Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hoaxes and the Power of Suggestion

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized.
In 1889 New Jersey doctor Henry Coit, MD urged the creation of a Medical Milk Commission to oversee or "certify" production of milk for cleanliness, finally getting one formed in 1893. By joining with select dairy experts, Coit and his team of physicians were able to enlist dairy farmers willing to meet their strict standards of hygiene in the production of clean, certified milk.
After years of tireless effort, raw, unpasteurized milk was again safe and available for public consumption, but it cost up to four times the price of uncertified milk.
Pasteurized and certified milks managed to peacefully co-exist for a time, but by the mid-1940's, the truce had become decidedly uneasy. In 1944. bogus articles were written.

One such article specified: "Crossroads, U.S.A., is in one of those states in the Midwest area called the bread basket and milk bowl of America….What happened to Crossroads might happen to your town - to your city - might happen almost anywhere in America." It then went on to describe a lurid account of a frightful epidemic of undulant fever allegedly caused by raw milk, an epidemic that "spread rapidly…it struck one out of every four persons in Crossroads.
But there was no Crossroads USA.
It was all fictional. No town. No epidemic.

Ever hear of The Great Bird Flu Hoax?

The “Famous" Indian Rope Trick?

On August 8, 1890, while working for the Tribune, John Wilkie wrote an anonymous article that first described the Indian Rope Trick. Featured on the front page of paper's second section, it was soon picked up by newspapers throughout the United States and United Kingdom, and it was translated into nearly every European language.
Four months later, the Tribune printed a retraction noting the story had been "written for the purpose of presenting a theory in an entertaining form." However, the notice of the hoax garnered little attention and the myth of the Indian Rope Trick perpetuated for years.

“How I Found the Lost Atlantis, The Source of All Civilization”
The most monumental Atlantis hoax was perpetrated by Paul Schleimann who, in 1912, conned the New York American into running a lengthy feature story entitled "How I Discovered Atlantis, the Source of All Civilization." This not only sold newspapers to impressed New Yorkers by the thousands, but so befuddled the academic world that many texts and source books on the Atlantis legend still list facts and figures from Schleimann's daring piece of science fiction.

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