Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Laughter and Ghost Stories

After their 11th child, an Alabama couple decided that was enough, they could not afford a larger bed.
So the husband went to his veterinarian and told him that he and his cousin didn't want to have any more children.
The doctor told him that there was a procedure called a vasectomy that could fix the problem but that it was expensive. 
'A less costly alternative,' said the doctor, 
'is to go home, get a cherry bomb, (fireworks are legal in Alabama) light it, put it in a beer can (COORS), 
then hold the can up to your ear and count to 10.'
The Alabamian said to the doctor, 
'I may not be the smartest tool in the shed, but I don't see how putting a cherry bomb in a beer can next to my ear is going to help me.'
'Trust me,' said the doctor.
So the man went home, lit a cherry bomb and put it in a beer can.
He held the can up to his ear and began to count!
At which point he paused, placed the beer can between his legs and continued counting on his other hand.
This procedure also works in Tennessee, Kentucky, The Carolina's, Louisiana,Arkansas, Mississippi, 
Parts of GeorgiaMissouriWest Virginia , AND All of Washington DC.


Will and Guy's Joke of the Day #65

Will and Guy's Hoaxes

* Piltdown Man

Perhaps the most famous hoax was Piltdown man. In 1912, at a time when
 Darwin's evolutionary theory was new, and people were looking for missing
links between humans and apes, someone planted two fake skulls which
came to be known as Piltdown Man.

The part medieval man, part Orang-utang fossil was found, in the very English
village of Piltdown in Sussex.  Piltdown man's scientific name, Eoanthropus
dawsoni, reflected its finder's name Dawson.  To get a flavour of those times,
 the British Empire was still riding high, and Germany had their Heidelberg
man fossil, Britain was desperate for a more important 'missing link' between
man and monkey.

For 40 years Piltdown man was literally put on a pedestal and worshipped
but not rigorously examined. The hoax lead a charmed life until it was
unmasked in 1953. Microscopic examination, X-rays, or carbon dating would
 have exposed the fraud the impostor much earlier.

Urban myth has it that the fraud was only exposed when a cheeky first
year student said to the Professor, 'That skull looks just like an ape's
jawbone in a human skull'.  When the Professor said, 'Don't be so silly',
 the pupil said, 'Look, you can even see where someone has filed down
the molars to make them fit the jaw'.
The student was of course quite correct.

Who did it?
What makes the Piltdown fraud so interesting is that the hoaxer was never
exposed, certainly during their life time.  Much like horses at the nearby
Plumpton race track, a whole field of suspects has been assembled for
 the hoax of the 20th century.  The most exotically named candidate is
 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a friend of Dawson and later a Jesuit priest.
One of the outsiders in the betting is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator
of Sherlock Homes, he came into the frame because he lived in Sussex.

Others runners, who have their backers, are Dawson's friend
Smith Woodward, also Sir Grafton Elliot Smith. Lately, there has been
speculation that Martin Hinton was the forger as similar material was
found in his loft.

My favourite candidate to be the hoaxer is Dawson whose archaeological
dig discovered the fossil.  Dawson was an antiquarian, therefore had
access to medieval skeleton's from which to build the two fraudulent skulls
 known as Piltdown I and Piltdown II.  In an attempt to make the skull rust
as if with age, someone had cooked it in an iron solution.  Dawson had the
 knowledge of chemistry needed to age the unusually thick skull so that it
looked like a fossil.

For me the main reason for singling out Dawson, is that he had other skeletons
in his cupboard.  Investigation shows that Dawson had dodgy form as the faker
 of other fossils, old letters indicate that the man seemed obsessed with the
'big find'.  Join me and have a bet that the Piltdown man hoax
was Dawson's crowning glory.

An Alberta Ghost Story 
retold by S.E. Schlosser
Spooky CanadaThere was an abandoned house sitting in the middle of a fancy neighborhood in Calgary that nobody would go near. And I mean nobody!  Now , my pal Albert was the agent in charge of selling that haunted house and he tried everything in his power to close a deal.  But folks were too plumb scared to make an offer, even at rock-bottom prices.  Finally, Albert lit on the notion of selling the house sight unseen to a rich city slicker from the States. Worked like a charm, too, until the day the city slicker decided he wanted to visit the property after all.
Albert was all set to take the fellow there at high noon, but the city slicker’s train was delayed, so it wasn’t until after dinner that the two men set off for the haunted house. It was a dark and rainy night, but early enough in the evening that the ghost might still be resting. At least, Albert hoped this was the case.  
Albert unlocked the front door, and it opened with an ominous creak. Albert swallowed nervously, but the city slicker just chuckled and said something about atmosphere. Albert relaxed a bit, and wondered if he shouldn’t have raised the price a bit. The two men entered a tall foyer absolutely festooned with dusty cobwebs. 
“Creepy!” the city slicker said enthusiastically. He bounded energetically into the center of the foyer, “Come to me, foul spirits!” he intoned loudly.  
Immediately, the whole house rang with a sinister, unearthly chuckle.  Then an unearthly  voice boomed: “I’m coming down now!” The city slicker jumped and then turned to Albert with a happy grin. “Great special effects! How’d you do that?” 
“I didn’t,” Albert said, his teeth chattering. He backed up until he hit the front door and stood there with his hand on the knob.  
“I’m coming down now!” the voice boomed again, and the city slicker’s grin slipped a bit. He looked at Albert’s frightened posture and then followed the agent’s gaze toward the stairs.  
A bright light exploded into being at the top of the steps and quickly resolved into a sinister green head with flaming eyes, writhing hair, and fangs instead of teeth. The head opened its mouth and screamed; a terrible, high-pitched sound that scraped across the nerves.  
As the head began rolling down the stairs toward the two men, Albert’s nerve broke, and a moment later he was halfway down the road, his own scream rivaling that of the specter in the house behind him.  
It wasn’t until he was almost home that he realized that he had company. The city slicker was running along beside him.  
“Mister, I don’t think I want that house after all,” he panted. 
“Why not?” asked a hauntingly familiar voice. Albert and the city slicker looked over and saw the green head with flaming red eyes keeping pace with them as they raced down the street. 
The city slicker gave a screech that would have shamed a banshee and disappeared into the distance so fast there was no keeping up with him. 
“Must have been the asking price,” the floating head said conversationally to Albert. The real estate agent shrieked even louder than the city slicker and ran away so fast that his shoes made sparks against the pavement.
The next day, Albert quit his job and moved to Vancouver, where he spent the rest of his life working on a fishing boat.   And the haunted house fell into ruin and was eventually torn down. 

Tlinglit Tribe
retold by
S. E. Schlosser
A young warrior came to the coast with his wife and mother one summer and settled in the place where Sitka now stands. It was a summer of hardship for the family because the fish stayed away from the coast and the game had moved far away over the mountains. The warrior set traps and laid nets in the water and wandered many miles hunting for food, but he found nothing. The family had to eat berries and green sprouts and dig for roots to eat. Even so, there was barely enough each day to keep the family going.
The old mother, who was nearly blind, began to lose health and strength as the days went by with little food. In sharp contrast to this was they pretty young wife, who stayed strong and healthy and just picked at her meal each evening. This puzzled the young warrior, who felt himself losing his vigor as the days went by, but he could find no reason for her good health in this time of adversity.
Then his old mother came to her son very early one morning and told him a sad and cruel story. The old mother had awakened the night before from a dream of cooked fish to smell the reality in the air. She opened her old eyes and saw a fish roasting on a small, flickering fire. The starving old mother saw her son's wife crouched near the fire and she heard the girl eagerly chewing the hot fish. The old mother cried out to her son's wife to give her a morsel, but the girl was selfish and told the old woman that the fish she smelled was just a dream. When the old mother begged for just a single bite of fish, the girl denied her request. The old woman kept up her cries until the selfish girl took the bare bones from the last fish and thrust them into the old woman's hands, burning her flesh. Then the old mother wept bitter tears and retreated back to her corner.
When he heard his mother's story, the warrior cautioned her to say nothing to his wife. When the selfish girl awoke, the warrior treated her in his customary manner, but he kept watch to see what she would do. That night, when she thought everyone lay sleeping, the young wife crept down to the shore and summoned a school of herring to the shore using a magic spell. She swept two of the largest fish into her basket and took them back to the lodge to cook.
Unbeknownst to her, the warrior had followed his wife. He took care to memorize the strange words of his wife's spell, and then slipped quickly back to the lodge and into his blankets before she returned. He lay so still that the girl never suspected that he was watching as she cooked and ate the fish, carefully burying the bones so that her family would not know what she had done.
In the morning, the warrior went out hunting and caught a fat seal. That evening, the whole family feasted on the rich meat, and soon the selfish young wife lay fast asleep in the lodge. At midnight, the young warrior rose and went to the shore. Using his wife's spell, he summoned the herring and filled a basket with the largest of the fish. When the girl woke in the morning, she saw her husband and his mother eating roast fish beside a crackling fire. The old mother savored each mouthful and kept darting triumphant looks at the selfish young girl. Then the young wife knew that her shameful behavior had been discovered.
After greeting her husband pleasantly, the young girl left the lodge and walked casually toward the woods. As soon as she was out of sight, she took to her heels, running as fast as she could toward the mountains, fearful of her husband's wrath. She heard the warrior call her name, and heard him running after her. She flung herself up the mountainside, clambering up a large bolder that stood in her way. As the girl climbed, she felt her body growing smaller and smaller. She gasped in fear as she realized that the magic she had used so selfishly was turning against her in punishment for the crimes she had committed against her starving family. She felt feathers sprouting from her arms and face, and when she cried out, the only sound she could make was a soft hooting noise.
By the time the young warrior reached the boulder, the girl's transformation was complete. He found himself face to face with a small owl that gazed up at him with his wife's large, pleading eyes. He reached out to her, not knowing what to do or say. The owl backed away from his hand, and he saw the humanity fading from its eyes. The owl shook itself, stretched its wings, and flew away into the forest, hooting plaintively.
The warrior gazed after his transformed wife sadly. He had planned to treat her gently, to woo her away from her selfishness with his love and his kindness. But the evil forces she had used so selfishly had taken her and there was nothing he could do but return to his lodge and tell his old mother what had happened.
To this day, the plaintive hoot of the owl may be heard in the wilds of Alaska, reminding those who hear it of the price a young girl once paid for her selfishness.

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