Sir Peter Jackson has been accused of hiding the decaying remains of 15 hobbits in his attic, in a sharp satire from a famous parody website.
United States humour site The Onion has published a joke story, purportedly from its Wellington bureau, claiming ''the decayed, dismembered remains of 15 missing hobbits were found'' in the Kiwi filmmaker's attic.
Jackson - who has just been in Los Angeles for the second premiere in his Hobbit trilogy - was now in police custody awaiting charges, The Onion jokingly reported.
''At this time, we can confirm that 15 halflings between the ages of 25 and eleventy-one were discovered inside the home of Peter Jackson at approximately 4 p.m. this afternoon," Wellington Police District Commander Stephen Jones was quoted as saying.
Police searched the property after neighbours complained of a ''rotting odour'' coming from Jackson's house.
''We eventually found a hidden hatch on the perpetrator's ceiling, which was held shut by three heavy-duty locks,'' the farcical cop said.
''Once we opened the door, we came across the victims, already deceased, all of whom had the hair ripped out from the tops of their feet.''
Residents of ''Jackson's Wellington neighbourhood'' - presumably Miramar - were in shock, The Onion said.
''It's unthinkable that something like this could happen here,'' 38-year-old accountant Allison Gaines said.
''This is a quiet, friendly neighbourhood, and I've lived here my entire life. I didn't know Peter very well, but he would occasionally wave when I passed him on the sidewalk."
- The Dominion Post