As Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women , once noted, it’s never a good notion to meet your idols. And considering that she was a money-loving drug addict, she probably knew what she was talking about. If there’s some artist, athlete, cook, or whatever who really inspires you, don’t try to find out what they’re really like as people. At best, you’re going to be disillusioned. At worst, you might find out something that will really break your heart, like that Bill Nye once violated 88 orphans’ legs during a meth bargain gone wrong. Don’t worry, we attained that one up, but here are some that are completely real …
The Clintons Used African-American Prison Labor Whilst Living In The Governor’s Mansion
During the 2016 general elections, the media constructed sure to keep us constantly aware of every single flaw or inadequacy surrounding Hillary Clinton, from her inexpert handled in emails to her dreadful Ellen dance moves. But there’s one little thing that no one thought to bring up: She, uh, had slaves at one point. Yeah.
Back before the Clintons occupied the White House, they were residents of the governor’s manor in Arkansas( what with Bill being governor and all ). In Hillary’s 1996 volume It Takes A Village , she made an offhand remark about how they had applied unpaid prison labor, principally “African-American men in their thirties, ” to help around the house. Don’t worry, this was part of a “longstanding tradition” — which is an excuse that has never, ever been used to justify terrible actions.
How is this even a thing? Well, according to a caveat in the 13th Amendment( the only amendment we fought a war over ), Americans can’t be enslaved … except as penalty for international crimes . The government tends to avoid the actual word “slavery” to describe this policy, but the Constitution itself doesn’t screw around with semantics 😛 TAGEND United States Congress
Cut it out with that “whereof” shit, though. We get it, you’re cultured .
Clinton doesn’t devote any show in the book that she saw this situation( black humen being forced to serve rich white politicians) as kinda problematic. Instead she takes the opportunity to discuss how “apprehensive” she was about having scary black crooks in her house, until she learned that they weren’t so scary after all. This would be a heartwarming memoir if it was written in the 1800 s, but like we said, this volume “re coming out” in 1996 . That’s 14 years after “Ebony And Ivory” cured racism eternally, so there’s really no excuse.
This all builds the Clintons sound less like progressive Democrats and more like one of the less-shitty white characters from 12 Years A Slave . And although the book had been out for 20 years, somehow nobody — not in the media , not even from the Trump opposition research team — built note of this until a random Twitter user posted about it in June 2017.( We would certainly never suggest that Trump read about this and said, “So? What’s wrong with slavery? ” That would be cheap of us .)
Michael Jordan Is A Hyper-Competitive Jerk
If you so much as touched a basketball as a kid, you wanted to be like Michael Jordan. He’s one of the biggest childhood role model ever, both in impact and stature. But how much do you know about him, besides the fact that he’s truly good at B-ball and once teamed up with Bill Murray to help Bugs Bunny fight aliens? If you said “not much, ” that’s likely for the best.
There are plenty of stories of Jordan being a big bald bully. According to an anonymous ex-teammate interviewed by Sports Illustrated , Jordan would scream “You’re a loser! You’ve always been a loser! ” at fellow Chicago Bulls player Rodney McCray during develop. McCray retired after one season with Jordan. There’s also an unconfirmed rumor that Jordan “ruined” Muggsy Bouges( who’s 5’3”) by calling him a “fucking midget” during a game. He may have inspired people to pick up a basketball, but it seems he also inspired some to drop it.
It’s the same off the court. Rapper Chamillionaire has an anecdote about gratifying Jordan at a charity event where he’d only expended $7,000 of his chafortune on an MJ jersey. As Mr. Riding Dirty himself recounted in a video, after asking Jordan if they could take a photo together, Jordan barked, “I ain’t taking images with no niggas.” Person else tried to defuse the situation by explaining who Chamillionaire was, but Jordan reportedly responded, “I don’t give a fuck.” Jordan then reconsidered, offering to take the photo … for $15,000.
OK, but perhaps he was having a bad day? Uh, in 2009, when Jordan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and the whole athletic got together to honor him, he devoted what might be the pettiest “Thank you” speech ever recorded. He spent 20 minutes ripping on people who intersected him since the beginning of his career — all the way back to high school. He even flew in a high school teammate, Leroy Smith, to humble him because their coach-and-four picked Smith and not him for the sophomore team.
“Just kidding, man. Come up here and present the multi-million-dollar shoe line with your name. Oh wait.”
Legendary Physicist Richard P. Feynman Dabbled In Pick-Up Artistry
Before Carl Sagan and Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the pop star of science was Nobel-Prize-winning physicist Richard P. Feynman. He was a nerd, but he was also cool, dividing his time between discovering the secrets of the Universe and playing the bongos.
Feynman was also a real hit with the dames. Unfortunately, that didn’t mean that he had a high opinion of women. During his tenure as a professor at Caltech, he made so many sexist gags in his lectures that he triggered campus protests against him and inspired a nickname, “Richard ‘P for Pig’ Feynman.” And this was the 1950 s, when sexist jokes were basically background noise for most people.
His sex life was no less uncomfortable. In his autobiography, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman !, he joyously lays out his escapades, including all the techniques he learned from an early form of what’s now dubiously referred to as “pick-up artistry.” That’s right, Feynman was an early 20 th century version of the asshole who hangs out in bars and tries to hit on women by insulting — sorry, “negging” — them. As he describes in the book, he took on a mentor who taught him this 😛 TAGEND
Later, Feynman recounts an anecdote about the first time he applied these, uh, teaches. After a session at the bar, he took a stroll with a girl whom he’d befriended, who suggested they buy some coffee and sandwiches and then go back to her place. Score! But that’s when Feynman broke the cardinal regulation — he paid for the coffee and sandwiches himself. Worse than that, he’d bought sufficient food for three people, which was a big red flag. Sure enough, she then told him that another friend was going to be joining them. Female treachery! The Master was right!
So Feynman “recovered” the best route he knew how 😛 TAGEND
Now, we don’t know which dictionary Feynman was using, but we’re reasonably assured that “soliciting fund to not have sex” is kind of the opposite of a whore. In any case, Feynman claims that he still boned her later. And likely her supermodel friend. No wait, they were twins. Yep.
David Foster Wallace Was A Really Creepy Stalker
We’re loathe to go after David Foster Wallace, the guy who wrote possibly the greatest commencement speech in the history of higher education. He was awesome, his life was tragic, and excavating for skeletons in his closet is like looking for a pile of dead hobos in Mr. Rogers’ basement. But in any case, it must be said that Wallace had … kind of some issues with women.
A biography by D.T. Max reveals that Wallace, the patron saint of literature, was a relentless bully to his younger sister growing up. We’re not talking about calling her names or defacing her Barbies; he punched her so hard that he knocked her teeth out, and then dragged her hobble body through “the excrement left by their dog.” Ah, boys will be boys, right?
Max goes on to detail the creepy and outright abusive relationship that he had with his future girlfriend, poet Mary Karr. According to Max’s biography, Wallace’s courtship of Karr was less Nicholas Sparks and more Fatal Attraction . Karr was married with a child when they met and knocked back his advances, but Wallace wouldn’t have it. His attempts to woo her included illustrate up at her house and workplace unannounced, lying to their reciprocal friends about them having an affair, and turning up at a party he wasn’t invited to with a new shoulder tattoo of Karr’s name and a heart. His approach to romance was basically Sideshow Bob stalking Bart.
Somehow, Wallace and Karr did start having an affair, but his creepiness didn’t end there. At one point, according to Max, Wallace became so thwarted with Karr’s reluctance to divorce her husband that he called an ex-con about buying a firearm so he could kill him.
Even after this affair ended( thankfully without anyone get murdered ), Wallace remained a sex fiend for the rest of his life. He boned his female students, he boned the women in his narcotic recovery sessions, and he boned the “audience pussy, ” as he privately described the fans of his work. Reportedly, he once told fellow novelist Jonathan Franzen that he felt his life’s purpose was to “to put[ his] penis in as many vaginas as possible.” To us, he’ll probably always be that cool writer guy who once made a really relatable life metaphor about fish.
Lou Reed Was A Violent, Racist, Woman-Beating Prick
Nobody really expects rock musicians to be nice people. The Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed, however, was more than an asshole. According to a recent biography written by Howard Sounes, he was some kind of ogre .
Sounes doesn’t use the word softly. After Reed’s death in 2013, Sounes, who was a huge fan, set out to write a glowing biography, for which he interviewed more than 140 people — and every single one of those interviews transgressed off another little piece of Sounes’ heart. Though he wanted to be as kind as possible to his musical hero, Sounes was forced “to go where the tale goes.” And here’s where the tale went: Reed was apparently a violent, racist, misogynistic fucking shit. It’s known that he once told a journalist, “I don’t like niggers like Donna Summer”( and that should have been kind of a red flag right there ), but according to those who knew him, he wore his racism on his sleeve. At one point, he referred to Bob Dylan as a “pretentious kike.” Yes, the guy who once released an hour of guitar feedback called someone else “pretentious.”
Reed’s relationships with women were more violent than a mosh pit. His ex-wife Bettye Kronstad told Sounes that Reed would occasionally get mad and pin her against a wall, shake her, made her, and “then one time he actually gave me a black eye.” She wasn’t the only one. According to one of his childhood friends, Reed would often beat his girlfriends in public when they said something that irritated him. When the spouse of the( presumably former) friend said something about it, Reed started making her too. Because Reed was an equal opportunity misogynist.
When Sounes approached filmmaker Paul Morrissey for an interview, Morrissey indicated for the book that “You need a good title like The Hateful Bitch [ or] The Worst Person Who Ever Lived . Something that says this isn’t a biography of a great human being, because he was not … He was a stupid, disgusting, awful human being.” As Sounes recounted, “The word that kept coming up was prick. Girlfriends called him a pricking, people he was at school with called him a pricking; people in his band called him a prick.”
But man, wasn’t White Light/ White Heat a great album?
Roald Dahl Kind Of Tried To Justify The Holocaust
Roald Dahl introduced generations of kids to the sorcery of reading through his whimsical fictions about chocolate mills, friendly giants, and unsettlingly big fruit. Thankfully, one theme he never snuck into our prepubescent brains was his opinions about Jews. At least , not that we’re aware of.( Perhaps those pointy snouts in The Witches are more offensive than we thought ?)
We’ve discussed already how Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is low-key racist — in the original version, the Oompa-Loompas weren’t orange dwarves, but a slave workforce of African pygmies. Well, racism is a bit like cockroach poop: When you watch a little bit of it, too often you can look behind the fridge and find an infestation.
First off, according to a recent biography, Dahl was a deeply unpleasant human to begin with. He carried on several affairs behind his wife’s back, was rude to everyone he met, and( much like Dr. Seuss) didn’t care much for children. Dahl didn’t write exclusively for children, but when he did, he pretty much merely did it for the paycheck as, like he told another author at a party, you can much write anything and “The little bastards’d swallow it.”
More concerning, though, were his thoughts on Jews. In a review of a volume about the 1982 intrusion of Lebanon by Israel, Dahl said this was the moment “we all started hating the Israelis, ” and questioned, “Must Israel, like Germany, be brought to her knees before she learns how to behave in this world? ” Before you point out that criticism of Israel isn’t inherently antisemitic, know that Dahl doubled down when he was questioned about his comments, helpfully clarifying that his animosity was, indeed, targeted specifically at Jews 😛 TAGEND
“It’s not like he was Hitler or something.”
This is the point in any interview where you really need to decide to stop talking. But Dahl went on to elaborate how he guessed the Jews kind of had the whole Holocaust thing coming because, according to his version of history, it never passed to them to fight back. “I mean, if you and I were in a line moving towards what we knew were gas chamber, I’d rather have a go at taking one of the guards with me; but[ the Jews] were always submissive.”
But is all this enough to really label Roald Dahl an antisemite? Well, there’s also the interview he gave a few months before his death in which he literally described himself as “anti-Semitic.” There’s, you know, that.
S. Peter Davis is the creator of the Three Minute Philosophy YouTube series, and is the author of the book Occam’s Nightmare . Did you help an old lady to cross the street into a cavity of alligators? Here you go . Also check out 6 Celebrities Who Are Surprisingly Angry On Twitter and 5 Beloved Celebrities Who Were Nothing Like You Think . Are in favour of our YouTube channel, and check out 5 Famous Historical Figures Who Were Total Perverts, and watch other videos you won’t consider on the site ! Follow our new Pictofacts Facebook page, and we’ll follow you everywhere .
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When people say you should follow your dreams, they usually mean stuff like “go after your life’s objectives, ” and not “make out with a talking giraffe as your third-grade educator watches from a UFO( also, you’re Obama for some reason ). ” And yet, some geniuses have achieved success doing precisely that. Not the giraffe thing, specifically, but basing their entire careers on some crazy thing they ensure while fast asleep.
Here are six people who not only managed to remember their dreams for more than five seconds after waking up, but actually employed them to change their lives( or the freaking world ).
# 6. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia Is Based On A Bizarre “Night Terror” The Creator Had
Before creating It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia , Rob McElhenney was likely best known as “teenager on property” in John Travolta’s A Civil Action . In 2004, he was living in a garage while trying to get by as one of the five billion unknown performers/ waiters who populate Hollywood. It was in this garage that he had a strange “night terror” about a human going to borrow some sugar from his friend, only to be told that his friend had cancer, putting the sugar-borrower in an uncomfortable situation. McElhenney described the experience as a “late-night sweating station” — a thoroughly inexplicable phrase that someone means “a great premise for a slapstick sketch.”
McElhenney scrounged together $200 and a couple of friends( his future Always Sunny co-stars Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton) and filmed the uncomfortable scene from his dreaming. Here it is( you can clearly see where every cent of that tremendous budget ran ):
Charlie Day’s eyeliner, yes .
The group took that and other homemade scenes and pitched them to FX, which immediately gave them a series. The network’s merely stipulations were for McElhenney to change the setting from Los Angeles and to add a character with boobs.
We are, of course, referring to Danny DeVito .
Ten seasons of putting horrible people in awkward situations later, McElhenney is directing the Minecraft movie and has another big-budget film in production with Legendary Painting. Presumably, he’s saved up enough to move out of that garage by now.
# 5. Larry Page Came Up With Google’s Main Algorithm While Sleeping
Searching for something on the Internet in the pre-Google days was like looking for a needle in an overflowing toilet — you could probably find it, but not before wading through piles of shit and catching a dozen viruses. Websites were ranked based on how many times they mentioned the term you were go looking for, which is why our site still says “Neve Campbell Denise Richards Wild Things” 87 hours in invisible text below this article.
All of that changed because of one guy and a weird dream he had about downloading the whole Internet.
It likely looked like this .
That guy was Larry Page, the future co-founder of Google. In 1996, the 23 -year-old Page had no intent of creating a search engine. He was a computer science student at Stanford University looking for a theme for his PhD dissertation. To give you an idea of the sort of topics he was considering, one of them “involved constructing a superlong rope that would run from the Earth’s surface all the way into orbit, inducing it cheaper to put objects in space.”
“And, like, what if birds had arms? Think about it. Whoa.”
Page eventually received a topic for his dissertation … in a dream. He literally woke up one night thinking he “could download the entire Web.” While most of us would have said “No, that’s stupid” and rolled over in bed, Page get up and started doing the math to figure out how to pull this off. The answer was: He couldn’t, patently. Even back in 1996, there was already more porn online than could ever be downloaded, let alone all of the rest of the stupid bullshit we clutter up the Internet with.
What Page could do was save all the links on the Web, and then use them to determine the relevance of any website by calculating how many others linked to it. Page and his friend Sergey Brin realized that the best use for this technology was to create a search engine, and so they soon unveiled a revolutionary new site: BackRub .
“Googling” was dangerously close to being called “rubbing one out.”
One fortunate name change subsequently, Google was born, and Page was on his route to becoming a billionaire.
# 4. Srinivasa Ramanujan Got His Groundbreaking Formulas From Frightening Nightmares
Srinivasa Ramanujan’s name is currently at the cutting edge of maths, which is pretty impressive when you consider that he’s been dead for 95 years. Despite having died in 1920 at the age of 32, the formulas he left behind have helped computers calculate Pi at trillions of digits and allowed physicists to understand black holes. But he didn’t come up with those formulae all on his own. He had help from his special dame, the Indian goddess Namagiri( also known as Lakshmi ).
That extra pair of hands allows you to do all sorts of math .
We’ve talked before about the Good Will Hunting -esque tale of a young Ramanujan arising as a result of the woods to kick the collective brainpower of the world’s finest mathematicians in the balls. However, we left out the weirdest proportion: All his crazy math slam dunks came to him — fully formed — in his dreams. All “hes to” do upon waking up was jot them down and check them. So , not unlike Stephanie Meyer, his career was founded on equal components cold calculation and maintaining a dreaming journal.
Now, “youre supposed to” associate “dreaming about math” with being naked in the classroom before the big test, but Ramanujan’s night vision were even more frightening than that. For example, he would be standing in front of a red screen made of flowing blood, which a disembodied hand would then write outcomes on. “They stuck to my mind, ” Ramanujan says, which is perhaps one of the gentlest understatements we have ever read.
“The darknes death specters’ thoughts on Pythagoras were quite convincing.”
Ramanujan credited these dreams to the goddess Namagiri. Regrettably, the deity was kind of lazy and didn’t provide him with mathematical proofs, merely the finished formulas. As a outcome, the finest mathematical intellects in the world have expended the past century confirming and trying to make sense of Ramanujan’s incredible formulas, and they’re still at it today. Meanwhile, Will Hunting is driving across the country in a Chevy Nova.
# 3. Frederick Banting Dreamed Up The Treatment For Diabetes
Back in 1920, the main therapy for diabetes was a starvation diet and positive reasoning, which was every bit as effective as it voices. Most children with the disease died within a year. One night, Frederick Banting, a young lecturer at the University of Western Ontario, read an article about diabetes before going to bed. Because that’s apparently what passes for light reading when you’re a bright-eyed professorial nominee in the thunder ‘2 0s.
“The Saturday Evening Post can get a little too intense.”
But then, while half asleep at 2 a.m ., Banting was abruptly kissed by the science muses. He scribbled down 25 terms outlining a crazy dream scheme of surgically tying up a dog’s pancreas to let it degenerate 😛 TAGEND The last bit trails off into a scene of him eating spaghetti on a hot air balloon with his college roommate .
If he let a dog’s pancreas degenerate, Banting reasoned that he could 1) give the animal diabetes, and 2) isolate a mysterious secretion given out by a specific part of the organ.
Surprisingly, it took over six months before he convinced somebody to lend him both a laboratory and a dog. But once he did, his scheme went like clockwork. By taking out the shriveled remains of the diabetic dog’s pancreas, grinding them up, and injecting them right back into the dog’s blood, he managed to keep the dog alive. He’d only discovered insulin, the stuff diabetics need to keep their glucose at non-lethal levels, since their pancreas no longer makes it. Banting subsequently tried his “insulin injection” cure on a 14-year-old boy, who promptly recovered from a terminal instance of form 1 diabetes.
“What do you entail I can’t cut him open? What’s the phase, then? ”
# 2. Otto Loewi Wins A Nobel Prize For An Experimentation He Devised In A Dream
Ever written something down late at night, thinking it was the most brilliant thing ever, but then tried to read it in the morning and found that it looked like a heap of scrawled dick shapes? The same thing happened to German pharmacologist Dr. Otto Loewi in 1920 … and if his tale is any indication, you could have won a Nobel Prize if only you’d tried a little harder to decipher the meaning of all those penises.
“The loop in the left scrotum is definitely trying to tell me something.”
Up until the early 20 th century, the medical consensus regarding nerves was that they worked through “electricity or something, whatever, who dedicates a shit.” [ citation required ] Loewi believed for many years that nerve cells in fact communicate by a chemical process. But he had no way of proving this, and it turns out that’s super important in science.
One night in 1920, Loewi woke up overwhelmed with joy because he had dreamt of an experiment that would finally prove his theory. Sleepily, he jotted down some hazy notes and went back to bed. To his horror, when he woke up the next day, he couldn’t read his sloppy handwriting. Thankfully, Loewi must have watched the same episode of Frasier two nights in a row, because he had the exact same dream the following night. Not to rage the gods of science any more, Loewi immediately got up and went to straight-out to his lab.
He did take the time to change from his nighttime bow tie into his laboratory bow tie-in .
The experiment consisted of making a frog’s heart beat slower or faster by applying liquids from another heart that was already beating at the desired velocity — which proved that nerves tell muscles what to do via a distribution of chemicals , not by zapping them with tiny electrical impulses. Loewi named this substance “vagusstoff, ” but it was later renamed to something that didn’t sound like a personal hygiene product.
Loewi’s almost-forgotten dream discovery netted him the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1936, and he was also named the “father of neuroscience” by whoever hands out those titles.
# 1. H.P. Lovecraft’s Writing Came From His Childhood Nightmares
H.P. Lovecraft devised a new genre of literature( cosmic horror) by taking the boundless unknowable horizon of space and adding a shitload of tentacles. If you’re at all familiar with his work, it probably won’t surprise you to hear that much of what he wrote came to him in the form of vivid, pants-shitting nightmares. However, what may surprise you is the fact that he began having these nightmares when he was a little … um, child .
“Yep. I’m definitely going to grow up and hate immigrants . ” — H.P. Lovecraft It all started when Lovecraft’s grandmother succumbed. He was five years old, and not particularly close to the dame herself, but the fact that his mother and sister started wearing black every day frightened the crap out of him . The constant terror seeped into his sleep, and he started dreaming of “night-gaunts” — scaring figures he described as “black, lean, rubbery things with bared, barbed tails, bat-wings, and no faces at all.” Their favorite hobby was to take the young child out of his bed and fling him across space, because sometimes you just have to fling children.
As the ogres played cosmic volleyball with him, young Lovecraft would glimpse “dead and horrible cities” below him. While other children painted flowers or their families or other stupid bullshit, H.P. would depict these nightmare space beasts — a habit he kept into adulthood, when he began writing narratives about them.
Cthulhu definitely looks like he’s unloading the dark secrets of an outer dimension,
but perhaps not in the way Lovecraft aimed .
So there you have it. Lovecraft generated a complex horror mythology as a frightened five-year-old, and definitely wasn’t toyed with by interdimensional beings. Nope, it was totally a series of creepy interconnected dreamings, and definitely not a suit of a young mind being an antennae into the interspatial universe of demon gods.
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Most types of fraud seem like they would be easy to spot. If a human asks you for fund, and he is followed by a similar-looking man in a plastic mustache asking you for even more money, there’s a good chance that they might have been the same guy all along . But despite our apparently impenetrable knowledge of how to catch cheats( and how to recognize artificial facial hair ), scams often run undetected. And sometimes they run undetected for a ludicrously long amount of hour. You know, like how …
A Family Lived With A Mummy For 30 Years For Petty Pension Fraud
Sogen Kato was the oldest man in Tokyo. This was no entail feat in a city of 13 million people, so some officials thought they’d fell him a visit — you know, the usual flowers and awkward congratulations for having outlived most other people on the planet. However, Kato’s octogenarian daughter was having none of it, saying that Sogen was in a vegetative country and in no condition to see guests. Technically, only one of those things was a lie.
The officials were rebuffed whenever they contacted the Kato family for an audience, and the excuses grew stranger each time. Before long, they said that Sogen had actually joined an obscure sect of Buddhist monks to turn himself into a living Buddha. Since that seems like the kind of grandpa badassitude you’d commonly lead with instead of a hackneyed “vegetative state” excuse, the officials grew suspicious. In 2010, when Sogen supposedly turned 111 and the daughter is again declined an audience, they ultimately had their fill. So the police turned up at the Kato residence and detected the family merrily living under the same roof. Well, the remaining household. Sogen was nowhere to be seen … that is, until the officials noticed a locked doorway. Behind that door was a small room. In that room was a bed. In the bed was the smaller, mummified corpse of a man who had died in 1978. “Yo, Sogen! Also, everyone else, what the fucking ? “
Yep, Sogen had died in the 1970 s at the ripe age of 79, but his relatives didn’t feel like telling anyone so they could maintain collecting his pension checks. Since he had had the good sense to drop dead in his own bed in a closed room, they’d done the logical thing and merely … left him there in his pajamas. For three freaking decades , Sogen’s daughter’s household lived in a house with the goddamned mummy of their patriarch, running about their lives and pretending that nothing was even remotely awry and that there entirely wasn’t an old dude turning to dust in their guest bedroom. If that wasn’t enough for Sogen to haunt their ass from this life to the dozen next ones, the fact that they did this for the total financial compensation of a relatively measly $106,000 definitely should be.
But the craziest thing is that there’s no telling how many Japanese families are currently Weekend At Bernie’s -ing with a grandparent’s mummy. Since the country traditionally venerates its elderly, Japan pooped a massive terror brick when Kato’s story hit the news. The government immediately started looking into its database of suspiciously elderly citizens who no one remembered seeing around in a while, and managed to uncover a whopping 230,000 “missing” old folks, at least one of them reaching 186 years old.( Which he obviously isn’t, unless he’s a Highlander. And if that’s the instance, well, let’s just say that there are bigger fish to fry than just making sure that someone isn’t collecting his pension .)
Moral of the tale: Merely when you think Japan can’t get any crazier, the fuckers whip out hundreds upon thousands of households with spare beds that may or may not come with a complimentary ancestor mummy.
A Man Cheated The Chinese Government With A Nonexistent Fuel Pill For A Decade
“A humble bus driver fabricated a route to turn water into fuel” sounds like the the start of an investment pitching that ends with a disconnected number and an explanation to your children that they don’t genuinely need a pesky college money anyway. For Wang Hongcheng, though, it was the beginning of a thoroughly undeserved life of fortune and luxury.
Sometime in 1983 or ‘8 4, Hongcheng, an amateur chemist with no scientific background, introduced a pill which he claimed could turn water into a form of gasoline similar to petrol. This was patently a huge bargain, and China certainly treated it as such. Before long, Hongcheng was drowning in funds from various government agencies and “other sources” — which, this being 1980 s China, were presumably simply other, shadier government agencies. Hongcheng funneled these funds into his brand-new “Hongcheng Magic Company, ” gaining many advocates wanting to hop on the sweet, sweet water-to-fuel develop. All of this generated him a fortune in the $37 million range. That’s a lot of fund for a product that you only told people about .
And that was the hitch: Hongcheng had no product. At all. His whole sales pitch was promising an impossible thing that he had precisely zero ways to invent. And he was scamming the freaking Chinese government . In normal situations, that’s an equation that doesn’t bode well for your physical health, but Hongcheng had lucked out. His tall tale had struck a superstitious nerve, so he had garnered a number of rabid supporters whose belief in his product far surpassed the fact that he had yet to present any physical proof which proved that the non-thing he was shilling was real.
Unfortunately for Wang( man, that’s a great name ), even bullshit can’t survive the passage of hour. As the 1990 s rolled in, the governmental forces started growing wary of the increasing influence of pseudoscience and superstition. Real scientists started turning their attention to Hongcheng( or more likely, were finally free to do so ), and one belittle 1994 article in the country’s influential Science And Technology Daily magazine subsequently, his fake fuel empire was good for prosecution. I tried to find out what happened to Hongcheng after he was inevitably imprisoned, but I think we can all agree that even if the details were there, we’ll probably be better off without them. Still, he accomplished a dream that is truly universal: getting treated like a king for achievements that you just fucking made up.
A Man Fools The Art World For Years With Obviously Fake Bullshit
As a human who once claimed that the return of Twin Peaks couldn’t perhaps be a good thing, I know that criticizing art is a great route to shoot yourself in the foot, the face, and the groin somewhere down the line. However, sometimes merely blindly appreciating art to the purposes of it can be even more dangerous. This was aptly demonstrated in 1924, when Paul Jordan-Smith, an L-Abased novelist, decided to steamroll the entire art world by fabricating tons of absurd bullshit and ensure what happened.
Already disillusioned with modern art, Jordan-Smith developed a full-on rancour when his wife’s still life paints were dismissed as “old school.” One day, as a private gag, he picked up a brush for the first time in his life and expended a few minutes pooping out a goofy paint of a lopsided native girl waving a banana. He dubbed his masterpiece Yes we have no bananas , kept it around the house to terrorize the rest of the family and use as a flame screen, and promptly forgot all about it … until one day, a guest started raving about the painting and comparing it to the work of famed impressionist Paul Gauguin. This gave Smith an idea. After he inhibited a mighty chuckle, he took his stupid paint and entered it into New York’s Exhibition of the Independents at the Waldorf-Astoria. This paint, which looks like the work of a drunken racist in the first grade 😛 TAGEND
Museum of Hoaxes
To ensure just how far he could take his semi-accidental prank, Jordan-Smith devoted his fucking shit an appropriately pompous title, Exaltation , and presented it as the work of an obscure Russian artist named Pavel Jerdanowitch, the inventor and only representative of a school of painting known as “Disumbrationism.” And he made sure that he wouldn’t accidentally scam anyone by dedicating the painting such an absurdly high prize tag that no one in their right mind would buy it. To his amaze and delight, the art circles swallowed the unlikely tale whole. “Jerdanowitch” was worshipped as a master of his craft, and galleries asked for more paints to exhibit. “You’ve got to be kidding me, ” Jordan-Smith no doubt thought, but he crapped out another, even worse painting in any case. Again, it was praised to high heavens, reproduced by worshipped art publications, and followed by requests for more paints. At this point, Jordan-Smith operated out of fucks to give, and simply started submitting straight-up boners.
“I call it ‘Choke On A Dick, Art World.'”
Of course, at this point Smith had get so ridiculous that he was immediately caugh- Hahahahaha! I can’t even finish that sentence. Of course no one suspected a thing. In fact, we’d likely still be gawking at vintage Jerdanowitch dongs if Jordan-Smith hadn’t grown bored of his charade in 1927 and uncovered his accidental snowball of a hoax … on the front page of The LA fucking Times . Some say that the art world is still scrubbing the egg off of its face.
A Gang Sells A Nonexistent Car( 7,000 Times )
In 1997, a 23 -year-old security guard called Roberto Gomez turned up at a Baptist church in Compton, took to the pulpit during proclamations, and told the congregation that his rich, deeply religious relative had regrettably passed away. Aww, that blows, let’s pray, amen, etc. HOWEVER , said relative had left him an estate with a number of very serviceable low-mileage autoes, and said in their last will that Gomez needed to “gift” those cars to fellow devout Christians. All he required was a modest $1,000 advance per vehicle to cover the title transfer and taxes, and you too could be the fine proprietor of an vehicle that a complete stranger had vaguely described to you. Any takers ?
Yeah, it was a swindle. The soon-to-be-famous Miracle Car Scam, to be precise. It was such an obvious con that the most surprising thing about it was that the ghost of Eazy-E didn’t immediately turn up to kick Gomez in the dick for inadequately inspired hustling. But something about the story resonated with the churchgoers. A man of faith wants to posthumously distribute his wealth? Shit , not taking up the offer would basically be flipping the bird at a gift from God. So a few people bit. And a few more. And a few more still. Gomez and his gang took their con to other congregations. Eventually, clergymen, auto dealers, and other people who seemed to know their religion and/ or automobiles took the bait, which added credibility to the operation. Things started expanding at a Big Bang pace, and the gang’s fleet of fictional automobiles grew and grew … to a total of 7, 000, which they “gifted” to over 4,000 people over four years, to the tune of $21 million.
It’s not that their scheme was great. It was a fairly basic advance fee trick. The main reasons it worked were that they blatantly lied that the cars’ details were in court-mandated lockdown( which prevented anyone from attaining checkups and removed the need to fabricate documents ), and plain old brass balls( they regularly interacted with disgruntled “customers, ” providing a form of customer support and even refunding when necessary ). There were approximately 4,000 ways the scheme could’ve run awry at any time — a suspicious policeman, or a buyer who noticed that the gang’s listing of cars included scarcely any details beyond “car of model X, inexpensive, ” for instance. In fact, the ultimate reason the gang was busted was a delightfully random Fargo thing in which a small-town police chief in Missouri( yeah, this scam went all over the country) got suspicious of the huge number of weird auto deals in her town and started excavating. Yet somehow, thousands of people fell into the trap, seduced in by promises of virtually free mid-range vehicles, and they were prepared to wait for years on end, apparently.
What actually stimulates this one for me is the way the four-member gang just pigheadedly pushed forward, even to a phase where they were clearly route over their heads. Juggling a flipping 1,000 clients per dude, all growing increasingly dissatisfied as years go by, with no guarantee that absolutely everything doesn’t run belly-up at a moment’s notice? Fuck you, let’s actively seek for more . That’s the kind of stance the world nee-
Oh, right, these were felons. Nevermind. Moving on.
Two Men Spend Years Developing An Obviously Fake Machine For An Oil Company
In hindsight, the Great Oil Sniffer Hoax absolutely, positively shouldn’t have worked, especially not to the tune of 50-200 million dollars ( depending on who you ask) in pure earning. Yet somehow, two dodgy dudes managed to convince the French Elf-Aquitanie oil company that they had developed an impossible device, and then waltz all the way to the bank with zero scientific credentials and even less believable proof that said device worked, or for that are important even existed.
In 1965, Belgian Count Alain de Villegas and his Italian cohort Aldo Bonassoli started developing desalination technologies in Switzerland. Their tech soon proved to be a complete dud, which may or may not have had something to do with the fact that neither of them even remotely resembled a scientist: Bonassoli was a former TV repairman, and the counting, curiously, was an actual counting. They both shared a considerable exuberance for things like alchemy and UFOs, but being super into extraterrestrials doesn’t necessarily translate into any usable knowledge of, well, anything. Not ones to be deterred by mere failure and inexpertise, the two soon started developing a device that could “detect new freshwater reservoir from the sky” … at which point it was only a matter of time before they asked themselves “Hey, wouldn’t that technically apply to all kinds of liquid reservoirs? ” And so my second-favorite buddy policeman movie ever, Bonassoli And The Count , leapt into Act II.
In 1976, the men started marketing their brand-new invention, a revolutionary plane-mounted “sniffer” device that could detect — all together now — oil fields by simply flying above them. Delighted at the prospect of removing all the There Will Be Blood bullshit from their operations, Elf-Aquitanie jumped at the chance to grab the technology. They were so happy about it, in fact, that they eat an immeasurable sum of shit in their scramble to get a functional sniffer. Throughout the research, Bonassoli( who acted as the chief “scientist” while de Villegas took a more passive role) adamantly forbade the involvement of any actual scientists at any point of the process. Yet despite his privacy and constant failures to create anything approaching a finished product, Elf-Aquitanie bombarded him with lucrative multi-million-dollar contracts. You know, as you do .
This may have started out because the technology was patently a top-secret gamechanger that the company couldn’t danger it falling to other hands, but come on . A year or so of a former Tv repairman funneling away your money might be acceptable. Elf-Aquitanie took until freaking 1979 to smell the coffee. At that point, they eventually brought in top nuclear scientist Jules Horowitz, who took roughly 0.2 seconds to debunk the whole device. When Bonassoli told him his machine could see a metal ruler from behind a wall, Horowitz took the ruler and carried ass around the corner. Bonassoli’s device printed out a perfectly clear outline of the straight ruler … whereupon Horowitz emerged holding the real ruler, which he had secretly bent into an L shape. At that point, I presume Bonassoli shrieked at him, transformed into a at-bat, and flew away, swearing vengeance.
By the time the tale exited the vaults of governmental privacy and went public in 1983, it became a national scandal, especially when it turned out that the people who had gotten duped by Bonassoli and the counting included former President Valery Giscard d’Estaing and former Prime Minister Raymond Barre. By then the count had already quietly disappeared into whatever paradise island counts go to after they’ve earned countless dirty millions. As for Bonassoli, the worst he got was a few accusations and dirty looks. He merrily waltzed back to his native Italy, where he … stayed totally in the open, maintaining that he never made any money out of the ordeal( sure, guy) and even trying to peddle the exact same fucking device to the Italian government . And that’s a lesson for all of us: When one door shuts, beat on the closed door of a neighbor until they tell you to fuck off too.
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