|On Good Hoaxes
Author: TheLindwyrm PM
He knows just how to make people believe. A man in the process of planning his own, new, cryptozoological wonder. Written as a response to the iconic Loch Ness photo.Rated: Fiction K - English - Mystery/Humor - Words: 798 - Published: 03-11-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2784428
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Yeah. This. The Loch Ness Monster. Gotta love the bastard. This picture's been hanging over my bed for six months. Grainy. Black and white. Looks kind of like a goose, to be honest. I've memorized every pixel of it by now. It's inspiration. That photo is what genius looks like, in my so-professional pinion. Real simple, and all but impossible to be sure about, in any sense.
That photo was taken 1934, when a guy named Dr. Kenneth Wilson stuck a plastic sea serpent on top of a toy submarine and changed the world a little in doing it. A few decades earlier, two little girls with picture books and some scissors had convinced Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that fairies were real. In 1967 a man named Patterson went hiking in California and came back with a video of a Sasquatch. In the 1840s, Barnum sold his 'Feejee Mermaid', and even in the Middle Ages dockworkers in Antwerp hawked their 'Jenny Hanniver's to unsuspecting tourists.
People do this shit again and again. They make something magical out of string and glue, and somehow it flies. Because no matter how improbable, there's always some idiot out there willing to believe it. Even the skeptics sometimes love to think it's true.
The point is, these schemes work. And a good hoax is a good moneymaker. That's the real reason people camp out for years at Loch Ness, and spend a fortune on the latest heat-sensing equipment. Because if you get a good photo, the payoff is huge. That shit cannot fly off the shelves fast enough, I kid you not. The Loch Ness monster is a whole industry. It generates millionsof dollars every year. All sparked because of one guy with a dream and no idea of what he was getting into.
Me, on the other hand, I know. I've studied all the good hoaxes, I've worked out my battle plan. I know how to do it for the best results and the biggest payoff. I know I won't win over any scientists, or most of the public, but the thing is that I don't need to. All I need is a photo or two, a wild story, and an opportunity to dream a little. Publicity. People want evidence, but they just don't want fact.
That's pretty much the whole base for my plan. Just a few tantalizing scraps. 'Unsubstantial enough to draw conclusions' is my magic phrase, the bullseye. Gives lots of room for conspiracies and mad ideas. To do this right, you don't try too hard to make it real. Too much 'evidence' and you give the scientists enough to bust you. Enough stuff, and you'll mess up, contradict yourself. Reasonable doubt is enough to ask for.
The trick to a good hoax-- that is, a moneymaking one-- is figuring out the best way to do it. Learn how it's done beforehand. First, you pick a subject that will sell. Something with a backstory is good too, for credibility. Old Indian legends or urban myths. The further back the better. Find something creepy or magical, but real-sounding enough that with enough squinting (Plesiosaur?) it could be a real animal.
And you muddy the water. Doubt, lost evidence, misquotations, old legends tailored to your own new urban myth. Point the finger elsewhere, with so many halfway-possible possibilities that it really could be true. Let 'em work themselves into a frenzy chasing their tails. That's central to any good con.
Don't ever sell the photo, of course. That's your golden ticket. Or lottery ticket maybe. But never sell, even when things aren't going well. It might be worth more down the road. Don't lose your nerve.
Never recant. Even if science uncovers everything, there is always hope. The Loch Ness photo was proven fake. Does that stop the tourists? Hell no. Still a moneymaker. Don't recant, even on your deathbed-- that just makes you an asshole.
And while you're planning, don't fuss over it. Cover your tracks. Keep things quiet. Me, one other guy, a camera. An ordinary hiking trip. That's other part about only a little evidence: if you record it too well, it looks contrived.
Me, an old friend, and a camera. Some fishing line, wooden poles, a rubber suit, and a little bad lighting. That's all. It's all ready.
First thing tomorrow, he's coming by with everything in the truck. My backpack is sitting by the door. We're heading to the woods, and we're gonna to make the world just a little more fun to live in.