As a human being, it shouldn’t surprise you that a lot of people constantly lie to others every single day.
We all know that telling a lie is a bad thing and not just because it’s morally wrong. Not everyone in the world are aware of all the things happening in the world. In fact pretty much no one can claim to know everything. To take advantage of the lack of knowledge, awareness or naivety of other people can be very damaging depending on the intent of the liar. Lies can mislead people and even end up changing the world. Yes, if a big lie is believed by enough people, one can change the world. Here are some of the biggest lies ever told that impacted hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.
1) How the French Retained Control over Algeria in the 1800’s
You may not believe it but the French actually managed to keep Algeria a French colony by lying to them. They somehow managed to make the locals believe that they had magic powers and therefore demanded control. There were a group of holy men in Algeria who called themselves “marabouts” and they lied to the people about possessing magic powers. But these marabouts were Algerians and they demanded that the people rise up in rebellion against their oppressors. The French was not about to lose the colony to a bunch of ridiculous people and started spreading fake news that Napoleon III had sent their most powerful wizard to Algeria.
They made Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin pose as their champion sorcerer and the locals believed them. Robert-Houdin performed numerous tricks such as pulling cannonballs from hats, using magnets to make objects feel heavier and even electrocuted people as an example of his magical power. The marabouts were unable to compete with Robert-Houdin’s tricks and therefore got discredited by the public. With the support of the Algerian people, the French managed to retain the country as one of their colonies.
2) The Origin of ZZ Top
This is one of the most bizarre and fascinating lies ever told because the consequences it caused led to something better for everyone involved. In 1968 there was a band named “The Zombies” and they were getting pretty popular. One of their songs became a huge hit in the U.S and there was a rising demand for the band. In fact the demand became so high that their management company named Delta Promotions actually hired people to form two bands named The Zombies. The twist however was that neither of these bands were the real one because the original one had quietly disbanded in Britain. In fact the original rockers didn’t even know that their song was so popular in the United States.
The world was vastly different before the internet and people weren’t so well connected between continents. As time passed, the real Zombies found out about this deception and formed their band back to prevent the fake ones from running their legacy. On the other hand, two people from the fake band were Frank Beard and Dusty Hill who went on to use the experience they gained to start a new band called ZZ Top.
3) How Jesus Became White
For a man who was born in the Middle East, he sure is portrayed in a way different light visually through paintings. When did Jesus become a white man? The way we visualize Jesus today is all because of a letter that lied. The modern description of the prophet came into being from a letter allegedly penned by Publius Lentulus who apparently was the governor of Jerusalem. The letter described Jesus as “having hair of the hue of unripe hazelnut, almost down to his ears..with a face without wrinkle or any blemish, which a moderate color makes beautiful”. This information was published in the 15th century in “the Introduction to the works of St Anselm” and artists started following that description in their paintings.
But what was astonishing about all this was how people believed the letter to be true. For one thing, there was never any post for the governor of Jerusalem. Nothing in the letter was ever mentioned in the entire body of work of St. Anselm and there is not a single record of Publius Lentulus ever existing anywhere. Moreover, the language used in the letter was far more modern making it obvious that it was planted much later than St. Anslem’s writing. Despite all these obvious points, this lie changed the way people saw Jesus Christ for over 500 years.
4) Ronald.W.Richter – The Liar Who Overthrew the President of Argentina
In all fairness, Ronald didn’t directly overthrow the President but his lie did. By the end of 1940’s Juan Peron who was the well respected and loved President of Argentina wanted the country to become a nuclear power. He started looking for acclaimed scientists who could help his nation to achieve this gigantic mission. He came across a Ronal.W.Richter who claimed to be a top Nazi scientist and an expert in nuclear energy. For over a year, money was pumped into this project until one day Peron demanded to see some progress. Ronald bragged that he not only solved the issue of fission but even managed to harness fusion. Ecstatic with the news, Peron decided to tell the tale to the world.
And so the stage was set and due to obvious reasons the entire event became a massive fail. Instead of displaying nuclear fission, Ronald merely showed off a TNT based explosion. On top of all this embarrassment, several real Nazi scientists came forward and said that there was never any scientist named Ronald.W.Richter. It turned out he was just an explosions technician who worked in Austria. The worldwide humiliation and the fact that so much money was wasted for an entire year led to Peron being overthrown by his own military. Ronald’s lie literally changed the fate of an entire country.
5) The Man Who Conned $50 Billion over a Decade
Bernie Madoff in 2008 confessed to the world that the company he built was all based on a big lie. According to him, nearly $50 billion were pumped into his company from investors which is a ridiculously large amount of money. Bernie essentially structured his company as a Ponzi scheme so that he could keep amassing a crazy amount of wealth for nearly a decade. In a Ponzi scheme, an investor puts in money in return for great returns but at the same time, he/she gets to keep some of the money. The money from new investments is then used to pay for earlier investments and over time, people just keeping hemorrhaging money. While Bernie didn’t come up with the idea of the Ponzi scheme, he managed to fool everyone for a decade while making an insane amount of money.