According to him, as a member of the OSS (the forerunners of the CIA), Stringfellow was tasked with undertaking dangerous missions behind enemy lines, equipped with only his wits, a pretty lady on his arm, a gun in his holster, and probably some sort of tiny laser on his watch. He claimed that, during a "routine" mission to rescue renowned nuclear scientist Otto Hahn from the clutches of the Nazis, he was captured and imprisoned in Belsen. There, he was tortured endlessly, an experience that sadly left him a paraplegic.
Holy crap, who can dare challenge that story? This guy is so badass, he can probably kick your ass from his wheelchair!
Now, the thing is, the story wasn't complete bullshit. Stringfellow had in fact served -- he was a private in the Air Force and not only saw action, but was in fact wounded by a mine. But the whole bit about the OSS, winning the Silver Star, and, incredibly, the part about being paralyzed from the waist down was a lie. The man could walk and was hoping that nobody would ever figure it out.
Via Uintah County Library Regional History Center
Like this guy sitting beside him who actually is paralyzed.
Who the Hell Bought This?
Utah, apparently, because they voted him in. Stringfellow lasted for two years in power before his rivals discovered the truth and annihilated him. The Church of Latter-Day Saints, of which he was a member, ordered him to make a public confession. Stringfellow was replaced on his ticket just 16 days prior to the next election.
"Apparently I am not a paraplegic, and none of that awesome stuff happened to me."
The sad thing is that just running on the truth probably would have been enough -- Stringfellow served honorably and was wounded in service to his country. Actually, the sadder thing was that the guy apparently had built his plan on simply never being seen walking again. Ever. For the rest of his life. Was he going to fake a miraculous recovery at some point?
We'll never know.
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For more tales of extreme gullibility, check out 6 Retarded Publicity Stunts (That Fooled Everyone) and The Truth Behind 5 'Real Monsters' That Fooled the Internet.