Trump May Have Just Derailed A Crucial Part Of America’s Future Aircraft Carrier Fleet

Post 8372

Trump May Have Just Derailed A Crucial Part Of America’s Future Aircraft Carrier Fleet

Today 11:35am

Pre-commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford. Photo credit: U.S. Navy

It looks like after almost a decade of development, the ultra-advanced Gerald R. Ford supercarrier will be commissioned this year. An important detail about this ship, the first of its class, is that it does not use steam catapults to launch planes as is traditional, but instead uses an electromagnetic system to fling them into the air. And then President Donald Trump opened his mouth.

From a Time interview with the president that went live this morning:

You know the catapult is quite important. So I said what is this? Sir, this is our digital catapult system. He said well, we’re going to this because we wanted to keep up with modern [technology]. I said you don’t use steam anymore for catapult? No sir. I said, “Ah, how is it working?” “Sir, not good. Not good. Doesn’t have the power.

You know the steam is just brutal. You see that sucker going and steam’s going all over the place, there’s planes thrown in the air.”

It sounded bad to me. Digital. They have digital. What is digital? And it’s very complicated, you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out. And I said–and now they want to buy more aircraft carriers. I said what system are you going to be–”Sir, we’re staying with digital.”

I said no you’re not. You going to goddamned steam, the digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.

Emphasis mine. What’s not immediately clear is whether or not this change is occurring because of the president’s suggestion; I called the office of the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition, which oversees the program, to see if they knew anything about this massive new procurement change and its implications. I have yet to hear back.

I really am at a loss here. First, yes, there are “planes thrown in the air.” That’s the entire point. Modern aircraft are too heavy to fly off an aircraft carrier on their own, that’s why carriers have used steam catapults ever since the 1950s to help them get going. You need to throw them in the air.

They do indeed have, uh, “digital” now. To people afraid of computers, the digital might sound bad. But “digital”—or as it’s more properly known, the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, also known as EMALS—is not Bad. The officer who said “sir, we’re staying with digital,” is, in fact, Good.

And that’s because there’s a reason why the latest and greatest aircraft carriers will use EMALS, and not steam catapults. It works just fine for a lot of the aircraft on ships now, but for the drones that will be flying in the skies more than 50 years from now, when the Ford-class is still expected to be in service, a new solution is needed.

And just in case you’ve never tried to examine the internals of your home heating system, steam systems in general are extremely complicated. Steam catapults on an aircraft carrier are even more so. The inner workings are huge and heavy, requiring enormous amounts of maintenance, and aren’t easy to control.

Here’s how steam catapults work, in an extremely simplified nutshell:

EMALS, on the other hand, works a lot like the magnetic levitation trains you may have seen testing. And no, you don’t need to be Albert Einstein to understand it.

The system uses electric currents to charge up a carriage-and-track system, and once full energized, the carriage (with a plane attached) is propelled at high speeds down the carrier’s deck. And since it’s all computer controlled – ahem, digital – it can be used for quite delicate operations. Or for launching trucks off the deck of the USS Gerald R. Ford, as it did in testing last year:

Maybe I’m crazy though. So to find out, I asked Dr. Robert Farley, a specialist in military diffusion, maritime affairs, and national security at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky, and our resident carrier expert, if this was all nuts. And it turns out, maybe not.

“I can confirm that this is absolutely nuts,” he said. The whole idea of ripping out the launch system in the already-built Ford, and re-designing the following carriers (including the already-under construction USS Enterprise), would be “immensely expensive.”

As with any new system, its development hasn’t always been a smooth ride. It’s been beset by reliability issues over the years, and if anything, carriers need to be reliable. Without the ability to launch planes, the ship is a proverbial sitting duck.

But like most new things, the kinks will probably be worked out. The system is needed for the future, and if we turned our back on every system that was necessary but didn’t quite work out perfectly as a prototype, we’d still be living in the stone age.

We’ll update this post if we hear back from the Navy.

UPDATE 7:07 PM: The Navy declined to comment.

h/t to Ned Donovan!

Top 10 Facts That Prove Ants Are Evil

Post 8371

Top 10 Facts That Prove Ants Are Evil


With species numbering in the ten thousands, ants are all around us. Ant populations are highest in tropical rain forests, but they can be found anywhere the world. While ants are incredibly organized and successful creatures, they’re also just plain evil.

10Ants Kill Old Zombie Friends


Photo credit: David P. Hughes

In South America, there is a species of carpenter ant that can become infected with the spores of a fungus. As the spore grows, it controls the ant’s brain, turning it into a kind of zombie. The fungus forces the ant to climb a leaf, chomp down on the leaf, and then die. This action allows the fungus to grow from the ant’s body onto the leaf.[1]

In a study of this fungus, researchers found that healthy ants will keep the spores away from the colony by getting rid of infected ants. Healthy ants carry diseased ants far away from the colony and strand them, or they destroy the body of a dead ant with the disease. These ants also look out for their interests by sending the older ants of the colony to do all the scary work in the outside world, while younger, fitter ants look after the babies in the nest. We can safely conclude that ants force their elderly to risk their lives to gather food for the entire colony, and then destroy any ants that fall ill.

9They Destroy Electrical Devices

Nothing creates fear like the name “crazy ant.” The name may sound silly, but the yellow and Tawny varieties of these ants are horrific. Yellow crazy ants took root on Christmas Island, near Australia, and caused an overwhelming infestation. To this day, they’re a threat to the red crabs that migrate on this island.[2]

Tawny crazy ants, also deemed “Raspberry” ants after Tom Raspberry, are just as fearful. Raspberry is an exterminator who discovered the ants. He has campaigned for government help with the infestation in the Houston area, but has had no luck. Both types of crazy ants create “super-colonies” with multiple queens, making them nearly impossible to exterminate. Even when the ants are dead, piles of these ants have been found in every nook and cranny of homes and businesses. They can also kill animals. The ants’ odd attraction to electricity has ruined television sets, wiring and several otherelectrical devices. No wonder they’re called crazy.

8They Own Slaves


Photo credit: Adrian A. Smith

Slavery is illegal, brutal, and inhumane, as we all know, but who would have thought insects participated in it? There are ants known as “slave makers,” whose jaws are large and created for fighting, not feeding. As such, they cannot feed themselves. These ants will invade a different colony of regular ants, kidnap newborn ants from the queen, and raise them to be their servants.[3] These are insects that can barely see, who depend mostly on scent for communication, but they’re intelligent enough to get someone else to feed them while they lounge around.

As bad as this practice is, the ants being raided can be just as terrible. Other ants have to be able to imitate the colony’s particular smell, otherwise the ants will know that there is an intruder and attack. Ants protecting their nest will surround, sting, and then paralyze the intruder, before ripping it to shreds with their powerful jaws.

7They Trap Victims And Chop Them


Photo credit: Wikimedia

One species of ant found in the Amazon is able to create booby traps for larger insects. These ants use leaves to weave a net with large holes. Once their prey steps into the holes of the net, the ants attack the insect’s limbs with their jaws and hold the creature in place.[4]

Other workers then come in and sting the victim to make absolutely sure it won’t get away, because ripping the insect’s limbs off is apparently not enough. These ants have been known to capture locusts and other insects that are several times their own size. After cutting the victim into bite-size pieces, the ants carry their prize back to the colony for a feast.

6They Steal Our Warmth


Photo credit: Wikimedia

While many ants die in colder temperatures, Pharaoh ants have found a way to survive during the winter months. From their point of view, why freeze to death outside when humans have perfectly functional heating and ventilation systems? Pharaoh ants are notorious for inhabiting heating systems, as well as other crevices in homes.[5]

Some of the ants we have read about create “super-colonies” with multiple queens, but Pharaoh ants can do that and move an entire colony quickly away from a nest that has been compromised. These ants can wreak havoc in public places like hospitals by contaminating tools and surgical areas. Though the little beasts are certainly clever by taking advantage of artificial heat, they’re also definitely evil.


5Fire Ants Take Down Deer


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Of all the terrible ants in the world, probably the most awful is the fire ant. Woe to the unfortunate animal or human that disturbs a fire ant nest because these demons attack with a vengeance. Fire ants can climb vertical surfaces very fast, so stepping on a fire ant nest can literally leave a person with ants in their pants. These ants leave a painful sting, often raising a white bump on the skin. In rare cases, fire ant stings can kill or send a victim into shock, but most of the time they just leave a person very sore and unhappy.[6]

However, animal victims of fire ants are not so lucky. Wild animals such as birds, lizards, and even deer have been killed by many fire ant stings. Measures have been taken to subdue these ants and protect the animals they kill, but the ants are so numerous and widespread that their populations are difficult to control.

4Army Ants Scare Elephants


Photo credit: Mehmet Karatay

Army ants are among the most notorious ants in the world. Inhabiting rain forest areas in South America and Africa, these ants do not settle in one place like most types of ants. They make a temporary nest by linking their bodies together to create a protective covering for the queen while she lays eggs.[7] When the babies are ready to move, these ants go on the rampage, fanning out in a destructive line that eats anything in the way. Army ants have long, scary mandibles that can literally shred flesh.

Singly, the ants cannot do much, but in a large group, they can take down prey several hundred times bigger than themselves. Large animals and even people have been murdered by these ants. The elephant, one of the largest land mammals in the world, has been known to flee the face of army ants. A few African tribes control the pests by dousing the front lines with gas or kerosene and setting them on fire. This tactic creates confusion for the ants further back on the lines, but nothing will eradicate them completely. The best policy is usually just to run away as fast as possible.

3Ghost Ants End Whole Ecosystems


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Like the Pharaoh ant, ghost ants live indoors or outdoors and can create massive nests with multiple queens, making them very difficult to eliminate. The main vice of this species is their ability to disrupt or even destroy entireecosystems. Because they’re so good at food hunting, these ants might drive other animals from their habitat or wipe out entire populations of plants.[8]

Named for their ghostly looking exoskeleton, these tiny ants also invade human habitats and food sources. Apparently, they like bags of potato chips, which could be really gross for whoever gets the unlucky bag. Another lovely habit of this species is their tendency to nest in flowerpots or under things left out on the lawn, that could make for a nasty surprise when doing yard work.

2Leaf-Cutter Ants Farm Their Prey


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Pesticides are taken off the market due to expensive relabeling procedures, making the leaf-cutter ant very difficult to control in the United States. Thankfully, these ants are not carnivores, but the leaves they take from plants can destroy home gardens or landscaping shrubs. These ants are hoarders, so they take leaf cuttings back to their nests and leave them there to be eaten by fungus. This fungus then becomes food for the entire colony.[9]

Because of the unique structure of leaf-cutter nests, these nests can cause areas of a lawn to cave in, or create massive mounds that disrupt the growth of greenery. If these ants manage to get under the foundation of a house, they could crack the cement and undermine the entire structure. Leaf-cutters seem to enjoy red flowers or anything highly scented, so it is a good idea to keep those away from a house or out of a garden.

1Carpenter Ants Collapse Houses


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Probably the most common ant pest is the carpenter ant. Properly named for their love of wood, these ants typically live in any kind of wooden structure. Since most houses are made of wood, carpenter ants can become a big problem for homeowners. These pests burrow into wood, much like termites, and can easily damage an entire home.[10]

The only way to get rid of these ants is to track down the nest, but that’s definitely easier said than done. One way is to feed some stray ants and follow them home, which can get boring really fast. Another way is to search for wood that might be damp, like window or door frames or spaces behind appliances, and tap it to listen for a crackling or hollow sound. Even if the nest can be located, a person would have to further damage the walls by drilling holes to pump insecticide into the nest. Carpenter ants are hard to find and hard to kill, making them most definitely evil.

Brittiany West is a self-published author and freelance writer. Check out her work atBrittiany West Books.

Top 10 Credible Claims Of Alien Abduction

Post 8370

Top 10 Credible Claims Of Alien Abduction


There are many claims of alien abduction every year across the world. Most are best to be taken with a pinch of salt. Some of them, however, are both more intriguing and credible than the rest. Particularly those that are little known about, usually due to the persons involved being perfectly aware of just how “crazy” they sound, and so do not seek publicity of any kind, and certainly no monetary reward for their reports. Perhaps because of this, their stories and accounts might be treated a little more seriously. Here are ten such encounters that are far from well-known, but perhaps deserve a thorough investigation.

10Carol and Helen Thomas—Abducted in an Alleyway


In the early hours of March 30, 1988, Helen Thomas and her mother Carol set off for work at the nearby mill.[1] They walked through the city housing estates and back alleyways as they always did.

This particular morning, however, both women suddenly noticed a low humming sound above them, before an intense, bright light shone down, effectively blinding them. As the light disappeared, both women came to their senses, feeling a little nauseous and dizzy. Helen’s leather jacket wassoaking wet, yet all around them, the ground was dry. Feeling confused, the two women carried on their way to work. Once there, they were informed by the security guard that they were several hours late.

Over the following days, their skin would come out in blisters and rashes, and a constant feeling of anxiety ran through both women. It would be several years before they made contact with leading UFO researcher, Tony Dodd, who agreed to conduct interviews with the women under hypnosis. Each would recall being taken into a large bright room, and laid on tables. An unusual net-like material was placed on their legs that seemed to weigh them down. Creatures with large heads and large dark eyes performedstrange experiments on them, including the taking of eggs from their bodies through a thin tube inserted into their bellies. Everything was “wet to touch,” and even more bizarrely, one of the aliens took a particular liking to Helen’s jacket, rubbing the material across its face and through its hands—resulting in it becoming soaking wet.

9Tracey Jones—Regular Abductions since Childhood


The mysterious events that surrounded Tracey Jones began to be revealed in the summer of 1997, and were more akin to paranormal activity as opposed to alien abduction or intervention. She would regularly find household items moved about, or even having vanished completely, only to turn up again completely out of the blue. Electrical appliances would stop working without reason, and both Tracey and her husband, Darren, would awake to see strange figures around their bed.

One particularly odd incident happened following major surgery that Tracey had undergone. A large, flat bandage masked the incision on her chest. One morning, she went to remove the bandage only to find it was gone.[2]Furthermore, the wound had completely healed over and only a very small scar remained.

Under hypnotic regression, Tracey described being abducted since she was young, each time she was subjected to medical tests and examinations, including the removal of eggs through a “long silver tube.” What’s more, she claimed during these sessions that her children have also been abducted on regular occasions since their birth.

When the family moved to Dubai for Darren’s job, the paranormal activity continued to happen, as it did when they moved back to the United Kingdom several months later.

8Multiple Abduction at a BBQ


One summer evening in July 1995, couples and friends Mike and Debbie joined Steve and Annie at their Derbyshire house for a barbecue and several drinks. The night suddenly took a bizarre and frightening turn a little after 10:30 p.m.[3]

Out of nowhere, an unusual disc-shaped craft hung over them. They watched it for several minutes before all four of them began to feel extremely nauseous. The UFO then vanished as quickly as it had arrived. Steve looked over to the barbecue that only moments before had been glowing hot. It was now nothing but gray ash; the meat burned to a crisp. He checked his watch and was alarmed and confused to find it was well after midnight. Almost ninety minutes had passed.

Over the next few days, they all began to feel generally unwell, have trouble sleeping, and an overall feeling of anxiety. The friends agreed to be hypnotically regressed, and all four told the same story. They had been taken on board the spacecraft, and into a medical room where they were placed on tables for examination. The walls were described by Debbie as being “round, but divided into squares,” while Steve claimed he saw “figures and drawings on the walls” of various planets—including ones from our solar system that he could clearly recognize.

7Garry Wood—The A70 Incident


While traveling along the A70 with his friend Colin Wright, at just after 10:00 p.m. on August 17, 1992, Garry Wood noticed a black object in the distance.[4]Alerting his friend, both men watched as the object came closer before a blinding white light formed a wall in front of the vehicle. Wood continued to drive the car forward, transfixed by the bright intensity.

The next thing both men knew, the car had come to a complete stop, facing the opposite direction. They had no memory of turning the vehicle around, or what had happened to the light and the object they had seen. When Wood looked at his wristwatch, it now read just after 11:00 p.m. Both men, extremely shaken, realized something was wrong.

They would reluctantly undergo hypnotic regression to try to recover the lost hour of time. The results were startling. Both spoke of feeling an intense pain as the car had driven into the light—as if they were experiencing a strongelectric shock. Three extraterrestrial beings had come to the vehicle and escorted both men onto their spacecraft, which had landed in the road. Each was stripped of his clothing and placed on a table for examination.

Wood recalled that he could hear agonizing human screams coming from the room around him. Overseeing the whole episode was a taller creature, with a large head and big, dark eyes. However, it is what Wood claimed the alien, through telepathy, said to him that is perhaps most chilling. In response to a question Wood could not recall asking, the tall alien stated, “Sanctuary—we are here already and we are coming here!”

6Philip Spencer—The Ilkey Moor Incident


On the morning of December 1, 1987, a little past 7:00 a.m., the witness known under the assumed name “the former policeman, Phillip Spencer” set off from his home in Ilkely, across the Yorkshire Moors to his father-in-law’s house.[5]

As he drove along an otherwise quiet country road, with daylight barely breaking over the area, he could hear what sounded like a low-flying helicopter. He looked around but could see nothing unusual in the sky. He did, however, see a strange, small creature standing on the hillside next to the road. He brought his car to a stop and made his way towards the mysterious figure, which was now heading up the slope to a quarry at the top. He managed to take a picture before it disappeared out of sight. By the time he had reached the top of the hill, the creature was nowhere to be seen, but a huge silver disc was just in the process of shooting into the sky directly above him.

He returned to his car, and given the events he had just witnessed, returned home. Only as he arrived back, did he realize it was after 10:00 a.m. and he could not account for nearly three hours. Vivid, intense dreams began to haunt Spencer over the coming days, leading him to undergo hypnosis.

He revealed that he had stood underneath the silver disc staring at it in amazement when he was suddenly lifted from the ground and taken on board. He would find himself in a medical room, on a table, and he distinctly remembers a voice inside his head telling him not to be afraid. The next thing he knew, he was back on the ground, and the alien craft was moving up and away from him. Incidentally, the photograph he snapped was proven to be authentic and not tampered with.

5John Day—Family Abduction


Returning home to Essex in October 1974 with his wife and children, John Day, who had no belief whatsoever in UFOs or aliens,[6] had an encounter that would change his mind forever.

The journey should have taken half-an-hour, getting the family home at around 9:45 p.m. They arrived as normal, left the car and got the children ready for bed. As they were doing so, John realized the time was almost 1:00 a.m.—their journey had seemingly taken them over three hours.

Over the coming days, all members of the family began to experienceterrifying nightmares—nightmares so intense they were afraid to go to sleep. John and his wife, Susan, also had a perpetual feeling of anxiety and confusion.

John, on the advice of a local UFO report group, contacted Leonard Wilder, a hypnotist who was familiar with such cases of missing time. Under hypnosis, John spoke of driving into a strange bright mist that had suddenly fallen from the sky. A bright light began to descend into a nearby field, which then shot towards the car. The whole vehicle was lifted onto another object, that John described as a “spaceship.”

Even under hypnosis, John’s memories were hazy. He recalled a “metal arm” swinging over him, as well as feeling as if he was being “poked” by sharp instruments. He also recalled that the spaceship had “furniture that was molded to the walls” with no obvious seams. The next memory he had is of driving his family onto his driveway.

4“Mrs. G”—Abducted While Hanging Out Washing


While hanging out washing in her back garden, a woman known only as “Mrs. G” due to her request for strict anonymity, noticed a strange blue lightdescending straight down from above. It became stationary around one-hundred feet (30 m) above her.

The light came down and enveloped her. Before she realized what was happening, she began to rise up from the ground inside the glowing beam. She found herself in a room with three otherworldly beings across from her. She described them as tall, wearing “tight, shiny metallic suits” and a balaclava-type hat on their heads.

The next thing she knew, she felt a “sharp blow” on the back of her neck, and she was standing in her garden again. A quick look at her watch revealedseveral hours had passed[7] since she first left her house to hang out her washing, all of which, incidentally, still sat in the basket.

3Bob Rylance—Abducted Several Times over Two Decades


Bob Rylance is a military veteran with over twenty years experience, yet only when he agreed to undergo hypnotic regression, did he realize that during that time, he had regularly been abducted by visitors from another world.

In the same way as the aforementioned Tracey Jones, Rylance had always noted strange paranormal experiences, such as hearing buzzing late at night,[8] and footsteps in the hall and landing outside his bedroom.

Like many others before him, once under hypnosis, he would describe in detail of being taken into a room and placed on a medical bench where various experiments were performed on him. On one particular occasion, he recalled having a “triangular grid” placed on his stomach, while at the same time being told telepathically, that it was to “cure a diseased part of your stomach.”

2“Sharon from Yorkshire”—Abducted by the Builders of the Pyramids?


“Sharon,” a young mother of two from Yorkshire, heard accounts of alien abduction one afternoon on the radio and decided to seek information and help. Although she had no interest in UFOs, she had been experiencing unusual events for some time, including missing time and strange marks on her body. She wished to go under hypnosis to finally get to the bottom of the anxious feelings that welled up inside her.

She would indeed tell of being abducted, being taken aboard a spacecraft, and of having intense and invasive medical experiments carried out on her. Perhaps more bizarrely, she also recalled being stood with many other abductees “on a ramp” as if they were awaiting transportation somewhere. She even went as far as to recognize one of these fellow abductees, a gentleman she would name as Nigel.

Maybe her most spine-chilling announcement, however, was of an abduction that occurred when she was still a teenager. While having a cigarette at the bottom of the garden away from her family, she found herself being lifted off the ground and onto an alien ship with “Egyptian writing” on the walls.[9]Following an examination, she and others were told that they “have to respect the Earth and not pollute it!” Then they spoke about the need to “learn about Pyramids!” According to Sharon, her captors claimed, “We put Pyramids here!”

1The Deverow Family Abduction


Returning home on the A65 road in North Yorkshire just after 5:00 p.m. in January 2005, Rachel Deverow, along with her two sons, Benji and Alex, and her mother, Anne, would see a bright light that seemed to be following their car. They continued to watch it for several minutes before it dived towards them and then sped off out of sight.

They continued on their ten-minute journey, realizing when they arrived home that it was well after 6:00 p.m. Feeling confused about the hour of missing time, Rachel and the family attempted to put the incident out of their minds. However, Alex began to speak of weird dreams he was having, where he was flying over the countryside “in a strange bubble!”

Rachel eventually agreed to undergo hypnotic regression in order to try and recover the missing hour. She claimed that upon the light descending, all of the family were “flown” up to an alien craft. Once inside, she would describe the room as having no walls and like “standing in space.” A dazzling light shone overhead, and there were “little ones” moving around them, observing and studying them.

According to the family, they still see strange lights over their family home, leading many UFO researchers to believe that they are likely repeat abductees, and probably have been for some time.

MARCUS LOWTHMarcus Lowth is a writer with a passion for anything interesting, be it UFOs, the Ancient Astronaut Theory, the paranormal or conspiracies. He also has a liking for the NFL, film and music.

Read More: Twitter Facebook Me Time For The Mind

Top 10 Highly Successful Liars From History

Post 8369

Top 10 Highly Successful Liars From History


Spinning a yarn, telling a tall tale, or flat out lying. Whatever you want to call it, these folks weren’t afraid to do it, and it didn’t prevent them from creating impressive legacies, being beloved, or amassing wealth.

10Benjamin Franklin


Photo credit: Joseph Duplessis

We may never know for sure what Benjamin Franklin meant when he (supposedly) said, “half a truth is often a great lie,” but we do know that he loved to tell a great lie. Despite this, he’s memorialized in art, history books, and even stuck on currency notes. Not bad for a cheating, lying, political opportunist!

Even most amateur historians agree Franklin lied about, after having a hunch about the true nature of lightning, experimenting on lightning with a kite and a key. It never happened, nor do most scientists believe it is even possible.[1]

Besides this most famous of tales, Franklin was also among the first to deploy fake news to stir up passion in the people. Using a homemade printing press in 1782, he concocted, wrote, and printed an entirely fake newspaper, running a story about the discovery of teenage scalps on the frontier. The story was meant to arouse fear against the local Native American tribes and even included fake letters to the editor. It was picked up by the actual press, leaving Franklin to chuckle in his britches and brag to friends about how easily he had pulled a fast one on the poor American settlers.

9Frida Kahlo


Photo credit: Guillermo Kahlo

While she isn’t known for being a liar, this artist is well documented for some blatant bending of the truth—and largely celebrated for being so unapologetic about it, rather than criticized for writing her own history

Frida told two bold, widely spread lies about her life. The first was that her father, Guillermo, was a German Jew, which he was not. While the claim spread far and wide (the feature film[2] about her life even includes a scene where Guillermo refers to his background in this way), Guillermo was from a long line of Lutherans and only came to Mexico because he didn’t get along with his stepmother very well.

Frida also preferred to give a birthday that was not accurate. Although the artist was born in 1907, she said she was born in 1910, the year the Mexican Revolution began.

Who can point a finger? The artist lived most of her life in physical and mental agony and left an artistic legacy that very few individuals from her time can complete with.

8Frank Abagnale


Photo credit: Abagnale & Associates

Who can help (even secretly) cheering for Frank Abagnale? Not only did he get away with what are now considered to be horribly obvious hoaxes, he ended up a pretty wealthy dude because of getting discovered. That’s just some serious talent.

Abagnale is now most known for being portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film Catch Me If You Can, about a teenage boy who figures out how to pull the wool over the eyes of everyone he comes into contact with, and spends the next six years doing just that. Abagnale’s most famous lies include: posing as a pilot at age 16, being handed a legitimate position as a medical supervisor at an ER at age 18, passing as a Harvard Law School graduate to obtain a job as an attorney in Louisiana, and seducing who knows how many older women into affairs.

Here’s the really good part: Abagnale ended up spending less than five years in prison before being hired by the FBI to consult on fraud cases in return for his release. Following this gig, Abagnale found it difficult to hold down a job, given his reluctance to disclose his criminal past to a long line of employers, and his entrepreneurial instincts once again came in handy. He founded the successful firm Abagnale & Associates, has had an Academy Award–nominated film and a Broadway play made about his life, and is a successful businessman with admirers around the world.[3]

7Bill Clinton


Photo credit: Bob McNeely

You all know the story: Linda Tripp was out to get Clinton. She happened to record a friend of hers, the young and impressionable Monica Lewinsky, confiding in her about having a sexual relationship with Mr. President himself. Tripp turned over the tapes to the right people, and the morality of the nation was rocked to its core.

Instead of fessing up, President Clinton boldly, adamantly, and even under oath-y, denied the affair, only to recant and admit the entire thing later that year when it became clear that he would not be able to prevent truth from being exposed. Perhaps even more than being a liar, we can most accuse him of the worst ability to predict an outcome in American political history.

You have to hand it to Clinton. Despite the very public scandal, he came out on top (so to speak). He went on to be one of the most active and influential former presidents in history, founding the Clinton Foundation in 2001, partnering with multiple world leaders to help rebuild Haiti, authoring a best-selling autobiography, and being continually involved in successful environmental and humanitarian efforts domestically and abroad.[4]

6Calamity Jane


Photo credit: Wikimedia

No one can accuse Calamity Jane of lacking a bold streak. Orphaned at age 14, it appears she quickly decided she would do whatever it took to keep afloat, even if it meant telling a fib or two along the way.

Calamity Jane is memorialized in popular culture as the sidekick to Wild Bill Hickok and for being one of the Wild West’s original cowgirls. However, friends of Wild Bill’s claimed Hickok had very little interest in Jane as a friend and definitely didn’t consider her a sidekick.

Even Jane’s current Wikipedia page[5] lists one of her occupations as a scout for the military. Jane loved to boast about this chapter in her life and that a Capt. Egan had given her the name “Calamity” after she saved him from capture. There is, however, no record of her ever having served under Egan, or any other general for that matter. It is, therefore, believed that Jane gave herself the name Calamity, along with most of the rest of her biography.

Although her lies are well documented and easily debunked, it hasn’t kept Jane from becoming one of the most beloved and famous figures from the Wild West, rivaling even her so-called partner in crime, Wild Bill Hickok.


5Pope Alexander VI


Pope Alexander VI, born Rodrigo de Borja is infamous for unabashedly making “the end justifies the means” his life motto (yes, he was born over 100 years before that term was invented, but that’s beside the point).[6]

De Borja loved power, and in Italy in the late 1400s, the pope was pretty much as powerful as a human being could aspire to be. He also loved women and wasn’t about to let the pesky laws around sexual piety stand in his way.De Borja fathered four children by his long-term mistress Vannozza dei Cattanei, and though he denied his paternity at first, he was quick to legitimize all children once he was awarded the title of pope in 1492. De Borja is believed to have fathered five additional children by various women.

The Vatican was evidently a much different place in 1492 than it is today. Despite being out and proud about his many children, Pope Alexander had a pretty successful reign. While ruthless, he was known for favoring negotiation over war, was a fierce patron of the arts, and his children rose to power around Europe. Today countless books, plays, television shows, and even video games feature him as a force to be reckoned with.



Photo credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen

The Father of History may have had more of a taste for a good story than the facts, leaving some to now also refer to him as the Father of Lies.[7]

Leaving a legacy for politicians to follow for the rest of time, Herodotusfigured exaggerating the truth was the best way to make his side look better, and he would also be able to get away with it. His Histories included many exaggerations of the truth and outright lies, all for the purpose of enlarging the perception of Greek greatness. And while many like to view him as a pure scholar, others say his greater talent was perhaps relaying stories he had been told throughout his travels.

He remains one of the most notable figures in ancient history, and most memorialized as well. Herodotus’s image in sculpture form alone is found across the world, from New York City to Turkey to Greece. He must have been some performer.

3Henry VIII


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Let’s face it, you don’t divorce your pious and devoted wife of 24 years, head up the Reformation, behead the woman you started it for shortly thereafter, and then marry another dame a week later without telling a fib or two along the way.

Wife #1 won’t disappear to make way for new, likely to-bear-strong-sons wife #2? Claim the marriage was invalid from the beginning and that you are just realizing it.[8] Pope still refuses to grant you a divorce? Tell everyone that God wanted you to be the head of the church all along. Wife #2 doesn’t bear you a son? Tell everyone she’s a witch who is committing incest and have her head cut off. Ah the beauty of a lie of convenience.

Despite all this treachery, you can almost hear the people around King Henry saying “meh?” and shrugging their shoulders.

2Benedict Arnold


Photo credit: Wikimedia

While he may be considered a Judas in American history, Benedict Arnoldwent on to lead a solidly successful professional life after being discovered as the biggest traitor ever to the American cause.

Arnold, who was born on American soil in 1741, was truly motivated by resentment and the promise of cash. Despite being an active figure of the American Revolution and ultimately becoming a celebrated war hero for nearly 10 years, he was convinced to jump ship and go undercover for the British army. Resentful over others being promoted faster than he was and that others got credit for his military chutzpah, Arnold must have given off the stench of a man ready to make a deal. By 1779, he had started plotting with the British Army with the agreement that cash and military command would be given in return.[9]

Talk about poor execution. Arnold was quickly discovered when one of his cohorts was captured with written documentation of the plot. While the cohort was hanged for treason, however, Arnold escaped and managed to have solid careers in England, ranging from military service to exporting and property (though even in England he failed to ever gain much popularity).

His decisions didn’t sit well with American patriotism then or now. Following the discovery of his plot, the graves of his unknowing family members were destroyed. To this day, Benedict Arnold is demonized, and his name itself is a synonym for traitor. Yet not only did he achieve lasting fame—he always managed to come out on top in his dealings, and his three boys all had successful military careers.

1Robert Ripley


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Believe him, or not?

The magic of Robert Ripley’s wild success might have been that he mixed lies that couldn’t be verified with outrageous facts that couldn’t possibly be made up. Combine that with an enormous dose of audacity, and you have the Believe It Or Not empire.

Ripley’s “discoveries” were from every category and place on the planet. In 2012, Vanity Fair listed just a few of his claims about fantastic people and freaks of nature he had encountered. The list includes: “men with horns on their heads, a child cyclops, an armless golfer, a fork-tongued woman. There were fish that climbed trees, wingless birds, four-legged chickens, peg-legged cows.” While much of what Ripley wrote about can be verified, a lot cannot, leading him to be introduced as the “World’s Biggest Liar” at speaking gigs during his lifetime. Ripley’s response: “It makes no difference what I say. You won’t believe me anyway.”[10]

Given that he claimed his own dreams as sources for some of his discoveries, it’s easy to say that there was a lie or two told along the way, starting with the date of his birth up to the tree-climbing fish. Regardless, an empire was amassed in his name that continues to thrive today. Ripley Entertainment owns over 90 attractions around the globe that remain highly loved.

Janice Formichella is an American-born traveler of the world currently residing in Bali, Indonesia. She loves history, gin, girl talk, her bullet journal, and a good list. You can follow Janice and her adventures on Twitter and on Instagram.