Well, somebody get Mulder and Scully on the phone again, because we have another story of the weird, in need of investigation. Some villagers in a remote part of Thailand have uploaded pictures of the corpse of a strange creature that appears to be part reptile, part mammal. You are not going to believe this until you see it with your own eyes.
This strange “creature” looks like it has the head of a crocodile or turtle, with the limbs and other features of a buffalo calf. Without an autopsy by trained biologists, however, the whole thing needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Plenty of “strange creatures” have been photographed over the decades to help garner publicity for a backwater, only to be discovered as hoaxes upon serious scientific scrutiny.
Now, we are not saying this might night be real. We are saying it definitely is not real. But we wanted to look into famous scientific and supernatural hoaxes through the years and see where this one might fit in. As it turns out, just fine.
The “Cottingley Fairies” were a series of photographs taken by British cousins Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths in 1917. They created a huge stir around the world as the pictures seemed to show one of the young girls surrounded by a group of dancing fairies. They were so well done, even Author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was convinced of their authenticity.
One of the more profitable hoaxes was the famous “Alien Autopsy” footage created by Brit Ray Santilli. His grainy, weirdly lit and composed footage took the 1990’s by storm and the Fox network even paid him for the rights to produce a special program about it, no doubt to increase visibility for their flagship series “The X-Files”. It was complete nonsense, but the story behind the faked film reel is still part of the UFO lore today.
In 1908 another of the Queen’s subjects produced evidence of a missing link between humans and other primates. Dubbed the “Piltdown Man”, it created a stir in England, and thrust the debate over Darwin’s theory of evolutionary biology through natural selection to the front of scientific inquiry. That is a good thing, basically. It also made a tidy sum of money for its creator, Charles Dawson. It was finally discredited when it was proved that the “fossil” was really just an orangutan jaw and the skull of a modern human child.
The Tasaday Tribe of the Philippines. Yeah, okay, so in 1970 the Prime Minister of the Philippines announced the discovery of a stone age tribe living in caves on a remote island. When anthropologists wanted to examine and study them, he declared the whole area a protected nature preserve and sanctuary. After about 15 years of this nonsense, it was finally revealed that the people were walking around wearing modern clothes, speaking modern languages, etc.
PT Barnum had two famous statements about the public that hold true even in the twenty first century: “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the public,” and “there’s a sucker born every minute.”