Posts tagged ‘Hoax’

June 23, 2016

Lenin Was A Mushroom

Kuryokhin

Lenin was a mushroom‘ was a highly influential televised hoax by Soviet musician Sergey Kuryokhin and reporter Sergey Sholokhov. It was first broadcast in May 1991 on Leningrad Television. The hoax took the form of an interview on the television program ‘Pyatoe Koleso’ (‘The Fifth Wheel’). In the interview, Kuryokhin, impersonating a historian, narrated his findings that Vladimir Lenin consumed large quantities of psychedelic mushrooms and eventually became a mushroom himself.

Kuryokhin arrived at his conclusion through a long series of logical fallacies and appeals to the authority of various ‘sources’ (such as shamanic author Carlos Castaneda, MIT, and Soviet rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky), creating the illusion of a reasoned and plausible logical chain. The incident has served as a watershed moment in Soviet (and Russian) culture and has often been used as proof of the gullibility of the masses.

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January 14, 2016

ADE 651

bomb sniffer

The ADE 651 is a fake bomb detector produced by ATSC (UK), which claimed that the device could effectively and accurately, from long range, detect the presence and location of various types of explosives, drugs, ivory, and other substances. The device has been sold to 20 countries in the Middle East and Asia, including Iraq and Afghanistan, for as much as US$60,000 each. The Iraqi government is said to have spent £52 million on the devices.

Investigations by the BBC and other organizations found that the device is little more than a ‘glorified dowsing rod’ with no ability to perform its claimed functions. In 2010, export of the device was banned by the British government and the managing director of ATSC was arrested on suspicion of fraud. The company was dissolved in 2013, and the founder, Jim McCormick, was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment. Similar ‘bomb sniffing’ devices, which are still widely used, have also come under scrutiny in the wake of the revelations about the ADE 651.

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March 9, 2013

Entropa

entropa

Entropa‘ is a 2009 sculpture by Czech artist David Černý. The project was commissioned by the Czech Republic to mark the occasion of its presidency of the Council of the European Union, and was originally designed as a collaboration for 27 artists and artist groups from all member countries of the European Union.

However, as a hoax, Černý and three of his assistants created a satirical and controversial piece that depicted pointed stereotypes of the EU member nations. Fake artist profiles were also created by Černý and his accomplices, complete with invented descriptions of their supposed contributions. The sculpture was originally on display in the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels.

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March 9, 2013

Czech Dream

cesky sen

Czech Dream‘ is a 2004 documentary film directed by Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda, which recorded a large-scale hoax perpetrated by the filmmakers on the Czech public, culminating in the ‘opening event’ of a fake hypermarket (a supermarket and a department store in one).

The film was their final project for film school. Remunda and Klusák invented the ‘Český sen’ (‘Czech Dream’) hypermarket and created a massive advertising campaign around it.

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February 24, 2011

Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus

tree octopus

The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus was an internet hoax created in 1998 by Lyle Zapato. This fictitious endangered species of cephalopod was given the Latin name ‘Octopus paxarbolis.’ It was purported to be able to live both on land and in water, and was said to live in the Olympic National Forest and nearby rivers, spawning in water where its eggs are laid. Its major predator was said to be the Sasquatch.

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November 18, 2010

Sokal Affair

Fashionable Nonsense

The Sokal affair was a publishing hoax perpetrated by Alan Sokal, a physics professor at New York University. In 1996, Sokal submitted an article to Social Text, an academic journal of postmodern cultural studies. The submission was an experiment to test the magazine’s intellectual rigor and, specifically, to learn if such a journal would ‘publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if it (a) sounded good and (b) flattered the editors’ ideological preconceptions.’

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October 12, 2010

The Turk

the turk

The Turk was a fake chess-playing machine constructed in the late 18th century. From 1770 until its destruction by fire in 1854, it was exhibited by various owners as an automaton. Constructed and unveiled in 1770 by Wolfgang von Kempelen (1734–1804) to impress the Empress Maria Theresa, the mechanism appeared to be able to play a strong game of chess against a human opponent. The Turk was in fact a mechanical illusion that allowed a human chess master hiding inside to operate the machine.

With a skilled operator, the Turk won most of the games played during its demonstrations around Europe and the Americas for nearly 84 years, playing and defeating many challengers including statesmen such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin. Although many had suspected the hidden human operator, the hoax was initially revealed only in the 1820s by the Londoner Robert Willis.

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