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Crying Wolf: On Hoaxes and their perpetrators

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posted on Aug, 17 2007 @ 08:03 PM
After reading through one of the doomsday threads it can to me that maybe one reason for a hoax is the simple reason that the hoaxer is just disillusioned with his or her life and maybe life in general.

This disillusionment is drawing the person into a realm of fantasy or just plain old destruction. They can't commit suicide but hope for the end of all the pain they suffer.

Delusions of grander may also play a part in some hoaxer's scheme. The hero of the world like ... well you know if you are reading the threads.


posted on Aug, 23 2007 @ 07:06 PM
Disillusion can certainly cause people to make rash decisions. However, I am uncertain whether a disillusioned person would create a hoax that didn't somehow affect them directly. Their scams would likely follow the lines of conventional money frauds; they would create something that would conveniently earn them a lot of money.

To illustrate, read the Wikipedia article on Steorn. The company's financial records indicated losses in three consecutive years. I believe it was stated somewhere that Steorn was previously a failed dotcom business. Its subsequent (outlandish?) claim about a free energy device was followed by raising a substantial amount of money. Ultimately, their "product showcase" failed.
In this scenario, one would be immediately inclined to think that theirs was a scam; thus far, it bears some of the characteristics of a bold scheme. There is no way to know for certain; in the same way, the CARET/Drone issue has been created and maintained by one or several (currently) anonymous individuals. The recent "Haiti UFO" videos on Youtube, now declared a hoax, still lacks solid names and faces. In fact, several sub-hoaxes started up, when more anonymous individuals began taking credit for the videos -- a "Spartacus" cry, if you will. Yet, there is no glory gained; the minor fraudsters remain anonymous for the duration of their scheme.

Still, I don't know for certain. In pop culture, Freud is assumed to have attributed all behavioral characteristics to sex and the Oedipal complex. I'm sure that he would have a field day investigating the mind of a hoaxer.

posted on Aug, 27 2007 @ 12:16 PM
I think one thing that may have been over looked is fear, I think some hoaxers are afraid the subject they are hoaxing IS real, and if it's real would cause them mental anguish of some kind. an example might be the devoted fundamental religious person that really believes this IS the center of the universe and there can be no other life on other planets. If it comes to light that there are EBE's visiting earth it would shatter their fundamental beliefs, but if they create a Hoax that is convincing, then if it DOES really happen they can call reality a Hoax. ( I'm not saying this HAS happened, it just using it as a theory)

posted on Aug, 28 2007 @ 05:36 PM
reply to post by thedigirati

I sort of suggested that in a round about way. I think a lot of times hoaxers have a vested interest in making people think, knowing that they will get caught, that all said phenomena are fake. The risk, for whatever reason,is worth the effort to them.

posted on Aug, 28 2007 @ 06:19 PM
The second hoax I was going to discuss here was certainly inspired by dissenting beliefs (see Cardiff Giant links on pg 1). However, I can't see how affecting a hoax would be inspired by fear -- unless I'm missing something

I think humans are more prone to running away from their fears. If one felt his/her beliefs were superior, s/he would be more likely to create a hoax that supports those beliefs, not the contrary. I'll do some research and bring some examples -- because I'm sure it has happened before.

Hoaxes generally aim to portray a fictitious event or object as 'real'. When the gag is up, there usually isn't any vindication for anyone -- excluding, of course, the smug hoaxers who are proud of the confusion they have caused.

Examine some of the more-recent UFO hoaxes that have appeared. These have only targeted the UFO community, which was subsequently mocked for its reaction. If someone were truly afraid of the presence of "aliens", it would be easier to ignore the UFO field altogether. Without it, there isn't any other group with interest or evidence concerning the phenomenon.
In another example; if an atheist secretly suspected religions of being right, s/he might adamantly maintain their viewpoint, while avoiding all religions and their members.

Most hoaxes have been aimed at ridiculing belief. It might be said that they do not actively target the subject of belief, but the belief and believers. For instance, one who believes very strongly that aliens only exist as gobs of purple goo. This fellow (called Mr. A.)argues his point -- based on sketchy evidence, at best -- and endlessly pontificates how aliens could not exist as any other thing. Naturally, an adventurous prankster (Mr. B.) decides to create and strategically place purple goo around Mr. A's home. Mr. B knows that Mr. A will immediately call a press conference and make a major arse of himself -- which is all the vindication he (Mr. B.) needs. So Mr. B. 'innocently' notifies Mr. A. about the suspicious goo, and watches the entire thing unravel itself. At the press conference, he interrupts Mr. A. to explain how and why he created his hoax. Mr. A. is naturally insulted, and goes on to list his evidence (which, as mentioned before, is sketchy). Mr. B. provides conclusive evidence to show that he did, in fact, create the hoax. Voila; we have the mechanism for a simple hoax.

I don't think it's about what one believes; it's how one believes it. When a 'probable-hoax' shows up, the prankster is waiting for a priceless reaction. As has been mentioned before, expect only bigger and better hoaxes from now on; the pressure is undoubtedly on to produce a video that cannot be written off as CGI. It isn't far-fetched to expect a crisp-and-clear UFO superimposed on a live video -- which, itself, has an artificial soundtrack playing (e.g, video from Portland, Oregon; sound from Denver, Colorado; UFO image from high-end editing software). How would one deconstruct that?

Shouldn't we start thinking more like hoaxers?

posted on Aug, 28 2007 @ 06:36 PM

Originally posted by Mr Jackdaw

I think humans are more prone to running away from their fears. If one felt his/her beliefs were superior, s/he would be more likely to create a hoax that supports those beliefs, not the contrary. I'll do some research and bring some examples -- because I'm sure it has happened before.

In the context of what we are saying, they are supporting their beliefs, or at least the belief that they want people to have. They believe, or at least want to believe, that all phenomena are hoaxes, so they create a hoax to try and perpetuate that idea.

posted on Aug, 28 2007 @ 06:57 PM

Originally posted by SpeakerofTruth

In the context of what we are saying, they are supporting their beliefs, or at least the belief that they want people to have. They believe, or at least want to believe, that all phenomena are hoaxes, so they create a hoax to try and perpetuate that idea.

Could you apply this viewpoint to a hypothetical hoax, so that I may better understand? I sense there is no disagreement here -- but I don't want to go off on my own assumptions.

posted on Aug, 29 2007 @ 03:54 PM
Let's say that someone genuinely does not believe in UFOs or ghosts, or whatever.. They naturally have an inborn biasness against any and all reports of UFOs or ghosts. So, what do they do, knowing that they will get caught? They hoax a video of a UFO or ghost, just so people will be inclined to say, "See, there's another hoaxed blank." I view most hoaxers as having an agenda... Maybe it's just me, but I really think that the inner workings of a hoaxer is fairly simple. They either,

A. Want attention
B. Want to hoax something that they have a bias against.

[edit on 29-8-2007 by SpeakerofTruth]

posted on Aug, 29 2007 @ 04:29 PM
But if you'll forgive my saying, your argument seems a bit bare. The workings of the human mind are rarely that simple, and every action tends to receive a fair amount of thought and planning, even if it doesn't seem so at first.

People who are inherently biased against any topic are more likely to prove their viewpoint is right. It is true that some people may use unethical means to prove their stance -- including hoaxes. To use your example, the biased person would be more inclined to create a video that shows how easy it is to fake a paranormal sighting, or a fictitious video that somehow 'proves' that ghosts/UFOs/aliens don't exist. It is unlikely they would create a paranormal sighting and present it as fact, because -- again, your words -- they are biased against the paranormal.

For maximum functionality, a real hoax needs three groups of people:

1. The hoaxer: an individual who fabricates a tale and sets all the balls in motion; the actual 'wolf' crier.

2. Believers/The Hoaxed: Those who will swear on their grandmother's second cousin that the hoax is, in fact, real. These are the people who the hoaxer targets: the success of the hoax itself depends on how far the believers take it. In a sense, the believers themselves are the vehicle; the hoaxer is the driver who turns the key.

3. Skeptics/Debunkers: Previously, this was a group of people who would objectively examine the presented evidence and point out its flaws, and reasons to suspect its credibility. In recent times, this group appears to be dominated by a collection of self-proclaimed experts. While they often hold valid viewpoints, some of these 'experts' spend a lot of time ridiculing the target community for their beliefs, all the while causing the latter group to cling to the hoax more tightly. Think of our Group 3 as catalysts; they cause members of the 'believers' camp to rack up reasons why the hoax is real. Today, it seems they have become an (unwitting but critical part of any successful hoax.

If someone was going to create a hoax -- which they knew would be discovered, they wouldn't put much effort into it. Recent hoaxers have displayed skill at their craft, and certainly put plenty of effort into their work because they are intent on fooling the 'believer' group as long as possible. And while there may occasionally be a need for attention, I am yet to find a hoax (in recent times) that was motivated purely by a need for attention; again, reference the influx of 'anonymous credible witnesses' into the UFOlogical community. I hope you see where I'm coming from.

posted on Dec, 2 2007 @ 06:14 PM

Can we make general assertions on hoaxers? Difficult to say... I think psychology studies should be conducted on different hoaxers to understand their personal motives and maybe trying to draw a bigger picture from here.

I am not sure you can analyze hoaxers as a group: there are many different kind of hoaxes. You will find examples of political disinformation (Le Protocole des Sages de Sions), people trying to ridicule beliefs through hoaxes (The Giant Man example you provided), things like the Piltdown Man -whose intent is unknown, but was probably conducted by someone with some scientific knowledge- along with pranksters or attention seeking individuals.
But for every case of hoax designed to blow a hit to the credibility of some belief, you will also find cases where the hoaxers seems to have deluded himself into believing what he created. Not trying to steer up any controversy there, but relating to paranormal, the names of Meier, Greer and Rael may comes to mind... although one can doubt they buy what they preach and that they are mostly there to make a buck: did they start off with the intent to found cult-like organisations? Did it just start as a common hoax and they got lost themselves into what they created?

A final tought on this subject: we live, more than ever, in a age of entertainment. A good illusion will be better accepted than a mundane unspectacular reality (it was maybe always true, but now more than ever). Maybe some hoaxers thinks themselves as magicians?

Another thing could be... well conspiracy forums are filled with theories, hundreds of them... and believers. Too many people here (IMO) will grant to mere hearsay/rambling the status of "info". Conspirations are often mythologies... and in this perspective, an hoax, if it is convincing enough, will be incorporated by many in their mythologies and sometimes even a thorough debunking will not be enough to suppress all the traces of the info.

posted on Dec, 3 2007 @ 02:33 PM

Originally posted by Laeke

people trying to ridicule beliefs through hoaxes

That really got to the crux of what I think it is, more often than not...

[edit on 3-12-2007 by SpeakerofTruth]

posted on Dec, 5 2007 @ 01:52 AM
By all means, I do agree that all hoaxers cannot be summarized as a group. Hoaxes, however, all have certain fundamental similarities; specifically, the initial (information-seeding) phase, and the subsequent public circus that arises.

I maintain that hoaxes are generated for that second event: the public circus. Hoaxes depend on a mob mentality to work. Without the cooperation of the (fervent and skeptic) audience, the hoax is non-functional. And as long as people maintain their defensive stances (i.e. "Hoaxes are meant to discredit my belief), then I daresay these same people will continue to be ripe targets for the ever-persistent, ever present hoaxer community.

posted on Dec, 5 2007 @ 06:30 AM
reply to post by Mr Jackdaw

The problem I see is this. If you tell a lie long enough and with passion it will become the truth. As example, all through my school years in history class the US civil war was over slavery. What the US civil was was fought over primarily, States Rights.

Another example is " The Government owes me __________." This is brought on by the politicians getting elected or trying to stay in office.

So we must stand up, call a lie a lie and not let it become main stream.


posted on Dec, 5 2007 @ 03:29 PM
reply to post by Roper

Ah, but repeating a lie doesn't make it the truth. Repeating a lie frequently will only increase the chances that it will soon overshadow the truth -- with 'truth' referring to 'any statement that is held as fact by the majority of a given population'. This overshadowing, however, doesn't verify the falsehood -- nor does it require that anyone submit to the falsehood.

Think of it this way. If I went public and insisted that George Bush is female, it wouldn't serve any purpose because the public would have no reason to believe me. If, on the other hand, I went lying about some matter of public opinion -- say, 'proof' that the government orchestrated 9/11 -- more people would listen. If I was charismatic enough, I would gather believers, who would then take over the task of propagating and defending my lie. This is why I insist that hoaxes need a listening audience to work.

The society we live in is filled with abstract concepts -- built on them -- and we are left to interpret them as we will. We should remember that these abstractions, like the individuals they affect, are all part of the same unit -- which is why we interact with them. Forming a mob to fight 'the powers' won't solve anything, because there is no power to fight. To address your concern; the government most are dissatisfied with is a collection of ubiquitous agencies, which know more about you than you do about them. To address the concerns of this thread; hoaxers neither have a national organization, nor hold weekly board meetings. Like any abstract 'problem,' the only effective solution is to first understand the mechanism, then take steps to correct it.

Or to use another analogy; hoaxers and hoaxes are like a car and a driver (with a corresponding key). The hoaxer holds the key, and the audience is the driver. Once the key is turned (hoax initialized), the driver requires minimal further action to move the vehicle. In our analogy, however, the car (audience) doesn't want to be moved. The first step to achieve this would be to eliminate the key. But as the car can't do that, it can stop the key from functioning any further by doing the next best thing: disabling the ignition.

Not literally, of course -- but you see where I'm getting at.

posted on Feb, 9 2008 @ 03:41 PM
To recap the discussion, for new readers:

A hoax is a (partially or fully fabricated) piece of information that is presented to an audience as 'truth.' It isn't a hoax unless the presenter is aware that the information is false. Thus, it follows that a hoaxer is one who stands to gain something from perpetrating such frauds.

In a sense, a hoax can be called an elaborate lie. Most of us have lied, at some point in our lives, and perhaps felt justified (to an extent) for doing so. It should stand to reason, therefore, that every lie has some justification in the mind of the one who lies. Hoaxes follow the same rule; there is always a reason behind them, even if it is only visible in retrospect.

In some cases, hoaxers set out to prove a point: If it wasn't about mocking the nature of a (group's) beliefs, it was about proving them true -- perhaps, in order to ridicule an opposing group's stance on a subject. In some cases, hoaxes were also perpetrated for monetary gain. But as the public grew angrier at such, hoaxers became less visible, while hoaxes became more elaborate.

Today, it is difficult to trace hoaxers because they largely remain anonymous. A hoax, however, shouldn't be too difficult to spot, because a lie serves a specific function -- and therefore, assumes a specific form. For easier reading, I will conclude my thoughts in my next post.

posted on Feb, 9 2008 @ 03:44 PM
An important topic to be sure.
I am interested in political hoaxes, particularly those hoaxes which serve the interests of The Establishment.

New member, btw. Greetings

posted on Feb, 9 2008 @ 04:15 PM
As before, the primary function of a hoax is to serve up a (total or partial) falsehood as 'truth'. Until the information is actually accepted, the hoax cannot serve its purpose.

It is very important to be well-educated on any field in which one holds beliefs. I have stated before that believing in (or disbelieving) a thing isn't enough to affect its existence.

When a hoax is presented, it chooses to exploit the belief/disbelief stance. If one is to assume a stance on the 'hoax', there are certain important things to immediately look out for. I will outline a few steps below, each pertinent to specific forms of data that we come across.

1. If the primary information is verbal:

a. Does the speaker cite a profusion of 'credible' sources who choose to stay anonymous? This is grounds for suspicion, but not enough cause to immediately discredit the information: it may not be far-fetched to believe that there are secrets that any Government would kill to protect.

b. Does the speaker spend an inordinate amount of time speaking about how dangerous (his/her) action is? This too is grounds for suspicion. If I were breaking the law by sharing information, I wouldn't start off by telling everyone that I was breaking the law. Today, this ploy is commonly used to convince the audience that the swindler is 'on their side.'

c. When other evidence is presented (e.g. photographs, internal documents), are they verifiable by sources other than the presenter? If not, this is further grounds for suspicion. It isn't uncommon for hoaxers to string loosely-related events together, citing the scant evidence for each as conclusive proof for the hoax in question.

d. If one can't gain any more insight on the veracity of the information, analyze the information itself. How is it presented? To what conclusion does it guide the listener? If one is first led to sympathize with the speaker, the story may not be true; this is because if you sympathize with me, you're more likely to believe what I said. It is similar to a child breaking a treasured possession, then crying when the disaster is discovered.

Continued below.

posted on Feb, 9 2008 @ 04:51 PM
Hello IPCRESS, and welcome to the site.
I will shortly touch on what you mentioned. Before that, I will finish off with recommendations for handling Video evidence:

a. Does the 'footage' begin abruptly with the video, or after the filming begins? In the case of the latter, is there anything else that is 'video worthy' in the scene? Also, how does the camera approach the anomalous object?

b. Sound: Can anything be heard? Background noise yields valuable clues as to the nature of the incident on film. A lack of sound, however, doesn't conclusively 'debunk' the information; it does however raise suspicion about the video's credibility. Similarly, if the sound only presents one side of the event (i.e. the information's presenter), the audience should remain skeptical.

c. What does the footage show? If the subject is open to interpretation, the audience should leave it that way: for example, a video of a moving speck in the night sky isn't evidence of extraterrestrial life -- no matter how anomalous the speck may appear.

One more thing to look out for is the age of the proffered information. Commonly, hoaxes aim to fill in a gap in history by fabricating a story related to events of the time. The older the information, the more difficult it is to verify. In this scenario, the amount of necessary evidence is reduced, since most can be said to be lost or destroyed. This makes it even easier for a hoaxer to fabricate new information, and present it as a piece of the puzzle.

To comment now on IPCRESS's interest: an "Official" hoax may serve to justify a Government's (planned) action. Since Governments undoubtedly hold sway over the Media, it is important to analyze also the nature of the news we are presented with. News is rarely as 'objective' as it claims to be.

As before, a healthy skepticism is recommended towards ANY new information, regardless of its source: let's not forget that less than a hundred years ago, doctors were endorsing cigarettes.

posted on Feb, 10 2008 @ 12:06 AM

Originally posted by HighDefinitionFilms

Orson Welles got the same kicks with War Of The Worlds...

Making the unreal seem real- that is the quest of the hoaxer.

The War of The Worlds broadcast was actually part of a sophisticated government study to analyze how people reacted to media-induced panic. It was about developing programs for mass mind control. Welles was merely the performer. This was written by Mack White (

Psychologist Hadley Cantril conducted a study of the effects of the broadcast and published his findings in a book, The Invasion from Mars: A Study in the Psychology of Panic. This study explored the power of broadcast media, particularly as it relates to the suggestibility of human beings under the influence of fear. Cantril was affiliated with Princeton University's Radio Research Project, which was funded in 1937 by the Rockefeller Foundation. Also affiliated with the Project was Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) member and Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) executive Frank Stanton, whose network had broadcast the program. Stanton would later go on to head the news division of CBS, and in time would become president of the network, as well as chairman of the board of the RAND Corporation, the influential think tank which has done groundbreaking research on, among other things, mass brainwashing. Two years later, with Rockefeller Foundation money, Cantril established the Office of Public Opinion Research (OPOR), also at Princeton. Among the studies conducted by the OPOR was an analysis of the effectiveness of "psycho-political operations" (propaganda, in plain English) of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).


posted on Feb, 10 2008 @ 12:10 AM

Originally posted by Mr Jackdaw
an "Official" hoax may serve to justify a Government's (planned) action.

Or it may obscure ongoing actions.
The "Alien Abduction" phenomenon (and the idea of Aliens/UFOs in general) is a government hoax which is designed to conceal various Mind Control programs.

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