Fact or Fiction?

A look at conspiracy theories, “official truths”, political spin, propaganda, tall tales, urban legends, magic, and illusion, all as they relate to the Art of the Prank. When truth intersects with a personal agenda, established facts are challenged, or human gullibility is preyed upon for ulterior motives, we hope that skepticism, logic, reason, and facts have a balancing effect.

Blog Posts

Bigfoot Sighted at World Cup Celebration

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Filed under: Urban Legends

Bigfoot-with-Germans-at-FIFA

photo: AP/ibnlive.in.com

Another Bigfoot Sighting!

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Filed under: Urban Legends

Bigfoot was spotted but not captured at a 4th of July celebration yesterday:

Bigfoot4thJuly.8618685.425

Bigfoot Sighting!

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Filed under: Urban Legends

Bigfoot spotted at New York’s annual Gay Pride Parade, June 29, 2014:

Bigfoot spotted at NYC Gay Pride Parade

Thanks Nick Gaetano
photo: hulubei.net

The Bigfoot Movie

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Filed under: Urban Legends

Watch the movie:

Tiny Top Circus Cast & Crew: Proprietor & Ringmaster: Joey Skaggs; Barker: Sarah Farrell; Performers: BIGFOOT, Justin Blaser, a.k.a. Stitch the Geek, Ian Harvey, a.k.a. Trick, the Bastard; Army Special Forces: Tom Tenney, Felipe Ribeiro; Clowns: Rev Jen Miller; Joe Heaps Nelson; Marc Slanger; Miranda Torn; Strongman: Andrew Carr; Sign Carriers: Matt Lucas, Bobby Savage, Norman Savage; Himalayas Band: Welf Dorr, Matthew Fass, Nina Geiger, Jennifer Harris, Sandra Koponen, Jocelyn Selene Perry, Robyn Siwula, Kenny Wollesen

Production: Producer & Still Photographer: Judy Drosd; Cinematography & Editing: Kate McCamy; Additional Camera: Tony Torn; Music & Sound Effects: Colby Johnson; Cage & Costume construction: Ivy Drechney, Troy Suite; Graphics & Signage: Paula Sharpe

Special Thanks: Tony Barsha, Katryn Beckwith, Doris Deither, Iliya Fridman, Akim Fridman, Francis “Faceboy” Hall, Dr. Larry Herbert , Albert Kahn, Valentina Kvasova, Jim Monroe, Naomi Pitcairn, Libby Reed, Erin Rogers, Dorothy Skaggs, Jon Truskey, Nancy Weber, Henry Zemel

Bigfoot has Escaped and is Loose Somewhere in NYC. Search Continues.

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Filed under: Fact or Fiction?, You Decide

While on an international tour as the principal attraction of the Tiny Top Circus, Bigfoot escaped from his cage in New York City.

bigfoot-sightings

Watch the video:

Authorities are searching and citizens are on alert.
WARNING: BIGFOOT IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS
Mayor Bill de Blasio says an ongoing investigation is underway.

Bigfoot sightings

Tiny Top Circus has posted a $10 million dollar reward for the safe return of Bigfoot. With sightings, or for more information, contact Ringmaster, Peppe Scaggolini at info @ tinytopcircus.com


Bigfoot Captured!

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Filed under: Fact or Fiction?, You Decide

Bigfoot, the 8th Wonder of the World

The most elusive and terrifying creature to roam the planet, captured alive!

On display for a limited time only. Brought to you by Tiny Top Circus, the world’s greatest and smallest traveling show on Earth. The only pataphysical circus in existence.

Saturday, June 7, 2014
12:00 Noon
Washington Square Park
New York, New York

FREE

Tiny Top Circus Banner
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For more info, contact: Ringmaster, Peppe Scaggolini, info @ tinytopcircus.com.

Political Hacktivism, Iran Style

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Political Challenges

Iran Is Using a Neocon to Hack Its Foes
Daily Beast
by Eli Lake
May 29, 2014

John Bolton, the former U.N. ambassador under George W. Bush, is playing an unexpectedly prominent role in an Iranian cyberspying campaign.

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In Iran’s intelligence war against America, the regime has a new weapon: “John R. Bolton.”

No, Iran has not turned President Bush’s former ambassador to the United Nations into a sleeper agent. Instead, hackers believed to be connected to the Tehran government are posing as Bolton on social media platforms in a scheme to get human rights activists and national security wonks to hand over their passwords and user names.

Read more here.

The Royal Prank: Unintended Consequences

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Filed under: Legal Issues, Sociology and Psychology of Pranks, You Decide

The Royal Prank: The Story Behind The Worst Radio Stunt In History
by Andrew McMillen
Buzzfeed
Aug. 1, 2013

royalprank-425

When a pair of Australian DJs went viral by prank calling the London hospital treating Kate Middleton last December, they were lionized at home and vilified in the U.K. Then the nurse who answered the phone committed suicide amid the outrage, raising questions about mental health, privacy, and the very definition of a joke. What responsibility do pranksters have to their victims?

Inside James O’Keefe’s Latest Hollywood Hit Job

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Filed under: Media Pranks, Propaganda and Disinformation

Inside a Hollywood Hit Job: How Sting Artist James O’Keefe Tried to Set His Latest Trap – And Got Stung Himself
U.S. News
May 22, 2014

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On Wednesday, conservative activist and controversial video sting artist James O’Keefe made an appearance in Cannes during the Film Festival with a new, secretly recorded 20-minute video that he said exposes the hypocrisy of two environmentalist documentarians and two Hollywood actors. At the end of the clip, after Josh and Rebecca Tickell, Mariel Hemingway, and Ed Begley Jr. appear to have unwittingly agreed to accept financing for an anti-fracking film from Middle East oil interests, O’Keefe claims he’s caught other allegedly altruistic actors and filmmakers in his trap, teasing a clip of a phone conversation with filmmaker Josh Fox.

But this time, O’Keefe wasn’t the only one making secret recordings.

Read the rest of the story here.

Just Walking the… Cabbage

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Filed under: Fact or Fiction?, You Decide

From Jon:


Report: Walking Cabbage Trend Combats Loneliness
WafflesAtNoon
May 2, 2014

A report this week claims that Chinese teenagers are leashing cabbages and taking them for walks with hopes of relieving depression and feelings of isolation…

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…One teenager explained the trend to Metro, “I feel I can transfer my negative thoughts about myself to the cabbage, go for a walk with it and come home feeling better about myself…In fact afterwards, I can throw the cabbage away and feel that I have tossed my feelings out with it.”

Read the full article here.

Danish Parliament’s Message: Vote or Else! [English & Danish]

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Filed under: Publicity Stunts, Truth that's Stranger than Fiction

This cartoon was intended to encourage young people to vote in the European elections and was published on the Danish Parliament’s YouTube channel.

votemancartoon

In it, a superhero called Voteman finds himself in bed with a group of women before jetting off on a pair of dolphin waterskis to punch and kick non-voters all the way to the polling station. The video was withdrawn the day after its launch after a barrage of criticism…

Watch the video:

Magical Skateboard

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Filed under: Fact or Fiction?, Media Pranks, Pranksters

From Andrea:


From the HUVrTech website:

What began as a summer project in 2010 at the MIT Physics Graduate Program has evolved into one of the most exciting independent products to be developed out of MIT since the high-powered lithium-ion batteries developed by Yet-Ming Chiang in 2001. Our team consists of materials science, electricity & magnetism experts who’ve solved an important part of one of science’s mysteries: the key to antigravity.

The HUVr Board team ultimately aims to improve the efficiency, speed and sustainability of mass transportation. Yet rather than spend several more years closed off from the world while investing in research and development, the team and our world-class investors have worked to change the economics R&D by marketing this exciting consumer product in order to fund ongoing R&D.

Watch the video

Read more here

Facebook Fraud

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception

From Emanuele: Veritasium takes a break from his wonderful science videos to dig into the realities of Facebook “likes.” Finally, someone provides insight into ever declining user engagement with Facebook. Is this the somber sound of a social network death knell?


Watch the video:

Flappy Bird Fakes

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Filed under: Fact or Fiction?, Fraud and Deception, Hype

From Joe King: Flappy Bird game creator, Dong Nguyen, unceremoniously removed his hugely successful app from app stores, however, Graham Cluley reports: Criminals appear to be selling fake flappy bird games. This is probably a bigger threat to western civilization than NSA’s encroachments.

flappy-bird

Regardless, speculation abounds about why he removed the game from play.

  • ‘Flappy Bird’ creator cites ‘addiction’ for pulling game, USA Today
  • Then, there’s this from Jefferson Graham, also of USA Today:

    Watch the video:

    Ask The Fiddler #22: Costly Cures for Imaginary Illnesses

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    Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Satire

    fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.


    Dear Fiddler,

    I have a headache that starts in my toes, I’m allergic to my allergy meds, and my boomerang won’t come back. What remedy do you suggest?

    Barry in D.C.

    Dear Barry,

    Obviously you need a hearty dose of that legendary scourge of internal corruption, Dr. Fiddler’s Electro-Cleanse Elixir, completely recyclable and manufactured under strict sanitary conditions when circumstances permit, available at the side door at the conclusion of this essay. Two dollars for the bottle.

    stethescopeOn the other hand, you could undoubtedly improve your condition if you would quit watching TV medical ads and cease asking the Internet for a diagnosis.

    Those ads and questionable posts can be hazardous to your health. Experts say “exposure to advertising that sells a fantasy of flawless health, perfect skin, clockwork bowels, extended youth and perpetual cheerfulness in the face of disappointment, aging, money woes” … “can create expectations and perceived needs that lead to unnecessary and expensive drug consumption.”

    Of course the drug companies argue that their ads are educational. The U.S. and New Zealand are the only countries where drug companies can advertise directly to consumers. It is estimated that every ad dollar spent by Big Pharma yields a four dollar boost in sales of prescription drugs. (more…)