5 Stupid Lies That Backfired Hilariously
"A wacky lie gets out of hand" is the plot of approximately 40 percent of all sitcom episodes ever made. A character makes up some minor fib to avoid embarrassment, then 20 minutes later, they're having to stage an expensive fake wedding in order to avoid losing the big client. Strangely enough, this sort of thing happens in real life all the time, to even more dire consequences.
A Guy Faked A Kidnapping To Get Drunk With His Friends, Went To Jail
In early 2018, the pregnant Zoe Doyle received a frantic phone call. Her boyfriend, Leigh Ford, had been taken by two kidnappers while getting food for their evening tea. Doyle thought the whole thing was a joke, the ol' "love of my life has been violently taken against his will" prank. Who hasn't gotten that phone call?
Then they called again, threatening to break Ford's legs, cut off his genitals, and throw boiling water on him. Shouts could be heard in the background as a terrified Ford relayed his captors' demands: 80 pounds. Doyle transferred the oddly specific amount of money to a designated account. It was everything she had, which makes what happens next significantly sadder.
Fearing for the father of their future child, she called the police, launching a major 24-hour investigation. Armed officers scoured the city, a helicopter took to the sky, and a special negotiator was on standby. Things looked grim. And then early the next day, miraculously, Ford came home. Had he fought off his attackers, using his burgeoning Dad Strength to go all John Wick on a couple of crooks? Nope. He'd staged the whole thing to get plastered with his friends.
Even though this is the kind of scheme that is a staple of slapstick comedies, it turns out that this is actually illegal, for some reason. Ford was arrested immediately, with officers showing him security camera footage of him and his buddies leaving a shop carrying booze. Ford was sentenced to 16 weeks, and his girlfriend later told media, "He was a total idiot. I've made that clear to him. But it was one-off and our relationship is otherwise very strong. I know Leigh loves me and he has done his best to make things up to me." Score one for the power of love! Maybe!
Related: The 5 Most Ridiculous Lies You Were Taught In History Class
A Sister's Engagement Disapproval Led To A Military Response
In 2015, Canadian Forces got a tip that there was a terrorist living in Alberta. In an email and Facebook message, Hana Bedhiafi told authorities that her sister's fiance was an extremist who was planning to blow up buildings. The government reacted as it always does when even the flimsiest of terrorist threats turn up: More than 20 police units were assigned to the case, including Canada's National Security Enforcement Team, bomb disposal experts, and Arabic translators.
Investigators swooped in on the fiance, putting him under surveillance, searching his apartment with bomb-sniffing dogs, and questioning him for two days. It turned out he didn't have any bombs, or even a criminal record. What kind of wacky misunderstanding could have gotten us here? Maybe Bedhiafi misheard him on the phone boasting that his new track was blowing up on SoundCloud?
No, she made the dangerously stupid report in order to break up the engagement. You know, by getting her sister's fiance tagged as an enemy of the state. In court, she said, "My sister was my best friend and then one day she was gone . I was so devastated. It happened so quickly and then I did something foolish and terrible. I ended up thinking of no one but myself." Side note: This is a great premise for Bridesmaids II: Judgement Day.
A Prank Magic Act Turned Into A Riot
Half of the benefit of being rich is that you can just fuck with people. Thus, in 1749, a ruse was apparently hatched by two bored rich people, the Duke of Portland and Earl of Chesterfield. Probably between sips of orphan blood, the Duke remarked that he could "find fools enough in London to fill a playhouse ..." It's definitely a weird bet, but when you're an absurdly wealthy person in the 18th century, it's either this or hunting people on an island for sport.
So soon enough, an audience had filled London's New Theatre. A newspaper ad has promised that an unbelievable trick was about to occur: A magician was going to jump inside of a wine bottle. The advertisement promised he would even sing a song as part of this Ant-Man act, and "during his stay in the bottle any person may handle it." A sellout crowd gathered to witness what can only be described as a man spitting in the face of God and science alike.
Of course, since this was all a hoax to test people's gullibility, there was no magician. After waiting for a while, the audience started to get steadily angrier, and finally decided to make their own entertainment. After someone threw a candle on stage in protest, the audience began to tear up the seats and benches. They took everything that they could carry out of the theater and lit it on fire in the streets, stole the box office receipts, and even ripped the curtain down to use it as a makeshift flag. All in the name of a magic show that didn't happen.
You can only imagine the consequences for the two men behind the fiasco. And I mean literally that you can only imagine them, because there were none. It would be years before they would even be suspected as the pranksters, and it appears they suffered no punishment whatsoever. Hell, to them, the whole riot thing probably just made it funnier.
Related: The 5 Most Ridiculous Lies Ever Published As Non-Fiction
An MLB Manager Motivated Players With Fake War Stories, Got Fired
In 1998, Tim Johnson was known as being a fantastic manager in Major League Baseball, and this was partly due to his motivational speaking skills. During his time with the Toronto Blue Jays, he'd pump up players with stories from his time in Vietnam serving with the Marine Corps. Comparing anything to war is Baby's First Metaphor, but hey, if it helps win games and earn millions of dollars, what's the harm?
At first, Johnson offered very few details. When asked about it, he said, "I don't talk much about it. I never do. It's something that's past. Let it be." I can only assume that he followed up by adjusting his Aviators and turning toward a sunset. However, these generalities eventually turned into specifics like wading through rice paddies, dealing with Agent Orange, and "killing a girl and her little brother because they were in the line of fire." Nothing like accidental child murder to hone those fastballs!
Pitcher Roger Clemens felt so inspired that he decided to get Johnson a custom motorcycle helmet with his unit logo on it as a birthday gift. Clemens checked around, but couldn't find which unit his manager served under, so he called Johnson's wife. Since they apparently never talked Full Metal Jacket at the dinner table, she told Clemens that it never happened. Word spread, and soon the media got wind of the sweet smell of bullshit in the morning.
It turned out Johnson had indeed served in the Marine Corps, but he was stationed in California and never saw combat. After a drawn-out and very public shaming, Johnson was fired from the Blue Jays in 1999, and his career hasn't recovered in the two decades since. He found work managing a team in Mexico, where reportedly one cheeky sports agent asked whether he was "telling his players he fought at the Alamo."
While we're on the subject ...
Related: A Terrifying True Fable That Will Make You Never Lie Again
A Bunch Of Soldiers Staged A Fake Battle So They'd Look Heroic
India's Gurkha soldiers are regarded as one of the most badass military regiments in the world. They carry massive curved knives called kukri, and their motto is "Better to die than be a coward," which is something I've only said when walking back to a buffet. Sometimes, though, proving your bravery on the battlefield can be tricky, what with the whole potentially dying thing.
That's likely why one group of Gurkhas decided it was easier to just stage an elaborate battle -- all the credit, none of the risk. So in 2003, a battalion from the 5 Gurkha Rifles Regiment claimed they fought off Pakistani troops on the 21,000-foot Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir. They even had video footage of the dramatic encounter, during which they supposedly killed 52 opposing soldiers and blew up bunkers. Obviously, commanders were impressed. They had displayed superhuman skills, the kind of stuff you only see when you've been playing a new Call Of Duty for two weeks and your friend only got their copy this afternoon.
The lie was exposed after a major who had, incredibly, gotten wounded during the fake battle, blew the whistle on it. A commander also became suspicious of the abnormally high level of kills reported. Of course, there was also the fact that Pakistani forces didn't seem bothered by, or even aware of, their spectacular defeat, and that some of the footage was missing a common feature of battle: gunshots.
After an investigation, the country's defense ministry found that Indian soldiers were pretending to be dead Pakistani troops. The same officials also admitted that military operations based on inflated or false information is kind of a common thing. It's just that most don't go as far as to choreograph an action scene to back up their claim. Maybe in the future, soldiers on the ground will fight entire wars this way, just faking for the cameras until their leaders decide to negotiate a truce.
Devin Pacholik is a Canadian writer known for being a decorated astronaut, sexy neurosurgeon and completely honest guy from Saskatchewan. He has a website or you can follow him on Twitter.
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