Hoaxes People Actually Fell For

(RepublicanPress.org) – While life would be a bit more straightforward if we could believe everything we hear on the radio or see on TV, it’s just not possible. Over the years, various broadcasters and tricksters have published events and happenings of fascinating phenomena or somewhat believable stories that are actually completely fake. Yet, some people fall for these hoaxes time and time again.

Viewers should question just about everything they watch on April Fools’ Day. But, in 1957, a BBC broadcast was so convincing that despite the date, many people thought there were spaghetti trees in Switzerland that grew the beloved pasta. The show shared harvesters pulling strings of the dough hanging from the trees into baskets and even noted the harvest would be extra fruitful that spring due to the disappearance of the spaghetti weevil.

In another impressive hoax, horse trainer Wilhelm von Osten began showing people his horse Hans could perform math calculations and answer other questions. This began in 1891, and after years of people asking Hans various questions, even with von Osten out of sight, the horse still got the right answers. Dubbed “Clever Hans,” many people were convinced the animal was truly as intelligent as humans.

However, in 1907, a psychology student at the University of Berlin finally realized the horse was actually responding to minute facial cues from the questioner. To this day, the term “Clever Hans” is used to describe researchers who accidentally cue their subjects into the desired behavior, leading to skewed results.

Another joke still ongoing to this day is the existence of the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, which lives in the Olympic National Forest in Washington. This incredible species prefers to swim in the water, but the high moisture of the rainforest allows the animal to thrive in the trees as well. However, the species is endangered due to logging and predators such as house cats, bald eagles, and sasquatch. If you’d like to help save this species, consider writing to your representative and asking for special protection for this animal — or not, because this, too, is a hoax.

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