In 1978, on a dating game TV show, a contestant named Cheryl Bradshaw turned down a date with her chosen winner (Rodney Alcala) because he was "acting creepy" after the show. The winner turned out to be a serial rapist and murderer.
In 2010, Tokyo officials decided to congratulate the oldest man named Sogen Kato in the city on his 111th birthday. What they found instead was his 30-year-old skeleton. The family, as it turned out, was still drawing off the pension he was still receiving for 30 years.
3Satanic ritual abuse
There was an epidemic of Satanic ritual abuse across America in the 1980s that turned out to be completely imagined. People were recalling memories of sexual abuse and cannibalism that never even occurred.
In 1975, when Pink Floyd was completing "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," which was an exploration of their former bandmate Syd Barrett's mental decline, an overweight man with a shaved head and eyebrows entered the studio. He turned out to be Syd Barrett himself, who they had not seen in 7 years.
A zoo in Toledo, Ohio was created when a baby bear was donated to the city in 1900. The bear turned out to be an adult woodchuck.
During World War 1, a British soldier named Henry Tandey showed mercy to a wounded German infantryman, who later turned out to be Adolf Hitler.
7John Leonard Orr
Los Angeles was hit with a devastating and deadly series of intentionally set fires in the 1980s and 90s. They finally arrested the arsonist named John Leonard Orr, who turned out to be The Arson Inspector (also Fire Captain), who was charged with investigating the fires.
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8Grated parmesan cheese
In 1969, an Italian man was charged with selling a product described as "grated Parmesan cheese". It later turned out to be grated umbrella handles.
In 2009, Irish Police went on the search for 'Prawo Jazdy', a serial driving offender wanted for 50 offenses for driving infractions. He not only gave police a different address each time, he also gave them a different alias. It turned out 'Prawo Jazdy' was Polish for 'driving license' and officers had taken this down during traffic stops instead of actual names.
There is a lake in Australia named lake disappointment. It is named such because explorer Frank Hann followed several freshwater rivers in the area and expected to find a large freshwater lake, but instead, it turned out to be a salt lake.