32 Facts About the Witness Protection Program

YouTube via Mental Floss
YouTube via Mental Floss

If you have information that could help prosecutors put criminals behind bars, but you think it might cost you your life, you’re in luck: The Federal Witness Protection Program can give you a new one. Since the 1970s, the government has been relocating witnesses with new names, new homes, and sometimes even new faces.

While it’s notoriously secretive, we’ve managed to uncover 32 facts about the business of giving sources a new lease—or nose—on life. Check them out in this all-new edition of The List Show with Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here.

The Origins of 62 Last Names

SasinParaksa iStock via Getty Images
SasinParaksa iStock via Getty Images

Last names. You've probably got one or two, and they definitely came from somewhere. Whether it's ancient or modern, signifies the beauty of nature or an abstract concept or a job, or is something Grandma came up with on the fly, last names are intimate things that anchor us to our heritage.

Here are the meanings and origins of 62 last names (maybe including yours).

1. Green

Woman in a forest with binoculars
Soft_Light/iStock via Getty Images

Welcome, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia fans. Did you know that the last name Green has been around since before the 7th century? You could have gotten that name by playing the role of the "green man" on May Day, which involved dressing in green clothing and leaves. But people were also given the name Green if they just liked wearing the color green a lot. So if you're interested in changing your last name, look no further than your closet.

2. Smith

Blacksmith forging a horseshoe
amoklv/iStock via Getty Images

Smith is an old English name given to those who worked with metal. It's probably related to a word that meant "to strike" or "to smite," which means it may have referred to a soldier or to the person hitting metal to form it into armor.

3. Schmidt

Wrought iron detail on wooden door
wernerimges/iStock via Getty Images

Similarly, Schmidt is basically the German version of Smith, which also derives from the word smitan, which pre-dates written history.

4. Lopez

Red wolf
SonyaLang/iStock via Getty Images

The popular Spanish last name Lopez came from lupus, the Latin word for wolf.

5. Thomas

Twin babies crying
leungchopan/iStock via Getty Images

It's from the ancient Aramaic word תאומא, meaning twin, but you can use it on singles or all three triplets.

6. Hill

A small white house on a green hill in the sun.
Antonel iStock via Getty Images

Hill is an English name referring to, you guessed it, someone living on a hill. Other people got the name not from location, but from the name Hildebrand or Hilliard.

7. Lynch

Man on a sailboat
nd3000/iStock via Getty Images

In parts of England, Lynch meant someone who lived by a hill. In Ireland, though, it may have meant seaman

8. Murphy

Vikings rowing in boats
gorodenkoff/iStock via Getty Images

Slightly different, Murphy comes from the Irish term for a sea warrior, which is basically a Lynch during war time. There's most likely a Viking connection here.

9. Novak

Woman giving a casserole to a neighbor
Daisy-Daisy/iStock via Getty Images

Novak comes from the Slovak word for new or newcomer. Good to know if people start calling you that as soon as you get to Serbia. 

10. Gomez

Man kissing his toddler son
Halfpoint/iStock via Getty Images

Gomo, which comes from old Spanish, meant man, and the "ez" at the end there makes it mean "son of man."

11. Cook

A male chef's hand seasons a rack of ribs.
Mikhail Spaskov iStock via Getty Images

If your last name is Cook, you probably have some ancestors who did that for a living.

12. baker.

Man at potting wheel
JackF/iStock via Getty Images

Dating back before the 8th century, Baker could have referred to someone baking bread, running a communal kitchen, or owning a kiln for firing pottery.

13. Baxter

Man holding a loaf of bread
nndanko/iStock via Getty Images

Baxter is the masculine version of the word bakester, which originally meant a woman who bakes.

14. Becker

Small house by a forest stream
Riekkinen/iStock via Getty Images

Becker is the German word for baker, and the name might have sprung up for the same reasons Baker and Baxter did in England, but it's also possible that the last name denoted someone living by a stream, or bach.

15. Hall

Long old-fashioned hallway
piovesempre/iStock via Getty Images

They were the people who worked in a house or a hall. Or even if you just lived near one.

16. Adams

Stained glass depiction of Adam and Eve in the garden with a snake.
Richard Villalon/iStock via Getty Images

Adams means "son of Adam" in England and Scotland. They borrowed the Adam part from Hebrew, of course.

17. Rogers

Statue of Athena holding a spear
Privizer/iStock via Getty Images

Rogers means "son of Roger." Roger isn't the first man in an alternate version of the Bible, though: His name comes from the legend of the Danish king Hrothgar, who can be found in Beowulf. Hrothgar, by the way, means "famous spear."

18. Thompson

Celtic crosses in old graveyard
egal/iStock via Getty Images

There are of course, a ton of these "son"s. Let's just get a bunch out of the way. Thompson, which is Celtic, means either "son of Tom" or refers to a place called Thompson in Norfolk.

19. Robinson

European robin in a snowy tree
Chris Rogers/iStock via Getty Images

You would be correct in assuming that Robinson means "son of Robin." Or Robert.

20. Roberts

Sunlight through clouds
IgorKirillov/iStock via Getty Images

Roberts means "son of Robert," and Robert means "fame" and "bright."

21. Johnson and Jones

Mosaic of John the Baptist
Tramont_ana/iStock via Getty Images

Johnson and Jones both mean "son of John." The name John comes from the Hebrew Yohanan, which means "Yahweh has been gracious."

22. Jackson

Statue of John the Baptist on the Charles Bridge in Prague
Vladimir Vinogradov/iStock via Getty Images

The name Jack is also derived from Yohanan, so Jacksons and Johnsons are really kinda the same.

23. Evans

Warrior holding a sword and shield
Massonstock/iStock via Getty Images

Evans—besides meaning "son of Evan"—is a name that changes definition depending on your background. In Welsh, it also evolved from Yohanan. In Celtic, it means "young warrior." We're learning a lot about what people used to value: warriors, fame, religion, hills.

24. Martinez

Statue of Roman god of war Mars
BMG_Borusse/iStock via Getty Images

It's a Spanish last name meaning "son of Martin," and "Martin" comes from the Roman god of war, Mars.

25. Anderson

Man lifting weights in a gym
twinsterphoto/iStock via Getty Images

The Greek word for "manly" gave us Anders and Andrew, and therefore Anderson, the son of Anders.

26. Wilson

Cat looking longingly at food
Chalabala/iStock via Getty Images

The Will part of Wilson is from the Germanic word meaning "desire." Gives an even deeper meaning to the Tom Hanks' best friend in Castaway.

27. Olsen

Old family photos for genealogy
Megan Brady/iStock via Getty Images

The name Ole came from an Old Norse word meaning "ancestors' descendants". So I guess the Olsens of the world are the "sons of ancestors' descendants."

28. Philips

Man and horse
Halfpoint/iStock via Getty Images

The Greek name Philippos, meaning "lover of horses", gave us the name Philip. Therefore, every Philips in your life is the son of a horse lover.

29. Fox

Sleeping red fox
AB Photography/iStock via Getty Images

The name Fox was taken from the animal's name. It's one of those last names that started out as a nickname. Usually, people who were called Fox were clever or else had red hair or both (probably just one or the other).

30. Russell

An intricate braid in the hair of a redheaded woman.
sUs_angel iStock via Getty Images

Then there's the name Russell, which is an Anglo-Norman word meaning "red haired" or even "red-skinned."

31. White

Curvy river in green landscape
wonganan/iStock via Getty Images

White probably referred to a person who had white hair or a very light complexion. It's also referred to people living near the bend in a river.

32. Brown

Man in brown suit holding a drink
Yana Tkachenko/iStock via Getty Images

The original Brown was someone with brown hair or who wore a lot of brown clothes. But really, wasn't that everyone in like the 5th century? I guess that explains why there are so many Browns.

33. Kim

Pile of gold bricks
JONGHO SHIN/iStock via Getty Images

Kim means "gold." It's also the most popular surname in South Korea. One in five people living there is a Kim.

34. Li

Bowl of plums
Sanny11/iStock via Getty Images

Li can mean "plum" or someone who lived near a plum tree. It's the second most popular surname on the planet.

35. Lee

A meadow filled with purple wildflowers
Raphael Comber iStock via Getty Images

The direct translation of Lee from Old English is "an open place," so it might have referred to a meadow or a water meadow.

36. Stewart

Butler at a door
Siri Stafford/iStock via Getty Images

The Scottish name would have denoted a guardian who handled administrative tasks for a big royal household. It comes from the ancient word "stigweard."

37. Clark

Vintage typewriter with paper
SimoneN/iStock via Getty Images

Clark means "professional scribe." So if I live near a hill and I'm something of a scribe, would be a Lynchclark?

38. Walker

Raw wool and tools
LuismiCSS/iStock via Getty Images

Walker could have been someone who did fulling, which was walking on cloth to improve its quality.

39. [Another] walker

Two park rangers
Thampapon/iStock via Getty Images

Another occupation related to that name: military officers who would monitor a forest area by, you know, walking.

40. Allen

Vellos in an orchestra
Lindrik/iStock via Getty Images

This name means "little rock" or "harmony." So please enjoy using your Harmony Wrench to build your next swanky piece of IKEA furniture.

41. Myers

A black sign with golden letters reading City Hall
pabradyphoto iStock via Getty Images

In English, Myers means "son of the mayor." It may have also been used as a nickname for someone pompous.

42. Singh

Regal lion
Andrew_Deer/iStock via Getty Images

Singh means "lion." Sikh in origin, it's given to a son on achieving manhood.

43. COHEN

Hot priest
Rawpixel/iStock via Getty Images

It's Hebrew for "priest." But the name might also come from Gaelic Irish where it meant "son of wild goose."

44. PARKER

Female park ranger with lions
aroundtheworld.photography/iStock via Getty Images

The original Parker was a gamekeeper. Or maybe a park keeper. Makes sense.

45. Wright

Woman using a power tool
PIKSEL/iStock via Getty Images

The name comes from an Old English word for "craftsman," and usually denoted someone who made things with wood, like windmills or wheels.

46. Carter

A donkey in front of a green cart that has a sack in it
tom-ster iStock via Getty Images

Carter is also English. It originally referred to a job in which someone would transport goods via cart, hence Cart-er.

47. Schneider

Female tailor
Artem Peretiatko/iStock via Getty Images

Schneider means "tailor" in German. The English version is, of course, Taylor.

48. Muller

Windmills and tulips
Olena_Znak/iStock via Getty Images

In German, Muller meant someone who operated a mill. The English version of that one is, also of course, Miller, and they both would have needed a wright to build their mill.

49. Cooper

Warehouse full of barrels
saiko3p/iStock via Getty Images

In England, a cooper was someone who made barrels. If you get a bunch of barrel makers together in tiny cars you have many coopers in Mini Coopers.

50. Moore

Yorkshire moors
Danielrao/iStock via Getty Images

Moore has multiple meanings. It may have meant someone who lived by a moor or someone who worked on boats, or someone who was dark-skinned, like Othello.

51. Perry

Close-up of a bunch of golden pears on the branch of a pear tree
PaulGrecaud iStock via Getty Images

In Old English, if you were named Perry, it meant that you spent a lot of time near pear trees. That sort of feels like a lazy nickname situation. In French, it was someone who worked in a quarry.

52. Turner

Wood being turned on a lathe
CarlosAndreSantos/iStock via Getty Images

Turner also has a couple different origins. It might mean "turn hare," or someone who can run faster than a hare. It could also mean "one who works with a lathe".

52. torres

Belem tower in Lisbon Portugal
FedevPhoto/iStock va Getty Images

In Portuguese and Spanish, Torres means "tower." So, someone with that last name was someone who lived by a tower.

53. Hoffman

Female farmer in a wheat field
dmbaker/iStock via Getty Images

In German, Hoffman meant someone who was a steward on an estate. Or someone associated with a farm. Either way, do not hassle the Hoffman. 

54. LEWIS

Cannon overlooking a river
Sean Pavone/iStock via Getty Images

Lewis comes from many cultures and has a few different meanings. An English Lewis was the son of a Lowis. Lewis also developed various first names in France and Germany and Normandy and so on. Those with the last name Llewellyn, in Welsh, usually becomes Lewis in English. They all came from the Frankish name Hludwig which meant "famous battle."

55. Young

Female teacher and children in preschool
Rawpixel/iStock via Getty Images

Young referred to the youngest child. You might also might have earned the surname if you were young at heart.

56. Weber

A woman weaving at a hand loom.
WichitS iStock via Getty Images

Weber is German for "weaver." It probably stemmed form the Old English word webbe, which meant "to weave."

57. King

Statue of King Edward VII
AmandaLewis/iStock via Getty Images

In English, King obviously means leader, but many people adopted it who weren't rulers, and it was used as a nickname quite often. You'll notice, for instance, that the Queen of England is not named Elizabeth Queen. But the name became popular among American immigrants from Ireland, and in the 16th century it was also common to give orphans in France the last name Roi, meaning "king."

58. Garcia

Brown bear cub climbing a tree
guyonbike/iStock via Getty Images

The etymology of Garcia isn't certain but most believe it came from a Basque word meaning "bear," or "young bear."

59. Rodriguez

Female chief executive officer
fizkes/iStock via Getty Images

Rodriguez means "famous chief." But it may also have come from a word meaning "red-haired one." So, if you're a famous red-haired chief, you're all set.

60. Campbell

Model of teeth with braces
zlikovec/iStock via Getty Images

Campbell derives from two Scottish-Gaelic words: cam meaning "crooked" and bell meaning "mouth." Shout out to all the crooked mouths out there.

61. Abdullah

Muslim women praying
Rawpixel/iStock via Getty Images

Abdullah means "servant of God." It's popular among Arabic Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

62. Mwangi

Tall skyscrapers
Elijah-Lovkoff/iStock via Getty Images

Mwangi is the most popular surname in Kenya, and it means "rapid expansion."

In this episode of The List Show, John Green examines the origins of 62 surnames. For a transcript, click here.

34 Hoaxes People Actually Believed

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Get your gullibility cap on. Here are 34 hoaxes—from alien autopsies to left-handed Whoppers—that people actually believed.

1. The One-Question Psychopath Test

A young girl chooses a smiley face over a frowning face being held by a woman
KatarzynaBialasiewicz iStock via Getty Images

While at her mother's funeral, a girl meets a guy whom she doesn't know; she falls in love with the guy on the spot, and then a few days later, that girl kills her own sister. What is her motive for killing her sister? If you answered that she was hoping that guy would appear at her sister's funeral, you think like a psychopath, as proven by a genuine psychological test conducted by a famous psychologist. The only problem is it isn't a question from a genuine psychological test conducted by a famous psychologist. It's just an internet hoax you probably got in a forwarded email.

2. A Televised Alien Autopsy

Autopsy tools.
James Player/iStock via Getty Images Plus

In 1995, Fox Television played a film featuring the dismantling of an alien corpse whose UFO had allegedly crashed in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. The culprit was Ray Santilli, an English filmmaker whose false footage was the basis of Fox's extraordinarily popular broadcast. Later, Santilli and his partner fessed up that their footage was merely a "re-enactment" of a real alien autopsy, which they didn't capture on camera, because, you know, reasons.

3. Lonelygirl15

Vlogging equipment.
sutiporn/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

So pretty much every vlogger here on the Internet owes a lot to a fake, homeschooled teenage girl video blogger named Bree, whose family just happened to be members of a murderous cult. Lonelygirl15 blew up in 2006, quickly gaining over 100,000 YouTube subscribers, which back then was a lot. But a sting operation by some of her fans revealed a connection between the project and a talent agency in Hollywood. It turns out that Bree was a 20-year-old actress named Jessica Rose, and the entire series was scripted. It ran for two more years after its cover got blown, proving that its popularity wasn't solely because people thought it was real.

4. The Cardiff Giant

Farmland.
Anastasia Yakovleva/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

In 1869, a 10-foot-tall stone giant was uncovered while workers were digging a well in Cardiff, New York. The owner of the New York farm, William Newell, started charging tourists $.50 apiece to view this spectacle, which was later discovered to be a hoax, orchestrated by his cousin, a cigar-maker named George Hull. In reality, this so-called petrified giant was just a hunk of gypsum carved in the shape of a man that cost Hull around $3000 to make.

Hull attempted to deflect blame at the time by telling one newspaper that the scheme was necessary to make some money for his family. But despite the deceit, he did score some money from the whole thing, eventually selling the fake giant for around $23,000 (Newell scored $9500 for his share). That wasn't even Hull's only brush with forgery: He would later pull off a similar, but less successful, stunt in Colorado with the help of P.T. Barnum involving a fake of Darwin's "missing link."

5. Jarno Smeets Flies

A hawk flying.
Dgwildlife/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

Jarno Smeets uploaded a video to YouTube in March 2012 in which he donned wings and then flew through the sky. Turns out, Smeets was not a bird-man, but actually an animator named Floris Kaayk who later admitted to the hoax on Dutch TV.

6. Camel Spiders

A spider web.
Ershela Hazizi/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

So when the second war in Iraq was just beginning, a photo emerged of a gigantic camel spider—this was sent around in emails, asking for sympathy for the troops. This email claimed that flesh-eating spiders were tormenting U.S. troops, could run 25 miles per hour, and jump 3 feet in the air. These spiders do exist, and they are big, but not quite that big. Also, they don't run that fast, and they can't jump at all. Rest easy, arachnophobes.

7. Napoleon Crashes the Stock Market

A portrait of Napoleon.
Photos.com/iStock via Getty Images Plus

In 1814, during the Napoleonic Wars, a man dressed as a colonel went around London claiming that Napoleon was dead, and that the Bourbons had won the war. The news resulted in British stock prices rising, before falling back to normal, when it was revealed that Napoleon was not dead. Lord Thomas Cochrane, the man who benefited from the stock fraud, was subsequently arrested for fraud.

8. Microsoft Buys The Catholic Church

A Catholic priest.
pmmart/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

People went wild in 1994 when an internet press release made the rounds stating that Microsoft had acquired "the Roman Catholic Church in exchange for an unspecified number of shares of Microsoft common stock." The press release was, of course, phony, but Microsoft had to come out with an official statement, assuring that they were not going to make sacraments available online anytime soon.

9. Fairy Bones

Bones at an excavation site.
Ирина Мещерякова/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

A widely circulated email in 2007 claimed that an 8-inch mummified fairy was found in a garden in Derbyshire, England, with descriptions of wings, teeth, hollow bones, along with pictures. Many people were hopeful that we had finally located Tinker Bell, but it was a hoax perpetrated by a professional illusion designer.

10. Fairy photos

Fairy mushrooms.
Shaiith/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

That's not the first fairy hoax, either; perhaps the most famous was the Cottingley Fairies, which were pictures taken by two young girls "proving" the existence of fairies in 1917. The fairies turned out to be cardboard cutouts, because, you know, no Photoshop.

11. The Mechanical Turk

The mechanical Turk.

Marcin Wichary, Flickr/CC BY 2.0

In the 1800s, in Hungary, the Mechanical Turk amazed everyone with its ability to play clever chess against human opponents, often winning. It even beat Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon. But it was a hoax—turns out, there was a man inside controlling it the whole time.

12. The Fiji Mermaid

Mermaid Statue.
ELENAPHOTOS/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

The Fiji mermaid, allegedly discovered by an English doctor (known only as "Dr. J. Griffin"), was a widely discussed hoax in the mid-1800s. Many came to see it and were immediately disappointed by its non-beauty, which makes sense, considering that the mermaid was just a papier-mâché'd monkey connected to a fish bottom.

13. Not The Missing Link

Bigfoot Crossing Sign.
pabradyphoto/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

In 1912, Charles Dawson found a bunch of skull fragments which were put together by his team to reveal the Piltdown Man. This completed skull would essentially serve as proof of evolution by fitting the description of half-man, half-ape. The scientists were right to be skeptical: the Piltdown Man skull was actually comprised of the bones of three different species.

14. Marathons Made Easy

People running in a marathon.
Sportpoint/iStock via Getty Images Plus

In 1904, Frederick Lorz won the marathon at the Summer Olympics...sort of. Lorz stopped after nine miles, got a car ride from his manager for the next 11, and when the car broke down, he walked back to the Olympic stadium and still wound up winning the marathon. Then he went on to claim that it was all a big joke, but only once people started to accuse him of not actually running the entire race.

15. Crop Circles

An ornate crop circle in the middle of a field
yuelan iStock via Getty Images

Alien crop circles are pretty common hoaxes these days, including in M. Night Shyamalan movies. That's all thanks to Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, who cut the first of many flying saucer nests in an English wheat field in 1976.

16. The War of the Worlds

Orson Welles.
Historica Graphica Collection/Heritage Images/Getty Images

In 1938, Orson Welles went on CBS Radio, reading from The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, but in a standard news format. Confused listeners believed that they were listening to a report of an actual alien invasion occurring in the United States, and this unintentional hoax was so believable that some people initially tried (but failed) to sue CBS for mental anguish.

Ready for a double hoax? The accepted knowledge that people panicked because of the broadcast might not be real.

17. Operation Copperhead

D-Day Landing.
Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A hoax was actually used to help ensure D-Day's success in World War II. Ten days before the fighting began in Normandy, the British used actor-soldier M. E. Clifton James, a general Monty Montgomery lookalike, to distract the Germans by doing high-profile appearances in Gibraltar. It's not clear whether the deception had much impact beyond confusion, but M. E. Clifton James later played both himself and Montgomery in a movie dramatizing the hoax.

18. The Left-Handed Whopper

A Whopper from Burger King.

Mike Mozart, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Did Burger King announce a Whopper specifically for hungry people with dominant left hands? Yes. That was a real hoax that had right-handed Whopper-eaters up in arms. Burger King said they were rotating condiments 180º for their left-handed customers, but that turned out to be an April Fool's Day joke, despite customers showing up and asking for it.

19. Hitler's Diaries

An old diary.
BlackQuetzal/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

Those Hitler Diaries, purchased by a German news magazine for $6 million? Hmm...not Hitler's diaries, in fact.

20. Pope Joan

Pope Joan shrine.
A shrine to the nonexistent Pope Joan in Rome.
MarcPo/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

And I'm sorry, everyone, but Pope Joan, the pope who casually went into labor during a procession, is a hoax, deriving from folklore. There has never been a female pope.

21. Home Remedies for Burns

A knife with a pad of spreadable butter over a tub of butter
Gingagi iStock via Getty Images

Despite what you've heard on the internet: egg whites, flour, and butter do not heal burns. In fact, butter helps trap heat in the skin, which is really not good for burns. These ingredients do, however, make for delicious baking, if you want to turn your burns into cookies.

22. Balloon Boy

Hot air balloon.
Michael Kulmar/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

Balloon Boy was up in the attic the entire time his family claimed that he was on a crazy balloon ride. The wildest part? They pulled the stunt to try to score a reality TV show.

23. A Font Predicting 9/11

A person typing on a keyboard.
undefined undefined/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

Repeat after me. The Wingdings computer font did not predict 9/11. Yes, typing in "Q33NY" does give you an airplane, towers (more like rectangles), a skull, and a Star of David. But no, Q33 was not the flight number of either of the planes.

24. Triple WaterSpouts

A hurricane
Elen11/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

There's no such thing as triple waterspouts. The photo from Hurricane Lili was doctored.

25. Andy Kaufman Is Still Alive

Comedian Andy Kaufman.
Joan Adlen/Getty Images

He's not. Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Tupac, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison are also definitely dead.

26. And Paul McCartney is Dead

A picture of Paul McCartney.
John Downing/Getty Images

He's alive! Despite the perennial hoax machine revving up to mourn people who are still with us, the Beatles bassist is still alive and kicking and having a wonderful Christmas time. So are Gene Simmons, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Garth Brooks, Eddie Murphy, Tony Danza, Justin Bieber, and Dave Matthews.

27. The Masked Marauders

A picture of singer Bob Dylan.
Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Speaking of Paul McCartney, the Masked Marauders—an album featuring a collaboration between him, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, and John Lennon—was the subject of a satirical article in Rolling Stone, much to the disappointment of many fans.

28. Charging Your iPod With an Onion

A pile of onions.
SabdiZ/iStock via Getty Images Plus

You can't charge your iPod using electrolytes. That YouTube video was a hoax; stop asking Yahoo! Answers and plugging your iPod into onions!

29. The Blair Witch Project

A production still from 'The Blair Witch Project.'
Artisan Entertainment/Getty Images

Groundbreaking in fusing advertising with its film, the cinematic tale of a trio going into the woods to find a witch made everyone wonder if the found footage was the real deal.

30. Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity movie audience.
Phillip Massey/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

It's surprising that a movie could pull it off years after Blair Witch, but a lot of audience members bought it wholesale, which is probably because it's still terrifying even when you know it's fiction.

31. Ghostwatch

A ghost in a haunted house.
solarseven/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

The original horror reality fake-out. Broadcast to unwitting British viewers in 1992 as a live, in-progress investigative report, Ghostwatch borrowed from War of the Worlds and used the news format to trick people into thinking ghosts were very, very real.

32. Youtube is shutting down

YouTube logo on a TV.
Stan Fisher/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

YouTube is not shutting down to select a winner of all-time best video; that was an April Fool's Day prank. Besides, we all know Mental Floss would win.

33. Facebook Is thinking about charging customers

A person scrolling through Facebook.
CASEZY/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

Also, Facebook is not considering charging, because who would pay for that?

34. At-Home LASIK Surgery

Optometrist equipment.
Andrei Orlov/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

And lastly, this should really go without saying: Do not trust any website offering to sell you a device for at-home, do-it-yourself LASIK surgery. Maybe don't buy something online that will shoot lasers into your eyes. Just appreciate Lasik@Home as a joke, everybody.

For more hoaxes that fooled the public, check out the full video below.

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