The Turk Was A Mechanical Chess-Playing Hoax That Fooled The World

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The Turk Was A Mechanical Chess-Playing Hoax That Fooled The World

Many people were convinced in 1770 that artificial intelligence had arrived. It hadn't, of course, but the Turk had fooled everyone. The Turk was a mechanical device that seemingly played chess on its own against real human opponents. Some of the opponents included Benjamin Franklin and, according to legend, Napoleon Bonaparte. The Turk, which was an automated, turban-wearing Turkish man sitting behind a desk, would watch a player's move and take his turn by moving another chess piece with his left hand. People were stunned. Too bad it was all fake.

What Is The Philadelphia Experiment Conspiracy Theory?

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What Is The Philadelphia Experiment Conspiracy Theory?

The well-known conspiracy theory of the Philadelphia Experiment is widely considered a hoax. Still, conspiracy theorists have latched onto this tale for decades. It began in the 1940s with a letter from a person named Carlos Allende. Allende claimed he was aboard the U.S. Navy ship the USS Furuseth when he saw the USS Eldridge disappear and reappear right before his eyes-he called this the Philadelphia Experiment. He claimed that this was evidence that Albert Einstein had solved the unified field theory and that the U.S. government was secretly using this knowledge to experiment with teleportation and invisibility.

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Key Facts to Know

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    The Philadelphia Experiment is the allegedly disappearance and reappearance of a ship in 1943. 1:11

The House On The Rock Is A Treasure Trove Of Oddities, Real And Fake

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The House On The Rock Is A Treasure Trove Of Oddities, Real And Fake

The House on the Rock was designed by Alex Jordan, Jr., and sits atop a column of rock in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. It's less of a house and more of a combined museum, hoax collection, and architectural marvel. Inside are attractions such as a collection of "antique" guns, an entire 19th-century brick street complete with buildings, and a functioning carousel. Many of the "antiques" inside the house are in fact creations by Jordan or his associates, and not legitimate pieces. But this fact doesn't detract from the incredible volume of objects hidden within the house, or the memorable strangeness of its design, which includes an Infinity Room that stretches far over the valley without lower supports.

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Key Facts to Know

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    The House on the Rock contains a statue of a squid fighting a whale-like creature that is longer than the Statue of Liberty is tall. 0:35

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    The alleged inspiration for the House on the Rock came to Alex Jordan, Jr. when his father was insulted by Frank Lloyd Wright. 1:12

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    Most of the collections and "antiques" inside the House on the Rock are hoaxes. 2:17

This Critically Acclaimed Artist Was Secretly A Chimp

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This Critically Acclaimed Artist Was Secretly A Chimp

In 1964, one unsuspecting avant-garde French artist caught the eye of art critics. The name of the artist responsible for this impressive body of work is Pierre Brassau. However, that was not the artist's real name. The artist behind the work was actually a four-year-old West African chimpanzee from Sweden's Borås djurpark zoo. A Swedish journalist was behind the hoax; his plan was to put the chimp's paintings in an exhibition to put the critics to the test. Actually, the critic that praised Peter's art by relating it to ballet dancing stood by his rave review even after discovered "Pierre Brassau" was truly a young chimpanzee.

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Key Facts to Know

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    An artist by the name of Pierre Brassau received rave reviews in 1964, even though he was secretly a chimpanzee. 0:17

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    Peter the artist chimp preferred to eat cobalt blue oil paint more than other colors. 2:01

Real-Life Jackalopes

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Real-Life Jackalopes

Dr. Richard E. Shope discovered the Shope papilloma virus in the 1930s. Around the same time in Wyoming, a man named Douglas Herrick started selling mounted "jackalope" heads to the public. But these heads were hoaxes, made by attaching antlers to taxidermied rabbits. Today, the town of Douglas, Wyoming still playfully issues jackalope hunting licenses.

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Key Facts to Know

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    The colossal squid is even bigger than the giant squid, and has sharp hooks on its tentacles. 2:18

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    The thorny dragon is covered with conical spines. It has a false head on the back of its neck that is meant to fool predators. 6:11

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    Pyura chilensis resembles a rock, but is actually a tunicate that some people consider an edible delicacy. 8:16