Police in Wroclaw, Poland, where the incident purportedly took place, say they have no record of it. Polish journalists have tried, in vain, to locate the alleged dentist, Dr. Anna Mackowiak, and her alleged victim, Marek Olszewski. Quite simply, it never happened.
The original story (since deleted) was published on the website of the London newspaper The Daily Mail on April 27 and widely repeated in the international media. The staff reporter under whose byline it appeared, Simon Tomlinson, now says he's at a loss to explain its origin.
"The (Daily) Mail Foreign Service, which did the piece for the paper, is really just an umbrella term for copy put together from agencies," he told MSNBC.com. "My news desk isn't sure where exactly it came from."
In truth, the story reads more like the sort of thing you'd expect to find in a supermarket tabloid than in a legit newspaper i.e., lurid fiction disguised as fact. On a hunch, I searched back issues of The Mother of All Tabloids, the now-defunct Weekly World News, to see if there was a precedent. No exact matches cropped up, but I did find this item, dated July 4, 1995:
Dentist Gets Revenge on Wife's Lover... by Pulling Out All His Teeth!
HAMBURG, Germany Vengeful dentist Dr. Hermann Uhrdahl got so ticked off when he learned his leggy wife Wilhelmina was having an affair that he lured her lover in for a checkup and yanked out every tooth in his mouth! (more)
It occurs to me that one reason the demise of WWN isn't more lamented by faux news enthusiasts is that the mainstream media have taken up the slack not the most promising of trends.
Read more about it:
• Dentist Anna Mackowiak Pulls Out Her Ex-Boyfriend's Teeth
• Dentist Pulls All of Her Ex's Teeth. America, Pass It On!
• Story of Vengeful Dentist Was Too Good to Be True
• Daily Mail Reporter Can't Explain How False Report Got Published