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|•||Deaf sign interpreter at Mandela ceremony was faking it 12/11/2013|
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A remarkable photograph reveals archaeologists unearthing a massive (and when I say massive, I mean massive... we're talking a 50-foot behemoth here) skeleton at a site in Saudi Arabia. Of course, the Saudi military is keeping this all very hush, hush. The public couldn't handle knowing about such a remarkable discovery. If you get your news from The New Nation, 'Bangladesh's Independent News Source,' you might think this was an actual piece of news. But of course, it's totally false. The picture comes from a Worth1000 photoshop contest. The original, undoctored source of the image was a Cornell-sponsored dig of a mastodon in New York. Somehow the picture escaped into the alternative reality of email, accompanied by a bogus caption claiming that the picture was taken in Saudi Arabia, etc., etc. Apparently The New Nation received this email (forwarded to them from an anti-Muslim group that takes it upon itself to hoax Muslim papers) and fell for it hook, line, and sinker. The historically minded will note the long-standing popularity of Giant hoaxes, going all the way back to the 18th century where we find Commodore Byron's tales of Patagonian Giants, or the amazing popularity of giants, such as the Cardiff Giant, in the 19th century. (via Liquito and Apothecary's Drawer)
The Australian Museum has determined that a
bone in its possession, that sports an arrow sticking through it, did not come from the leg of Captain James Cook. Strike all that. My mistake. The arrow is made out of bone, and this bone was long rumored to be a bone from Captain James Cook's leg. But it appears that the bone is actually from some kind of sea mammal.
I'm a few days late noting this story, but I had to mention it anyway. One volume of the forged Hitler Diaries was recently sold at auction in Berlin, fetching around $7700. If there really was such a thing as a brick-and-mortar Museum of Hoaxes, I would have definitely put in a bid for it.
BBC News has a good summary of the Shroud of Turin controversy, in light of the second face that was discovered on the backside of it. "Does this mean it is real after all? Or does it mean it's an even better hoax than was previously thought?" The answer: no one really knows. I noted in my book that the debate about the shroud rages on and likely will for the foreseeable future. The emergence of new evidence has simply made that more true than ever.
The debate about the Vinland Map continues, and Scientific American summarizes the controversy. Everyone agrees that the parchment the map was written on is medieval, but what about the ink? That's the question.
The Kensington Runestone, unearthed in Minnesota in 1898 and hailed as evidence of the presence of Norse explorers in ancient America, is off on a grand tour. First stop Sweden.
The Newseum presents The Commissar Vanishes: The Falsification of Photographs in Stalin's Russia.
In October, 1890 James Scotford unearthed some relics while digging postholes for a fence in Montcalm County, Michigan. The relics appeared to demonstrate the prior existence of a Near Eastern culture in ancient America. They were eventually debunked as frauds, though not before attracting a lot of attention and stirring up lots of controversy. Now the relics are on display again. The Michigan Historical Museum has a special exhibit devoted to them titled 'Digging Up Controversy: The Michigan Relics.' Much of the exhibit can be viewed online. Definitely worth checking out.
The reenactment of the Wright Brothers' first flight failed. I hate to say it, but the members of the Man Will Never Fly Society, whom I linked to just a few posts below, did predict that would happen.
According to the members of the Man Will Never Fly Society, the official account of the Wright Brothers' 1903 first flight, the anniversary of which is coming up on Dec. 17th, is all a hoax. They contend that the plane never flew... and all subsequent manned flights are a hoax also. Never mind that the majority of the members of this society are pilots. Every year they meet and have a boozy celebration to commemmorate the Wright Brothers' non-flight. In fact, alcohol seems to be the main focus of their meetings, because the more they drink the more confident they become in the truth of their position. So it might best be described as a drinking club. Their motto is "Birds fly. Men drink," and their website proclaims: "The Man Will Never Fly Memorial Society has fought the hallucination of airplane flight with every weapon at its command save sobriety." Sounds like a fun group to be a member of. (Thanks to Alex Richbourg for the link).
The Onion has a good parody of the Reality TV genre: Antebellum Island. It's a new 'alternate reality' show, supposedly being aired by CBS, set on an island on which the South won the Civil War. The show's motto is 'Secede, Suppress, Survive.'
BBC Legacies, the BBC's new website for exploring local history, is doing a feature this month on Local Legends, and has put up an article about one of Bristol's local legends, Princess Caraboo (though perhaps legends is the wrong word to describe the Princess, since she was quite real, though not a real Princess). It's a good article, and they were nice enough to link back to the Museum of Hoaxes in a sidebar.