In 1980, Swedish Navy detected underwater sounds that they suspected to be hostile Russian submarines. This suspicion escalated to a diplomatic conflict between Sweden and Russia. It was later found by a researcher that these sounds came from herring fish farts and he won Ig Nobel Prize (American parody of the Nobel Prizes) for this discovery.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
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15 Most Controversial & Costly Blunders in History
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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
12. In 1964, a student researcher named Donald Rusk Currey cut down a tree for a research project. Unbeknownst to the student, the tree turned out to be the oldest living independent organism on the face of the earth at that time, a 5,000-year-old bristlecone tree.
13. In 1983, dozens of women and teenage girls started fainting in Palestine, creating a health crisis and accusations from both Israel and the Arab League of a chemical weapon attack. Turned out it was all a product of mass hysteria.
14. In 1961, 3 residents of an old people’s home in England died of heart attacks when they saw the grim reaper at their window, who turned out to be another resident of the home in a disguise.
15. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan accused Russia of using chemical weapons against rural farmers in Laos after yellow droplets fell from the sky and splattered the landscape, followed by dying plants, animals, stomach problems in humans. The USA started ramping up production of chemical weapons in retaliation. All this happened because of false lab results. The yellow droplets turned out to be naturally occurring bee excrement falling from the sky.
16Fake moon rock
The supposed moon rock from the Apollo mission that was given to the former prime minister of the Netherlands in 1969, it turned out to be just petrified wood.
17. A woman named Alicia Esteve Head fabricated a story about being on the 78th floor of the south World Trade Center when it was hit. She became the president of the WTC Survivors Network. She was actually in Spain during 9/11.
18. In 1983, a man from Cheshire, England confessed to his wife's murder when a body was discovered near his house. It turned out to be a preserved "bog body" from the Iron Age.
19. In 2012, two Bulgarian alfalfa farmers captured 5 suspected thieves after an intense fight. These 5 thieves then turned out to be French commandos who were on a secret training mission.
20. In 1958, news broke that Singer Jerry Lee Lewis had married a 15-year-old "woman". She later turned out to be only 13-year-old and later turned out to be his first cousin named Myra Gail Lewis.
21Twin couple restaurant
In the city of Yiwu in eastern China, people were confused about how a Chinese couple managed to run a busy restaurant 21 hours a day without getting tired. Locals named them “robot couple restaurant”. It turns out the restaurant is run by two couples, both the men and women are identical twins.
22. In 2006, Fiji water ran an ad saying "The label says Fiji because it's not bottled in Cleveland." Cleveland took offense to that and ran some tests. It turns out Cleveland's tap water is better than Fiji's bottled water.
23. In 1976, a film crew went to the haunted house in a Californian amusement park to shoot footage for a popular TV show. They discovered a hanging body that they thought was a mannequin. Turns out it was a real person (Elmer McCurdy), who had been dead and was circulated in various carnivals for over 60 years.
24. Eleven well reported medical studies showed cigarette smoking actually lowers Alzheimer's risk. However, 10 years later, it comes to light that every study was done by scientists with undeclared connections to the tobacco industry.
25. A husband named Jian Feng in China divorced and sued his wife for making ugly children. At first, it was thought she had an affair, but it turns out that she had $100,000 worth of plastic surgery before she met her husband.