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Mass Delusion
Last week there were mass demonstrations in the Chinese city of Urumqi following what were described as a wave of "politically motivated syringe attacks." But now people are questioning how many syringe attacks actually happened, and were any of them politically motivated? From the Toronto Star:

The government said more than 500 people claimed to have been attacked, but only 170 show any signs of injury. Of those, 22 were being monitored and none were expected to suffer repercussions, it said.
"It seems more like mass hysteria than reality to me," observed Groot.
Even China's state-run Xinhua News Agency dialled down its reporting of the alleged attacks.
"Some of those who said they had been stabbed actually suffered from mosquito stings and other psychogenic reasons," Xinhua said.
Other agency reports noted that of the four people officially charged last week, most were drug addicts involved in acts of plain criminality.
Categories: Mass Delusion
Posted by Alex on Tue Sep 08, 2009
Comments (1)
Penis-melting Zionist Robot Combs have struck in the Congo. Minus the Zionists and the Robot Combs. From Reuters:

Rumours of penis theft began circulating last week in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo's sprawling capital of some 8 million inhabitants. They quickly dominated radio call-in shows, with listeners advised to beware of fellow passengers in communal taxis wearing gold rings.
Purported victims, 14 of whom were also detained by police, claimed that sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear, in what some residents said was an attempt to extort cash with the promise of a cure.

So how do you argue with a man who claims that his penis has been stolen. Kinshasa's police chief, Jean-Dieudonne Oleko, isn't having much luck:

"I'm tempted to say it's one huge joke," Oleko said.
"But when you try to tell the victims that their penises are still there, they tell you that it's become tiny or that they've become impotent. To that I tell them, 'How do you know if you haven't gone home and tried it'," he said.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Mass Delusion
Posted by Alex on Tue Apr 22, 2008
Comments (11)
A young Indian boy is claiming to be the reincarnation of an American scientist. According to the article linked below, he speaks mostly gibberish with a few "scientific" words mixed in. Proof enough for me! I especially like the next-to-last paragraph of the article. [Thanks to the reader who submitted this story]

Indian boy claims to be reincarnation of American scientist
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales, Identity/Imposters, Mass Delusion, Religion
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Tue Jul 17, 2007
Comments (18)
On the heels of the "American troops eat babies" myth comes the story of the Giant, Man-eating Badgers of Basra:

Ferocious British badgers an urban myth in Iraq
Categories: Animals, Cryptozoology, Mass Delusion, Military, Urban Legends
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Sat Jul 14, 2007
Comments (7)
Among the many difficulties American troops are encountering in Iraq (I won't get all political here by listing them), one is a little bit more bizarre than others. It seems that some Iraqis believe that American soldiers carry poison-tipped bullets and eat babies. Kinda tough to win hearts and minds when you're dealing with people who think you dine on infants, I would imagine. I wondered if this story itself was a hoax until I followed the link I found and saw that it lead to Stars and Stripes, the newspaper of the U.S. Army. Again, I'm not being political here, I'm just saying that I think Stars and Stripes is a more credible source for something like this than, say, Ananova. Anyway, it's a weird one for sure.

American troops eat babies?
Categories: Conspiracy Theories, Hate Crimes/Terror, Mass Delusion, Military, Urban Legends
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Tue Jul 10, 2007
Comments (17)
My wife says this isn't a hoax so she doesn't think it belongs on MoH. She may be right, but it's just so damn wacky, I felt I should share it with you all.

The city of Keizer, Oregon, a suburb of Oregon's capital, Salem, spent $20,000 to install some run-of-the-mill concrete pillars, designed to keep cars from killing pedestrians should drivers lose control and veer onto the sidewalk. So far, so good.

The trouble started when some unspecified people decided that the pillars looked too much like erect penises. I'll give you a moment to ponder that last sentence.

They want them removed or altered. The city is actually considering this, at additional expense to taxpayers, of course.

I'm thinking I can justify posting this to MoH by utilizing the "Mass Delusion" category, a MoH staple.

Giant penii invade Oregon town

Can you stand more about this subject?

More on the giant penii of Keizer

Categories: Mass Delusion
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Fri Jul 06, 2007
Comments (32)
I was inspired by the news story about the mayor's face in a tree to search out other examples of faces in trees. I knew that stories about faces in trees pop up regularly in the news, but to my knowledge no one had ever collected these stories together in one place. So it seemed like an appropriate thing to waste a couple of hours doing. I posted the results in the hoaxipedia. It's more faces in trees than you can shake a stick at.
Categories: Mass Delusion, Pareidolia, Psychology, Religion
Posted by Alex on Fri Jun 08, 2007
Comments (0)
I'm a bit late with this, but I see (via Fortean Times) that last month Reuters reported that rumors were spreading around Pakistan and Afghanistan alleging that:
a deadly virus was being sent through mobile phones, and that anyone answering phone calls from some certain numbers would contract a fatal illness. The rumours claimed that "as soon as you answer your phone blood comes out of your mouth, nose and ears and you die"
The local phone companies were trying to calm people down, assuring them that it's impossible to contract a killer virus simply by answering your mobile phone.

This is not the first time such a rumor has been reported. The first time I saw it pop up was back in July 2004, when it was spreading around Nigeria. The rumor then was that a phone call from one of two numbers, either 0802 311 1999 or 0802 222 5999, would cause instant death. An Agence France Presse reporter bravely dialed both numbers, but survived.

Next the rumor surfaced in India in 2006. The rumor now warned of "devil calls" which, when received, would cause mobile phones to explode like bombs, killing their owners.

Of course, the real danger is not a killer phone virus. Instead, it's the relentless spread of the unstoppable gullibility virus.
Categories: Mass Delusion, Technology, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Fri May 18, 2007
Comments (30)
Status: Phony Ghost
image For the past month villagers in West Bengal have been terrorized by a ghost that took the form of a floating skull with fiery red eyes. A number of people have suffered scratch marks when attacked by this ghost. Now police have taken a suspect into custody, "A pigeon with a miniature plastic skull dangling around its neck and with glowing red bulbs in the eye sockets." The police don't know who outfitted the pigeon in this way, but suspect that their sole motive was to create a panic. In other words, it was a random prankster. However, the cause of the scratch marks remains undetermined. Also, demonstrating how unreliable eyewitnesses can be, police noted that "people had described the ghost variously as a man and a monkey." Which recalls the Winsted Wild Man panic in Connecticut over 100 years ago, in which witnesses swore they had seen a (nonexistent) wild man sporting tusks and as large as a gorilla.
Categories: Mass Delusion, Paranormal
Posted by Alex on Tue May 30, 2006
Comments (6)
Status: Insane rumor
Panic has struck mobile phone users in India as word spreads of "devil calls" that cause your phone to explode: "People started turning off their handsets after a rumour swept Orissa state of phones exploding like bombs killing their owners when they answered the calls. The random "devil calls" supposedly started Sunday from phones with 11 to 14 digit numbers instead of the regular 10, said an official from India's state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam phone company."

Obviously the rumor is completely bogus, but the theory of the general manager of the phone company in the area is interesting. He speculates that the 'devil call' rumor "could be the handiwork of vested interests to subsequently market anti-virus software for mobile phones." Sounds plausible. (I've never used anti-virus software because it seems to cause more computer problems than viruses themselves do... though I use a Mac, so viruses aren't a big issue.)

I also recall that almost the exact same rumor swept through Nigeria back in July 2004. Somehow it travelled from Nigeria to India.
Categories: Mass Delusion, Technology
Posted by Alex on Wed Mar 29, 2006
Comments (18)
image A fire at the only factory that produces Branston Pickle reportedly sparked panic buying of the popular brown relish, spurred on by a comment from Premier Foods (its manufacturer) that within two weeks stock levels would run out. So sellers of Branston Pickle began asking as much as £16 or £25 for the stuff on eBay (a jar usually sells for less than £1). For Americans who don't know what this stuff is, it's kind of like a savory brown chutney, very popular in Britain, and often spread on ham and cheese sandwiches. It's good stuff. But now it seems that Branston Pickle isn't in imminent danger of disappearing from stores. Premier Foods will be able to maintain supplies of it. And this article in The Guardian implies that the Branston Pickle Panic never really materialized anyway. Buyers weren't flocking to the stores to snatch up the last remaining jars of the stuff. The Branston Pickle panic was mostly an invention of the media.
Categories: Food, Mass Delusion
Posted by Alex on Mon Nov 08, 2004
Comments (3)
I just discovered a Gullibility Quiz at Ofesite.com. According to them, I am almost 100% non-gullible. That's a relief to hear. But I found the picture part of their quiz a bit confusing. For instance, they show you three pictures of flying saucers and ask you to select which one of them is real. So how do you select 'none of the above'? You can't. Therefore I just picked one at random. I still can't figure out which picture the non-gullible person would have chosen.
Categories: Mass Delusion
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 07, 2004
Comments (10)
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