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Cannibal Restaurant Hoax

Although many news outlets that picked up the story including Der Spiegel were skeptical of the putative plans to open a cannibal restaurant of no given location, others repeated the item as if it was verified fact. Which, of course, it was not. Serviceplan placed fake ads in German newspapers calling for donations of human limbs; set up a website complete with a PDF form through which prospective donors could answer questions about their blood type, body mass index, and health history;. VEBU director Sebastian Zoesch stated that he received phone calls and e-mails from people identifying themselves as cannibals, but many of them turned out to be undercover journalists.

We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.

We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support. Among other issues, a troubling headline about "beating baby hearts" resulted in accusations of witness intimidation.

Is it raining in the Amazon? Is the rainforest on fire? Sometimes viral photographs don't tell an accurate story. What did make a difference was a flood of Border Patrol agents, who began Operation Hold the Line in The teenage climate activist's high-profile speeches in Congress and the United Nations prompted attacks from online detractors. The doubters continued doubting until , when researchers discovered a similar fossil nearby. The Piltdown faithful were thrilled: the new find, Piltdown II, seemingly legitimized the old one.

Other early human skulls began popping up in China and Africa, and each had an apelike skull with a human jaw: the opposite of the Piltdown combo. The jig was finally up in After conducting tests on the skull, anthropologist Joseph Weiner and geologist Kenneth Oakley determined Piltdown Man was no man at all. Rather, he was a combination of man the skull , orangutan the jaw , and chimp the teeth. While the hoax was eventually exposed, the prankster behind the caper is still at large. If only Holmes were on the case.

Where does spaghetti come from? Viewers ate it up. On April 2 the BBC was flooded with hundreds of phone calls from people eager to grow their own noodles, then a rare treat for British diners.

Historical background

But the aphorism got an extra dose of validity in , when Penelope Ashe, a bored Long Island housewife, wrote the trashy sensation Naked Came the Stranger. As part of her book tour, Ashe appeared on talk shows and made the bookstore rounds. The author was as fictional as the novel she supposedly wrote—and both were the work of Mike McGrady, a Newsday columnist disgusted with the lurid state of the modern bestseller. Instead of complaining, he decided to expose the problem by writing a book of zero redeeming social value and even less literary merit.

By the time McGrady revealed his hoax a few months later, the novel had already moved 20, copies. As of , the tome had sold nearly , copies, mostly to readers who were in on the joke. Much like submarines, submarine sandwiches, and the U. Constitution, the ethics of journalism were still evolving in the early 19th century.

The articles claimed that a British astronomer named John Herschel had used a powerful new telescope to spot plants, unicorns, bipedal beavers, and winged humans there. The articles even went a step further, claiming that our angelic moon brethren collected fruit, built temples from sapphire, and lived in total harmony. The hoax was debunked immediately. But the American public preferred a universe dotted with angels, unicorns, and bedazzled architecture.

The story created such a buzz that papers around the world rushed to reprint it, while a theater company in New York worked out a dramatic staging.

Before long, The Sun was making extra coin selling pamphlets of the whole series and lithographic prints that depicted life on the moon. Wilhelm von Osten would likely say no. At the turn of the 20th century, the German math teacher was determined to prove the intelligence of animals. After trying and failing to teach a cat and a bear how to add, he finally found a sufficiently studious beast.

With years of training, a horse named Hans could add, subtract, multiply, and read German. Hans would calculate sums and convert fractions by tapping a hoof to indicate numbers. He became a national sensation, made headlines in the United States, and earned the nickname Clever Hans. They found nothing fishy, and Germany embraced Hans as a marvel until psychology student Oskar Pfungst came along.

Unsatisfied with the work of the experts, Pfungst examined Hans and figured out how the horse was doing its calculator act. Von Osten was sending him subconscious signals. When Pfungst exposed the truth, Von Osten denied it, insisting that Hans really was clever, and he continued to parade his horse before happy crowds.

The man behind the gag, editor Greil Marcus, was fed up with the supergroup trend and figured that if he peppered his piece with enough fabrication, readers would pick up on the joke. After reading the review, fans were desperate to get their hands on the Masked Marauders album.


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Rather than fess up, Marcus dug in his heels and took his prank to the next level. He recruited an obscure San Francisco band to record a spoof album, then scored a distribution deal with Warner Bros. For its part, Warner Bros.

A Berlin restaurant plans to offer meals made from human body parts?

Before Virginia Woolf and E. Forster were literary titans and before John Maynard Keynes was the father of modern economics, they were part of a crowd of friends that informally called themselves the Bloomsbury Group. Comprising writers, artists, and thinkers, the group basically functioned as a fraternity for geniuses.

To the poet William Horace de Vere Cole, it seemed like the perfect place for the Bloomsbury Group to stage a high-concept prank. Cole, Woolf, her brother Adrian Stephen, and three pals decided to sneak aboard the Dreadnought , disguised as the emperor of Abyssinia and his entourage. Why risk the wrath of the Royal Navy?

Because it was funny! Amazingly, it worked. Despite the intentionally amateurish costumes, including at least one moustache that began falling off in the rain, the Abyssinians stayed in character for the entire tour. At one point, they were forced to decline a meal, relaying through Stephen, who was acting as translator, that the food had not been prepared to their specifications. The tour ended without the crew suspecting a thing.

But then someone called reporters. British papers had a field day with the story. In the face of such humiliation, the navy was forced to take action. According to contemporary accounts, the navy got its revenge by caning two of the male hoaxers. Eventually, though, the Royal Navy developed a sense of humor about the incident. When the Dreadnought rammed and sank a German submarine during World War I, its crew received a congratulatory telegram from superiors. The text? Joey Skaggs is a professional prankster who plays the media like his instrument. He launched Walk Right!

Yuval Noah Harari extract: ‘Humans are a post-truth species’

The prank started when Skaggs ran an ad in The Village Voice offering dog owners a chance to buy their pets a night with alluring companions, including Fifi, the French poodle. Skaggs eventually admitted the whole thing was a goof, but not everyone believed him. Of course, WABC has good reason to insist that Skaggs was running a genuine poodle prostitution ring: The station won an Emmy for its coverage of the story.

MIT students derive great pleasure from tormenting their rivals at Harvard.

49 Hoaxes People Actually Believed - mental_floss on YouTube (Ep.12)

Back in the late 19th century, college teams took trains to get to road games, and Auburn took full advantage of the situation. For a few seasons, students ran grease along the train tracks before Georgia Tech games, making it impossible for the train to stop anywhere near the station. Tricking opposing fans into holding up placards that spell out a hidden message is a prank older than time.

It spends most of its time frolicking on treetops and snacking on frogs and rodents. But today, the arboreal cephalopod faces extinction thanks to rampant predation by the Sasquatch. That last detail gives away the joke to most people.