The Museum of Hoaxes
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A black lion: real or fake?
Loch Ness Monster Hoaxes
The Olympic Underwear Relay, 1956
war of the worlds
The night Martians invaded New Jersey, 1938
Paul Krassner's Stereophonic Hoax, 1960
Brief History of Triple-Decker Buses
The Cottingley Fairies, 1917
Swiss peasants harvest spaghetti from trees, 1957
Man flies by own lung power, 1934
Snowball the Monster Cat, 2000
The Case of the Ghostly Pigeon
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 The Curator on Tue May 30, 2006
Comments (6)
And the Dehli monkeyman panic of more recent memory...
Posted by Joe Littrell  on  Tue May 30, 2006  at  07:48 PM
The pigeons are plotting against us. . .I've suspected it for years!
Posted by Accipiter  on  Tue May 30, 2006  at  09:21 PM
My own favourite example of the reliability of eyewitness accounts is the witness who in the immediate aftermath of the misataken shooting of Menezes in London claimed to have seen that he (Menezes) was wearing a "bomb belt with wires coming out." Other eyewitnesses described him leaping the turnstiles as he fled the police, though in fact he bought a ticket and was not in fact chased through the station at all...

Turning a plastic skull and a couple of lightbulbs into attacks by a ghost monkey seems easy:)
Posted by outeast  on  Wed May 31, 2006  at  04:49 AM
Funny how most of the eyewitnesses there were the policemen involved though :(
Posted by Owen  on  Wed May 31, 2006  at  06:41 AM
Doesn't blatant stupidity just warm the cockles of your heart?
Posted by Nettie  in  Perth, Western Australia  on  Wed May 31, 2006  at  11:51 AM
Kill the pigeon! Where's dastardly and muttley when you need them?

It's been proved in various scientific studies that eye-witness accounts are highly unreliable, even when the witnesses haven't been influenced by rumours, newspaper reports etc. I'm with Gil Grissom. Witnesses lie, evidence does not.
Posted by Nona  in  London  on  Mon Mar 19, 2007  at  08:43 AM
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