity. Despite a “so scare” beginning, Doge has gone on to many success...WOW.

#9: ‘Senior Freshman’ Is a Record Holder

When she took courses at Fort Hays State University (then known as Kansas State College) back in 1930, Nola Ochs probably didn't expect to graduate in a new millennium. After spending years working on her family's farm, Ochs returned to school and graduated in 2007. The feat got Nola Guinness certified as the World's Oldest College Graduate at 95 years old, with an emphasis in history, of all things. Photos of her in class became a captioned hit online, and Ochs persisted to earn a Masters and a second world record at 98 because of it. Nola even graduated with her granddaughter after living in res, before passing away at age 105 in 2016.

#8: Fallout from the ‘You Can't Hide It Forever’ Meme

Heidi Yeh is a Taiwanese model with a once extensive career in advertising, until the Internet did its thing. Yeh featured in a plastic surgery advertisement, which came back to haunt her when the Internet spread fake storiesabout it. Despite the ad blatantly joking about ugly children from surgically improved parents, rumors alleged Yeh lied to her husband about having had surgery and snowballed into the “Ugly Children Lawsuit Hoax” due to a Chinese tabloid’s use of the picture with a fake, unrelated story. Heidi claims she has lost plenty of work due to the controversy and it's even tormented her personal life. The model has spoken out about the photo and has even tried suing her advertising agency over damages that are still affecting her.

#7: The ‘IKEA Monkey’'s Owner Sued an Animal Sanctuary to Get Him Back

Darwin the macaque quickly rose to fame after appearing outside an IKEA while wearing a coat. Online, the surreal image became an instant meme, with many joking that he missed his ride or was even a hitman. Darwin also earned his own Flash game and plenty of continued press coverage. Meanwhile, in real life, after animal control turned him over to a sanctuary, his owner - Yasmin Nadhuka - sued them to get him back. But, since Nadhuka had signed Darwin's surrender form and it's illegal to own a monkey in Toronto, s her case was pretty thin. Despite his domestic upbringing, Darwin has rehabilitated to sanctuary life.

#6: ‘Pepper Spray Cop’’s Legal Case

During an Occupy protest in 2011 at the University of California Davis, Lieutenant John Pike asked the students to leave. When they didn't, Pike and another police officer were filmed pepper spraying the group. Pike's nonchalant pose during the incident was soon photoshopped into famous art and other peaceful photos. The blowback to “Casually Pepper Spray Everything Cop” led to Pike and other officers at UC Davis leaving their jobs for one reason or another. Meanwhile, the 21 students' legal case against the university's actions earned them $30,000 a person. After losing his job and receiving thousands of harassing messages, the university also paid Pike $38,000 in compensation.

#5: ‘Overly Attached Girlfriend’ Was Stalked

For an online contest, Laina Morris decided to make a stalker parody of Justin Beiber's 'Boyfriend,' which quickly became a viral hit. Shortly thereafter, over on Reddit, a screencap from the video saw Morris become the poster-child for creepy partners. Her fame became a double-edged sword, as she amassed real online stalkers of her own. People reached out to her friends online and even found out where she worked. Though Laina endured a lot of unwanted attention, she never earned death threats like Alex from Target. Morris has spun her popularity to maintain a career as a YouTuber, while also raising money for charity.

#4: ‘Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker’ Has Been Charged with Murder

Back in 2013, a hitchhiker named Kai became a hero when he used a hatchet to subdue a deranged man. Kai's recollection of the story was an Internet smash, smash, smash thanks to his eccentric storytelling and vague back-story. Weeks later, Kai was back in the news, now charged with murdering an elderly lawyer in what he claimed was self-defense. Since then, Caleb Lawrence McGillvary has spent time in jail studying law... and writing poetry. Kai's followers tried defending him and even attempted to raise funds for his legal case. Though the truth about the incident remains unclear, Kai and his fans haven't given up.

#3: ‘Star Wars Kid’’s Cyber Bullying

When the teenage Ghyslain Raza filmed himself practicing his lightsaber skills in 2002, he never expected or asked to be famous. But when the footage was uploaded online without his permission, fame wasn't the only thing that came his way. While some fans added special effects to the footage, or even inserted Raza into Star Wars clips, others relentless attacked the then 14 year old, aided by the anonymity provided by the world wide web. The negative attention was amped up when Quebec media revealed his name. Torment and calls to commit suicide led to him leaving school for some time, but today Ghyslain has earned a law degree and campaigns against cyber-bullying.

#2: The ‘Damn Daniel’ SWAT Prank

Josh Holz couldn't get enough of his friend Daniel's white Vans shoes, and posted his reactions on Twitter. Thanks to his classmates and video sites, “Damn Daniel!” became a trendy phrase across the Internet. Josh and Daniel made TV appearances and were allegedly even contacted by Vans for an ad. Holz's celebrity status has resulted in multiple bizarre messages and phone calls over the years, along with incidents his family won't discuss. Josh was even swatted in 2016, after a prank-caller told police he'd shot his mother. Police didn't find the caller, but luckily nobody was hurt in the incident.

#1: ‘Success Kid’'s Dad Suffers Kidney Failure, Saved by Fame

Laney Griner's son Sammy gave her the perfect pose at the beach, so she obliviously uploaded it to her Flickr account in 2007. Sammy's powerful image was quickly captioned across the web, and he eventually became the “advice animal” meme known as 'Success Kid.' The Griners' modest stardom was good enough, until Sammy's father Justin suffered kidney failure in the late 2000s. Thanks to their popularity, the Griners were able to raise over $100,000 on GoFundMe to help with surgery and medication. After six years of pain and dialysis, Justin finally found a kidney in 2015. Lainey has even used Justin's story to encourage others to become organ donors.


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