49 Hoaxes People Actually Believed – mental_floss on YouTube (Ep.12)

49 Hoaxes People Actually Believed – mental_floss on YouTube (Ep.12)

Hi I’m John Green. Welcome to my Salon…hey
there Ron Swanson. And we’re going to start this week with a popular psychological test:
“While at her mother’s funeral, a girl met a guy who she didn’t know. She fell in love
with the guy on the spot. A few days later, the girl killed her own sister. What is her
motive in killing her sister?” (scary stuff) If you answered that she was hoping that the
guy would appear at her sister’s funeral…you think like a psychopath, as proven by a “genuine
psychological test” conducted by a famous psychologist… IS the first of 51 hoaxes
I’m going to prove wrong today. In 1995, Fox Television played a film featuring
the dismantling of an alien corpse whose UFO had allegedly crashed in Roswell, New Mexico
in 1947. The culprit here was Ray Santilli, an English filmmaker whose false footage was
the basis of Fox’s extraordinarily popular broadcast. Later, Santilli and his partner
fessed up that their footage was merely a “reenactment” of a REAL alien autopsy, which,
they didn’t capture on camera becase… reasons. So pretty much all of us vloggers here on
the Internet owe a lot to a fake homeschooled teenage girl video blogger whose family just
happened to be members of a murderous cult. Lonelygirl15 blew up in 2006 quickly gaining
over 100,000 YouTube subscribers, which back then was a lot, but a sting operation conducted
by some fans…including me, not to brag… revealed a connection between the project
and a talent agency in Hollywood. Turns out “Bree” was in fact 20-year-old actress, Jessica
Rose. I was just bragging to everybody about my
central role in uncovering lonelygirl15. In fact, my only role in uncovering lonelygirl15,
was that I was part of the community that uncovered her, but at every turn I urged people
to go what turned out to be the wrong direction. I was also convinced that her family actually
was a part of a murderous cult and that she was not an actress….its all very embarrassing
now. In 1869, a 10-foot-tall giant stone man was
uncovered while workers were digging a well in Cardiff, New York. The owner of the New
York farm, William Newell started charging tourists 50 cents apiece to view the giant,
which was later discovered as a hoax orchestrated by George Hull. Hull had created the false
giant as a tongue-in-cheek prank after getting into an argument with a Methodist on whether
Genesis’s claim that giants once ruled the Earth should be taken literally. He did score
some money out of the argument though, eventually selling the fake giant for $37,000. Now I get to show off my Dutch pronunciation.
Jarno Smeets uploaded a video to YouTube in March of 2012. But this wasn’t your typical
babies-biting-fingers or cats-playing-keyboards clip. The video showed Smeets donning wings
and then flying through the sky. Turns out Jarno Smeets was not a bird man but actually
animator Floris Kaayk…I lived in Holland and that is my prnounciation…anyway, he
was working on a media product…a pretty successful one. When the second war in Iraq was just beginning,
a photo emerged of a gigantic Camel spider in email inboxes around the country asking
for sympathy for the troops. Mark is there a spider behind my shoulder? *screams* Oh sweet holy lord, how could you have a smurf
holding a present right above that gigantic spider? Anyway, the email claimed that the flesh-eating
spiders, which were tormenting US troops, could run twenty-five miles per hour and jump
three feet in the air. These spiders do exist, and they are big. But this is a cleverly angled
picture. Plus, they definitely don’t run that fast and they can’t really jump at all…but
Mark, can the escape from glass? In 1814, during the Napoleonic Wars, a man
dressed as a colonel went around London claiming that Napoleon was dead and the Bourbons had
won the war. The news resulted in British stock prices rising before falling back to
normal when it was revealed that Napoleon was…not dead. And in fact Lord Thomas Cochrane,
the man who benefited from the stock fraud, was subsequently arrested. People went wild in 1994 with an Internet
press release that Microsoft had acquired “the Roman Catholic Church in exchange for
an unspecified number of shares of Microsoft common stock.” The press release was, of course,
phony, but Microsoft had to come out with an official statement assuring that they were
not going to make sacraments available online anytime soon. And in fact, to this day, even
if you make a confession on one of those Tumblr blogs, it still doesn’t count. A 2007 widely-circulated email claimed that
an 8-inch mummified fairy was found in a garden in Derbyshire, England. With descriptions
of wings, teeth, and hollow bones, along with pictures…many people were hopeful that we
had finally located Tinkerbell. But, in fact, it was. a. hoax. And not the first fairy hoax either. Perhaps
the most famous was the Cottingley Fairies, pictures taken by two young girls PROVING
the existence of fairies in 1917. The fairies turned out to be cardboard cutouts. Because
you know, no Photoshop. In the 1800s in Hungary, the Mechanical Turk
amazed everyone with its ability to play clever chess against a human opponent, often winning.
It even beat Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon Bonaparte. But , it was a hoax. There was
a little guy inside controlling the Turk and moving the pieces around. *Sigh* Mark would
like me to clarify that it was not, in fact, a little guy…he was a regular sized person. The Fiji mermaid, allegedly discovered by
an English doctor, Dr. J. Griffin was a widely-discussed hoax in the mid-1800s. Many came to see it
and were disappointed by its non-beauty. Which makes sense considering the mermaid was, in
fact, a paper-mached monkey connected to a fish bottom. So I don’t want to over simplify,
but it was essentially just like Donkey Kong riding a mermaid. In 1912, Charles Dawson found a bunch of skull
fragments, which were put together by his team to reveal the Piltdown Man. The completed
skull would essentially serve as proof of evolution by fitting the description of half-man-half-ape.
Scientists were unconvinced. And they were right because the Piltdown Man skull was actually
comprised of the bones of three different species. Charles Dawson, truly the poorest
man’s Charles Darwin. In 1904, Frederick Lorz won the marathon at
the Summer Olympics, but only sort of. Because he stopped after nine miles, got a ride from
his manager for the next eleven…and when the car broke down, Lorz walked back to the
Olympic stadium and “won” the marathon, crossing the finish line, breaking the tape and everything.
Then he went on to claim that it was all a joke, but only once people started accusing
him of not actually running the entire race. In his defense, he did run NINE MILES. That
seems like a lot to me…I’d give you a metal for that! Alien crop circles are pretty common hoaxes
these days (including in M. Night Shyamalan movies), but all thanks to Doug Bower and
Dave Chorley who cut their first of many “flying saucer nests” in an English wheat field in
1976. In 1938, Orson Welles went on CBS radio, reading
from The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, but in a standard news format. Confused listeners
believed that they were listening to a report of an alien invasion that was occurring in
the United States. This unintentional hoax was so believable that some people initially
tried, but failed, to sue CBS for “mental anguish.” Studies claim that six million were
listening to The War of the Worlds and 28% of those listeners believed that the alien
invasion was truly happening. It’s the same 28% that’s current yelling at me about my
alien crop circles comment. A hoax was actually used in order to ensure
D-Day’s success. The day before the fighting in Normandy, the British used actor-soldier
M. E. Clifton James, a General Monty Montgomery lookalike, to distract the Germans. By the
way, apropos of nothing, General Montgomery had dogs named Hitler and Rommel.
German troops headed to the Mediterranean to fight the decoy General, allowing the true
Monty Montgomery to invade Normandy on D-Day. M. E. Clifton James later played both himself
AND Montgomery in a movie dramatizing the hoax. We call that the Eddie Murphy. Alright, let’s
pick up the pace here. Left-Handed Whopper. Yes, this was a real
hoax that had right-handed Whopper eaters up in arms. Meredith. “Up in Arms”…. I expect
better of you. Burger King said they rotated condiments 180 degrees for their left-handed
patrons. But that turned out to be an April Fool’s Day joke. Hitler Diaries, purchased by a German news
magazine in 1983 for $6 million…not Hitler’s Diaries, in fact. And I’m sorry Ladies, Pope Joan, the pope
who casually went into labor during a procession, is a hoax deriving from folklore. There has
never been a female Pope. Despite what you’ve heard on the internet:
egg whites, flour and butter… none of these things help heal burns…they do however make
for delicious baking, if you want to turn your burns into cookies. Balloon Boy was up in the attic the entire
time that his family claimed that he was on a crazy balloon ride. The WingDings computer font didn’t predict
9/11. Typing in “Q33 NY” DOES give you an airplane, towers, a skull, and a Star of David.
BUT “Q33” is NOT the flight number of either of the planes and actually has nothing to
do with 9/11….and whaaaat…this is crazy! There’s no such thing as Triple Waterspouts.
Also, these are definitely not 24) UFOs. Oh, “photographic evidence” hoaxes. The Internet
only made you more prominent. Here, I made you a list of people that are
definitely dead: Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Andy Kaufman, Tupac (that was a hologram),
Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. And here are some people, despite rumors to
the contrary, are not dead: Gene Simmons, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Garth Brooks,
Charlie Sheen, Eddie Murphy, Tony Danza, Bill Cosby, Justin Bieber, Dave Matthews, Paul
McCartney. One of those people is probably going to die before we upload this video…
between now and when the video is uploaded…and they’re going to be like, “Paul McCartney
is so dead….” I didn’t know Paul McCartney was going to die. I mean if it was going to
be someone….but I didn’t know! Anyways speaking of Paul McCartney, The Masked
Marauders, an album featuring a collaboration between him, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, and John
Lennon was the subject of a satirical article in Rolling Stone, much to the disappointment
of many confused fans. You can’t charge your iPod using electrolytes.
The popular YouTube video was a hoax. Stop asking Yahoo Answers and stop plugging your
iPod into onions. Blair Witch Project? Hoax. Paranormal Activity.
Also a hoax. But still terrifying. YouTube is not shutting down to “select a
winner of the all time best video.” That was an April Fools prank, besides we all know
we would win. Also Facebook is not considering charging…because who would pay for that? And lastly, this should really go without
saying, Do NOT trust any website offering to sell you a device for at-home do-it-yourself
LASIK surgery. Here, Mark made a list of all the things you should buy on the internet
that shoot you in the eye with lasers. The famous site [email protected], first created in 2006….
yah, nooo. Really. No. Thanks for watching mental_floss, which is
brought to you with the help of these nice people. Every week we try to answer one question
that you have asked. This week’s question (we don’t know how to spell the username),
is it true that Alfred Nobel, creator of the Nobel Prize, blew up his brother with dynamite.
Yes. In fact, you know where all that Nobel Prize money came from? Dynamite. Thanks for watching and DFTBA.

100 comments on “49 Hoaxes People Actually Believed – mental_floss on YouTube (Ep.12)

  1. Jonathan Langager Post author

    It's frustrating that you don't show the actual things that you are talking about – just crappy mockups.

  2. Joe Karpinski Post author

    John, I can't watch that damned all state commercial even one more time. Thanks for the entertainment.

  3. Karen Dobrowolski Post author

    Oh, how times change! You filmed this in 2013. Here in 2016, YouTube is charging you $30 a month to go without commercials. If you don't pay up, it seems like they increase the amount of ads, so, every 30 seconds or so, you get to wait 5 sec before you can get back to your video.

  4. SerpentStare Post author

    Auuuugh~ XD Well, I did think the story of Pope Joan was rather suspect. It was a great story, though!

  5. Richard Allen Post author

    Hey Mental Floss, I'm not sure about a triple waterspout, but we just had a double waterspout appear today around Hilton Head Island, SC.

  6. Paul Williamson Post author

    Paul McCartney IS dead, Faul sings in a different key than the original Paul who passed in 60s. I take it you are not a singer….all singers have unique keys they sing in and Paul never had an amazing dazzling range. Faul however can't sing for shit

  7. The coo - king Post author

    There are grown american men who have probably been sick before who are scared of a fucking picture
    Meanwhile, me, a person below the age of 12 isn't even phased

  8. Chris Boon Post author

    sorry John your dutch pronunciation may be ok but your English isn't as a resident of Derbyshire in the UK Derby is pronounced Darby and Shire is pronounced Sheer

  9. turdl38 Post author

    because it's jokey smurf who is notorious for being a bit of a jerk whose presents are usually exploding boxes?

  10. Ryan Carroll Post author

    It was thought that the alien invasion was in Morristown, NJ. In your face John. New Jersey is important. Also, Following reading the Aminal book from Orson Wells, The speech was played, and i thought there was an alien invasion in 2015

  11. cora bannon Post author

    greatest hoax: when comedians posed as politicians in the earlier 20th century and proposed a law to clothe every animal in america & it actually gained a highly questionable amount of support 😂

  12. E Post author

    I remember learning about and listening to war of the worlds in either a middle school or high school class on literature/english. Fun discussion.

  13. StudyGuidesMadeEasy Post author

    Actually, flour does help burns. Get the area of the burn wet with cold water first, then apply the flour and carefully shake off any excess. Then leave the rest on. Takes away the burn almost immediately. If you keep your flour in the fridge, it also helps more-so with any pain.

  14. wafa bouhellous Post author

    I love parks an recreation ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ and Ron used to be my favorite character

  15. Ayo MazRotti Post author

    The War of the Worlds 'hysteria' was greatly overstated for publicity. They started and ended each segment with a disclaimer that it was not a news cast.

  16. Vipsania Post author

    I really didn't enjoy the flashing of violent images at the beginning… I was about to go to sleep but now I'm on edge

  17. CJ Greiwe Post author

    You did good picking those celebrities, John. Three and a half years later and they're all still alive.

  18. theeverlastingspiral Post author

    Number 15 – sorry but totally wrong. Crop circles go back way, way further than those two buffoons. Who knows the origins of many crop circles but those guys were clearly an operation to take attention away from them.

  19. Puppetmazter Post author

    The 1904 Olympic marathon is actually a very interesting story. Jon Bois made a great video about it that's definitely worth checking out

  20. Bryon Lopez Post author

    Oh yeah those "phsycopathic tests" are total bug wash I actually was tested phsycopathic a while back.

  21. Mannard Mann Post author

    The real hoaxes people believe: Gulf of Tonkin, Sandy Hook, Boston "Bombing", Pulse Nightclub etc etc etc…

  22. not olaf Post author

    I always assumed the Smash Mouth song line was based on The Lord of the Rings' "All that is gold does not glitter."

  23. gctprompt Post author

    Here's a hoax: people still believe the D-Day was crucial for winning WW2, but the russians would had taken over Berlin anyways.

  24. Amy Dowell Post author

    John your pronunciation of Derbyshire is brilliant 😂 I live here, it's Dar-bee-sha 🙂

  25. Rickmann Karoline Post author

    I am not sure you are right about triple waterspouts. They can exist in multiple formations. Rather it is 1, 2, or 3. You can say usually they form in pairs, but to say they never exist in triple formations is incorrect.

  26. Hale M Post author

    I’ve seen the Cardiff Giant! It’s currently in the Farmer’s Museum in Cooperstown, New York. My family didn’t understand why I was so excited about this weird concrete man

  27. SuperCookieGaming Post author

    there are actually many hoaxes used by the allies to trick the Germans.
    One was called Operation Mincemeat: it used a dead man who died of rat poisoning dropped in the ocean near Spain with false plans to invade Greece no Sicily. the Germans fell for it and moved troops to Greece.
    Another was the Ghost Army. this was a bunch of inflatable army equipment that was use to make the Germans think that D-day would happen in Calais

  28. tye brown Post author

    Lmfao about a year ago i heard one of my friends say tupac is alive. I just didnt know how to tell him. Lmfao

  29. orangutangu the orange lover Post author

    Charles dason used an orangutan jaw for the piltdown man. MOTHER F#####

  30. CNNS Post author

    As to that psychology question at the beginning, my immediate thought was that the girl found out her sister killed their mother and that falling in love with the man at the cemetery was unrelated.

  31. Sarena Harmon Post author

    I thought these were going to be bigger hoax like the fake moon missions or any of the false flag shootings. Most of these are somewhat meaningless.

  32. Eric Hicks Post author

    No one believed War of the Worlds unless they were just stupid since they broke every few minutes to say it was a radio play.

  33. Leland- BoB Palmer Post author

    Check out The Merrycryptid museum= If in 2016+ & you are over the age of 13+ you believe politics are healthy or that lycanthropy etc or Vampires are real you must also likely find Amy Schumer as the "freshest, humblest most honest & talented/most original Comic Ever"

  34. Crazybean Post author

    Somehow, at the time of writing this comment, every single person listed as not dead is still alive so the list is still 100% accurate


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