5 Newspaper Article From History You’ll Swear I’m Making Up

As I read through hundreds of old newspaper article researching a couple of past column, I came across a handful of ridiculous narratives that I couldn’t turn into standalone columns. That’s when I remembered that John Cheese is the head of columns, and he dedicates about 2 percent of precisely one fuck. He was like, “Write that shit up. Also, can I have four dollars? “

These stories span a good chunk of the 20 th century, and even widen a little into the latter years of the 19 th. Regardless of when they came from, they have two things in common: 1) They’re old news threatening to be washed away by hour, and 2) they’re bonkers.


“Hijack No Stunt By Allen Funt”

From the late 1950 s to the early 1970 s, plane hijackings that diverted flights to Cuba were as popular as lava lamps and sobbing in a field after taking bad acid. There’s even an unsettlingly long Wikipedia entry dedicated to this very specific various kinds of hijack, the Golden Age of which stretched from 1968 to 1972. In February of 1969, a guy named Allen Funt was on one of those flights. He was flying Newark to Miami, and the fun began when the captain announced they’d first be making a quick stop in Havana at the request of a particularly insistent defined of passengers.

Fear rippled throughout the cabin — save for a handful of passengers who immediately got the joke. What joke? Well, find, before Ashton Kutcher donned the iconic trucker hat that bestowed upon him the mystic ancient power of riling celebrities with ridiculous pranks, Allen Funt hosted America’s original conceal camera prank demonstrate, Candid Camera , from 1948 to 1967. Some of the passengers looked at the hijackers, then looked at Funt, then back at the hijackers, and then reached the very logical conclusion that they were on Candid Camera .

There were got a couple of problems with that hypothesi. Candid Camera had been canceled two years earlier, for starters. But of course, that’s just what the Candid Camera guy would want you to think . The second was that this was extremely real. Funt couldn’t persuade the few passengers who supposed otherwise until the plane landed in Havana hours later. He, his wife and children, and all his fellow passengers eventually made it back to the states safely — and so did Funt’s camera crew, who were flying to Miami with him to movie an entire movie made of hidden camera footage.

The story has been exaggerated over the years. Some versions of it have the passengers exploding into uproarious applause at the committed performances of the actors playing the hijackers. According to Funt, only about four people were convinced it was a setup. Everyone else was soiling themselves in frightened silence, hoping there wasn’t a camera watching them do it.



Just southeast of Sacramento is where you’ll find Amador County. It’s one of those small rural parts of California that Americans fled to hoping to strike it rich during the course of its Gold Rush, but instead they get syphilis from an old-timey saloon prostitute. Before its local newspaper was The Amador Ledger-Dispatch , it was just The Amador Ledger .

In the October 3rd, 1902 edition of The Ledger was an article published with no byline. It’s fairly short, clocking in at simply over 230 terms , not counting it’s very, very good title and subtitle. “DOESN’T TRUST HORSES” reads the headline, followed by “Part Maniac And Part Idiot Is What One Man Calls Them.” What follows is the rant of a person who hated ponies with every fiber of their being 😛 TAGEND

In case you can’t read that, I’m going to transcribe it. And in case you can read it, I’m still going to transcribe it, because it needs to be read as many times as humanly possible.

I have spent much of a long life in comments and observations of horses. I have reared them, violate them, trained them, ridden them, driven them in every form from the plow to four-in-hand. The outcome of these years of analyse is summed up in one sentence — I believe the pony to be part madman and part idiot .

To middle school and high school students reading this, that opening is a perfect example of a great thesis statement you can use as two examples the next time you have to write a five-paragraph essay.

Every horse at some time in his life develops into a homicidal madman .

And then he goes right off into pony madness.

I believe any man who trusts himself or his family to the power of a horse stronger than himself to be lacking in common sense and wholly devoid of ordinary prudence, writes a Kentuckian to Harper’s Weekly .

To be fair, it doesn’t sound like this guy’s against all horses as much as he is against the use of strong horses. He’d favor if people who were moving from Wyoming to California in their covered wagons use weak, wheezing, pathetic ponies covered in flies and smell of their own impending doom to haul their 20 children across multiple states.

I have driven one commonplace pony every other day for six years over the same road and then had him go crazy and try to kill himself and me because a leaf fluttered down in front of him. I have known ratings of ponies, apparently trustworthy, apparently beings of routine, run wild and insane over equally regular and recurring phenomena. No quantity of observation can tell when the brute will break out. One mare took two generations of children to school over the same quiet road and then in her nineteenth year went crazy because a rooster crowed alongside the road. She killed two of the children. If anyone can tell me of one good reason why human should trust a pony, I should be glad to know .

At what point do you start to wonder “Are the horses insane, or am I driving them insane? “


“Dying Boy Learns Of Plight On National Television”

Bobby Murcer played for the Chicago Cubs in the late 1970 s. He was 12 -year-old Scott Crull’s favorite player. Scott had talked to Bobby on the phone earlier in the day before a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates that would be nationally broadcasted as the ABC Game of the Week. It was a prime-time spectacle like Monday Night Football — a big game that drew big ratings. Murcer told Scott he’d try to reached a home run for him, and if possible, maybe a doubled too.

He did better than that. Murcer made two home run. Amazing! It’s like something out of a movie! But as Murcer rounded the basis after the first homer, play-by-play announcer Keith Jackson was handed a note from his stat crew which he read aloud to drizzle some poignancy on the home run trot: That dinger was smacked in honor of little Scott Crull, a boy dying of bone cancer.

Scott was watching the game on TV with his family. His parents hadn’t told him “hes having” cancer, and they sure as hell didn’t tell him that the doctors only had given him only little over a month to live. Scott knew he was sick, but now he knew that he had cancer and was going to die.

Scott’s father had set up it all up, but either he never told anyone with the Cubs that his son didn’t know of his terminal affliction, or someone forgot to tell someone else, like it was a tragic game of Cancer Telephone. Either way, he probably didn’t suppose a baseball announcer would tell the word, which would have been the worst idea for violating bad news this galaxy has ever seen.

Scott died two weeks later.

And now for a narrative about a guy in a hot air balloon opposing a bald eagle.


“Battle With A Bald Eagle”

An old-timey aeronaut in 1891 named Arthur Cleveland was riding in a hot air balloon around 3,000 feet in the air, presumably en route to the moon to meet the face and cheese that call it home. He had a red handkerchief tied to the side of the basket which a bald eagle with a six-foot wingspan began to assault. The handkerchief steadfastly withstood the eagle’s powerful dorks and yanks, but at the expense of Cleveland’s aimed flight path.

So Cleveland started beating the shit out of the bird with a stick. Because he just had a stick of sufficient resilience to pummel a bald eagle 3,000 feet in the air. He whacked it so hard that the eagle backed up, but then it regained aplomb and swooped into the basket to attack Cleveland, the hankie now a trophy to be collected upon his demise. They got into this crazy aerial fight, with the eagle trying to peck Cleveland’s eyes out and Cleveland bashing its face with his skyward bashing rod, until Cleveland bashed so much that the eagle started get a little woozy. Like Ali explosion out of a rope-a-dope, Cleveland ricochetted to his feet and delivered a coup de grace to the eagle’s head that sent it spiraling to the Earth below.

His body unable to process how astoundingly badass all that was, Cleveland momentarily passed out. When he regained consciousness shortly thereafter, he fell anchor and landed. He retraced his route who knows how many miles until he found the body of the bald eagle that tried to commit a sky crime against him. There’s no record of what he did or said once he got to the corpse, so let’s say he grimaced at its twitching body as it held onto its final moments of life and said, “What you did was … ILL-EAGLE.” And then he beat it until it satisfied Bird-Satan in Bird-Hell.

But seriously, it’s illegal to kill bald eagles, so after all that shit, Cleveland was nearly arrested. Luckily, he was only fined $550, which is still an insult, deeming he should’ve been anointed as America’s first and only official Sky Lord.


“Robber Robs Taxi Robbers”

Reporters back in the working day were terrible people who often left out the vital pieces of information from fascinating articles, knowing it would infuriate me over 100 years later. Details like how a scrawny little guy in New York in April of 1912 named Matteo Arbano strolled into a bar and by “pure bluff” walked out with $10,000 of the $25,000 five thieves had stolen from bank messengers a couple weeks earlier, which they were obviously dividing amongst themselves out in the open.

How did he get them to proportion styles with that various kinds of pillage? Telling them an Irish immigrant breathed on it? Pulling their bowler hats over their eyes and running off with it? Telling them he was creating money for the families of those lost when the Titanic sink?

As Arbano strolled out of the bar, he was held up by what The Sausalito News described as “two companions, ” who left him with merely $3,000. Either “companion” was a colorful way of describing complete strangers, or Arbano got jacked by his two worst friends 15 seconds later after swindling hoodlums out of their stolen money. You could violate your neck on this roller coaster of self-esteem.

Now down to $ 3,000, Arbano fled to Havana. He met a woman. They get wasted. He woke up to find that she stole $2,500. He built it back to America with likely less than $500 and turned himself in to the policemen, because prison is a better fate than having even a penny of this goddamn cursed money.

A little further down on that same newspaper page is a tiny tale about a 74 -year-old Civil War vet who was divorcing his wife because he couldn’t stand her 35 cats.

Luis is reading old newspaper political cartoons from the 1940 s, when we knew who the fat cats were because it said so on their stomach. In the meantime, you can find him on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook .

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