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Status: TrueThe following story has been circulating around, even getting posted in the hoax forum (warning: don't read it if you're easily offended):
Extract from the Yorkshire Evening Post:
A drunk who claimed he had been raped by a dog was yesterday jailed for 12 months by a judge. Martin Hoyle, 45, was arrested by police after a passing motorist and his girlfriend found a Staffordshire bull terrier, called Badger, having sex with him at the side of a road in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.
Prosecutor Ben Crosland said the couple had stopped to help because they thought Hoyle was being attacked by the animal. But when they got closer they saw that he had his trousers round his ankles, was down on all fours and the dog was straddling him from behind.
"The defendant mumbled something about the dog having taken a liking to him," said Mr Crosland. "The couple were extremely offended and sickened by what they saw." Another passing motorist contacted the police and Hoyle was arrested as he walked with the dog down the road.
Hoyle, of East view, Marsh, Huddersfield, told police "I can't help it if the dog took a liking to me. He tried to rape me."
He repeated the rape allegation at the police station and added "The dog pulled my trousers down." Hoyle, who has had a long-standing alcohol problem, was jailed for 12 months after he admitted committing an act which outraged public decency.
His barrister said Hoyle had no memory of the incident because of his drunken state, but was now very remorseful and incredibly embarrassed.
Jailing him, Judge Alistair McCallum told Hoyle "Never before in my time at the bar or on the bench have I ever had to deal with somebody who voluntarily allowed himself to be buggered by a dog on the public highway. Frankly it is beyond most of our comprehension. It is an absolutely disgusting thing for members of the public to have to witness."
So is there any truth to this story, or is it just a joke? First, it should be noted that the story dates back to 1998 and has been attributed to various publications, including the Yorkshire Evening Post, the London Evening Standard, and The Sun. A Dec. 19, 1998 posting in the usenet group alt.tasteless claimed it was printed in The Sun on Dec. 1, 1998. I don't know why the story has suddenly started to circulate around again now.
I can't find the story listed in any electronic news archives. However, the Lexis-Nexis archive for the Yorkshire Evening Post only goes back to 2000, and The Sun's online archive (which goes back to 1996) didn't want to work for me (probably because I'm not a subscriber). So I can't rule out that the story never appeared in a newspaper.
In the story's favor, there is a Yorkshire prosecutor named Ben Crosland, as well as a Judge named Alistair McCallum (who has a history of making memorable remarks about the cases he's judging. In 1996 he stirred up controversy by referring to a case of sexual harassment as mere "horseplay.") The main factor weighing against it being true is how ridiculous it is. It definitely has shades of being another Hippo Eats Dwarf kind of story (right down to the detail of the bull terrier being named Badger), but until I can determine that it wasn't printed as news in 1998, I won't classify it as a hoax.
Update: After subscribing to The Sun's archive (at their lowest rate), I discovered that this story was indeed reported there on Dec. 1, 1998, though in an abbreviated form. See the comments below where I've pasted exactly what ran in The Sun.
Status: RealViewers of NBC2 saw something strange during the station's coverage of Hurricane Wilma. In the Doppler loop video of the storm coming ashore, the number two suddenly appeared in the eye of the hurricane, formed momentarily by the swirling clouds. The number is so perfectly shaped that it seems like it has to be fake (some form of over-the-top station self-identification). But apparently it's real. The station swears that the image hasn't been altered, and they've provided a link to a NOAA image of the storm [the link is now dead] to prove that the number two really did briefly form in the eye of the storm. I'm sure that Scott Stevens will claim this is proof that the Yakuza really are creating hurricanes.
Status: HoaxAccording to the HETRACIL website, "HETRACIL is the most widely prescribed anti-effeminate medication in the United States, helping 16 million Americans who suffer from Behavioral Effeminism and Male Homosexuality Disorder." In other words, it's supposedly a drug to treat homosexuality. The look and feel of the site is pretty convincing, perfectly imitating the bland soothing nature of other pharmaceutical sites. And it's plausible that some drug company could try to devise such a product, given that up until the late 1960s the American Psychiatric Association actually did list homosexuality in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders as a psychiatric disorder. However, as far as I know, no drug company is currently developing a treatment for homosexuality. In other words, HETRACIL is a hoax. This is revealed on homomojo.com in an interview with Benjamin, the creator of the HETRACIL site. The interview explains that "What he intended with these creations was to spur conversation on a “what if” scenario in which a cure for homosexuality (or at least feminine tendencies) becomes a reality. What would be the ramifications to society if sexual orientation could be manipulated?"