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Tag "skeptics"
They Never Come Back (Dec, 1952)

They Never Come Back

… say the scientists who claim no one has ever returned from the spirit world. Still there are things even they can’t explain …

By Lester David

THE tanker Watertown, owned by the Cities Service Oil Co., was chugging slowly through the blue Pacific when gas fumes from a cargo tank touched off a double tragedy and a mystery deeper than the ocean itself. Two seamen, overcome by the gas, died despite all attempts to resuscitate them and were buried at sea.

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THESE HOAXES SHOCKED THE WORLD (Oct, 1949)

The Cardiff Giant currently resides at the Farmer’s Museum in Cooperstown, NY while Barnum’s copy is at Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Michigan.

Oh,  and Barnum didn’t say “There’s a sucker born every minute”.  That was actually a quote from a competitor after Barnum created his own Cardiff Giant.

If you’ve never actually listened to the Mercury Theater broadcast of War of the Worlds you can stream it or download it at the Internet Archive

The saga of the  bogus John Wilkes Booth mummy (actually a chap named David George) is told in a story of 7 parts here.

THESE HOAXES SHOCKED THE WORLD

By West Peterson

THE awful calamity of ferocious beasts hunting human prey in the streets of New York after breaking out of the Central Park Zoo panicked the entire city one gloomy Monday morning back in November, 1874. The highly esteemed New York Herald revealed the grim details of the “catastrophe” in the full-page story you see reproduced here.

“Another Sunday of horror has been added to those already memorable in our city annals,” the Herald announced in a dramatic report on the Zoo break. “. . . We have a list of forty-nine killed, of which only twenty- seven bodies have been identified, and it is much to be feared that this large total of fatalities will be much increased with the return of daylight. The list of multilated, trampled and injured in various ways must reach nearly 200 persons . . . Twelve of the large carnivorous beasts are still at large, their lurking places not being known. . . .”

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UNMASKED: THE GREAT REDUCING PILL GYP! (Feb, 1958)

UNMASKED: THE GREAT REDUCING PILL GYP!

Doctors warn that “the most widely promoted medical fraud of today” is a “menace to public health”

BY JAMES SHAWCROSS

STEVE ALLEN, video’s versatile funnyman, can be mighty witty on the screen and he can also be a dud at times. But the worst egg he ever laid wasn’t on TV. He did it, with an assist from his beauteous missus, in a so-called “paid endorsement,” lending his famous name to plug an infamous product, a spurious “reducing candy.”

According to a high-priced, nationwide ad that starred the famous couple, “Mr. and Mrs. Steve Allen lose weight together with AYDS!… Jayne: ‘And lose weight automatically!’ . . . Steve: ‘Triple check!’”

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Scientific Frauds (Jan, 1932)

Sadly these quack cures are still ridiculously popular.

Also, despite all of his fantastical ideas, Hugo Gernsback was an excellent debunker.

Scientific Frauds

By HUGO GERNSBACK

IT would seem that, in this enlightened age, the public should be sufficiently educated not to fall prey to the multitude of scientific quackeries which still abound.

With the public pretty well accustomed to science, there would seem to be no excuse for these latter-day swindles which are still being practiced all over the country; but, strange as it may seem, there is still a great amount of business being done by various individuals and companies who make a specialty of thus exploiting the public.

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Impossibility of Perpetual Motion Shown at Chicago Fair (Sep, 1934)

Impossibility of Perpetual Motion Shown at Chicago Fair

A “BALL power wheel” which is supposed to turn continuously because it is always unbalanced is just one of the many interesting “perpetual motion” models on exhibit in the Hall of Science of A Century of Progress.

In spite of the fact that centuries of effort have failed to produce a single working perpetual motion machine, inventors continue wasting time and money on the idea. This exhibit is intended to show in a convincing manner just why it is impossible to construct such a device. Though many of the models run a surprisingly long time, friction eventually stops every one.

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Look Out for SWINDLERS Who Turn “SCIENTIFIC” (Oct, 1932)

Look Out for SWINDLERS Who Turn “SCIENTIFIC”

New scientific discoveries — splitting the atom, cosmic rays, etc.—give the scientific swindler new tools to work with in luring dollars from the unwary. Some of the most famous mechanical swindles of today and of a generation ago are described in this article.

by ORVILLE H. KNEEN

PADLOCK your purses and hoard your gold — the “scientific” swindlers are coining! A flood of such schemes is in the making, ready to be released when the next boom gets under way- Even now we can “get in on the ground floor” of such recent scientific advances as television and radio, or rise to the heights of independence in weird aircraft. Promoters’ promises were never more glowing.

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The WORLD’S MOST COSTLY BLUNDERS (Jun, 1935)

I like this passage:
“BLUNDERS and hoaxes have embarrassed millions of persons, have changed the course of history, and have cost their victims millions of dollars. Science itself has been the cause of blunders. Early theories, that were accepted as fact, are still used to fool a gullible public and to sell stock in perpetual motion machines and schemes to convert base metals into gold.”

Yes, that gullible, gullible public.

The WORLD’S MOST COSTLY BLUNDERS

Eighty years before Lindbergh, the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic was reported. That blunder is no greater than other misleading tales that have fooled the world. Here are history’s outstanding blunders and hoaxes.

by H. H. SLAWSON

BLUNDERS and hoaxes have embarrassed millions of persons, have changed the course of history, and have cost their victims millions of dollars. Science itself has been the cause of blunders. Early theories, that were accepted as fact, are still used to fool a gullible public and to sell stock in perpetual motion machines and schemes to convert base metals into gold.

In many cases newspapers have been the victim of hoaxes and blunders. The general attitude is to blame the newspapers for carelessness, but speed is so important to a highly competitive news gathering organization that little time can be devoted to checking back on stories.

One of the greatest journalistic blunders occurred in 1844 when a New York newspaper reported the sensational news of the first successful flight across the Atlantic. The story gave a very convincing account of the purported landing of a balloon near Charleston, S. C, after crossing the Atlantic from Europe in the astounding time of three days.

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