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Hoaxes of Joseph Mulhattan

Prankster Philip Bradbury tweeted Donald Trump a photo, telling him it was a photo of his parents and asking if Trump could retweet it in their memory because he was a "big inspiration" to them. Trump obliged. But it turned out the photo was actually of the English serial killers Fred and Rose West. Trump's response: "Some jerk fraudulently tweeted that his parents said I was a big inspiration to them + pls RT — out of kindness I retweeted. Maybe I'll sue." Yeah, the prank was a bit juvenile, but it's classic Trump to threaten to sue. Reminds me of April Fool's Day 1971, when the…

Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2014.   Comments (2)

The Cyranoid Illusion — The Cyranoid Illusion, named after the French play Cyrano de Bergerac, refers to a person who is not speaking their own thoughts, but rather the thoughts and words of another person fed to them via radio transmitter. A recent experiment has found that people can't tell when they're speaking to a Cyranoid, probably because our brains haven't evolved to detect when a person is speaking through the body of someone else. The problem is, the online world is full of Cyranoids. "From online games to online dating sites, people act through virtual versions of themselves (or assumed virtual identities) more and more." [wired.com]
Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2014.   Comments (0)

A notice recently posted on the door of a "small building" in the village of Kingswinford has announced that the pub chain Wetherspoons will soon be opening a "Microspoons" mini-bar there, to be staffed by "a person of reduced height." The bar will only have room for 3 people (height restrictions will apply). It will only serve 1 lager, and entertainment will consist of "Sky Sports on 3-inch microscreen." The pub will be called "The Shorter Arms." Wetherspoons itself has denied any knowledge of this new bar. The Stourbridge News speculates that the sign marks the return of the…

Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2014.   Comments (0)

It looks like Jasmine Tridevil will be a popular theme for costumes this Halloween. HalloweenCostumes.com offers instructions for a "DIY 3 breasted woman Halloween Costume."

Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2014.   Comments (1)


Gestations promises it will be the "premiere bar for pregnant women to drink without being judged" when it opens on October 25 in New York City. It's Facebook page has some flashy graphics, and there really is a storefront at the advertised location (on the corner of Avenue A and East 5th St.) that bears a Gestations sign. (Or, at least, someone has decorated the windows of an empty storefront with Gestations decals.) However, it's hard to believe any bar would seriously target pregnant women as their demographic of choice. (The idea alone is getting people riled up. See the…

Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2014.   Comments (0)

Bob Zmuda and Lynn Margulies have a new book out titled Andy Kaufman: The Truth, Finally. According to the NY Post, much of the book details Zmuda's belief that Kaufman faked his death, as well as how Kaufman pulled off the stunt. Apparently it was a body double that died at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in May 1984, not Kaufman. And Kaufman, says Zmuda, will be coming back any day now, because it's been 30 years since his death, and Kaufman promised Zmuda he would return in 30 years. Except he's already 4 months late.

Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2014.   Comments (0)

September 28, 1980: Jimmy's World
On this day in 1980, the Washington Post ran a story on its front page by reporter Janet Cooke about "Jimmy," an 8-year-old heroin addict. The story eventually won her a Pulitzer Prize. But as pressure on Cooke mounted to reveal where Jimmy lived, so that he could be helped, she finally admitted that she had never met Jimmy and that much of her story was fictitious. Cooke resigned, and the Post, humiliated by the incident, returned the Pulitzer Prize. More…

Posted: Sun Sep 28, 2014.   Comments (0)

September 26, 1995: Transatlantic Paper Airplane
On this day in 1995, the Weekly World News reported that a paper airplane thrown by a school girl in North Carolina had been lifted up by "turbulent winds" and landed in Portugal. The article promptly made its way onto the Internet, where many people mistook it for real news, including the producers of The Family Channel TV special Unbelievable, who admitted that they made dozens of calls trying to track down the girl named in the story. [Weekly World News]

Posted: Fri Sep 26, 2014.   Comments (1)

September 25, 1973: The Knocking Ghost of Boise
Police in Boise, Idaho were initially stumped by the case of an apparent ghost in the house of Peggy Zimmerman. The ghost made knocking sounds on the floor and could rap out correct answers to questions. The mystery was solved on this day in 1973 by a TV newsman who realized that the source of the rapping was Mrs. Zimmerman's young daughter, Shelley, who was always present when the ghost was rapping. Shelley had the ability to surreptitiously crack her ankle by flexing it, thereby making a loud knocking sound. More…

Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2014.   Comments (0)

On August 31, 1959, a remarkable human-interest story hit the news wires and ran in papers throughout the United States. Jean Naccarelli, a 46-year-old Pittsburgh housewife, had learned that she had inherited $2 million from a wealthy uncle named John Lennon who had lived in Aberdeen, Scotland. She had received the news via a cablegram sent from Scotland by her two aunts. The 78-year-old Lennon, Naccarelli explained to the press, had been a famous ship designer who had worked on the Queen Mary. He was her father's brother. She had met her uncle only twice, once in 1924 when she…

Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2014.   Comments (1)

On September 17, multiple pictures showing some kind of "UFO" hovering over Portsmouth, England were posted on Twitter. They trended with the hashtag #pompeyufo. Johnny Blackwell of Southsea told the Portsmouth News: "I don’t believe in UFOs, but when I saw this I didn’t know what it was. It didn’t look like a cloud, and it was moving very fast. It was a grey, disc-like shape, which I know sounds like a stereotypical UFO, but that’s what it looked like. I don’t know much about military craft, but this was very fast-moving and very odd to see." Animation Director Lewis…

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2014.   Comments (1)

True or False: the "mile 420" highway marker was stolen so often that the Colorado Dept. of Transportation decided to replace it with a marker that read "Mile 419.99."

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2014.   Comments (1)

September 23, 1936: Fake Lie Detector
The disclosure that a grammar school in Newark, New Jersey had been using a fake lie detector to make boys "confess their errors" caused a storm of controversy. The operator of the machine (usually the school principal) would activate a hidden switch whenever he thought a boy was lying, causing a red bulb to start flashing. In response to criticism that the fake lie detector created a "jail atmosphere," the principal ordered the machine burned in the furnace.

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2014.   Comments (0)

September 19, 1984: Houston Zoo's Fake Snake
On this day, the Houston Zoo admitted that the coral snake on display for the past two years was not actually alive. It was a rubber snake. Zoo curator John Donaho explained, "We have had live snakes in the exhibit, but they don't do well. They tend to die. Rather than kill snakes, we put out a rubber one for people to be able to see what they look like." The zoo's confession came after a concerned caller reported he hadn't seen the snake move in months. The zoo subsequently received a box from an East Coast zoo containing another rubber coral snake as well as "breeding loan" documentation.

Posted: Fri Sep 19, 2014.   Comments (1)

Today Scotland votes on whether or not to remain part of the United Kingdom. And as Scotland's most famous resident, Nessie's views on this matter have become a contentious issue. People on both sides of the debate are claiming that Nessie supports their position. For instance, on September 12, camera-maker Autographer, tweeted that one of their cameras, set up to take automatic, time-lapse photos on the shore of England's Lake Windermere, had captured an image of something that "looks like the Loch Ness Monster." The company speculated that perhaps Nessie had "gone in search of new…

Posted: Thu Sep 18, 2014.   Comments (0)

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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.