10 Medical Hoaxes That Fooled Everyone


Doctors and medical researchers around the
world are always making new discoveries to help improve the health and wellness of mankind. But sometimes, these medical reports are big
practical jokes, or an attempt to make some money off of unsuspecting victims. Here are 10 times when people truly believed
in a medical hoax. 10. The Boy With the Golden Tooth In 1593, a boy named Christoph Muller from
Silesia, which is a part of modern-day Poland, claimed that he grew a golden tooth. In the future, dentists would use gold to
fill cavities, and even some modern-day rappers have a gold grill. But back in the 16th Century, no one had ever
done this before, and doctors thought this was a medical anomaly. A medical professor named Jakob Horst wanted
to study this mysterious tooth after Muller had claimed it grew naturally from his gums. Dr. Horst wrote a 145-page book about the
case called Of the Golden Tooth of the Boy from Silesia. It turns out that it was actually a hoax made
up by the boy’s family, who had made a molded gold crown for him. Even though it was a hoax, it was still technically
a medical breakthrough, and it lead to the practice of making gold cavity fillings in
the future. 9. Cockroach Pills Joey Skaggs is a prankster who goes above
and beyond to pull hoaxes on journalists. He comes up with ridiculous ideas, and manages
to get on the news. Some of his best media hoaxes were a brothel
for dogs, and a priest who rode a portable confessional booth around on a bicycle. In a lot of cases, these news anchors actually
believed his claims, and he made his way on TV only to later reveal that it was all a
joke. He did all of this as a form of social commentary,
and as a reason to make people be more skeptical, proving that it was possible to create fake
news. In 1981, Skaggs pretended to be “Dr. Joseph
Gregor,” the CEO of a company called “Metamorphosis” that sold cockroach pills. He claimed that eating a capsule with ground
up bugs cured almost everything. It almost makes sense when you think about
how they always say cockroaches will be the last thing left after a nuclear holocaust,
so people actually believed him… At least, until he admitted that it was fake. 8. MalePregnancy.com In the year 2000, a man named Lee Mingwei
claimed that he was “the world’s first pregnant man,” and filmed a documentary
called The World’s First Male Pregnancy. In the film, he claims to be a biological
man who does not have a uterus, and that the baby was growing in his abdominal cavity. He started a website called MalePregnancy.com,
where he claimed that any man could get pregnant, as well. It turns out that Lee Mingwei is actually
an artist named Virgil Wong. Years later, he went on to have a TED talk,
where he explained that all his life, he was fascinated by putting himself into other peoples’
shoes. After learning about Helen Keller as a child,
he wore a blindfold and earplugs to see what life would be like as a deaf and blind person. So, the male pregnancy stunt was an extension
of that, and he wanted to get people thinking about possibly redefining traditional gender
roles. 7. The Celestial Bed In the 1700s, an English man named James Graham
attended a few classes in medical school, but never actually finished his degree. He called himself a doctor anyway, and tried
to sell various concoctions that he claimed would cure all kinds of illnesses. One of his many inventions was “The Celestial
Bed,” which went on the market in 1745. He claimed that if two lovers slept on his
bed for one night, it would cure impotency, and help people have a baby. This bed was actually a straw mattress filled
with rose petals, lavender, and herbs, and he made the atmosphere of the room like a
sex motel with a mirror on the ceiling. The headboard had an electric current running
through it, because he claimed that getting a bit of a shock to the senses would improve
a man’s sperm count. He charged 50 pounds per night, which was
really only affordable for the upper class at that time. Some historians say that Graham was like the
world’s first sex therapist, but this magical bed never actually worked. 6. The Coudé Catheter In 1957, medical students invented a fake
device called the “Coudé Catheter” as a joke, and claimed that it was invented by
a man named Dr. Emile Coudé. This was a catheter with a bent tip… and
without going into detail, let’s just say it would be extremely painful for someone
to use. However, since the students claimed that the
bent tip “fit perfectly in the urethra,” professionals took it so seriously that the
object was included in textbooks as a medical breakthrough. The textbook writer, Sir Hamilton Bailey,
was very embarrassed when he found out that the Coudé Catheter was a hoax, so he wrote
in to a medical journal to say that it was a false claim, and that Dr. Emile Coudé needed
to be erased from history. One of the medical students saw this letter
and decided to troll Bailey even further by writing him a reply claiming to be Dr. Coudé’s
nephew, stating he was very offended by the suggestion that his uncle wasn’t real. This same prankster later admitted that he
was joking. Unfortunately, the Coudé Catheter is still
being talked about today, and some doctors don’t realize it was all a hoax. 5. The Blood of the Youth On September 10, 2018, both The Sun and The
New York Post published articles that claimed that the University of London concluded “drinking
young people’s blood could help you live longer and prevent age-related diseases.” If you think this sounds like a beauty treatment
from 16th century serial killer Elizabeth Bathory, you’d be correct. But in reality, those articles completely
misunderstood the work of a geneticist named Linda Partridge. Or, maybe they were just trying to create
sensationalized clickbait. 4. Theranos If you’ve ever had a blood test done at
a hospital, you know that doctors need to withdraw a new vial in order to test for each
individual disease. In 2003, a 23-year-old woman named Elizabeth
Holmes claimed to have invented the technology to run tests for nearly every illness from
just a small pin-prick of blood. She was able to raise over $700 million for
her company, Theranos, and hired a team of scientists. The company existed for 10 years, but the
technology never existed, and they faked their results with human test subjects. It turns out that Holmes believed that if
she simply came up with a good concept, she could hire enough scientists to eventually
figure out how to make her idea a reality. Theranos went bankrupt, and Holmes now faces
fraud charges. There’s a very strong possibility she’ll
serve time in prison for her elaborate hoax. Her trial has only just begun in October of
2018, and if she is found guilty, she can face up to 20 years in prison. 3. The Extended Lifespans Of Vilcabamba, Ecuador In 1970, a group of scientists from Harvard
Medical School were studying the link between heart disease and the foods that we eat. There was a claim that the citizens of Vilcabamba,
Ecuador had a high population of people who were over 100-years-old, with some residents
even claiming to be 140. They also claimed that the entire village
had low cholesterol and virtually no heart disease. There were even several books published about
the village, and people traveled from all over the world to see how these people managed
to live so long. A medical study was conducted, and it turns
out that the claims were highly exaggerated, and the elderly people in the village were
simply lying about their age. In reality, the oldest people in the village
were in their 80s and 90s. 2. Gypsy and Dee Dee Blanchard Mother and daughter Dee Dee and Gypsy Blancharde
were living in Missouri, and they claimed that Gypsy had leukemia, muscular dystrophy,
and a learning disability. She was wheelchair-bound from the age of 5,
and doctors even gave her a feeding tube. Gypsy became a media darling, because people
were touched that such a little girl could be so positive and happy despite having so
many health issues. Her community donated money to help pay for
her medical costs, and they appeared on TV multiple times. They even had a free house built for them
by Habitat for Humanity, and received multiple all-expenses paid vacations to Disney World
from the Make a Wish Foundation. One day in 2015, Gypsy posted on Facebook,
“The b*tch is dead.” It turns out that Dee Dee Blancharde was experiencing
Munchausen Syndrome, which is when a parent gets pleasure from pretending that their child
is sick. Dee Dee was living on the donation money,
and threatened Gypsy if she tried to escape or reveal the truth to anyone. When she was 24-years-old, Gypsy met a man
on an online Christian dating website and fell in love. Dee Dee would not allow Gypsy to leave, so
Gypsy murdered her. Gypsy was sentenced to 10 years in jail, and
she maintains that she was being abused by her mother for years, and that she felt like
killing her mother was her only chance of escape. 1. Human Gives Birth to Rabbit Babies In 1726, a 25-year-old English servant woman
named Mary Toft claimed that she was giving birth to baby rabbits. Toft explained to everyone that she had recently
had a miscarriage, and she later had a dream about rabbits. After that, she felt pregnant once again. A local doctor named John Howard helped deliver
the body parts of several dead rabbits from Mary Toft’s body, and he was determined
to study her to see how this was actually possible. He kept her in isolation in order to make
sure that she didn’t actually sneak any animals in, and she was able to deliver several
more rabbits. Other doctors came to examine her, and Dr.
Howard even told King George about the phenomenon. Mary became famous, and many people believed
that these births could have been supernatural. Of course, it was a hoax, and it turns out
that a servant was sneaking baby rabbits in for her to hide between her legs just before
“giving birth.” Technically, none of this was against the
law, but Mary spent a few months in prison before being released.

90 thoughts on “10 Medical Hoaxes That Fooled Everyone

  1. Number two. That poor girl didn’t deserve 10 years. Her family flushed her mother’s ashes down the Toilet. Witch somehow made me feel better.

  2. Theranos is a filthy con-artist. If she were a man she'd get 20 years for sure. But she's a woman… So likely she's gonna get 6 months probation…

  3. @TopTenz, You might want to do a little better on your research next time. The Coude Catheter might have originally been a hoax, but now it is an actual device.

  4. Coude' catheters are useful in getting past enlarged prostate. The ends are different degrees of bend and stiffer than regular catheters. 😷🤒🤕

  5. Anybody remember the hoaxe when swine flu was big with the girl who took the vaccine and couldn't walk or talk properly unless she ran in spot or walked backwards

  6. I'm a RN, we use coudae caths all the time (they are no hoax). They have a slight bend at the end and come to more of a point (as opposed to a regular foley that has a blunt end). They are used on mostly male patients when a foley won't pass, fo example, an enlarged prostate. Also, the male urethra makes a sharp bend before the bladder and the coudae cath passes easier.

  7. Hey boss love your work. Just letting you know with regards to case no 2 it's Munchausen by proxy when it involves a second person. Peace out.

  8. Interesting video, Simon. A brothel for dogs! That sort of prank could actually get funding from fringe nut cases throughout our society.

  9. Personally I believe there is a difference in a fraud and a hoax. A hoax is not always a fraud as fraud is specifically about obtaining money by deception. However hoaxes usually have other motives like humour, or bringing attention to something.

  10. What about the "memory of water" used to trick people into buying homeopathic products? And what about the false link between vaccination and autism? And what about the falsified studies of aggressive behavior related to meat consumption? I do really appreciate your videos and the nice little pills of knowledge you offer, but I expected a little more exposure to more recent hoax 😉

  11. What about the "memory of water" used to trick people into buying homeopathic products? And what about the false link between vaccination and autism? And what about the falsified studies of aggressive behavior related to meat consumption? I do really appreciate your videos and the nice little pills of knowledge you offer, but I expected a little more exposure to more recent hoax 😉

  12. As a practising urologist, I have to call you out on the Coude catheter. The name being eponymous is a hoax though – it's French for elbow. Very helpful for getting past enlarged prostates and for other reasons. I'd be surprised if I use less than 100 per year.

  13. The coude catheter does exist and is used regularly, the history of how it came about is a hoax, not the device itself

  14. Just one slight correction
    #2, the diagnosis is technically Munchausen by PROXY, considering it was the mother who "believed" the daughter was sick

  15. I believe ADHD and other similar cases are all due to lazy parenting, now it’s Autism it does exist because I’ve seen it and it quite distressing but now governments have made up a broad spectrum theme and now everyone has it!
    Once again much is lazy or bad parenting s it’s the modern day excuse for kids who are out of control
    The parents just say ‘oh, he has Autism’ In a smug tone when little Noah has strangled the neighbours cat
    It must be costing the government much the same as our sponging asylum seekers’.

  16. but the coude catheter does work but not exactly how they initially invented it. only the very tip of the catheter is denser rubber and bent so it can go around obstuctions.

  17. Munchhausen Syndrome is when you make yourself sick. Munchhausen by proxy is when you do it to a child/someone else. Sorry to nitpick.

  18. I am super confused- I am a urology nurse and we use Coude catheters for enlarged prostates….. Its not a hoax, its actually very helpful and still used very often

  19. A little nit pick, Munchausen Syndrome is when you pretend to be sick for attention/money. If a parent does it to a child it is Munchausen-by-proxy.

  20. I was living in Springfield MO when the Gypsy Blanchard case happened. It was horrifying.

    It's worth noting with that case that it was an easy 1st degree murder charge, which would have been life. The prosecutor agreed to a plea deal for minimum time on 2nd degree, because he has some humanity apparently.

  21. #6 "Coude" (sorry; don't know how to add an accent aigu on a U.S. keyboard) is French for "bent like an elbow." and would be pronounced something like, "koo-DAY." It's not someone's name. According to Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary, Twenty-sixth Edition, W. B. Saunders Company, 1985, it is another name for an elbowed catheter, which is defined as "one with a sharp bend near the beak; used principally in cases of enlarged prostate."

  22. 7:28 When you derive pleasure from faking an illness of your child, or sometimes even making them sick yourself, it is NOT called "Munchausen Syndrome". It is called "Munchausen by proxy." VERY well known term. I'm surprised the narrator got it wrong.

  23. Nothing about the head/body transplant that Spanish or Portuguese doctor was going to make? The one that looked like MGSV character?

  24. The story of Gypsy is really sad. I hope she can have a relatively normal life when she gets out of prison.

  25. What gypsie blanchard was going through was abuse. Its called munchausens syndrome by proxy. Munchausens syndrome is when a person makes themself ill for attention. When they do it to someone else it's by proxy.

  26. That DeeDee and Gypsy Rose story is so sad, that girls life was ruined because of her evil mother wanted attention and free stuff. She was a disgusting leech and I have no sadness in my heart for her murder. I regret to be happy for her death.

  27. Greatest Medical Hoax that fooled everyone is a tie between the female orgasm, and that females defecate. I know we all agree.

  28. Ecuadorian here. The Vilcabamba hoax was never meant to be one. It was originally a very tongue-in-cheek tall tale to attract tourists and sell stuff from the place, but since there are always idiots who take everything too seriously, it was blown out of proportion. In the height of the "hoax" several news crews actually traveled and did reports on the place putting all the rumors to rest once and for all; although a few gullible types still peddle the tale, it is not taken seriously anymore.

  29. Coude just means elbow in French and is a description of the shape. These are very much real as even a cursory search will show. The hoax was just a prank we all used to play on medical students. Straight catheters are called Foley catheters, names for a Dr Foley, so the prank was asking students to tell us whom the Coude catheter was named for, to see how many would say “Dr Coude.”

  30. Publishing medical related content requires some knowledge and responsibility as false claims may cause harmful consequences. Thus it is quite disappointing to see your claims regarding coude catheters.

    The 1957 hoax was not a question of the mere invention but dr. Coude himself, as such individual never existed. "Coude" is a French term for elbow and was used in regards to the shape of the catheter itself.

    Claims that coude catheters are fraudulent invention, that they are "extremely painful to use" and that many medical professionals are ignorant of these facts is untrue and proves poor research. Maybe just once you should use actual books, not dubious internet sources?

  31. #2 is a case of Munchausen's Syndrome BY PROXY. In regular Munchausen's the person does harm to themselves & seeks medical treatment.

  32. Gypsy didn’t know she wasnt sick for a long time, she only knew she could walk. Deedee forced medication on her that gave adverse reactions making her “sick”

  33. What Dee Dee put her daughter Gypsy through was torture. All of those unneeded and unnecessary operations and medications because her “mom” craved sympathy from others. If I had been on Gypsy’s jury I would’ve voted to acquit her. Her “mom” put her through hell every day of her life. She didn’t have her own life or childhood. She was forced to play an invalid when she was perfectly healthy.

  34. Except the Coudé catheter does exist and is, in fact, used in medical settings. It may have started as a prank, but the stiffer catheter is actually very useful in instilling a catheter in a man who is affected with prostate cancer or BPH

  35. Elizabeth Holmes…is the scum of the Earth…She needs to go to prison for the rest of her natural days to see if she can ever figure out just how scummy she was being, by raising 700 million on faking a medical breakthrough.

  36. The Gypsy case always pisses me off. She was horrendously abused and in my opinion should not have been given a single day in prison.

  37. Dee Dee Blanchard actually suffered from Muchausen by Proxy, wherein the sufferer, usually a parent, causes someone in their care harm by claiming they have various illnesses, sometimes even using poisoning or bodily arm to stimulate symptoms. They do this because they enjoy the attention they receive, usually from praise and sympathy garnered from friends, family, medical staff and the public for being such a devoted carer to a severely ill child. Munchausen Syndrome is where the sufferer claims to have a mental or physical illness when in fact they themselves caused the symptoms. Ironically, they are actually ill, suffering with mental illness that causes a factitious disorder.

  38. #2 – OMG ! I'm so shocked by this one, I don't know what to think. My mind just went numb. Gypsy should have gone scot -free.

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