Hoaxes

NOT A HOAX! Guest host Chris “Kerberos Productions” Stewart reveals the truth about Operation: Mincemeat and other WWII magic, Piltdown Man, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, The Cottingley Fairies, The Cardiff Giant, The War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast, Marie Toft’s Bunny Babies and more.

Music: “Whatchamacallit” by Esquivel

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Signs
Toren: 3/10
Joe: 3/10

War of the Worlds 1953
Toren: 8/10

War of the Worlds 2005
Toren: 5/10

2012
Toren: 3/10

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  • marlo
    Reply

    That was a really, really great episode!

  • amanda
    Reply

    went to wikipedia on that toth woman and it wasn’t living bunnies, it was bunny body parts and cat body parts… ugh. She had miscarried and decided she could fit cat and bunny body parts in her body while it was still ‘open’… all for money. Later she did get her husband to put the bunny parts in to keep up the hoax… but they were always severed parts of animals. so GROSS..

  • Plain Simple
    Reply

    @8:00 “Rommel Rommel Rommel” “Why did that make me hungry?”

    Perhaps you have some Dutch roots? The verb “rommelen” in Dutch means “rumble”, so when you’re hungry your stomach “rommelt”. As a noun “rommel” means junk, mess, rubbish, so depending on how or what you eat, that might have something to do with it as well.

  • Plain Simple
    Reply

    @8:00 “Rommel Rommel Rommel” “Why did that make me hungry?”

    Perhaps you have some Dutch roots? The verb “rommelen” in Dutch means “rumble”, so when you’re hungry your stomach “rommelt”. As a noun “rommel” means junk, mess, rubbish, so depending on how or what you eat, that might have something to do with it as well.

  • banks!
    Reply

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention April Fool’s Day in the episode, a holiday dedicated to hoaxes!

    Spaceship Zero did fool more than a few people. The most notable was Terry David Mulligan, a semi-famous Canadian television personality, who worked for various music video programmes. He wanted to interview the band and the director of the movie but Alan, the head of the record label wouldn’t let us bring in an actor to pretend to be the director.

    One of my favourite hoaxes (lies?) and appropriate for this modern age is the fake movie reviewer David Manning created by Sony Marketing. Sony printed favourable review sound bites for their movies from Manning. I like it because eventually Sony was forced to make a settlement to pay back $5 to anyone who had seen one of their falsely reviewed films. On top of that, Sony could have easily plied an ACTUAL film critic with gifts in exchange for favourable reviews. It was common place at the time the false critic was created.

    http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/archive/permalink/david_manning/

  • spookyparadigm
    Reply

    Just listened today, couple of points.

    – No Balloon Boy? Possibly the most successful hoax since the work of the Office of Special Plans. A wee bit I wrote on this in comparison/contrast with the Welles radio broadcast

    http://spookyparadigm.blogspot.com/2009/10/balloon-boy-21st-century-war-of-worlds.html

    – Speaking of War of the Worlds, twice in Latin America, Welles’ concept for a radio hoax (I’m not convinced he was completely surprised by what happened) of WotW ended up with the radio station getting burnt down. Also, while a fair number of people did believe the Welles hoax to some degree, they thought it was mistaken reports of a German attack. It took place right after a war scare in Europe (the one ending with “Peace in Our Time” from Munich), and those events were the first significant trans-oceanic live news events on the radio in a sustained sense. The psychological investigation of the hoax and its effects, conducted days later and published in 1940, is interesting.

    – I’m currently writing this from the small town of Binghamton, NY, where Hull dreamed up the Cardiff Giant hoax (I’ve seen the Giant, it is in Cooperstown). Hull was an atheist, or least mocked religion, and planned the Giant to make biblical literalists look idiotic. We have something of a history of fantasists and hoaxers here. It’s the hometown of Rod Serling (of Twilight Zone fame, who was also instrumental in bringing the idea of Alien Astronauts to a mass audience through his “In Search of …” specials that became a series narrated by Nimoy after Serling died), and in addition to Hull, we have another hoaxer here in the 19th century that very briefly made it big. I’m currently preparing a small historical paper on, probably to be submitted to a skeptical journal or magazine given the nature of the hoax and its context.

    – Also on the Cardiff Giant, Mark Twain wrote an amusing short story about the Giant and the Barnum controversy. The Giant’s ghost comes back, but is informed that he’s haunting the wrong building, as he’s in the same location as Barnum’s fake.

  • spookyparadigm
    Reply

    Just listened today, couple of points.

    – No Balloon Boy? Possibly the most successful hoax since the work of the Office of Special Plans. A wee bit I wrote on this in comparison/contrast with the Welles radio broadcast

    http://spookyparadigm.blogspot.com/2009/10/balloon-boy-21st-century-war-of-worlds.html

    – Speaking of War of the Worlds, twice in Latin America, Welles’ concept for a radio hoax (I’m not convinced he was completely surprised by what happened) of WotW ended up with the radio station getting burnt down. Also, while a fair number of people did believe the Welles hoax to some degree, they thought it was mistaken reports of a German attack. It took place right after a war scare in Europe (the one ending with “Peace in Our Time” from Munich), and those events were the first significant trans-oceanic live news events on the radio in a sustained sense. The psychological investigation of the hoax and its effects, conducted days later and published in 1940, is interesting.

    – I’m currently writing this from the small town of Binghamton, NY, where Hull dreamed up the Cardiff Giant hoax (I’ve seen the Giant, it is in Cooperstown). Hull was an atheist, or least mocked religion, and planned the Giant to make biblical literalists look idiotic. We have something of a history of fantasists and hoaxers here. It’s the hometown of Rod Serling (of Twilight Zone fame, who was also instrumental in bringing the idea of Alien Astronauts to a mass audience through his “In Search of …” specials that became a series narrated by Nimoy after Serling died), and in addition to Hull, we have another hoaxer here in the 19th century that very briefly made it big. I’m currently preparing a small historical paper on, probably to be submitted to a skeptical journal or magazine given the nature of the hoax and its context.

    – Also on the Cardiff Giant, Mark Twain wrote an amusing short story about the Giant and the Barnum controversy. The Giant’s ghost comes back, but is informed that he’s haunting the wrong building, as he’s in the same location as Barnum’s fake.

  • Derek
    Reply

    The Ecuadoran War of the Worlds hoax was derailed pretty well on a RadioLab episode, which I can highly recommend.

    • Toren
      Reply

      I love Radiolab’s topics and content, but it is overproduced to the point of occasionally being unlistenable.

  • Don
    Reply

    Hey all. Great episode. Always loved this sort of thing. I hadn’t heard about the Cottingley Faeries in almost ten years.

    I just read Turn Right at Machu Pichu and he credits the Pishtacos story coming from a novel written by the Peruvian president Ollanta Humala, where the villains are, of course, fat-vampires. I hadn’t heard about the death squad cover-up. I like the idea of the President covering up his death squad while simultaneously pimping his new novel.

  • Don
    Reply

    Hey all. Great episode. Always loved this sort of thing. I hadn’t heard about the Cottingley Faeries in almost ten years.

    I just read Turn Right at Machu Pichu and he credits the Pishtacos story coming from a novel written by the Peruvian president Ollanta Humala, where the villains are, of course, fat-vampires. I hadn’t heard about the death squad cover-up. I like the idea of the President covering up his death squad while simultaneously pimping his new novel.

    • Don
      Reply

      The ‘he’ being travel Journalist Mark Adams, who wrote the book. :)

  • Dark Canary
    Reply

    CBC’s Spark had an article about a university professor who teaches the history of hoaxes. In the second part of the class he has his students create a hoax and release it out into the world. He hopes to teach skepticism in what they read.
    http://www.cbc.ca/spark/full-interviews/2012/06/08/full-interview-mills-kelly-on-lying-about-the-past/

  • Dark Canary
    Reply

    CBC’s Spark had an article about a university professor who teaches the history of hoaxes. In the second part of the class he has his students create a hoax and release it out into the world. He hopes to teach skepticism in what they read.
    http://www.cbc.ca/spark/full-interviews/2012/06/08/full-interview-mills-kelly-on-lying-about-the-past/

  • Toren
    Reply

    Thanks MarMar!

  • Toren
    Reply

    I love Radiolab’s topics and content, but it is overproduced to the point of occasionally being unlistenable.

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