Tag Archives | Hoaxes

Harold Camping Suffers A Stroke

Apocalypse SaturdayI knew that he was going to use age-related health issues to weasel out of responsibility for his updated October 21st rapture prediction — blast you, Harold Camping, for being so clever! Via the San Francisco Chronicle:

Harold Camping, 89, was at his Alameda home with his wife Thursday evening when he suffered the stroke, said Family Radio host Craig Hulsebos. The Oakland minister who incorrectly predicted the world would end May 21 was scheduled to be released from a local hospital after being treated, a talk show host at his radio station said Monday.

Employees at the office declined to talk about Camping’s condition in detail, instead referring to a release from his family. “Doctors are pleased with his progress,” the statement read. “Mr. Camping’s family appreciates your thoughts and prayers.”

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Psychic Fiasco: Texas Mass Murder Raid a Hoax

Mass GraveBenjamin Radford writes in Discovery News:

A psychic called police on Monday night, describing a horrific scene of mass murder: 25 to 30 dismembered bodies near an unassuming ranch house about an hour outside of Houston, Texas. There were rotting limbs, headless corpses, and, chillingly, many were children.

Deputies from the Liberty County Sheriff’s office went to investigate but didn’t see anything amiss.

The psychic called a second time the next day, insisting that her visions were true. She provided more detailed information about the home and urged the police to return to a different part of the property. This time detectives called for backup and soon dozens of officials from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the FBI, and the Texas Rangers were on the scene — not to mention cadaver dogs, news helicopters, and gawkers.

Police investigated, and it all turned out to be a false alarm. There were no dead bodies; the psychic was wrong (or lying).

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Rapture Moved To October 21st

24doomsday1_span-popupAt this point, doesn’t it seem as if he is trying to run out the clock by repeatedly pushing back the doomsday date in the hopes of dying before he has to face responsibility for being a crappy predictor? The New York Times reports:

Here we go again. A California religious radio impresario who predicted — wrongly — that the end of the world would begin on May 21 revised his prophesy on Monday, saying now that the end is due in October.

In a rambling, 90-minute speech, broadcast both online and on his stations, Harold Camping, whose Family Radio network paid millions of dollars to promote his prediction, said that he was stunned when the rapture did not happen on Saturday.

What he decided, apparently, was that May 21 had been “an invisible judgment day,” of the spiritual variety, rather than his original vision of earthquakes and other disasters leading to five months of hell on earth, culminating in a spectacular doomsday on Oct.

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Woman Selling Million-Dollar ‘Moon Rock’ Arrested

moon_rocksThe wackiest part of this chain of events? That NASA has undercover agents who orchestrate stings to crack down on space crimes. Via the Guardian:

A woman who tried to sell what she said was a rare piece of moon rock for $1.7 million was detained when her would-be buyer turned out to be an undercover NASA agent, officials said Friday.

The gray rocks, which are considered national treasures and are illegal to sell, were given to each U.S. state and 136 countries by then-President Richard Nixon after U.S. moon missions and can sell for millions of dollars on the black market.

NASA investigators and Riverside County sheriff’s deputies detained the woman after she met Thursday with an undercover NASA investigator at a restaurant in Lake Elsinore, about 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles, the sheriff’s office said. The investigation was conducted over several months.

NASA planned to conduct tests to determine whether the rock came from the moon as the woman claimed.

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Harold Camping ‘Flabbergasted’ That Rapture Did Not Occur

largeThe most amazing part? The response from his followers, many of whom drained their life savings in anticipation: “I don’t think I am going to stop listening to him…I gotta listen to him on Monday, see what he says on the radio.” Via the Atlantic Wire:

Harold Camping emerged from his Alameda, California home yesterday to face reporters for the first time since the Rapture that never happened. Wearing a light jacket and speaking over chirping birds, Camping told the San Francisco Chronicle he was “flabbergasted” that the world did not end on Saturday. “I’m looking for answers,” he told the reporter. “But now I have nothing else to say. I’ll be back to work Monday and will say more then.” Camping followers are similarly perplexed. “I don’t think I am going to stop listening to him,” one man added, heaving a deep sigh before continuing: “I don’t know, I gotta listen to him on Monday, see what he says on the radio.

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The Russian Dead Alien Video

Just what the bleep are those Russians saying?!? This video has stormed the Internet, whatever it is, but it's almost certainly a fake. Isn't it? Russia Today says:
A video of what was claimed to be a mutilated alien corpse is said to be fake. The tiny "dead alien" is just skin from chicken filled with bread, reports the website 7d.org.ua. Police questioned the men who claimed to have found the "body" and they allegedly confessed to creating it themselves...
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GE’s Fake Plan To Pay Taxes Causes Massive Stock Price Drop

General ElectricOur friends the Yes Men are once again deftly mocking the shady practices of ethically-challenged business executives. Why large corporations and the mainstream media that cover them (sorry USA Today) keep falling for their ruses, I don’t know, but you gotta love it. Morgan Clendaniel reports on the activists’ latest shenanigans for Fast Company:

Today, GE appeared to put out a press release noting that it had decided to do the right thing and pay the $6.3 billion taxes that it owed for 2010. And all the thanks it got was a quick drop in its stock price. If GE’s paying the government, that’s less money for shareholders. We can’t have that.

Remember the story that GE paid no taxes last year–and in fact, got money back from the government–despite making $11 billion in revenues (though, as with all tax law, the story was maybe a little more complicated than that).

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Successful People Who Never Existed

Burdell's Store

Burdell's, in Georgia Tech's student center. Photo: Disavian (CC)

Adam K. Raymond of Mental Floss writes on CNN:

George P. Burdell was a man born of a simple mistake. In 1927, someone in the admissions office at Georgia Tech accidentally sent student Ed Smith two registration forms instead of one.

Sensing an opportunity for mischief, Smith filled out one form for himself and the other for George P. Burdell — a student he completely made up. When Smith arrived at school, he kept the ruse going by enrolling Burdell in all of his classes and even turning in assignments under his name.

In fact, Smith did so much work on behalf of his imaginary friend that Burdell eventually graduated.When other students found out about the hoax, they helped keep Burdell’s story going.

According to his résumé, Burdell flew 12 missions over Europe during World War II and served on MAD magazine’s Board of Directors from 1969 to 1981.

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Anonymous: It’s A Trap! (From the Westboro Baptist Church)

Anonymous: It's A Trap!Ms. Smith writes on Network World:

According to Anonymous, Westboro Baptist Church was behind the Open Letter allegedly from Anonymous, and then added fuel to the flames with WBC’s “Bring it” reply. Anonymous warns don’t DDoS, it’s a trap to collect IPs for suing.

Twitter is on fire with the news of an upcoming troll-on-troll feud of Anonymous vs. Westboro Baptist Church. In case you missed it — in an Open Letter, Anonymous allegedly told the anti-gay, fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church to stop the hate now or else “the damage incurred will be irreversible” and “neither your institution nor your congregation will ever be able to fully recover.” The Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church struck back, telling Anonymous to “bring it!” and that God hates “lousy hackers.”

In-between the two, this other Open Letter from Anonymous gained less attention, but told WBC that Anonymous knew it was a trap, and the short-on-money, thrive-on-attention WBC was in fact behind the first Open Letter supposedly from Anonymous.

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Ass Reflexology Hoax Shames Integrative Medicine Conference

Readers may be familiar with the infamous Sokal Affair, where a physicist successfully published an utterly nonsensical article in Social Text, a journal of postmodern cultural studies, in order to demonstrate its poor editorial standards and idealogical biases.

Recently, professor of medical education John C. McLachlan pulled the same stunt on an “International Conference on Integrative Medicine” held in Jerusalem in 2010, where he was invited to present a paper on the promising new field of ass reflexology. He described his findings as such:

McLaughlins Ass Reflexology Map

McLachlan's Ass Reflexology Map

Recently, as a result of my developmental studies on human embryos, I have discovered a new version of reflexology, which identifies a homunculus represented in the human body, over the area of the buttocks.

The homunculus is inverted, such that the head is represented in the inferior position, the left buttock corresponds to the right hand side of the body, and the lateral aspect is represented medially.

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