A weekly show hosted by John Green, where knowledge junkies get their fix of trivia-tastic information. This week, John looks at some of history’s greatest hoaxes including “Balloon Boy” (the boy, by the way is now in a metal band), “Lonelygirl15″ and “War of the Worlds” (you didn’t think we could do an episode on hoaxes and NOT include it, did you?).
Tag Archives | Hoaxes
The John Titor story is one of my favorite modern myths: A time traveler from a war-torn future Earth visits the past to collect a few needed computer parts. Along the way, he offers a countdown of harrowing future events that will lead to the dystopian United States that he calls home, always with the caveat that these things may not happen in this particular timeline. Titor disappeared as mysteriously as he appeared, and to this day, some corners of the internet continue to debate who he was.
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This is our planet’s bleak future: a second Civil War splinters America into five factions, leaving the new capital based in Omaha. World War III breaks out in 2015, starting with Russia and the U.S. trading nukes and ending with three billion dead. Then, to top it all off, a computer bug delivers where Y2K sputtered, destroying our world as we know it.
Allen Greenfield, recently announced that he had found in his archives a series of unreleased tapes of interviews that were made by Gray Barker, the UFOlogist and folklorist best known for his coverage of fortean events in West Virginia, including the Mothman, Flatwoods Monster, and for his, some say, invention of the contemporary mythos of the Men in Black. Credulous curmudgeons, and stuffy skeptics often lament Barker’s involvement in the field of Forteana, saying that he was nothing more than an ill intentioned prankster that muddied the waters of serious investigation, or worse, a profiteering culture pirate who took advantage of the gullible with articles for Fate Magazine, books like They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers, The Silver Bridge, MIB: The Secret Terror Among Us, and the many publications he put out from others via his imprint Saucerian Press.
A proper hoax, however, has a cathartic value that can be missed if we’re too stuck on the dull task of debunking.… Read the rest
Could your favorite ancient animal species not be real? Via the Archaeology News Network:
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Fake fossils are duping scientists and museums, a senior paleontologist has warned, after a scholar was forced to retract a controversial essay that stated the cheetah originated in China.
According to Li Chun, associate researcher at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, counterfeits are now widespread and have become a serious risk to genuine study projects. “I believe many scholars are victims of fake fossils,” he said, before estimating that more than 80 percent of marine reptile specimens on display in Chinese museums “have been altered or artificially combined to varying degrees”.
Li’s alert follows the debunking last month of an essay co-authored by Huang Ji, a Chinese scientist, and Danish researcher Per Christiansen in 2008 about an alleged new species of cheetah.
“Probably to make it appear more complete, thus enhancing its commercial value, Chinese fossil dealers makes numerous fake fossils.
Tamper with the world of legends and pay the price. Via USA Today:
A man who was apparently trying to provoke reports of a Bigfoot sighting in northwestern Montana was struck by two cars and killed, authorities said. Flathead County officials identified the man as Randy Lee Tenley, 44, of Kalispell.
The man was wearing a military-style “Ghillie suit” consisting of strips of camouflage fabric and was standing in the right-hand lane of a highway south of Kalispell on Sunday night when he was hit by the first car, according to the Montana Highway Patrol. A second car hit the man as he lay in the roadway, authorities said.
“He was trying to make people think he was Sasquatch so people would call in a Sasquatch sighting,” trooper Jim Schneider told the Daily Inter Lake newspaper on Monday.
In America, the power to imprison and punish convicts has been outsourced to private corporations, so perhaps the serving of jail sentences will soon be “privatized” as well. Slate writes:
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The practice of hiring “body doubles” or “stand-ins” is well-documented by official Chinese media. In 2009, a hospital president who caused a deadly traffic accident hired an employee’s father to “confess” and serve as his stand-in. A company chairman is currently charged with allegedly arranging criminal substitutes for the executives of two other companies. In another case, after hitting and killing a motorcyclist, a man driving without a license hired a substitute for roughly $8,000. The owner of a demolition company that illegally demolished a home earlier this year hired a destitute man, who made his living scavenging in the rubble of razed homes, and promised him $31 for each day the “body double” spent in jail.
In China, the practice is so common that there is even a term for it: ding zui.
Via Things Magazine, sometimes, behind everything lies confusion:
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The False Alarm of 1971 was an accidental triggering of the USA-wide Emergency Broadcast System, ‘an expeditious method of communicating with the American public in the event of war, threat of war, or grave national crisis.’ A detailed description of the event is chronicled here, the great accidental test broadcast of 1971, complete with a scan of one of the most ominous documents to ever be received by a Teletype machine:
THIS IS AN EMERGENCY ACTION NOTIFICATION (EAN) DIRECTED BY THE PRESIDENT. NORMAL BROADCASTING WILL CEASE IMMEDIATELY. ALL STATIONS WILL BROADCAST EAN MESSAGE ONE PRECEDED BY THE ATTENTION SIGNAL, PER FCC RULES.
The fault originated from the heart of Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado and involved the accidental inclusion of a real code word – ‘hatefulness’ – on a test transmission of the Emergency Broadcast System. As one broadcaster reportedly said, “This confusion ‘shows the whole darn (system) won’t work.
Via Zapato Productions intradimensional, a century ago, at least one major newspaper reported on a flavor-of-the-moment theory, attributed to scientists at California’s Lick Observatory, that Mars contained a giant, sentient eye:
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An artist’s rendition of the eye of Mars. It’s not a metaphorical depiction. What you see is exactly what the theory claimed: “A vast eye, upon a flexible, transparent neck raises itself high above the surface of Mars and can watch the growth of its vegetable body upon any part of the surface.” Its “vegetable body” is a Mars-hugging super-organism of intelligent vegetable life that creeps along the cracks left in the drying Martian surface.
The Martian Eye theory was put forward as an explanation for the shifting white patches just perceptible to telescopes, which less paranoid minds ascribed to mere seasonal snow. The illustration comes from an article about this startling new theory printed in the Oct. 13, 1912, Sunday magazine section of the Salt Lake Tribune.
A fortune teller who predicts the future using ASPARAGUS unveiled her top tips for 2012 - including two Royal pregnancies, the collapse of the Euro, and British glory at the Olympics. Mystic Jemima Packington, 56, claims to be the world's only Asparamancer. She has made dozens of accurate predictions in recent years, including the demise of Gordon Brown, the credit crunch, and Oscar glory for British film The King's Speech.