The Museum of Hoaxes
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Iceberg floats into Sydney Harbor, 1978
Rare planetary alignment decreases gravity, 1976
The Hitler Diary Hoax, 1983
The Hoaxing Hitchhiker, 1941
Taco Bells buys the Liberty Bell, 1996
The damp spot that hoaxed a city, 1912
Loch Ness Monster Hoaxes
Vilcabamba, the town of very old people, 1978
Monkeys pick cotton, a 19th-century urban legend
The Great New York Zoo Escape Hoax, 1874
Impact in June
image Head for the hills. The end of the world is near. For the past month conspiracy-theory sites have been all abuzz with the latest scare story: that a comet surrounded by a cloud of dust is going to hit the Earth this month and trigger an end-of-the-human-race scenario.

Word of the approaching comet was first leaked on the internet by someone using the screen name 'Aussie Bloke,' who claimed to be an Australian astronomer. You can look at some of his posts over at Bushcountry.org (thanks to Marco Langbroek for sending the link). They make pretty dramatic reading. For instance, here's where he describes the effect that the cometary impact will have:

"There will be several impacts of differing sizes spread over the globe. The bombardment will last a week or so at most. The largest fragment will rock the planet and the smaller ones will wipe out a city here or there depending on where they come down. There WILL be quakes and firestorms and major flooding of coastlines due to ocean impacts. Yes...it will be much like the movie 'deep impact' only worse."

According to Aussie Bloke, there's not much time to get your affairs in order because the dust cloud will begin to reach us tomorrow (June 8), and the first impact will occur on June 18.

Now it seemed pretty easy to dismiss some random guy calling himself Aussie Bloke, but then he decided to reveal his true identity. He said that he was Dr. Grant Gartrell, and sure enough there definitely is a fully credentialed Australian astronomer by that name... who has published articles about meteors and cometary impacts. But unfortunately (or fortunately, rather), that Dr. Grant Gartrell completely denies any knowledge of this 'Impact in June' stuff. In fact, he's been retired from astronomy for quite a while and now spends his time running a blueberry farm, not tracking comets.

It looks like the entire 'Impact in June' hysteria has actually been an elaborate hoax designed to poke fun at the conspiracy nuts. One clue that it was all a joke can be found in the evidence that was presented. For instance, one poster noted that you could tell the comet was approaching because "fireballs have increased significantly over the last several weeks and are happening EVERYWHERE." He then noted that a fireball was seen near Grover's Mill, New Jersey (scroll about a third of the way down the page). Grover's Mill, of course, is where the Martians supposedly landed during the 1938 War of the Worlds Panic Broadcast.
Categories: Conspiracy Theories, Science
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jun 07, 2004
Comments (8)
The funniest part is how he, at first, insists on remaining anonymous because others have had their lives threatened. Would death threats really be effective with global apocalyptic doom before the end of the month?
Posted by Michael  in  Baltimore, Maryland  on  Tue Jun 08, 2004  at  11:10 AM
Haha, that's a good point. Who cares about preserving one's own life when there is a 90/1 chance you're gonna die? wink
Posted by Matthew  in  ORegon  on  Tue Jun 08, 2004  at  05:26 PM
Well, June 9, nothing interesting. We have a hoax folks...drats and i was hoping the world was gonna end. blank stare (j/k) Thank God, this dude was wrong though. But I do wonder, why in the world would this dude do this? I mean he put a heck of a lot of time into writing all those articles. Not like the usual "doomsayer" articles I've read....
Posted by Fuzzums Wuzzums  in  Somewhere  on  Wed Jun 09, 2004  at  11:45 PM
See also a debunking page at:

http://www.weatherquestions.com/Aussie-bloke-end-of-world.htm
Posted by Marco Langbroek  in  Leiden, Holland  on  Thu Jun 10, 2004  at  06:05 PM
This really had me thinking. It really scared the shit out of me sometimes and the idea that something like that could happen just makes me freeze. I have been living the last week as if I had some sort of "expiration date" for my life. Does anyone have some REAL proof that this is a hoax or are you just saying it because you're afraid of the actual possibility??
Posted by k3  on  Sat Jun 12, 2004  at  11:40 PM
Well, proof is that it's past his due date and nothing has happened. No darkening skies...no blotting of sun...no nothing. I've been following this decently closely cause ive never seen some madman doomsayer put so much time and written word into this. But he hasnt said nething else, and his predictions arent true. And, btw, keeping up with some astronomy, i can tell that the stuff on that debunking page is true. It's pretty much the proof. So stop worrying, the world aint gonna end it doesnt seem, unless God does some freak-o-nature junk on us. Which will probly happen...jsut not yet,
Posted by Fuzzums Wuzzums  on  Tue Jun 15, 2004  at  12:34 AM
Call it a hoax but the following are all real, check them out for yourselves:

January 4, 2004 Leon, Spain
http://www.xs4all.nl/~dmsweb/fireballs/20040104_fireball.html

February 9, 2004 Alamosa, CO, USA
http://www.cloudbait.com/science/fireball20040209.html

February 22, 2004 Denver, CO, USA
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/2876236/detail.html

February 27, 2004 Anchorage, AK, USA
http://www.adn.com/alaska/story/4788567p-4731415c.html

March 21, 2004 Winnipeg, Canada
http://www.syz.com/rasc/fireball-07.htm

March 31, 2004 Queensland, Australia
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/04/01/1080544596330.html

June 3, 2004 Seattle, WA, USA
http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/West/06/03/meteorite.washington.ap/

June 11,2004 Auckland, New Zealand
http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,2937159a7693,00.html

June 19, 2004 Springfield, MO, USA
http://www.news-leader.com/today/0619-Itwasloude-115160.html

Still thinking hoax?
Posted by John  in  Seattle  on  Sat Jun 19, 2004  at  12:35 PM
tssk tskk this planet is gonna be around for billions of years it isnt gonna end

these people need to stop coming into our lives and prey on our fears

someone has to put an end to such negativity of our future its scares people it puts them into depression and hysteria and if it keeps happening more crazy people are gonna put more stuff into others peoples minds and then make them beleive it and they get even more depressed

it gets me sooo mad stop thinking of such bad things look at the postive for peet sakes
Posted by sam  on  Fri May 18, 2007  at  01:20 AM
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