Hoaxes are fun, as long as they don’t involve 6-year-olds in balloons
So balloon boy’s parents will probably be charged with fabricating the whole thing. (Side note: I totally called it. See last weekend’s nothings. And I was the only one, right? No? Whatever) This really shouldn’t surprise anyone. Richard Heene seems like such normal guy judging from this clip from their appearance on “Wife Swap”:
Moving right along, this wasn’t the first time the world was glued to an event that really didn’t happen. There have been several hoaxes in history that captured everybody’s attention.
E.T Was Here
In 1976, two Englishmen got drunk and decided to do something that would bring the world’s attention back to farming. Well, not really. They started making circles in wheat fields using crude tools. As time went on, their creations got more and more complicated. There were many official explanations for their work. Some said it was weather phenomenon. But what brought the attention was the UFO explanation. This went on for years while UFO enthusiasts spent untold amounts of their parent’s money to go to England with hopes of seeing a flying saucer.
It all started to come apart in 1991 when one of the pranksters was confronted by his wife about the mysterious mileage being put on their car. Fearing death by jealous wife, he confessed (his apparently very trusting wife believed him immediately) and shortly afterwards went to the press with his story. The jig was up, either that or it was the best story used to cover up an affair in history. But that hasn’t stopped thousands of copycats from having their fun. And those UFO enthusiasts? They still think that the men admitting to a hoax was a hoax. The ball is in your court Mulder.
Paul is Dead
The thoughts about the origin of this one vary. Did the Beatles and Apple Records start it as a marketing ploy? Was it John Lennon’s jealousy? Would Ringo being dead generate more laughter than sympathy? Who knows. In 1969, a radio DJ in Detroit declared Paul McCartney dead, citing evidence in Beatles songs, movies, and album artwork. Newspapers quickly picked up the story and ran with it.
The story states that Paul McCartney was involved in a car accident. Apparently “he hadn’t noticed that the lights had changed.” The accident occurred at 5 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, with a C.O.D. (that’s cause of death for those of you who have never seen CSI) said to be massive head trauma. So severe were his wounds that dental records were useless for identifying the body. No accident report was made public due to the pending investigation. Beatles’ insiders learned it was Paul, but kept silent.
Understanding the ramifications of such news, the remaining Beatles hatched a cover-up. A Paul McCartney look alike contest was held. William Campbell won first place, but the results were never announced. Campbell’s prize was to be made a clone of Paul for photos, videos, movies, etc. Plastic surgery was used to smooth out the minor differences, but they failed to fix a scar on Campbell’s upper lip. This is how you can tell authentic McCartney photos from the Campbell ones.
That all sounds like a rather difficult thing to keep under wraps. No matter, we all know it’s fake now. Either that, or McCartney has been getting life-after-death tips from Keith Richards.
Marathons Are Easy
In the 1980 Boston Marathon, Rosie Ruiz won the women’s division in a record time of 2:31:56. Soon after the finish, some people started noticing that she seemed neither winded or sweaty after her 26.2 mile trek, saying she “got up with a lot of energy” that morning. With suspicions aroused, officials looked a little deeper. They couldn’t seem to find Ruiz in any of the footage shot of the leaders in the race until the very end.
It came to light that she simply skipped some unnecessary portions of the race, roughly 25 miles worth. Using all available means, like the subway, she entered the race 1/2 mile before the finish. Since cheaters never prosper, she was stripped of her medal and probably kicked out of the local Road Runners Club of America
Dihydrogen Monoxide is BAD
This is one of my favorites. It’s also the only hoax via the internet in this post. A paralegal had read an article about dihydrogen monoxide and brought it to the attention to the city council of Aliso Viejo, CA. The article said that dihydrogen monoxide was “used as an industrial solvent and coolant, and is used in the production of Styrofoam” and if inhaled could be deadly. The city council was about to vote to ban styrofoam cups at city events because they were made with this “chemical”. Here’s the thing: dihydrogen monoxide, or two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, is a scientific term for water.
No word on whether Aliso Viejo now employs fact checkers.