Sunday, August 27, 2006

Feignin' Abel

Here's a classic clip of the New York City media wreaking (literally) sweet revenge upon veteran hoaxer Alan Abel. From the clip's accompanying description on YouTube:
In 1972, Howard Hughes appeared at the St. Regis Hotel in NYC, wrapped in bandages, claiming that he was going to be frozen through cryogenics and return when the stock market peaked. A press conference was held and a large group of reporters were in attendance. After questioning, Hughes was hurriedly wheeled out through the lobby and his wheelchair got stuck in the revolving door. A second press conference took place several days later, during which it was revealed that media hoxer Alan Abel was actually the man underneath the bandages. In retaliation, the media decided to play their own joke on Abel.
For more information on Alan Abel and his hoaxing career, visit
I took part in one of Abel's minor hoaxes when I was in college. For five dollars an hour, I spent a couple of lunchtimes as an accomplice to the "Robin Hood magician," a young man whose gimmick was that he would perform magic tricks for strangers on New York City streets in which he would actually give them the five dollar bill that he would find in their ear, elbow, and so on. Abel wasn't present at the magician's performances, but gave him advice.

I remember Abel as being very smart, gracious, and funny; wish I'd stayed in touch with him. You can see from this and other clips of him on YouTube that he's a genius.