#3. The Mad Gasser of Mattoon
In Mattoon, Illinois in the early 1930s, reports started popping up of a man or woman deliberately spraying poisonous gasses into people's homes via the windows, and in some cases, building crude barricades to keep the victims inside. The barricade thing may seem weird, but people in the 30s were the trusting type, and apparently didn't go out to investigate when they heard the sound of sawing and hammering right outside their front doors.
Anyway, the victims complained of nausea and sore throats, and sometimes would catch a glimpse of something moving outside in the distance. The town was gripped with panic, terrified that the villain would attack again with his arsenal of pretty much harmless chemicals.
Finally an official inquiry was started into the matter, to solve it once and for all. They gathered eye witness reports and wound up with descriptions of the perpetrator as a tall, short, male, female, fat, thin, human, ghost, Nazi, dinosaur ... pretty much the whole spectrum of life past and present on planet earth.
Investigators filed the incident under "What the fuck?" which just happens to be conspiracy theorists favorite question to answer.
The Obvious Answer:
Two weeks after it all started Thomas Wright, the commissioner of public health came and said:
"There is no doubt that a gas maniac exists and has made a number of attacks. But many of the reported attacks are nothing more than hysteria. Fear of the gas man is entirely out of proportion to the menace of the relatively harmless gas he is spraying. The whole town is sick with hysteria."
Yes, good job calming the hysteria with the phrase "Gas Maniac."
The town police chief, on the other hand, came out and said there was actually no gasser at all, that the people were freaking out because they heard a noise, checked the window, and smelled something funny. Not unusual seeing as how their town was filled with factories and the town itself was constantly awash in chemical fumes (back then environmental regulations were pretty much done on the honor system).
After the reassuring statements from Wright and the chief of police, the public decided maybe it was time to calm down. Oh wait, no they didn't. They decided it was time to fucking freak out more. There were countless more reports, none of them ever confirmed.
Oh, there may have been an actual gasser at some point, a recent book points to a local medical student who could have carried out the few actual attacks that led to the hysteria. When asked why, he reportedly stated, "Because I'm fucking insane."
#2. The Starchild Skull
Found in a mine tunnel in 1930, this odd-shaped skull is believed to be that of an alien or other magical creature (Goblin? Leprechaun?) After carbon dating, the skull was found to be about 900 years old.
Paranormal researchers were quick to tell anyone who would listen that it was the skull of an alien human hybrid, or just alien, or anything paranormal. They were just happy someone was talking to them.
A paranormal researcher (probably).
The Obvious Answer:
Well... look at it. We only have three full-time archeologists on the staff here at Cracked, but it's pretty obvious that that is a human skull. Luckily skull experts agree that it's from a young child, 3 to 5 years old, with some type of physical deformity. The list of diseases and defects can cause this kind of abnormality is extensive. The list of paranormal reasons that have been proven to cause this isn't a list at all, it's more of a napkin smeared with Cheetoh smudges and crazy.
This one goes back to Ufologists' rather bizarre belief that aliens would look exactly like us (two eyes, a mouth, a nose, etc.) with only tiny variations (they're grey or have a weird bone in the middle of their face). Why would beings that evolved on different planets under totally different conditions look alike? If you believe the conspiracy theory that often accompanies the Starchild Skull, you'd know it's because aliens planted humans on earth thousands of years ago!
So either we're just a giant colony of sea monkeys for extremely bored aliens, or 900 years ago at least one kid had a weird-shaped head.
#1. The Bermuda Triangle
Well for one thing, that's not even a triangle.
This is the granddaddy of supposed paranormal phenomena. You know the story: you go into the Triangle, you don't come out. It's some kind of magical black hole around Florida, Puerto Rico and Bermuda where ships, planes and probably countless confused whales have disappeared. According to paranormal "experts" this is easily attributable to either aliens, interdimensional portals, demons, ghosts, Bigfoot, ghost Bigfoot, sea monsters or stargates.
Or Bigfoot riding a Sea Monster. Aaaaahhh
Even Christopher Columbus claimed he saw weird shit there more than 500 years ago. To read books about the subject, you'd think ships disappear by the hundreds every week.
So what's the deal? Are the boats getting sucked through a time portal? Being sunk by savages from the mystical lost city of Atlantis? Or is it Cthulhu? It's Cthulhu, isn't it?
The Obvious Answer:
Again we must refer to the scientific phenomenon called People Making Up Bullshit. As experts have pointed out, the entire Bermuda Triangle mystery is based around people taking routine disappearances and spicing them up in the retelling. So for instance, part of the legend is a plane inexplicably vanished off the coast of Daytona on a sunny day in 1957. A search of the newspaper that day revealed that either it didn't happen, or all the witnesses signed a pact of silence in their own blood lest the triangle take them too.
They like to describe missing ships as having "disappeared" or saying they "were never seen again", which immediately brings to mind magic. In reality when a boat sinks you're probably not going to see it again because, you know, it's on the bottom of the fucking ocean.
Believers often fail to mention that many of the disappearances happen during storms and rough seas, when you'd pretty much expect ships to sink. Other times ships would be reported missing and thus added to the Triangle's tally, then nobody bothers to correct it when the ships turn up later unharmed (like because the Captain was drunk off his ass and accidentally sailed to Portugal).
But the final stake into the heart of the Dracula that is the Bermuda Triangle mystery is the fact that the number of disappearances is no larger than any other well-traveled part of the ocean (the Triangle includes some of the busiest waters on the planet).
Once again, the only magic at work is the mystical human hunger for bullshit.
The REAL Bermuda Triangle.
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