Category:
Frauds, Cons and Scams

Bebe Stanton, Telepathic Flapper

Source: The Courier (Waterloo, Iowa) 11 Apr 1929, Thu Page 13



Posted By: Paul - Fri Apr 22, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Crime, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Human Marvels, 1920s

Head-Ticking Scam

Robert Sanders of Loogootee, Indiana would get a job with a railroad, fake an injury, and then claim that, as a result of the injury, he had developed a ticking noise in his head.

Doctors who examined him would confirm that he did, indeed, have a "peculiar ticking" like a "great big alarm clock" coming from inside his head. Sanders would then collect insurance money.

Sanders repeated this scam multiple times, collecting around $28,000 over the course of 12 years, until finally the Union Pacific Railroad charged him with fraud.

He was found guilty and sentenced to Wyoming's state penitentiary.

What I can't figure out is how Sanders managed to produce the ticking noise in his head, because the doctors who examined him seemed to hear something.

Billings Gazette - Feb 12, 1952

Posted By: Alex - Fri Dec 17, 2021 - Comments (6)
Category: Frauds, Cons and Scams, Noises and Other Public Disturbances of the Peace, 1950s

Banvard’s Folly

I am halfway thru reading this book and can testify to its greatness, and to its allure for all WU-vies. I have already learned about so many hoaxes, weirdos and charlatans I never knew about before.

Here's how the book opens:




Posted By: Paul - Thu Jul 01, 2021 - Comments (8)
Category: Frauds, Cons and Scams, History, Historical Figure, Hoaxes and Imposters and Imitators, Inventions, New Age, Supernatural, Occult, Paranormal, Books, Goofs and Screw-ups

The Talking Fish Lure

Ads for the "Talking Fish Lure" began to appear in papers in 1959. They promised that, thanks to this new talking lure, fishermen would be guaranteed to catch fish:

An amazing built-in "fish-attracting" transmitter that broadcasts a steady stream of irresistible underwater messages that talk, coax and actually command a fish into snapping at your hook. Yes, actually excites and stimulates 5 different fish senses all at the same time . . . and forces each and every fish up to 2,000 feet away to come darting straight for your line.


The Vancouver Province - May 30, 1959





Eight years later, the promoter of the lure was indicted on 60 counts of mail fraud. From the New York Daily News (May 12, 1967):

A talking fish lure, designed to "force each and every hunger-crazed fish from up to 2000 feet away to come darting straight for your line," became snagged yesterday on a federal grand jury, which indicted its promoter on 60 counts of mail fraud.

Named in the indictment was Monroe Caine, 38, of 222 Daisy Farms Drive, Scarsdale, described as an advertising man and mail order promoter whose ads for a "remarkable European talking fish lure" ran July 19, 1964, in newspapers across the country.

The jurors, who were shown the ads, found the whole thing somewhat fishy, especially after being told that fishermen who sent in $1.98 or $2.49 for the lure got either a worthless gadget or nothing in return.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jun 16, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Frauds, Cons and Scams, Sports, Fish, 1950s, 1960s

Super Paper

Not mentioned in the article below, Derek Best was also selling an adult-version of Super Paper that was printed with sexual suggestions, for subliminal seduction.

Miami News - Aug 27, 1982

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 26, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Frauds, Cons and Scams, Hypnotism, Mesmerism and Mind Control, 1980s

Forkola Jell

"Old Doc Forkola" is a most unfortunate moniker. But was there anything that Forkola Jell couldn't do? Or should we ask, Was there anything that Forkola Jell could do?!?











Source of text.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Sep 17, 2020 - Comments (4)
Category: Frauds, Cons and Scams, Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, Twentieth Century

Croaker College

A training school for frog contestants in jumping competitions.

Full SPORTS ILLUSTRATED story here.



Source (page 7).

Posted By: Paul - Thu Aug 06, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Animals, Education, Frauds, Cons and Scams, 1970s

Fresh Air Vending Machine



Source.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jun 14, 2020 - Comments (6)
Category: Frauds, Cons and Scams, Technology, 1960s

Jackson Barnett, “The World’s Richest Indian”



From Wikipedia:
With the discovery of oil on Barnett's lands in 1912, a series of court actions by interested parties litigated the control of Barnett's trust. Barnett was declared incompetent and denied access to his affairs simply because he only spoke the Muscogee Creek language and not English. Barnett was permitted a modest income and was installed in a house near Henryetta. In 1919 the courts allowed the diversion of money from Barnett's trust to the construction of the "Jackson Barnett Hospital" in Henryetta. In 1920 Barnett, then in his seventies, married Anna Laura Lowe (1881-1952), a fortune hunter whom he had met only once before. The couple had to marry in Kansas after a marriage license was denied in Oklahoma. Barnett's guardians were unable to annul the marriage and the hospital plans were never pursued. Instead, the trust was divided between Anna Barnett and Bacone Indian College.[3]

The Barnetts moved to Los Angeles and bought a mansion on Wilshire Boulevard, where Jackson passed his time directing traffic at a nearby intersection. Legal actions continued from 1923 to 1929, which provoked congressional hearings on the role of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in establishing and administering the Barnett trust and others like it. The hearings led to criticism of BIA administrator Charles H. Burke's actions, and during the 1930s, to the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. In 1927 Barnett v. Equitable again proclaimed Jackson Barnett incompetent in federal court. In March 1934 another federal ruling annulled the Barnetts' marriage and Anna Barnett's rights to Jackson's trust on the grounds that Jackson had been "kidnapped" by a woman of suspect moral character, but allowed Anna to act as Jackson's caretaker. Jackson Barnett died on 29 May 1934 of natural causes: allegations that Anna had poisoned him were found to be false.[3][4]

Anna was finally evicted from the Wilshire Boulevard residence after four years, even though she had gained significant support from Los Angeles society,[5] including Los Angeles District Attorney Burton Fitts and California Governor Frank Merriam. Anna had to be tear-gassed after she threw a hatchet during the eviction,[5] and lived the remainder of her life with a daughter while unsuccessfully attempting to regain a share of the Barnett estate, which amounted to $3.5 million in 1934 ($55.4 million estimated value in 2012 dollars).




Source.



Lots more info here.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Nov 10, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Crime, Unauthorized Dwellings, Forgotten Figures and Where Are They Now?, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Government, Hospitals, Twentieth Century, Native Americans, Weddings

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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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