On August 20 2019, the Facebook page “The Trump Room” shared the following post (archived here), claiming that children’s bones were found on Jeffrey Epstein’s private island and questioning why this had not been reported:
White text splashed across a red background asserted not only that bones of children were found on Epstein’s island, but also that major news outlets refused to report on . the alarming discovery:
The bones of CHILDREN have been found on Epstein’s Island. MY QUESTION?? Why isn’t this headlines on EVERY major network?
As noted in numerous other fact checks, Facebook’s text-based status update images are a highly efficient way to spread propaganda, falsehoods, half-truths, and other dubious information — all in the name of “engagement.” Not only are the graphics these status updates generate ideal for screenshotting and re-sharing (thus evading corrections in the comments), the format does not allow for the inclusion of news articles or other links, many of which would fail to gain traction when presented in their original form.
Commenters largely appeared to accept the claim as truth despite its lack of citation, but its second half hinted at the legitimacy of the claim. Major news organizations have reported at length on Epstein’s known and alleged misdeeds, so surely such a salacious and gruesome finding would be everywhere.
Since it wasn’t, one of two things were likely true: this one particular claim, guaranteed to garner massive engagement (as it did), was simply ignored by media outlets struggling to attract readers, or the claim was of extremely dubious veracity. A cursory search for news about bones on Epstein’s island was largely fruitless, suggesting the latter was likely correct.
One of the sole results for content explicitly matching the claim itself (versus autopsy reports or unrelated news about Epstein’s jailhouse suicide) was a tweet published by a QAnon conspiracy theorist on August 15 2019:
Children's bones were found under water by FBI divers next to Epstein's Pedo island.#PedoGate, #PizzaGate & #PedoWood are real. People need to wake the F up! These are children we are talking about! F a political party!
— ♰🇺🇸🕵 A Anon ⭐⭐⭐ (@AAnon_QsArmy) August 15, 2019
Another was to a conspiracy site, where the text of the post was clearly copied from another source. That post and the one in the tweet were credited to “Sorcha Faal,” a nom de plume associated with the well-known conspiracy site WhatDoesItMean.com. An August 13 2019 WhatDoesItMean.com post published there and copied by the two pages linked above began:
FBI Divers Recover Human Bones In Waters Off Epstein “Orgy Island” As “Deep State” Meltdown Accelerates
By: Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Western Subscribers
A beyond shocking highly classified “Of Special Importance” new Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) report circulating in the Kremlin today noting that the American prison system has sunk to third world status—as even Mexico provided video of drug lord El Chapo’s prison escape—states the fury and humiliation over the death of child sex slaver Jeffrey Epstein seething through a US Department of Justice (DoJ) responsible for his staying alive to stand trial, has now been met by an “appalled and angry” US Attorney General William Barr—who yesterday vowed “no one complicit in Epstein’s crimes will escape punishment”—crimes which now may include murder after an elite team of FBI investigators and divers invaded Epstein’s “Orgy Island” fortress in the Caribbean yesterday—whose most stunning discovery are believed to be human bones of young children found in the waters below Epstein’s satanic temple.
According to the portions of this highly classified report we’re permitted to reveal, in mid-July the FBI requested a temporary export permit from the Foreign Ministry for an advanced underground radar system—a request granted under standard permit protocols stating that such goods and technology exported must always be controlled by a Russian entity—and in this case was a SVR expert technologist able to operate the world’s most advanced underground radar system used exclusively by the Russian military which can recognize ferrous metal and non-ferrous metals at depths up to 5 meters called the Deep-Earth Metal Detector MG-1—who after being directed by the FBI to probe the exterior grounds of Epstein’s satanic temple, saw this advanced underground radar system detecting an approximate 1 meter (about 3 feet) tubular metal pipe extending from the base of this satanic temple and disappearing into the waters below it—after which FBI divers began bringing up from these waters what appeared to be small human bones and skulls this SVR expert technologist likened to those one would see coming from the graves of young children.
We are extremely familiar with the names Sorcha Faal and WhatDoesItMean.com, as we have frequently encountered the site’s fabrications over many years. WhatDoesItMean.com follows a formula of using existing fragments of news and common knowledge (like that Epstein owned an island, and that he was under investigation) to build upon with outlandish embellishments — in other words, disinformation.
Debunking website RationalWiki.com maintains a page about Sorcha Faal and WhatDoesItMean.com:
Sorcha Faal is the alleged author of an ongoing series of “reports” published at WhatDoesItMean.com, whose work is of such quality that even other conspiracy nutters don’t think much of it. There is a high chance that “Sorcha Faal” is actually David Booth, the owner/operator of the website, or someone collaborating with him.
Each report resembles a news story in its style, but usually includes a sensational headline barely related to reality (e.g. “American Rebel Forces Attack Gas Pipelines, Explode Trains As US Civil War Nears”) and quotes authoritative high-level Russian sources (such as the Russian Federal Security Service in the same article) to support its most outrageous claims. Except for the stuff attributed to unverifiable sources, the reports don’t contain much original material. They are usually based on various news items from the mainstream media and/or whatever the clogosphere is currently hyperventilating about, with each item shoehorned into the conspiracy narrative the report is trying to establish. Cited sources range from the mainstream media and Wikipedia to Infowars and Richard Hoagland. The author also has the habit of adding unnecessary links to the websites of the various Russian institutions they mention.
So the reason news about children’s bones found on Epstein’s island was not reported is now clear — it is completely untrue. As is often the case, a post was copied from WhatDoesItMean.com to a number of other questionable sources and repeated in YouTube videos, obscuring the original discredited source.
Should there be such a horrible turn of events as the discovery of mass graves filled with the bones of children on Jeffrey Epstein’s island, we can all but guarantee that the story will not be broken by either WhatDoesItMean.com or “Sorcha Faal.”