Hoaxes & Pranks

rynner2

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Finds that made Basques proud are fake, say experts
Giles Tremlett in Madrid
guardian.co.uk, Monday November 24 2008

It was hailed as an archeological discovery of global importance showing, among other things, the oldest representation of Christ on the cross and proof that ancient Egyptian influences had survived deep in Roman Spain.

For traditional Basques the pictures, symbols and words found scraped onto pieces of third century pottery dug up near the town of Nanclares, in northern Spain, included miraculous evidence that their unique language of Euskara was far older than ever thought. Eighteen months ago the dig's director, Eliseo Gil, claimed that some finds at the Roman town known as Veleia were on par with those at Pompeii or Rome itself. Basque nationalists bristled with pride. This archeological jewel gave them a far greater claim to a distinctive, millennial and Christian culture than they had dreamed possible.

Now a committee of experts has revealed those jewels to be fakes. "They are either a joke or a fraud," said Martín Almagro, a professor in prehistory from Madrid. "How has something like this been taken seriously for so long?" The hunt is on for an archeological fraudster who defaced fragments of third century pottery with fake graffiti.

The fraudster seems either to have buried the pieces or planted them in a laboratory where experts sifted through finds. The fakes left the first people to see them swooning.

The Calvary scene was hailed as both the nearest thing mankind had to a contemporary pictorial account of the crucifixion, and proof that Basques had been relatively early Christians.

The words in Euskera, if genuine, would have predated by 700 years the previous earliest known written form of the language. The hieroglyphics caused speculation about the existence of third century Egyptologists who might have created the inscriptions to teach children.

Now experts who have studied the pieces in depth say the fakes, some of which used modern glue, should have rung warning bells immediately. References were found to non-existent gods, 19th-century names and even to the 17th-century philosopher Descartes.

Words in Euskara used impossible spellings. The hieroglyphs included references to Queen Nefertiti which would have been almost impossible to make prior to the 19th century.

The Calvary scene, meanwhile, included the inscription "RIP". "It is a formula that can only be applied to people who are dead," Almagro told El Correo newspaper. "To say that Jesus Christ is dead would be a heresy. I haven't seen anything quite so funny in the whole history of Christianity."

Local authorities and sponsors from Basque public companies have poured hundreds of thousands of euros into excavations. Last week they closed the dig temporarily. Eliseo Gil did not return calls from the Guardian but sources said those in charge were not yet fully convinced that their finds were fake.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/ ... eliseo-gil
 

rynner2

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Three fire engines called to remove Santa hat from Cambridge college roof
When a Santa hat was placed on a spire at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, the joke was lost on authorities who had it removed because it was a risk to health and safety. :roll:

By Alastair Jamieson
Last Updated: 7:05PM GMT 30 Nov 2008

A team of 10 firefighters using two fire engines and a support vehicle with a hydraulic platform spent an hour lowering the seasonal headgear, which had been fastened to a 60ft spire about the college entrance known for centuries as the Gate of Humility.

The culprit remains a mystery, but it is thought to be a student playing a practical joke following an end-of-term night out.

The college response was in stark contrast to a previous prank hailed as one of the greatest of all time. In 1958, students at Gonville and Caius winched an Austin Seven onto the roof of the nearby Senate House and residents of Cambridge awoke to see it perched at the apex of an inaccessible rooftop, looking as if it were driving across the skyline.

The then Dean of Caius, the late Rev Hugh Montefiore, guessed who was responsible and sent them a congratulatory case of champagne despite publicly maintaining that he knew nothing of the culprits.

The architects of the 1958 prank were unmasked earlier this year at a 50th anniversary dinner at Gonville and Caius. Ringleader Peter Davey, now 72, recruited 11 others to help realise his plan. He went on to set up engineering companies and was later awarded a CBE and an honorary doctorate.

It is not known how anyone managed to scale the spire in the latest incident, which is thought to be impossible to climb, to attach the hat. An identical hat was found stuck to the cupola roof of nearby Clare College.

"In my experience the spire of the Gate of Humility can not be climbed, although if there's a similar hat at Clare's it suggests someone has scaled the buildings," said one student.

"A possibility is that someone has accessed the spire from inside the college."

Witnesses said the operation to remove the hat involved closing part of the nearby road, leading to traffic tailbacks.

A spokesman for the University of Cambridge said it was aware that three fire brigade vehicles were involved in the operation to remove the hat but declined to comment. No-one at Gonville and Caius College was available for comment.

A spokeswoman for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue said the firefighters were paying a routine familiarisation visit to the college when they were asked to remove the hat and that the episode had provided a useful training exercise.

At Oxford University, growing complaints from police and residents about rowdy post-examination celebrations every June have forced the university to devise a special code of conduct.

On-the-spot fines of up to £70 will be levied for offences such as "fluid-spraying or egg-hurling", while more serious crimes, such as daubing university buildings with satirical graffiti, will be punished with £500 penalties or arrest.

Gonville and Caius was founded in 1348 and now has nearly 100 fellows and more than 700 students. Famous alumni include Alastair Campbell, Jimmy Carr and Ken Clarke, while Professor Stephen Hawking is a current fellow of the College.

The Gate of Humility is one of three entrances symbolising the path of academic life, created at the behest of former master, 16th century physician Dr John Caius. Students enter the Gate of Humility when they matriculate, then pass through the Gate of Virtue and finally go through the Gate of Honour on graduation.

The original Gate of Humility was moved in the 19th century but the entrance is still known by its original name. Legend has it that the entrance to a nearby corridor leading to some toilets was named the Gate of Necessity :D

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... -roof.html
 

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Update and conclusion on this one:

Mother guilty over Shannon kidnap

Karen Matthews, the mother of nine-year-old Shannon, has been convicted of kidnapping her own daughter.

Matthews, 33, and her co-accused Michael Donovan, 40, were found guilty of kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice.

The pair have been warned they face "substantial" jail terms when they are sentenced at a later date.

Shannon was held at Donovan's flat in Batley Carr, West Yorkshire, for 24 days.

The trial at Leeds Crown Court heard the pair kept Shannon "drugged, subdued and hidden from the public" so they could claim £50,000 in reward money.

The judge Mr Justice McCombe said earlier that he would adjourn sentencing for reports to be prepared. No application was made for bail and the two defendants were led away.

Det Supt Andy Brennan, who led the investigation, described Matthews as "pure evil".

"It is difficult to understand what type of woman would subject her own daughter to such a wicked and evil crime," he said.

During the three-week trial, the court heard that Shannon, now 10, went missing on 19 February as she walked home from school.

After a huge search operation by West Yorkshire Police costing almost £3.2m, she was found by police in Donovan's flat, less than a mile from her home, on 14 March.

The search was one of the largest ever conducted by the West Yorkshire force.

The prosecution told the jury that Donovan kept Shannon drugged and imprisoned in his flat as part of a plan he and Matthews hatched to claim £50,000 in reward money.

Matthews denied the abduction and blamed the crime on her former partner, Craig Meehan, and other members of his family.

She said she was "disgusted" by allegations that she was involved in her daughter's kidnap.

Donovan, who is the uncle of Mr Meehan, claims he was scared of Matthews and agreed to take Shannon only because he feared for his life.

Neither of the defendants showed any emotion as the jury foreman returned the verdict.

Matthews stood staring straight forward in the stone-coloured jacket she has worn throughout the proceedings and with her red hair hanging untied over her shoulders.

Donovan, who had been described in court as "a dimwit" stood a few feet away from her, separated by a court security officer.

The court remained silent following the verdict after the judge warned the public gallery against over-emotional responses.

The seven men and five women on the jury took about six hours to find the pair unanimously guilty of all charges...
Full story:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west ... 763260.stm

Someone who definitely won't be getting the "Mother of the Year Award 2008". I wonder who pays for the child's years of therapy?
 

WhistlingJack

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Essex copper deluged after forwarding web hoax email

Essex copper deluged after forwarding web hoax email

Red faces for boys in blue


By John Oates

Posted in Policing, 28th November 2008 11:07 GMT

An Essex police officer who inadvertently forwarded an aged internet hoax is now dealing with hundreds of calls and emails from concerned women - the hoax looks more genuine now that it comes from a proper police address.

Detective Constable Simon Lofting sent the mail on to senior officers to check if it was genuine but it got forwarded on.

The story warned women not to accept business cards from strangers because they could be coated with "Burundanga" - which is "four times greater than date rape drug". The hoax mail first circulated in May this year, according to Snopes - one of several debunking sites which warn the story is false.

Lofting told the Telegraph: "It's a complete hoax. There's nothing we can do about it but it's causing me a lot of problems.

"I'm getting hundreds of calls and about 50 emails a day, it's gone worldwide."

Lofting shouldn't feel too bad - the urban myth has fooled other officers too.

At the beginning of this month Niagara Regional Police forwarded on a version of the message, and also had to deal with dozens of calls. That version involved a woman at a gas station accepting a card from a man offering his services as a painter. When she got back in her car she felt dizzy and breathless but managed to raise the alarm and scare the men off before they attacked her.

Burundanga does exist - its an extract from the Datura plant and has been used by thieves in Columbia. But it must be ingested to take effect - touching it is not enough. ®

© Copyright 1998–2008
 

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7802608.stm

Holocaust 'love story' was fake

A US publisher has cancelled publication of a Holocaust memoir after its author revealed that he had made up crucial parts of it.

Herman Rosenblat did survive a German concentration camp, but he did not fall in love with a girl who threw him food over the fence, as stated in the book.

Instead, he met her on a blind date in New York and married her 50 years ago.

His book, Angel at the Fence, came under public scrutiny after a number of scholars questioned important details.

The fabricated story says that when Rosenblat moved to New York after the war he met Roma Radzicki by chance and discovered she was the girl who had thrown apples and bread to him.

They fell in love and married.

But some questioned Rosenblat's descriptions of Schlieben - a sub-camp of Buchenwald - and said it was impossible to throw food over the fence there.

'I wanted to bring happiness'

The book was due to be published by Berkley Books, part of the Penguin Group, in February.

Advance publicity had included a couple of appearances by Rosenblat on the chat show hosted by Oprah Winfrey.

In a statement, Rosenblat, 79, said: "I wanted to bring happiness to people.

"I brought hope to a lot of people. My motivation was to make good in this world."

His agent Andrea Hurst told the Associated Press: "I question why I never questioned it. I believed it; it was an incredible, hope-filled story."

A statement from Berkley said Rosenblat and his agent would be required to return "all money that they have received for this work", Reuters news agency reported.

Historical records prove that Rosenblat was an inmate at Buchenwald and other camps.

But Rosenblat's agent said the love story involving meeting his future wife through the fence when he was a teenage prisoner at Schlieben was invented...
Yet another book hoax! This looks bad for the memoir business...
 

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Images and comments at link.

Czech sculptor David Cerny admits £350,000 EU art hoax
http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/ ... 512107.ece

Romania was depicted as a Dracula theme park
Image :1 of 6

David Charter in Brussels
| Slideshow: the controversial sculptures |

It seemed like such a good idea at the time: what better way to celebrate the Czech Republic’s presidency of the European Union than a giant art installation, with input from every member state, showing what we really feel about our place in Europe?

True, some of the 27 entries were a little unusual. The eight-tonne work, entitled Entropa, depicted Romania as a Dracula theme park and the Netherlands as completely covered by water, with only the tops of minarets sticking out. The French component had the word “Strike!” emblazoned on it. And was that a hint of a swastika in the German entry, a bird’s-eye view of a series of autobahns?

It was several days, however, before anyone complained and the EU began to smell a rat. Only when Bulgaria – depicted as a Turkish lavatory – objected did the Czechs start to question the organiser of the project, the artist David Cerny. Yesterday Mr Cerny admitted that the whole thing had been a hoax, and that he had created all the sculptures himself and invented the names of the “up-and-coming” artists from the 27 member states.

There was also the question of what became of £350,000 in funding meant for the artists.

Entropa was commissioned by the Czech Government to mark its historic first turn in charge of the EU’s rotating presidency. Yesterday it tried to laugh off the growing controversy around the installation – unveiled on Monday in the atrium of the European Council building – but the incident has further undermined confidence in the Government’s abilities; coming, as it does, after a faltering start to the EU presidency since taking over from France on January 1.

Mr Cerny, 41, first gained notoriety in 1991 by painting a memorial to a Soviet tank in Prague pink, while his sculpture of a Saddam Hussein figure preserved in formaldehyde has been banned in two countries.

Alexandr Vondra, the Deputy Prime Minister, said last night: “David Cerny bears the full responsibility for not fulfilling his assignment and promise. In this situation we are now considering which steps to take.”

The discovery explains why journalists were unable to find British artist “Khalid Asadi” to ask him why he chose not to contribute a sculpture – an omission explained in Mr Cerny’s brochure as a statement that Britain did not want to be part of Europe.
 

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Czechs apologise for hoax EU art
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/e ... 830498.stm

The Czech EU presidency has apologised for an art installation it commissioned that lampoons national stereotypes.

Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra apologised directly to Bulgaria, which has formally complained over its depiction as a toilet in the art work.

He said the image, at the European Council building in Brussels, would be removed if Sofia insisted.

David Cerny, the Czech artist behind the work, admits misleading officials over his intentions with the project.


He said he had "wanted to find out if Europe is able to laugh at itself".

The Czech Republic thought it had commissioned work from 27 European artists for the Entropa display, which was installed at the weekend to mark the start of its six-month presidency.

But it turned out the work - an eight-tonne mosaic held together by snap-out plastic parts similar to those used in modelling kits - was entirely completed by Mr Cerny and two associates.

Swastika pattern

At the official unveiling of Entropa on Thursday, Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra apologised to anyone who was offended by the work.

"I apologise to Bulgaria and its government if it feels offended, and I think we are certainly ready to engage in a dialogue," he said, quoted by the AFP news agency.

Sofia summoned the Czech ambassador on Wednesday to complain.

"If you stand by your request to remove it," he told a Bulgarian diplomat at the ceremony, "of course we will certainly do that".

As well as portraying Bulgaria as a toilet, Entropa depicts Romania as a Dracula theme-park and France as a country on strike.

The Netherlands is shown as a series of minarets submerged by a flood - a possible reference to the nation's simmering religious tensions.

Germany is shown as a network of motorways vaguely resembling a swastika, while the UK - criticised by some for being one of the EU's most Eurosceptic members - is absent from Europe altogether.

Story from BBC NEWS:
 

rynner2

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Peer reveals 'cello scrotum' hoax

A top doctor has admitted her part in hoodwinking a leading medical journal after inventing a medical condition called "cello scrotum".

Elaine Murphy - now Baroness Murphy - dreamt up the painful complaint in the 1970s, sending a report to the British Medical Journal.

She came clean when the hoax resurfaced in the 2008 Christmas edition.

A BMJ spokesman said the inclusion and subsequent debunking of "cello scrotum" had "added to the gaiety of life".

The spoof was inspired by a similar report of a phenomenon called "guitar nipple", which happened when the edge of the guitar was pressed against the breast, causing irritation.

"We thought it highly likely to be a spoof, and decided to go one further by submitting a similar phenomenon in cellists, " wrote Murphy - and her husband, in the latest edition of the journal.

"Anyone who has ever watched a cello being played would realise the physical impossibility of our claim.

"Somewhat to our astonishment, the letter was published."

Baroness Murphy, formerly a professor at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital in London, did not sign the 1974 letter herself, fearing that she might get into trouble.

Her husband John, now chairman of a Suffolk brewery, signed it instead.

The couple said that they had been "dining out" on the hoax for years, but decided to confess after seeing "cello scrotum" referenced in an article last month in the journal.

A spokesman for the BMJ said that, 34 years on, no-one faced the sack for failing to spot the implausible condition.

He said: "We did, actually, get a letter from another doctor at the time pointing out how unlikely it was.

"We may have to organise a formal retraction or correction now. Once these things get into the scientific literature, they stay there for good. But it all adds to the gaiety of life."

His point was illustrated by a brief search of other medical journals - with "cello scrotum" referenced several times over the years, including by one scholar who debated whether it was in fact an awkward contact with the chair, rather than the instrument itself, that might be the source of irritation.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7853564.stm

I will resist the urge to repeat the joke about the conductor and the lady cellist.... ;)
 

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Computer screen 'tan' tricks thousands
http://news.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/hi/healt ... 874798.stm
By Dan Whitworth
Newsbeat technology reporter



Skcin organised the campaign to warn of the dangers of sunbathing
A website offering the chance to get a tan from computer screens has been revealed as a hoax.

The webpage said users could download software which would enable screens to convert the light system in monitors to produce UV rays.

The professional-looking site promised a "Tan-tastic" year-round appearance.

It was organised by the skin cancer charity Skcin to help raise awareness of the dangers of sun beds and skin cancer rates in general in the UK.

It's attracted almost 200,000 people keen to check out the offer of a free tan courtesy of their computer screens.

'Serious issue'

But people who signed up expecting to top up their tans were instead confronted with a number of alarming facts and figures about the dangers of skin cancer.

A spokesperson for the charity said: "This is an astonishing response and has undoubtedly helped raise awareness of the dangers of skin cancer in this country."

It is the most common form of cancer in young adults, and is largely preventable.
 

rynner2

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Married man drives 400 miles to meet Facebook woman... only to discover it's a hoax set up by rival football fans
By Amar Singh
Last updated at 5:22 PM on 16th February 2009

A married Manchester United supporter drove 400 miles for what he thought was going to be an affair with a woman he had chatted to on the internet - only to discover it was a hoax set up by two Liverpool fans he had met on holiday. :)

Stuart Slann, 39, from Sheffield, made the trip to a remote farm in Scotland to meet a women he had been flirting with online for weeks.

But when he arrived at the house 'Emma' was nowhere to be seen. Three hours later the pranksters called him and confessed it was all a trick.

They taped the conversation and put it onto video-sharing website YouTube and Facebook accompanied by an embarrassing photo.

Mr Slann's wife, Louise, 32, then discovered that he had intended to have an affair and ended their marriage. :(

Mr Slann said today: 'It was a cruel thing to do. I've been taken for a ride.'
He met the two unnamed Liverpudlians during a holiday in Cancun, Mexico, last November.

The three spent the time arguing about their teams who are bitter North-West rivals.

On one occasion, Mr Slann was thrown into a pool. When the Liverpool fans returned to the UK they came up with the plan to humiliate him by setting up a false Facebook account pretending to be a Scottish woman called Emma.

Mr Slann added: 'There's no doubt that I've been done good and proper by the lads from Liverpool. It was cruel but I'll hold my hands up and say they really wound me up.

'I'd been chatting to this girl on Facebook for about a month or so. I really thought she was genuine, and I had no reason to doubt it.

'On the night she asked me to Scotland I was on the road for about nine hours. And then when I got to this remote farm she sent me a text to say she was still in work.

'That's what made it worse, not only had I driven for nine hours, but I had to wait for about another three and a half hours for her to finish work. Then when I got the call to say it was all a hoax I just felt awful.

'If they had asked to drive to Manchester, Leeds or even Liverpool it wouldn't have been so bad and maybe I'd have seen the funny side. But to drag me all the way to Aberdeen was just cruel.'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... -fans.html
 

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NY arrest in Dead Sea Scrolls row
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7927484.stm

Academics have debated the scrolls' origins since they were found
The son of an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls has been arrested in New York, accused of trying to discredit one of his father's academic rivals.

Police say Raphael Haim Golb, 49, set up an e-mail account in the name of Lawrence Schiffman, an academic at New York University.

Posing as Mr Schiffman, Mr Golb then allegedly sent messages around the university admitting to plagiarism.

He faces a charge of identity theft - which carries a four-year jail term.

Mr Golb has not yet hired a lawyer, prosecutors say.

'Undermining inquiry'

The Dead Sea Scrolls consist of about 900 documents, including some of the earliest biblical texts, dating back about 2,000 years.

They were discovered near the Dead Sea in the 1940s and 1950s and have engendered heated debate ever since.

Mr Schiffman and other academics support the view that the scrolls were written by a group of ancient Jewish scholars called the Essenes.

Other academics, including the father of the accused, Norman Golb of the University of Chicago, believe the scrolls were compiled by a number of different Jewish sects.

As well as sending e-mails purporting to be from Mr Schiffman, Raphael Golb is also accused of using a series of aliases to harass academics and officials.

He also allegedly wrote blogs under assumed names accusing Mr Schiffman of plagiarism.

Mr Schiffman issued a statement after Mr Golb's arrest thanking the authorities for taking action.

"Reasoned intellectual discourse relies on integrity," the statement said.

"When an individual, in seeking to advance a particular view, engages in impersonation and falsehood, he or she undermines the precepts of higher inquiry."
 

rynner2

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Garlic smell closes court building
Garlic oil was spread on radiators at a Crown Court, forcing hearings to be abandoned after the smell spread throught the building.
Last Updated: 12:30PM BST 15 Apr 2009

Police are investigating areas along the first floor and corridor to the restaurant at Bristol Crown Court where oil is thought to have been dropped along radiators and in plant pots.

CCTV captured the suspect as he doused the areas with the liquid but it is unclear whether the man is a disgruntled defendant or a member of the public.

Jurors, judges, barristers and defendants were forced outside after they were gassed by the pungent smell which permeated the entire 10-courtroom building on Tuesday afternoon. :shock:

Officers will return tonight to take samples of the liquid for analysis.

Senior listing officer Nigel Northeast said: "It was harmless but it has been very disrupting.

"We have identified the individual from CCTV and police are investigating."

The smell even made some people gag as they rushed out into fresh air.

One woman, who did not want to be named, said: "It was utterly disgusting, I've never experienced anything like it.

"It made me gag and I can smell it on my clothes and hair."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... lding.html
 

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Saw this on the BBC News website earlier today
Saudi police say they are investigating a hoax that has seen people rushing to buy old-fashioned sewing machines for up to $50,000 (£33,500).

The Singer sewing machines are said to contain traces of red mercury, a substance that may not exist.

But it is widely thought that it can be used to find treasure, ward off evil spirits or even make nuclear bombs.

It is believed that tiny amounts can sell for millions of dollars, the Saudi Gazette reported.

The paper said that trade in the sewing machines was brisk across the country.

Rumours about the sewing machines have been spreading for days by word of mouth and over the internet, it said.

These included rumours that foreign experts and companies had been buying up Singers.

In Dhulum, it was reported that people had broken into two tailors' shops to steal the machines.

In the city of Madina, people were holding mobile phones up to the machines, due to the belief that they could be used to detect the presence of red mercury.

An interior ministry spokesman said authorities were trying to discover who had spread the rumours.

"We have to find out who started this hoax," he told Reuters news agency.

"People hope to make profit," he added. "This is no different to cases of citizens who put their money in untrustworthy schemes."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle ... 999168.stm
 

Ginando

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Pranks and practical jokes

I have never created a topic before, but the story of the mummified pigeon in another thread reminded me of a prank which one of my colleagues and I played. I seem to recall we did have a practical joke topic before, but I can't find it now.

For my sins, and for those not aware, I am a cop, and we do sometimes under very limited circumstances have a sense of humour. This doesn't run to weekends in the High Street and no it isn't funny to steal my hat ladies and shout 'woo hoo are you the stripper?' I also regret to tell those who don't already ignore my posts that I was a Traffic cop for several years. I was a nice guy, honest. Well my mother liked me.

The CID on the other hand at the time I was in traffic were a shower of arrogant tossers, all full of themselves and coining it in overtime. The DS in particular thought he was DI Burnside from The Bill. Anyway, my partner and I decided to take the DS down a peg or two. Therefore we set out one day, and in between harrassing, sorry educating the public, we got a dead cat and placed it in a bag. We then took said moggy back to base, and placed the decaying feline into one of the cavities in the wing of the DS's job car.

Being a warm summer, Felix soon started emitting a pretty vile stench. This went on for the best part of two weeks. He hung up Magic Tree air fresheners, but they didn't help because our nightshift used to replace them with old dead trees. Our jolly jape was only discovered when the DS came out to find maggots crawling around the engine bay. Didn't say much for his abilities when he couldn't find a corpse less than 3 feet away.
 

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Ewww!!!

Reminds me of an idiot boyfriend of my girlfriend's sister qite a few years ago.

He was an irritating plonker, so we got a bag of frozen prawns and put them in the speaker wells of his beloved peugot 205 gti.

He got the message a few days later & we never saw him again.

Job's a good un ;)
 

rynner2

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Our teacher's been abducted by aliens! Pupils terrified as UFO stunt backfires
By Paul Sims
Last updated at 10:08 AM on 17th July 2009

It was supposed to inspire pupils to write more creatively.
But the arrival of a UFO at Southway Junior School also inspired something rather different - terror.
Some of the seven to 11-year-olds were left in tears after a spaceship apparently crash-landed and a teacher was abducted by aliens.

To make it look realistic, the school obtained sirens and flashing lights from the police and littered the grounds with debris from the 'spaceship'.
Parents yesterday condemned the school for 'terrifying' their children and claimed that teachers had gone over the top in trying to 'fire their imagination'.

The 'Everyone Writes Day' - for all 370 pupils at the school in Burgess Hill, West Sussex - was designed to develop youngsters' writing skills.
It is based on an idea from the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the National Literacy Trust. The aim is to find ways to take writing beyond the classroom and to provide 'exciting stimuli' for storytelling.

At the start of the day, head Diana Goss informed pupils that an alien craft had crashed near the school and pupils were encouraged to 'follow a trail of debris' before stumbling across the UFO.
Sussex Police set up a crime scene around the crashed craft and supplied a police constable and a community support officer for two hours to help the children produce witness statements.
Pupils were told that Joy Law, the school's learning support teacher, who is responsible for special needs pupils, had been abducted.

The youngsters also examined the evidence around the crash site on the school's playing field.
At the end of the day-long event last Friday, Mrs Law joined the children at an assembly to reassure those who feared she truly had been abducted.

Linda Molds, whose son Harry, nine, is autistic, said: 'He was genuinely worried that Mrs Law had been abducted.
'Because she deals with the learning support kids, they're all very close to her - and I know many of them were terrified by the whole experience.
'Harry will take everything you say literally, so when he was told aliens had taken Mrs Law away and the police were investigating - and then he actually saw the police - he believed every word.'


Lisa Maynard, 34, whose nine-year-old daughter Ashleigh is also a pupil at the school, said: 'She was incredibly upset by the whole thing.
'She came home in tears, telling me Mrs Law had been abducted. She's very fond of Mrs Law, and the whole thing really shook her up. She couldn't sleep.

'It was just too realistic, too dramatic. All the police, the sirens, the cordon - it was just too much.'

Karen Simmonds said her son Ollie, nine, was very upset. 'He couldn't sleep for days,' she said. 'We live close by, so he spent all weekend thinking the aliens might come down and kidnap him, too.'

Last night, in a statement the school said: 'A few parents expressed concerns that some of the children had been upset by the apparent realism, and the head has spoken with them personally.
'The school would never knowingly do anything to upset or alarm children.
'The children were reassured throughout the morning that they were perfectly safe. They produced some excellent creative and factual writing.'
Sussex Police said: 'The police input was well-intentioned, and it was thought pupils would have a fun day.'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... fires.html
 

rynner2

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Mountaineer sparks full-scale emergency search after writing HELP in 12-ft high letters on snowy summit... for a joke
By James Tozer
Last updated at 6:41 PM on 16th July 2009
At the age of 47, mountaineer Paul Manchester is more than old enough to have known better.

But in a moment of folly, exhilarated after reaching the summit of one of Scotland's highest mountains, he decided to tramp out the word 'HELP' in the snow in 12ft-high letters.

After admiring his footwork, and no doubt chuckling at the intended private joke, Mr Manchester - who works as a vet - and the rest of his climbing party then made their descent.

However, as anyone with an ounce of common sense might have realised, the prank didn't seem particularly funny to those on the ground.

Before they had even finished their climb, they encountered members of the local mountain rescue team who were on their way to deal with the apparent emergency.

Meanwhile a Coastguard helicopter had been scrambled and was on its way from the Outer Hebrides to pick up the expected casualty.

The sheepish climber had to confess that it had just been a spur-of-the-moment piece of attempted humour, and the search - which cost around £5,500 - was called off.

But further embarrassment was in store after Mr Manchester was ordered before a court accused of 'culpable and reckless conduct'.

Today, after being fined £600, the shame-faced mountaineer spoke of his 'deep regret and embarrassment'.

etc...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... -joke.html

What a wanker!
:evil:
 

bosskR

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rynner2 said:
Mountaineer sparks full-scale emergency search after writing HELP in 12-ft high letters on snowy summit... for a joke
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

rynner2 said:
It was supposed to inspire pupils to write more creatively.
But the arrival of a UFO at Southway Junior School also inspired something rather different – terror. Some of the seven to 11-year-olds were left in tears after a spaceship apparently crash-landed and a teacher was abducted by aliens.
This, though, just isn’t funny! How the hell can this be a true story? I’m shocked
 

rynner2

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The perennial Mars hoax e-mail By Finlo Rohrer
BBC News Magazine

Every August e-mails circulate which suggest we are about to have a close encounter with Mars. The e-mails are a hoax, but they say something about our fascination with the Red Planet.

The e-mail seems to promise something truly remarkable.

It often starts: "The Red Planet is about to be spectacular."

It ends with the screaming caps: "NO ONE ALIVE TODAY WILL EVER SEE THIS AGAIN."

The message tells of Mars being close to the earth on 27 August, close enough to be as big as the moon with the naked eye.

Sadly, in three weeks' time, on 27 August, Mars will be a long way away. But between then and now, astronomers will be bombarded with questions by curious punters about this close encounter.

"The e-mails and rumours go out every year but it isn't true. It's something we get asked in the planetarium a lot," says Dr Claire Bretherton, astronomy learning officer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. "I get e-mails from my friends to me to check whether it's true."

Keith Cooper, editor of Astronomy Now magazine, is also well used to getting a sprinkling of Mars hoax e-mails every year.

"It seems to do the rounds all the time. Often there are people asking about it. It's variations on a theme, it isn't the same e-mail each year.

"I'm not sure how it started or who keeps propagating it. But it does seem to be prevalent."

The strange thing about the hoax e-mail is that most of it was true… in 2003. :roll:

Then, on 27 August, Mars came within 35 million miles (56 million km) of Earth. That compares very favourably with the next close encounter. At the end of January 2010 it will be 66 million miles (99 million km) away.

"It happens because the earth goes around the Sun in 365 days and Mars goes around in 685 days," says Prof Colin Pillinger, mastermind of the Beagle 2 component of the Mars Express mission. "The Earth's orbit is only very slightly elliptical. Mars is a very elliptical orbit."

Every 26 months there is a close encounter. And every 17 or so years there is a really close encounter.

But the e-mail does cause most recipients to get one thing completely wrong. Mars will not appear as big as a full moon to the naked eye.

If this scenario occurs, you are probably trapped in the plot of a bad Jerry Bruckheimer movie.

"It says it will be as big and as bright as the full moon, which is impossible," says Dr Bretherton. Tides would be dramatically affected. "It would basically have the same effect as the Moon does. It could cause chaos."

The original version of the e-mail makes things reasonably clear. "At a modest 75-power magnification Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye." So, with a fairly large amount of magnification Mars looked as big as the moon did with none.

Sadly, as has been noticed on urban legend sites like Snopes, that have dissected the e-mail, many readers have read the sentence as: "Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye."

So subsequent e-mails have not only omitted the date, but also have come with the misleading catchline: "Two Moons".

etc...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8184351.stm
 

JamesWhitehead

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A reference in FT 192, p.18 in an article about literary hoaxes led me to Ern Malley

It is claimed this was a 1940s hoax on an Australian poetry journal and there are plenty of web articles which repeat this. There are plenty of references to material which seems to support the history. Yet many of them direct you to spoof pages, such as http://www.complete-review.com/

I can find no reference to this hoax in any of my pre-web references. I suspect it is all an elaborate Borgesian joke of quite recent manufacture. The story of Malley seems to erupt from the preface to Peter Carey's 2003 novel My Life as a Fake.

Any authentic evidence it existed before? 8)
 

rynner2

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Latvia meteorite IS a hoax as scientists say 50-foot crater is 'too tidy'
By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 1:38 AM on 27th October 2009

Scientists investigating a large crater initially believed to have been caused by a meteorite said a closer analysis today revealed it was a hoax.
Experts in the Baltic country rushed to the site after reports that a metorite-like object had crashed late last night in the Mazsalaca region near the Estonian border.
'This is not a real crater. It is artificial,' Uldis Nulle, a scientist at the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Center, said after inspecting the site today.

Earlier Uldis had said his first impression late last night was that the crater had been caused by a meteorite. He said there was smoke coming out of the hole when he arrived.

But on seeing the hole in daylight today, he and several other scientists changed they mind.
They said it was too tidy to have been caused by a meteorite.
'It's artificial, dug by shovel,' said Girts Stinkulis, a geologist at the University of Latvia.

Dainis Ozols, a nature conservationist, said he believes someone dug the hole and tried to make it look like a meteorite crater by burning some pyrotechnic compound at the bottom. He added he would analyse some samples taken from the site.

Sigita Pildava, a spokeswoman for the State Police, said it wasn't immediately clear whether police would open an investigation into the hoax.
Inga Vetere of the Fire and Rescue Service said they received a call about the alleged meteorite on Sunday evening from an eyewitness. She said a military unit was dispatched to the site and found that radiation levels were normal.

Experts outside Latvia said it would be unusual for such a large meteorite to hit the Earth. The planet is constantly bombarded with objects from outer space, but most burn up in the atmosphere and never reach the surface.
In 2007, a meteorite crashed near Lake Titicaca in Peru, causing a crater about 40 feet (12 meters) wide and 15 feet (five meters) deep.
Asta Pellinen-Wannberg, a meteorite expert at the Swedish Institute of Space Research, said she didn't know the details of the Latvian incident, but that a rock would have to be at least three feet (one meter) in diameter to create a hole that size.
Henning Haack, a lecturer at Copenhagen University's Geological Museum, said when it comes to alleged meteorite crashes, 'there always is a pretty large margin of error.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldne ... z0V8Sp4CJ8
 

ramonmercado

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I guess this qualifies as a prank. Image of letter at link.

Schwarzenegger Flips Off Lawmakers in Hidden Message
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/1 ... rzenegger/
By Kim Zetter October 27, 2009 | 8:11 pm | Categories: Miscellaneous


California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is ticked off.

He’s tired of signing bills that don’t address the pet causes he deems important. So when another unworthy bill crossed his desk recently for signing — addressing funding issues for the Port of San Francisco — the guv vetoed it and sent lawmakers a little note saying why. Only the note said a little more than lawmakers were expecting.

Buried in the text was a hidden message directed at State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, author of the bill, according to the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Ammiano had strongly criticized the governor in early October and reportedly told Schwarzenegger at the time to “kiss my gay ass.” Schwarzenegger’s veto letter, issued a couple of days later, reads:



Missed the hidden code?

The Bay Guardian has helpfully picked it out:


F...
u...
c...
k...
y...
o...
u...



When asked by the Guardian if the message was intentional, Schwarzenegger’s spokesman said only, “what a strange coincidence.” The paper noted that he was “clearly being sarcastic.”

A spokesman for the governor told Threat Level that he’d been receiving a number of calls about the letter and hadn’t yet decided whether they were going to release a statement about it.

UPDATE 6:15 PST: The governor’s office decided it would make a statement, of sorts, after all. Spokesman Aaron McLear told Threat Level the hidden message was just “a strange coincidence,” repeating the response given to the Bay Guardian. He added that the governor’s office had written other letters that also had hidden words spelled out in them. When asked for examples of what was spelled out in those letters, he replied “soap,” “poet,” “ear.”

“When you do so many veto messages that’s bound to happen,” he said.

He promised to send examples of those other letters.
 

rynner2

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Indie version of the Arnie story:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 11129.html
Acrostic abuse: Hidden messages

Arnold Schwarzenegger is not the first person to embed a crude message in an acrostic.

In 2001, a departing leader writer at the Daily Express, Stephen Pollard, coded an otherwise inoffensive editorial with a bracing rebuke to the newspaper's owner: the first letter of each sentence, when run together, read "Fuck you Desmond".

Like Arnie, he dubiously claimed coincidence. But if the fallout for the Governator looks likely to be limited, Pollard had to pay: the job offer he was leaving for, at The Times, was summarily withdrawn.

A century earlier, in 1900, the Irish poet Oliver St. John Gogarty wrote a poem welcoming soldiers back to Ireland after the Boer War for the conservative journal Irish Society. The poem, apparently an ode to their patriotism, contained a different commentary on the consequences of their return at the start of each line: "The whores will be busy."
 

rynner2

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News reports fabricated by Universal Pictures (not aliens)

Aliens have been abducting Americans. Fact. Or, at least, it seemed it be according to Alaskan news publications.

Universal Pictures has just paid out $20,000 to the Alaska Press Club after it released a series of elaborately faked online news stories, claiming to be from real Alaskan news publications and attesting to supernatural activity.

Actually, they were a clever publicity stunt designed to promote new film ‘The Fourth Kind” (strap line: “there are four kinds of alien encounters. The fourth kind is abduction.”)

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, one of the victims of the hoax, reports:

To bolster that claim, articles were posted that professed to be from real Alaska publications, but were actually created to bolster the movie's storyline.

The articles included an obituary and news story about the death of a character in the movie, Dr. William Tyler, that supposedly were from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Neither the story nor the obituary ever appeared in the newspaper. Fake articles were listed from other newspapers in Alaska, including the Nome Nugget, alongside authentic news stories. Part of the settlement requires Universal to remove the fake 'news articles' promoting the movie from the Internet.


The bad news? “If people can’t rely on the fact that when they look at a news article on the Web that it’s from the newspaper it appears to be… it erodes confidence in the world of journalism,” says a lawyer representing the wounded newspapers.

The good news? The $20,000 has doubled the Alaska Press Club’s annual revenues. :D

http://timesonline.typepad.com/comment/ ... liens.html
 

bosskR

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JamesWhitehead said:
I can find no reference to this hoax in any of my pre-web references. I suspect it is all an elaborate Borgesian joke of quite recent manufacture. The story of Malley seems to erupt from the preface to Peter Carey's 2003 novel My Life as a Fake.

Any authentic evidence it existed before?
He seems to be mentioned in quite a few old books, is there any reason to think the hoax is a hoax?

http://books.google.com/books?q=ern+malley

(In the 80s, when Frank Zappa said there was an 18th-century composer from Italy called Francesco Zappa, and made a silly synth album with his music, many fans thought he was making that up. Even Francesco’s entry in the Grove music dictionary was thought to be a joke from the editors. Before the internet, it was so hard to look this stuff up. It was said he was mentioned in a 1916 book on cello playing, but who could find that?)
 

Anome

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Ern Malley is quite well known in Australia, because of the fuss caused when it was exposed.

For pre-web references, how about a copy of the book of his alleged poems? In the National Library of Australia's catalogue.
http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/748589

Trust me, it is a real hoax, and it was the inspiration (along with a number of other literary hoaxes) for My Life as a Fake.
 

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Fine for TV company that faked scenes on BBC daytime shows

Fine for TV company that faked scenes on BBC daytime shows
Premium Article !

Published Date: 01 December 2009
By Margaret Neighbour

A PRODUCTION company that "routinely misled" viewers on a series of BBC daytime shows has been ordered to pay compensation to the corporation.
BBC1 series such as Sun, Sea and Bargain Spotting – fronted by Angela Rippon – and Trash To Cash were among those made by Reef Television that the BBC Trust found had misled viewers.

The programmes included production staff being passed off as members of the public while buying items and restaging events for the cameras. Production staff also bought items, which affected on-screen challenges.

The BBC Trust ruled independent production firm Reef had been guilty of "serious and repeated" breaches of editorial guidelines in a number of shows

Reef must now pay compensation to the BBC – which was unaware of the deceit – and an on-air apology is to be broadcast.

The company was suspended from working for the BBC for three months after the incidents came to light in the summer, pending an investigation. However, the corporation said yesterday it was now satisfied Reef had overhauled its procedures and the suspension had now been lifted.

The production firm admitted it carried out some of the practices knowingly, but believed that they were acceptable.

Richard Tait, chairman of the BBC Trust's editorial standards committee, said: "The practices identified in Reef Television's programming routinely misled the BBC's audiences and are totally unacceptable."

In Sun, Sea And Bargain Spotting, there were seven incidents broadcast where production staff posed as members of the public to buy items. Two of these affected the outcome of challenges.

There were also two incidents of restaging, with one dealer asked to pose as another, and a researcher standing in for a genuine dealer.

A number of off-camera staff purchases, which were not transmitted, also came to light. These were made during series six, for which work was suspended pending the investigation.

Reef Television also disclosed there had been 11 cases of staff purchases in Trash To Cash, but these were deemed to be minor by BBC management.

In a further Reef show, Dealers: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, there was an incident where a friend stood in for someone who was selling a sofa but did not want to appear on TV.

The committee said that, although the programmes were presented as entertainment, licence fee-payers expected to see real events unfolding.
http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/latestn ... 5870957.jp
 
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