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The 10 Most Notorious Paranormal Hoaxes in History

The 10 Most Notorious Paranormal Hoaxes in History 86

Cheryl Eddy

Some might argue that everything that passes for “paranormal” is a hoax. (There’s no fun in that, but insist if you must.) But even the biggest unexplained-phenomenon junkies have to admit when a fraud’s a fraud … as the 10 cases below will attest.

1) The Amityville Horror

The big daddy of paranormal hoaxes, Jay Anson’s 1977 bestseller became a hit film (and several subsequent not-so-hit films) and convinced the world that the house with the pie-shaped eyes at 112 Ocean Avenue was haunted by slime-emitting, fly-attracting vengeful Native American spirits and/or witches, plus a ghostly pig with glowing red eyes. So claimed homeowners George and Kathy Lutz, who moved into the home in 1975 months after Ronald “Butch” DeFeo, Jr. killed six members of his family there.

The 10 Most Notorious Paranormal Hoaxes in History

The sellers discussed in this article were actually the sellers of the house that was used in the original 1979 movie. That house is located in Toms River, New Jersey.

Despite multiple paranormal investigations (most famously by Ed and Lorraine Warren) with varying results, certain “facts” of the case were soon revealed to be false (shocker: that “red room” in the basement wasn’t actually a portal to hell), and the family who moved into the home after the Lutzes fled reported an absolute lack of ghostly activity. In fact, nobody who’s lived there since has; last December, the house went on the market again, and the seller was careful to note no demons were included in the asking price: “We had wonderful times in that house. I never felt anything, nothing whatsoever. I was just happy that we were buying the house because we saw the potential of it.”

Photo via Fantastic Fiction.

2) Uri Geller

Co-founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, James Randi (aka “The Amazing Randi”) is no fan of history’s most notorious psychic spoon bender, having penned the 1982 takedown The Truth About Uri Geller. Lawsuits followed, but Randi now 86, and still ready to pay a million bucks to “any person who demonstrates any psychic, supernatural, or paranormal ability under satisfactory observationpersevered. Geller, meanwhile, was the subject of a recent documentary investigating his alleged double life as a “psychic spy” for the CIA. Hmmm.

3) The Cottingley Fairies

Below, you will see the first in the series of “fairy photos” taken by cousins Frances Griffith and Elsie Wright with Elsie’s father’s camera, outside of her home in Cottingley, West Yorkshire. The Museum of Hoaxes tells the tale:

Photographic experts examined the pictures and declared them genuine. Spiritualists promoted them as proof of the existence of supernatural creatures, and despite criticism by skeptics, the pictures became among the most widely recognized photos in the world. It was only decades later, in the late 1970s, that the photos were definitively debunked.

[In 1919,] Elsie’s mother attended a lecture on spiritualism and showed the photos to the speaker, asking him if they “might be true after all.” The speaker brought the photos to the attention of Edward Gardner, a leader of the Theosophical movement, who in turn asked a photographer, Harold Snelling, to examine them. Snelling declared the photos were “genuine unfaked photographs of single exposure, open-air work, show movement in all the fairy figures, and there is no trace whatever of studio work involving card or paper models, dark backgrounds, painted figures, etc.”

Once they had received this stamp of approval, the fairy images began circulating throughout the British spiritualist community, and soon came to the attention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a passionate believer in spiritualism, and he latched onto the images, convinced they were conclusive photographic proof of the existence of supernatural fairy beings.

Guess who finally had the honor of debunking the photos in 1978, after noticing the fairies strongly resembled the drawings in a children’s book that was popular at the time? Our pal James Randi.

The 10 Most Notorious Paranormal Hoaxes in History

Clearly fake and cut out or cut into the pic in some way. Some people are blind. The fact that the “fairies” are also sharper and have a stronger contrast in them than the rest of the picture also suggests they are fake. But it’s just like with movies. Some people just can’t see that some things are computer animated while to others it’s clear as day.

4) Ghostwatch

In 1992, years before found-footage horror became all the rage, British TV audiences were taken in by this Halloween “documentary” about a group of BBC reporters investigating a haunted house. It sparked terrified reactions not seen since the broadcast of War of the Worlds … and, like War, it was completely fake.

5) Salem Witches

The trials, of course, were completely real, and resulted in 20 executions. But were there any actual witches involved? The Salem Witch Museum explains:

A strong belief in the devil, factions among Salem Village fanatics and rivalry with nearby Salem Town, a recent small pox epidemic and the threat of attack by warring tribes created a fertile ground for fear and suspicion. Soon prisons were filled with more than 150 men and women from towns surrounding Salem. Their names had been “cried out” by tormented young girls as the cause of their pain.

Why were the girls tormented? Nobody really knows … but it’s pretty clear that it wasn’t witchcraft:

This is a complex question. There are many theories to explain the “fits” of the young girls who accused so many of practicing witchcraft. Among the theories are adolescent hysteria and ergot poisoning; however, there is no definite answer.

6) “Alien Autopsy” footage

The special effects artist behind this supposed examination of an alien corpse found in Roswell, 1947, eventually came clean. But seriously, did anyone actually fall for this?

7) Crop Circles

Though crop circles are very much still a thing, the mystery lessened quite a bit in 1991, when “two jovial con men” admitted they were the very human creators of some of the most prominent formations.

Here’s the New York Times, breakin’ alien-hopeful hearts:

The mystery of those giant circles and odd geometric shapes that have been showing up in recent summers in wheat fields across southern England has been explained up to a point.

Newspapers in London today published the claims of two local men who said they were the ones who had been skulking around the countryside under cover of darkness, trampling out patterns with wooden boards as a big joke.

To prove their point, the men, aided by a London tabloid, fooled a self-styled expert on the crop circle phenomena, who declared a pattern found over the weekend in a Kent wheat field to be the genuine article, of the sort no human could have made.

Then, while the expert looked in embarrassment, the two men described by the newspaper as “jovial con men in their 60s” gleefully revealed themselves as the artists.

8) Loch Ness Monster photo

The 10 Most Notorious Paranormal Hoaxes in History

To me, this has always looked as if it were a puppeteer’s hand, without the puppet.

The most famous photo of the Loch Ness Monster was debunked in 1993, 60 years after it was taken. The “sea monster” was actually “some plastic and a clockwork, tinplate, [and] toy submarine,” concocted by Christian Spurling. At age 93, Spurling admitted he’d crafted the Faux Nessie at the behest of his stepfather, Marmaduke Wetherell, who’d faked it for revenge:

In 1933 the Daily Mail had hired Wetherell to find the Loch Ness Monster. Soon after arriving at the lake Wetherell found some strange tracks of a four-toed creature in the soft mud near the water. Wetherell estimated that whatever left the tracks must be twenty feet in length. Plaster casts were taken and sent to the London Museum of Natural History. While the world awaited the Museum’s analysis, however, hundreds of monster hunters and tourists showed up at the Loch. Unfortunately after a few weeks the Museum announced that the tracks were not that of an unknown monster, but those of a hippo. Apparently Wetherell himself had been hoaxed. The dried foot used to make the print was probably part of an umbrella stand or ash tray. The Daily Mail was angered at Wetherell and ridiculed and humiliated him.

9) The Patterson Bigfoot

The 10 Most Notorious Paranormal Hoaxes in History

If it’s never been definitively disproven, why is it on this list?

The bigfoot footage always seemed like a “juries-out” situation but the stabilized footage really does look very much like a guy in a monkey suit…

Can’t have Nessie without including the most enduring image of Bigfoot, aka Frame 352 from the iconic 1967 film shot by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin. Neither man ever admitted to faking the film (Patterson died in 1972), and despite much analysis, it’s never been definitively disproven. It’s included here in a list of hoaxes, however, because … if Bigfoot’s real, where the hell is Bigfoot now?

10) The Fox Sisters

Rock stars of the Spiritualism movement that swept America and Europe in the 1850s, Leah, Maggie, and Kate Fox claimed to be mediums who conversed with the dead through “rappings” on their seance table. Their fame was sky-high but short-lived, and in 1888 Maggie, who’d fallen on tragically hard times, publicly admitted they’d been faking their powers the entire time.

Top image via Giant Freakin Robot.



Fact or fiction

Was an Angel filmed over a house extinguished by firefighters?

Was an Angel filmed over a house extinguished by firefighters? 99

Having appeared on the network, this photo caused a lot of comments – from the fact that it really was a Guardian Angel who guarded the firefighters during work, to those who assured that all this was just an illusion, no more complicated than a cloud in the shape of a lamb.

At the end of December 2020, while extinguishing a fire in the Polish village of Maldyty, an Angel hovered over the firemen, or at least something like an Angel. This photo appeared on the Facebook page of the Maldyta fire station and generated many comments.

“This is something that was formed during the last extinguishing of the fire from the ignition of soot in the chimney in Maldyty. Write in the comments your thoughts about it,” was written under the picture on their FB page.

Poles are known to be very religious and there are plenty of people willing to comment on the picture.

Many indeed believed that the Angel oversaw the work of the firemen and, perhaps, even helped them to extinguish the fire. But there were also enough of those who believed that it was all just a random silhouette between clouds in the sky and pareidolia (illusion). The photo was taken by an unspecified person sitting in the cab of a car parked next to the burning house.

“Christians have always believed in the existence of guardian spirits. Some call them Guardian Angels. The Bible confirms their existence,” Pastor Leszek Kozheniecki told reporters, commenting on this photo.

By the way, Kozhenetskiy is a well-known Polish pastor who believes in the existence of supernatural beings.

Three years ago, he told the press that he had driven out the evil spirit that settled in his house in Turza Wielka. One of the firefighters who worked on the extinguishing of the house that night said:

“If we have this kind of protection watching over us, I am pretty calm about safety during work.”

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Fact or fiction

The skeleton of a mysterious “prehistoric beast” found in Antarctica?

The skeleton of a mysterious "prehistoric beast" found in Antarctica? 100
Photo: © Earth

Blogger MrMBB333 shared an image of a “mysterious creature.” It was discovered 80 kilometers off the coast of Antarctica in a remote region of Antarctica, according to the Sun.

According to the blogger, the pictures are screenshots from the Google Earth service, which were sent to him by his subscriber and conspiracy theorist under the nickname BONKERS.

They estimate the length of the remains at 3.6-6 meters.I don’t know if it was frozen for thousands of years or appeared recently,- the blogger said.

MrMBB333 believes the skeleton belonged to a dinosaur. He came to this conclusion by examining the front and hind limbs of the creature. His subscribers are sure that these are the remains of a seal.

The skeleton of a mysterious "prehistoric beast" found in Antarctica? 101
© Earth

A google search for seal skeleton images shows a pretty good match,- one of them wrote.

Other subscribers call the skeleton “suspicious”. They explain that “seals have no hind legs.” Another wrote that the remains belonged to an alligator or some other reptile.

In the comments, conspiracy theorists also expressed their opinion that “Antarctica is full of unexplained phenomena that may be related to ancient aliens.”

It is also believed that most of the “discoveries” made by users of Google Earth can be explained by the unusual shape of ice or other natural phenomena.

MrMBB333 uploaded his investigation video to YouTube on January 5. Since then, the video has been watched more than 200,000 times.

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Fact or fiction

150 thousand years old Metal pipes in Tibet, contradict the official history

150 thousand years old Metal pipes in Tibet, contradict the official history 102

It is said that there is a mountain in Tibet that contains a network of special formations that extend to the nearest lake. Many researchers believe that this is an artificial pipeline system. But, strangely enough, its origin dates back to the era of the Neanderthals.

Photo from open source
Photo: open sources

This mountain rises about 40 km from the city of Dalingha in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. It is called Baigongshan (White Mountain). In the world, it is better known for the wonderful formations that are in its heart and wide surroundings – they are called the Baigong pipes.

Photo from open source
Photo: open sources

This miracle has been the subject of controversial discussions for many years. Some believe they are a natural formation, but there are many who are sure that someone built them in the distant past to drain the lake. They base their arguments on research results, but there is a catch; the mysterious aqueduct should have appeared 150 thousand years ago. Traces of settlements around the mountain are not even older than 30 thousand years. So who could build metal pipes inside an uninhabited mountain?

There are three caves at the foot of Mount Baigongshan, two of them have already collapsed and are inaccessible, but the largest of them has since been the target of many tourists who come to the area.

Photo from open source
Photo: open sources

The cave looks like it was artificially created by someone. Visibility is enhanced by a massive pipe about forty centimeters in diameter that sticks out of the stone.

Photo from open source
Photo: open sources

Another apparently hollow pipe of the same diameter ran into the cave from the top of the mountain. Another one came from the bottom of the cave somewhere below.

Photo from open source
Photo: open sources

At the entrance to the cave, you can see several other pipes with a diameter of 10 to 40 cm. All this gives the impression of the remains of some ancient system or mechanism. About 80 meters from the cave, Lake Toson sparkles with a large number of scattered pipes on the beach.

Photo from open source
Photo: open sources

They stretch from east to west and have a diameter of 2 to 4.5 cm, these archaeological finds are described by the Chinese scientist Liu-Shaolin:

The unmistakable rust color indicates that they are made of metal. And their craftsmanship showcases advanced attachment techniques. Who could have built such a complex pipe system? Only one who knew well what he was doing and why.

The version that such an engineering miracle was created by the Chinese disappears immediately. The inhabitants of the Middle Kingdom could not build something like that 150 thousand years ago. As the authors of many amazing inventions, bureaucracy became one of them. Therefore, it is simply impossible to imagine that such a large-scale and, without exaggeration, a great construction project was reflected in any ancient Chinese source. Any emperor, during whose reign this happened, would make sure that his great deed was not forgotten by descendants.

Baigong tubes are another unsolved mystery in human history. This find once again refutes the facts of the official history. Where is the true and where is the misconception? Maybe there will be people among the readers who will logically explain the origin of the ancient aqueduct.

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