Category:
Frauds, Cons and Scams

Doc Owens, Con Man

As early as December 1900, the notorious Doc Owens was making headlines, having established his racket of fleecing sea-going sheep.



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READ LEFT-HAND COLUMN, THEN RIGHT-HAND COLUMN, THEN SAME FOR THE TWO FOLLOWING.

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Three years later, The New York Times did a special feature on Owens and his fellows (with his photo miscaptioned).

Click here for very readable PDF download.

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But Owens was to meet poetic justice in 1912, as our final piece reveals.

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Posted By: Paul - Fri Feb 15, 2013 - Comments (2)
Category: Crime, Death, Disasters, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, 1900s, 1910s, Gambling, Casinos, Lotteries and Other Games of Chance

Fake Facial Hair for Sale

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[From Playboy for November 1968. Click to enlarge.]

I can imagine a man being follicle-challenged and able only to grow a patchy beard or mustache. But most of us can grow a perfectly fine crop of facial hair for free. Why would anyone spend money for a fake? And the price! The Inflation Calculator I always use says: "What cost $30 in 1968 would cost $185.89 in 2010."

But the weirdest thing is the appeal to scam your girlfriend or one-night-stand with fake hair. Huh?

Posted By: Paul - Tue Nov 27, 2012 - Comments (5)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Magazines, Sexuality, 1960s, Facial Hair

Are You an Ascension Pioneer?



My question is, "Is anyone other than this lone ditzy woman part of this 'movement?'"

Her website.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Oct 26, 2012 - Comments (6)
Category: Fey, Twee, Whimsical, Naive and Sadsack, Frauds, Cons and Scams, New Age

Mrs. Jones’ Flesh Grower

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Who knew bioengineering and stem cells were in use so long ago?

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Oct 10, 2012 - Comments (7)
Category: Body, Bodybuilding, Body Modifications, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Self-help Schemes, 1900s

Kabalarians



Learn more here, from The Skeptic's Dictionary.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jun 26, 2012 - Comments (2)
Category: Frauds, Cons and Scams, New Age

Magical Lust Stone

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This is a magical Javanese stone, which can be used to arouse your target from a distance. The magical Stone of Lust can be used by both men and women to influence their target, so that to cause them to lustfully chase you!


The power of the stone will make your target go sexually crazy over you, as it influences them to be sexually intimate with you.


The magical stone vibrates on its own accord when steeped into any kind of liquid. The same affect will occur as your target will feel a vibration erotic-like sensation in his/her genital area.

Although, you can use this item from a distance the person you are targeting must be in close proximity.


It is a very simple magical item to use, as you are only required to recite a short mantra to activate its power.


The following virtues of this item presented below:

Sexually arouse your target from a distance
Make your target go sexually crazy over you and become passionate towards you
This magical stone vibrates when immersed into any kind of liquids
Easy to use Javanese magical stone


Get yours here for only $192.17!

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jun 25, 2012 - Comments (10)
Category: Frauds, Cons and Scams, New Age, Paranormal, Sexuality, Superstition

The Prayer Duel

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LAYDEEZ 'N' GENNELMEN! On yer left, John Alexander Dowie, weighing in at 162 pounds with robes!

On yer right, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a trim 158 with turban wrapped tight!

Watch them in a prayer duel to the death! Mixed Martial Arts ain't got nuthin' on them!

As Dowie was an enemy of all religions but his own, it is not surprising he had no use for Islam — although the extent of his animus remains a point of controversy among various Muslim sects even today.

In the summer of 1903, this brought a well-publicized challenge to an Islamic prayer duel to the death, or Mubahila, from the Indian subcontinent: "Whether the God of Muhammadans or the God of Dowie is the true God, may be settled...he should choose me as his opponent and pray to God that of us two, whoever is the liar may perish first.... I am an old man of 66 years and Dr. Dowie is eleven years younger; therefore on grounds of age he need not have any apprehension.... If the self-made deity of Dr. Dowie has any power, he shall certainly allow him to appear against me and procure my destruction in his lifetime." Dowie's Punjabi challenger, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was a remarkably well-matched opponent: he too had founded his own sect, Ahmadiyya, and believed himself a reincarnated prophet — in his case, Hazrat Eisa Ibne Maryam (a.k.a. Jesus Christ).

Whether the Almighty took any interest in their contest, its rules leave no doubt about the winner: in short order Dowie was deposed (amid rumors of sexual and financial malfeasance); suffered a stroke; and, in 1907, died — a year before Ahmad.

Posted By: Paul - Thu May 24, 2012 - Comments (11)
Category: Death, Eccentrics, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Religion, 1900s

Really, You Shouldn’t Have

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I walk past this boulder, located on the grounds of some State Offices near the Rhode Island capitol, about once a week. This week, I happened to notice it featured a plaque. Here's what the plaque says (click to enlarge):

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Gift to the future? Where? Is it the boulder? But the boulder is pretty much just a bland frame for the plaque!

This appears to be nothing more than an egocentric tribute to the people involved, a way to memorialize themselves. Or am I missing something?

Posted By: Paul - Fri May 04, 2012 - Comments (12)
Category: Annoying Things, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Government, Statues, Monuments and Memorials, 1990s

The Vacuum Cap

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Original ad here. (Scroll down.)

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jan 16, 2012 - Comments (3)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Frauds, Cons and Scams, 1900s, Hair and Hairstyling

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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