Category:
Crime

Marvin Hewitt, Imposter

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Sometimes it seems as if credentials-faking imposters are a wholly recent phenomenon, due to our contemporary insistence on the all-important documentation needed to get ahead. But of course, the human race has churned out imposters ever since the days of Baron Munchausen and prior, giving our pal Alex plenty of material for his Museum of Hoaxes.

I ran across a fifty-year-old case recently in Life magazine from April 12, 1954. The perp was one Marvin Hewitt, and he managed to masquerade as a college-level physics professor, among other positions!

You can read most of the article here. The ending, unfortunately, was missing from my issue of the zine.

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More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Mon Sep 15, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Celebrities, Crime, Education, Hoaxes and Imposters and Imitators, Magazines, 1950s

Follies of the Mad Men #15

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[From Life for May 22 1964.]

Our booze appeals mainly to Eighteenth-century highwaymen.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Aug 27, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, Advertising, Celebrities, Crime, History, Hollywood, Inebriation and Intoxicants, 1960s

Criminal Confession For Sale

Ebay seller "pepullperson" once committed a crime that he's never told anyone about. But for the right price, he's willing to tell you. He says he's doing this to make some money so that his "loved ones are taken care of." Bidding is currently at $20, so he's well on his way.

My guess: He'll confess to committing eBay fraud. But what if the police are the winning bidders?

Posted By: Alex - Mon Aug 25, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, Crime, Stupid Criminals

The Virtual Museum of Car Crashes

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So many, many incidents in our Weird Universe terminate in car crashes. Yet this Ballardian motif has had to wait until just recently to receive its proper grisly homage, in the form of Car Accidents dot com.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 18, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Crime, Death, Performance Art, Cars

Massachusetts Mooks

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For its small size, my home state of Rhode Island has plenty of weird news. But living nextdoor to Massachusetts grants me access to the Bay State's copious bizarre headlines as well. Consider these two recent events:

First, a fellow thought he could drive around with a large safe jutting from his trunk and no one would question him. He has since pleaded not guilty




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Second, a would-be bank-robber felt that the best way to simulate an extortionate explosive device was by stuffing road flares down his pants.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Aug 15, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Crime, Stupid Criminals, Explosives, Cars

Life Imitates The Simpsons:  The Sip Joint

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As anyone who has endured five minutes of conversation with me knows, I'll often relate real-life events to The Simpsons. That show, like the Bible and the works of Shakespeare, has now reached a canonical mass such that you may find a textual reference applicable to any real-world situation.

Today's printed version of THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL offers me another such occasion. There's an article headlined "Police Raid After-Hours 'Sip Joint' in Silver Lake." Inexplicably, though, this piece is not online, so far as I can google. But the barebones of the tale is told in a subheading. "A 17-year-old male who was allegedly caught dispensing beer has been referred to the Youth Services Bureau for prosecution in Family Court."

An older article which is still available gives us this definition of a "sip joint."

"A sip joint, according to the police, is a place where a bar is set up — usually a house — for the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages at times when bars are closed."

Now, I've often been strapped for cash, but I've never once thought of setting up a tavern in my residence. Yet to geniuses like Homer Simpson, such a plan is their first instinct, as we saw at the end of this episode.

The term "sip joint" itself seems exceedingly rare, and perhaps limited to Rhode Island.

Can readers supply instances of this practice, and what it's called, from their own regions?

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 25, 2008 - Comments (18)
Category: Business, Crime, Stupid Criminals, Domestic, Inebriation and Intoxicants, Regionalism

“Go away or I’ll shoot myself!”

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I believe that in Bank Robbery 101, the student is generally taught that when a heist goes sour, one should snatch a hostage and threaten to kill he, she or it. But our boy in this case was obviously not in class the day that lesson was taught. When cornered by police, he instead chose to take what our Illustrious Weirdo Chuck Shepherd has termed "the only way out."

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 25, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Crime, Stupid Criminals, Death, Guns

Hail the Conquering Hero!

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Feast your eyes upon a true local hero! He achieved a personal best, nigh-terminal DUI rating of .489, as you can read here.

As the authorities reveal: “'He is in a very small class of people because most people — even heavy drinkers — would be unconscious or approaching death to get up to .5. The danger with this guy is that with that kind of tolerance, you may appear to be fine one moment and unconscious the next.'

"Dasgupta said that for a man to reach a level of .491, he would have had to be drinking whiskey, rum or tequila — 6 to 10 shots — within two or three hours."

But Mr. Stanley Kobierowski also attained the honor of notching up the highest such rating ever recorded in my humble state of Little Rhody.

Way to go, dude!

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jul 24, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Crime, Stupid Criminals, Inebriation and Intoxicants, World Records, Cars

Ho, Ho, Ho, Hangman!

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Who knew that Serbia boasted so many high-placed fans of Rankin-Bass animation?

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jul 24, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Celebrities, Crime, Stupid Criminals, Eccentrics, History, Historical Figure, Military, Movies, Cartoons, Prisons, Torture, 1990s

Windigo Psychosis

The Edmonton Sun offers this description of a bizarre murder that occurred in 1887 near Canada's Slave Lake:

Marie Courtereille, 40, died after being struck four times with an axe -- twice by her husband Michel Courtereille and twice by her son Cecil. Testimony at their trial indicated that Marie had begged to be killed because she believed she was possessed by a Windigo, telling them, "I am bound to eat you." Over a period of several weeks, she became increasingly aggressive, "roaring like an animal" and attacking her husband.
Eventually, she was tied down and guarded around the clock until it was decided that there was no choice but to kill her. The community supported the killing.

A Windigo (also spelled Wendigo) is a creature from Algonquin mythology. The Algonquins believed that Windigos were malevolent spirits who could possess people, transforming them into "wild-eyed, violent, flesh-eating maniacs with superhuman strength." Horror fans will be familiar with Windigos, since they've featured in a number of horror books and movies.

The term "Windigo psychosis" describes a psychological condition in which people who believed they were possessed by a Windigo would go on cannibalistic rampages.

Many researchers regard Windigo psychosis as something of an Algonquin urban legend, but ethno-historian Nathan Carlson argues that it was a real phenomenon "which haunted communities right across northern Alberta in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries and cost dozens of lives." Carlson is working on a book that will documents dozens of cases of Windigo psychosis. Sounds like fun reading.

More about Windigos in Wikipedia. (Thanks to DJ_Canada for the link)

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 21, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Crime, Horror, Psychology

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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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