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It’s Fact-or-Fake Friday, Everybody!

February 7, 2014

Three news items. Two are weird, and also true. One is weird…and not true at all. Can you spot the fake? Check your answers below.

A.

The family of a Mechanicsville, Ohio, man Billy Standley honored the 82-year-old’s dying wish: they buried him astride his Harley in a plexiglass box. The former ranch hand and rodeo rider wanted his biker friends to see him make “one final ride” into the ground on his 1967 Electra Glide cruiser. “He’d done right by us all these years, and at least we could see he goes out the way he wanted to,” said his son, Pete Standley. The burial involved five embalmers who had to create a metal back brace to hold in the place the corpse, outfitted in leathers, riding gloves, and a helmet. Two extra cemetery plots had to be purchased to accommodate the “casket.”

B.

A bank in Meeteetse, Wyoming, is in danger of losing its place on the National Register of Historic Places after new evidence unearthed by the local historical society suggested that the town’s mayoral office may have forged documents relating to the building. The documents suggest that certain upgrades to the building made in the 1940s were original features of the 1901 construction, including stained glass in an arched window on the south side and the majority of the brick façade. The Park County Travel Council isn’t about to take the historical society’s findings lying down, and has launched an aggressive PR campaign to protect First National Bank of Meeteetse’s reputation. One off-the-record source from within the travel council reportedly told a reporter, “These are a bunch of old biddies who think they’re authorities when it comes to history, but they’ve got another thing coming.”

C.

The Unarius Academy of Science, a religious sect based out of a suburb of San Diego, is getting fresh attention thanks to a documentary called Children of the Stars. The film  examines the group, which accepts films literally. “They have created a belief loop where they can see a film like Gladiator, have a past life flashback and then make another film about that experience,” the documentary’s director said. The low-budget films the group’s members create are believed to help them overcome the challenges of their previous lives. Unarius was founded in the 1950s by an electrical engineer and his wife. The group operates out of a San Diego storefront that includes Astroturf carpeting, DayGlo spaceship paintings, and plastic Venus de Milo statues. One of the founders, Ruth Norman, said she was the Archangel Uriel, and regularly telepathically communicated with residents of 33 other planets, including Shunan and Eneshia.

Want more fakes? Check out Uncle John’s Fake Facts. (Really!)

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