4 Times Huge Money Was Wasted To Prove Silly Theories

When you run into somebody on the internet yelling about a flat Earth or a Bigfoot conspiracy, you always have to wonder if they're not simply messing with you. How many people really believe in the weird stuff, and how many are just selling something, or goofing around because they like to see skeptics get mad? That's why it's almost admirable to hear about people who've put up big chunks of money to prove their silly theory right. Almost.

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4
Flat-Earthers Spent $20,000 To Show They're Right

Bob Knodel came up with the perfect plan to prove the Earth is flat, and I'm not being sarcastic. Knodel co-hosts Globe Busters, a YouTube show dedicated to the idea that the Earth is in fact shaped like a pancake and covered in a dome, with the sun and moon revolving around it. Antarctica? It's not a continent at all, but a giant ice wall surrounding the edge of the pancake. Take a moment to breathe now. It's not that often that so much truth gets dropped on you at once.

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According to his Flat Earth International Conference bio, Knodel's background in engineering and piloting give him the credentials to be, like, super smart. But then how do you show us, the uneducated globe-believing morons, that we're wrong? Bob figured out that "if the earth is spinning at one rotation every 24 hours, that means that every hour it has to turn 15 degrees."

And you know what? He's right. That's exactly true. So how could he show that it wasn't turning those 15 degrees every 60 minutes? It would require a top-of-the-line ring laser gyroscope. The price tag on that machine? $20,000. But Knodel and his partner, Jeran Campanella, got the money and the gyroscope, and were all ready to demonstrate definitively that all of science and the government and the reptilians and the Illuminati have been lying to us, for reasons that still aren't entirely clear.

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As shown in the documentary Behind The Curve, they used the gyroscope, ran their experiment, and conclusively showed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Earth rotates on its axis and drifts 15 degrees every hour. Knodel and Campanella spent $20,000 on a high-end machine that proved exactly what every kindergartner in America already knows: The Earth is round. And they didn't even get a juice box as a reward.

You'll not be shocked to learn that Knodel did not accept his own findings. He continually concocted various ways to "fix" his own experiment, only to keep finding that pesky 15-degree shift every hour. It's almost as if the Earth isn't shaped like a Frisbee covered in a punch bowl at all.

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Related: 6 People Who Prove Sometimes You Really Should Give Up

3
The Daily Mail Spent Over A Million On A Yeti-Capturing Mission

This one starts with a twist: Yetis are absolutely real. They're also nothing but a unique type of bear -- specifically, the Himalayan brown bear. Of course, if we'd asked Tibetans in the first place, we wouldn't have needed all this DNA sequencing to figure it out. In one of their earliest manuscripts about the yeti, they plainly state it's a "variety of bear."

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But of course, no one looking for the abominable snowman over the last century has strapped on their snowshoes to seek out, ya know, people who might know about it. No, they wanted to catch an imaginary monstrous primate playing hopscotch all over Mount Everest. And the people of the Himalayas were more than happy to play along. According to the BBC, to rake in that sweet, sweet monster hunter cash, every village in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan employed a designated "yeti witness," tasked with the job of roping in gullible snowman seekers in order to charge them "a lot of money" to traipse all over the mountains and valleys to find absolutely nothing of consequence.

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In 1954, The Daily Mail plunked down a million euros in today's money to fund an effort to capture a yeti, complete with a cage and a handful of renowned scientists and explorers. They spent 15 weeks in the Himalayas looking for an ape man, and I'll give you three guesses as to what they found.

Of course, this was by no means the end of yeti-hunting, which has a long and stupid history that continues to this day. A supposed yeti scalp made it out of the Himalayas six years after the above expedition, when Edmund Hillary managed to coax one from Nepal thanks to a "donation" to the local monastery. It turned out to be part of a goat. Peter Byrne paid some monks a whopping $160 to take an alleged finger from a yeti hand in the Pangboche monastery. He then smuggled it out of Nepal with the help of Jimmy Stewart (yes, that Jimmy Stewart), who stowed the finger in his wife's underwear case. Oh, and it was actually a human finger. Of COURSE it was a human finger.

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Related: 5 People Ironically Ruined By Their Very Stupid Beliefs

2
A Man Sank More Than $500,000 Searching For Noah's Ark

Daniel McGivern had achieved the unbelievable. At a 2004 press conference, he announced that he had made the most important archaeological discovery in the history of the world. He had found the final resting place of Noah's Ark.

So where was the Ark? Why, right on Mount Ararat in Turkey, where the Bible said it would be, you godless heathen. McGivern personally paid for satellite photos of the area, and was convinced he could now find the Ark thanks to a 2003 heat wave that killed thousands of people in Europe but also melted part of Ararat's ice cap. So, ya know, bright side.

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However, despite spending thousands of dollars on satellite photos and putting an expedition together, McGivern neglected to do one very important thing: get Turkey's permission to explore Mount Ararat. Only 150 miles away from the Iranian border, Mount Ararat was a crazy dangerous place. In 1991, Kurdish separatists kidnapped five Ark seekers on the mountain and held them for three weeks. So Turkey was hesitant to let starry-eyed church folk rampage over there.

So McGivern tried to Ron Swanson his way onto Mount Ararat, but Turkey wasn't having it. He needed a real permit to go up on the mountain, and he wasn't going to get it. Moreover, the guy McGivern had picked to lead the expedition, Ahmet Ali Arslan, had been accused of faking Ark photos before. The entire endeavor stank from the get-go, and McGivern pouted for a while, claiming he would stop searching for the biblical site that would put evolution in checkmate. He no longer had "Ark fever."

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It didn't take him long to relapse. As of 2011, McGivern was still burning through the cash, surpassing the half-million-dollar mark on more satellite photos, ground-penetrating radar, and hiring other people to climb the mountain, only to get chased off by militants. He even tried to enlist President Obama's help to explore the site, and failing that, maybe to toss them some Presidential Medals of Freedom. Because why the hell not?

Related: 7 People Who Never Gave Up (But Absolutely Should Have)

1
A Man Raised A Million Euros To Find Nessie

Adrian Shine spent years of his life searching for the Loch Ness Monster, and in 1987, he did so with extreme prejudice. Shine managed to get together around a million euros to unleash a "flotilla of 24 boats, equipped with high-tech sonar, which trawled the 22.5-mile long, 738-foot deep lake in the Scottish Highlands for two days." Called "Operation Deepscan," it was the largest sonar search of any freshwater lake in history. Man, when you put all the information together like that, it kinda makes it seem sad.

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With that kind of scanning power, there would be no part of the loch unsearched. No place for Nessie, a giant prehistoric marine reptile, to hide. Tons of spectators showed up to watch, along with more than 250 newspapers and 20 different television stations. Bookies took bets on Nessie's discovery, and would have been on the hook for $1.65 million in 1987 cash when the monster was caught. It was such a possibility that a bookmaker at William Hill actually lowered the odds from 250-1 to 100-1 just to cut their losses if Shine's sonar scan busted Nessie in the middle of a backstroke.

Of course, the bookmakers' coffers were safe. Operation Deepscan turned up absolutely nothing. The biggest "hits" the flotilla got were probably from a seal or a handful of salmon. Nessie had escaped once again, using the fact that she didn't exist in the first place to do so.

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In spite of tossing so much money down the drain, Shine was content with the scan's findings. He wanted to solve the mystery of Loch Ness, and he did, definitively. With no dinosaur, ancient whale, or monster serpent in the lake, he blames the continued sightings of Nessie on the "psychology of human perception," with people misidentifying waves and known animals. I would call it a happy ending if it didn't sound so much like the death of innocence and fantasy in a man's life.

For more, check out The Truth Behind Every Internet Conspiracy Theory:


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