Hippo Eats Dwarf

Front Cover
Pan Macmillan, Feb 5, 2010 - True Crime

The following news story apparently first appeared in the Las Vegas Sun:

'A circus dwarf, nicknamed Od, died recently when he bounced sideways from a trampoline and was swallowed by a yawning hippopotamus waiting to appear in the next act. More than 1,000 spectators continued to applaud wildly until they realized the tragic mistake.'

And yet, of course, Od never existed; which doesn't stop the story appearing every few years as a news item, set in fictional circuses from Manchester to Thailand and Sydney. The hippo-eats-dwarf story is a) bizarre, b) almost certainly fake and c) masquerading as real, which describes a disturbing amount of what we hear and read about in magazines and on the web.

Scientific investigator Alex Boese, who has for ten years run the web's biggest myth-busting website www.museumofhoaxes.com, has collected together a wonderfully entertaining anthology of the best urban myths of recent years, from bonsai kittens reared in jars to keep them small to male lactation, and confirms or de-bunks them once and for all. So did Burger King really release a left-handed Whopper, with all of the condiments rotated through 180 degrees? Is dehydrated water available to buy online? Or are they just hippo-eats-dwarf urban myths?

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dtw42 - LibraryThing

Interesting and light-hearted, but not as coherently structured as Boese's other book, "Elephants on Acid". Here, although the stories are separated thematically into chapters ("Food", "Email", "The ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - sanddancer - LibraryThing

The title is taken from an often reported but untrue story about a hippo in a circus swalling a dwarf which the audience mistakes for part of the act. This story is the introduction to hoaxes, urban ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Recognized as an expert on hoaxes by CNN and the New York Times among others, Alex Boese holds a master's degree in the history of science from the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Elephants on Acid, a fascinating tour through the weirdest science experiments ever conducted, and is the creator and curator of www.museumofhoaxes.com, which receives over a million page hits every month. He lives in San Diego.

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