Hoaxes – Fake News – Satire Posts

Johnny Depp – Amber Heard Trial vs. Ukraine War: A Mashup

Judge Azcarate agrees to a last-minute venue change and the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard defamation trial moves to Ukraine. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard get in Russian T-90 tanks spray-painted with “Z”s to fight each other. One is in a Russian tank, and the other one is in a Russian tank appropriated by Ukraine. No one knows which is which. The celebrities pursue each other shooting high explosive rounds from the 125 mm smooth-bore tank guns. Their “cope cages” and reactive armor spectacularly fail. The roads clog with burned-out tanks as the battle takes longer than legal analysts expected.

Bogged down in the countryside by the infamous Ukrainian mud, the venue changes again. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard pursue each other through the bowels of the sprawling steel plant complex at Mariupol, on the north coast of the Sea of Azov. Miles of tunnels under the plant conceal what really happened in the fog of war. All we know is they are both actors on the destabilizing world stage, cogs in a grinding apocalypse.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard level each other’s cities in a great humanitarian crisis. Threats of a Johnny Depp chemical weapons attack haunt Amber Heard who puts on an aging gas mask and thinks, “This might be it” as she rushes into the fight. But the threats were a bluff: Johnny Depp has snorted all the nerve gas.

Zeppelins Over Duluth

From the book The First Time Germany Invaded Duluth, Minnesota by Peter S. Svenson:

“July 1, 1917: The Weltanshauung, a German hydrogen war-zeppelin, lost power over Bavaria. Captured by the wind, for the next two weeks it blew north across Europe and then the Arctic Circle. The furious crew tried fixing the engines but never succeeded. Technically, they set the World Record for the first arctic crossing by air, a feat later repeated by Shackleton.”

From “Zeppelins Over Duluth!” Duluth Herald, July 16, 1917:

“The Weltanshauung contained an internal airplane hangar with six black tri-planes that emerged from the nose of the craft like hornets. A Canadian fighter squadron looked for the zeppelin over Lake Erie and almost collided with it in the dark. It was a cliff face hanging in the sky, dwarfing them with the black-cross-on-white symbol of the German Air Force. But the Canadians lost it in confusion and fear. Soon a lake steamer spotted it drifting within sight of the North Shore of Lake Superior, toward Duluth. The authorities mobilized the American helium zeppelin, the Federalist, from its floating hangar in the Duluth harbor.

Stock Lake Superior with Seals and Orca Whales: A Modest Proposal

To the Mayor of Duluth and the City Council: I propose that the city stock Lake Superior with seals, and a community of orcas to keep the seals in check. This plan increases annual tourist revenue by $300,000,000. I outline my proposal below with expenditures.

Seals can live in freshwater. The only population of exclusively-freshwater seals is native to the ratchet Lake Baikal in Russia, the Baikal seals. But geopolitical issues preclude obtaining breeding pairs. Therefore we need to look closer to home: Quebec has harbor seals in a couple lakes, a subspecies of the common seal called the Ungava seal. But, the Ungava is endangered so if we import them, we should establish a breeding program, increasing expenses.

Fortunately, Iliamna Lake in Alaska has a population of common seals trapped there. I suggest we capture and import specimens from that population to get ours started. Technically saltwater seals, the common seals’ adaptability to freshwater has been proven which will give them a head start in Lake Superior. I’ll throw in a couple Ungavas on the house to increase genetic diversity. Estimated cost of capturing and importing 100 breeding pairs of seals from Lake Iliamna: $3,500,000.

Plutonium Loves

I loved her and now that I’ve left I am full of cancer. My genome breaks further each day in a cascading cellular demolition. She’s a physicist so we used to see each other around the University. Once the accident made her radioactive, we saw each other through the leaded glass of her containment chamber in St. Luke’s.

The Alworth Incident

Introduction: UMD’s Alworth Hall was built in 1974. It was rebuilt in 2011 in the wake of the Alworth Incident which claimed the life of Desiree Zontal, Dean of the Research Instrumentation Laboratory. Her graduate student Ward Hind, and her husband Horace Zontal, Associate Dean of the Physics Department, both survived. Mr. Hind, the jealous saboteur, is incarcerated in Oak Park Heights in a cell made of the anomalously-irradiated bricks of the lab. In these essays, we put a human face on the Incident, although in the case of Mr. Hind, this is, ironically, impossible.

The SuperiorLab-Marquette Disaster

Deep-sea explorer Ecclesia Hummingbird, August 23, 2001 on PBS: “I live and work here in SuperiorLab, a hyperbaric underwater habitat 950 feet deep, by a drowned petrified forest. Welcome to science’s first permanent presence at the bottom of Lake Superior, with our partners: the University of Minnesota, NASA, and our corporate sponsors. We are offshore between Two Harbors and Silver Bay, in a quarter-mile-wide underwater canyon whose sides slope hundreds of feet down. This scar cuts for thirty miles getting deeper and deeper. The lake’s canyons divide the bedrock like cracking skin, and this crack is one of its deepest, Bible black like space.

“SuperiorLab is manned by a rotating crew of divers and astronauts-in-training who live here for months at a time. Because of budget cuts, that is currently a crew of two. There’s myself, and there’s my half-sister Persephone Marrow, a geologist developing protocols for future Mars missions. We are the so-called ‘genius daughters’ of the university’s Professor Joseph Marrow.

Planetary distress call recorded by UMD Observatory (UPDATE: with reply)

AP: University of Minnesota, Duluth – The UMD observatory at the Swenson College of Science and Engineering has recorded a planetary distress call. The audio has been obtained by the Richardson brothers of Duluth, shared here. God help us all. (UPDATE below!)

Bob Dylan’s Last Hit

“Bob Dylan got away with murder.” —John Lennon

October 1960. Nineteen-year-old Bob Dylan takes the bus from Minneapolis to Duluth under a cloudless sun. With a head full of songs, he steps off the Greyhound carrying a backpack and two guitar cases. One case has a sticker saying “Ten O’clock Scholar Coffeehouse.” The other has blue words painted on it, “the Tombstone Blues.” A cab drops him at the Kozy, a desolate shithole even then. He rents a room. Placing the backpack and Ten O’clock Scholar on the bed, he leaves with the Tombstone Blues.

Bob walks a few blocks to his childhood home in the faded warmth of dim memories. Then he heads toward the Owls Club. He tries not to look at St. Mary’s Hospital, where he was born, as if he holds a grudge. Entering the club he walks past the bar to the pool room. Cigar smoke fills the air. He is greeted by the Scaletta family: Louie the King, Frankie Mineshaft, Mack the Finger, and Sammy Gaspipe. Several other made men and tough guys haunt the shadows. The King shakes his hand. “Good to see you, Bobby. After this, your debt is paid. But it’s too bad we gotta lose you. Sure we can’t convince you…?” Bob feels the menace of the question but he knows the King respects him — and maybe even fears him a little bit. “No thanks Louie, I got something else in mind for myself.” “Well I tell ya kid, it’s been a pleasure to watch you work.”

Occultists Deny “Glensheen Denies Occult Rituals” Story

Glensheen Mansion still has not denied the story of their denial, which if you think about it, confirms its veracity. Meanwhile the occult community has found the story — perhaps through a crystal ball! — and for the most part, they ain’t havin’ it. Four examples:

Glensheen Denies Occult Rituals of Disgraced Congdon Nephew

Last year the Minnesota historian Peter S. Svenson wrote an unpublished monograph, “The Forgotten Duluth Painter, Edward Alexander Congdon.” Svenson gave me the following information in an interview conducted on Halloween as luck would have it.

Edward Alexander (a nephew of Chester Congdon) lived at Glensheen, the historic Congdon estate. He hid slightly pointy ears with clever hair styling. But, enlisting in the armed forces to fight World War I, he suffered a military haircut. At Belleau Wood a German flame-thrower splashed liquid fire into his trench, and he escaped with his life unlike some of his fellows. But much of the skin had been burned off the top of his head, including his right ear and his eyebrows. Once healed, hair grew toward the back of his head, and the scar tissue of the high forehead became less noticeable with time. However, his eyebrows remained white scars, and the right ear had burned off down to the hole. Aleister Crowley said, “The effect of that, with his one remaining devil’s-ear, was striking.”

Edward Alexander remained overseas for a time after the war. He wandered the world using his unsettling appearance as currency in mediumistic parlors and spiritualist circles. He joined the Ordo Templi Orientis in England, and enjoyed esotericists he met in France. Then he joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, mingling with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and W.B. Yeats. He painted, climbed the Eiger, and had lucid dreams of the dead. Returning stateside in 1923, he lived in the Glensheen attic, “like a bat,” Mrs. Congdon used to say.

Duluth, Minnesota and the Lost Confederate Gold

In 1861, Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey was in Washington D.C. when the Confederates started the Civil War. He was in the Oval Office when Lincoln received the fateful telegram detailing the attack on Fort Sumter in South Carolina — the most serious in a string of Southern aggressions, including the seizing of Federal armories across Dixie. Heeding Lincoln’s call for troops, Ramsey walked right up to the President and said, “Mr. President, let Minnesota be the first state to commit 1,000 volunteers to answer this latest outrage from the disloyal states.”

Ramsey’s commitment created the famous fighting force known as the Minnesota First Infantry Regiment. They were the Civil War’s earliest northern enlistees, and they saved the Union at Gettysburg as every Minnesota schoolchild knows. On the third day of that pivotal battle, after Pickett’s Charge, Pvt. Marshall Sherman of St. Paul emerged with the scarred battle flag of the 28th Virginia Infantry. Virginia whines about it to this day but we’re not giving it back neener neener neener.

The Janus, Ghost Ship of Lake Superior

The MV Sophia F. Janus was built, launched, and christened in 1977. It was among the first of 13 “thousand-footers” to sail the inland seas: 1013 feet long, 113 feet wide, 566 feet hull depth, containing 1,300 tons of oil for its four-story engine. It could carry more than 90,000 tons of cargo, with a crew of 23 souls. The ship was an innovative mixed-use tanker-bulk hauler, with three chemical tank holds and two bulk holds. It had a 250-foot discharge boom for the self-unloading of bulk cargo at a rate of 6,000 tons per hour. The vessel holds numerous cargo records. In the superstitious lore of the sailors, however, because a dock worker was crushed during launch, the Janus was considered cursed. Even the infinite dilution of the Great Lakes could not dissolve the stain of blood.

Communication was lost with the Janus in a storm in 1982, and it appeared to have sunk without a trace after leaving Duluth. No flotsam, oil slick, or fuel spill was discovered in the area of her last known location, which was the middle of Lake Superior.

Lake Inferior: The Underground Lake Beneath Lake Superior

Exploration Timeline

June 1679

I have lost the reference, but I read somewhere that when the French explorer Sir Duluth heard rumors of an underground lake beneath Lake Superior, he quipped in his native tongue, “Lac d’Enfer” (literally: “Lake of Hell”). This nomenclature was mistranslated by English-speakers, becoming anglicized as “Lake Inferior” — an insidious malapropism that replaced the original meaning.

Sept. 8, 1870

Copper-helmet diver William Bitter found an entrance to Lake Inferior. He was working by the breakwater wall for the city of Duluth, offshore of what is now the Lakewalk. A large storm had damaged the wall, and he was conducting an underwater survey at the end of a 20-foot lifeline.

Working the winch and the air pump, his support team on the wall heard Bitter cry out through the speaking tube, then noticed a whirlpool opening up. They winched Bitter out as loose boulders and timbers were sucked into it.

The Floating Island of Fremont, Duluth’s Breakaway Township

As documented in the book Duluth: An Illustrated History: “The opening of the Duluth canal proved to have a beneficial effect which its promoters had not anticipated. Currents flowing through the channel carried away a considerable amount of rotting timber and mucky islets which had infested the harbor. In fact, one of Duluth’s original townsites — Fremont — was thus swept out into Lake Superior and lost forever.”

The Zenith City Press website confirms the account: new currents swept several floating bogs in the harbor out to sea. The largest of these islands was 1,200 feet long and 400 feet wide — larger than the largest lake vessel — and it contained the township of Fremont. It began where Rice’s Point is today, and on May 10, 1873, it passed through the canal to the open sea.

I must correct the error, often propagated, that Fremont broke up that night in rough water. The truth is, Fremont is still out there, population 299, comprised of 20 families that each own a business. I know because I have been to Fremont. I have hiked its marshes and shopped its cute, bustling downtown. I have fished off its docks. I have traded stories, dreams, and fears with Fremonters around beach campfires.

Many people have. Lake Superior is dotted with cities that Fremont has visited. I highly recommend, next time Fremont is visible on the horizon, try to get there. The Fremont music scene is a delight. And of course anyone who loves lake culture and the outdoors probably already knows about it.

Daniel Duluth, the Duluth Stone and the Plot to Steal America

It’s been six years since the dubious Duluth Stone appeared on the History Channel series America Unearthed. The episode recently made it to YouTube, and is embedded above. Perfect Duluth Day relegated mention of the topic of the Duluth Stone to an April Fools Day post in 2016.

Is it a hoax? Well, if only we could ask Daniel de Gresolon, the Sieur Dulhut. Or “Daniel Duluth,” as they call him on the History Channel.

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