In 1997, a man named Mel Waters began calling into Art Bell’s Coast to Coast AM radio show. He claimed that he had discovered a hole with some unique properties: it was 24 kms deep, it was purposely removed from satellite photos, and it had the ability to resurrect dead animals.
Waters continued to call in and talk about his hole on the radio for years. Many people went in search of the hole, but Mel never revealed the location or any evidence of its existence.
Brian Dunning has looked at Waters’s claims on his wonderful Skeptoid podcast. You can listen to the podcast or read the transcript for the many reasons why Mel’s Hole is improbable, but I like this hoax because it provides a nice example of why the burden of proof is on the person making the claim, Mel, rather than on skeptics to disprove its existence:
Never assume that implausible stories must be true simply because you’re unable to disprove them. You never will be able to, because special pleadings can always be invented to explain away any questions you might raise. What can’t be invented from thin air is verifiable evidence, and its absence in the case of Mel’s Hole speaks loud and clear.
See a list of hoaxes counted down so far after the jump.
100. Bridezilla Freaks Out About Her Hairdo
99. The Joe Schmo Show
98. The Crying Indian
97. Ivar’s Underwater Billboards
96. Well to Hell
95. Great Comics Switcheroonie
94. American Cannibal
93. Nacirema Tribe
92. Indian Rope Trick
91. Eruption of Mount Edgecumbe
90. Republic of San Serriffe
89. Sydney Iceberg
88. Donald Crowhurst
87. Forgotten Silver
86. Procter & Gamble & Satan
85. Mel’s Hole