It’s pretty easy to hoax people. We all want to be deceived, but only up to a point. Some hoaxes are fun and pleasant, others malicious and unpleasant. We’d like a way to tell the difference (Robert Carroll).

Oct 31, 2008

Electric Chair Immunity Hoax

The electric chair is an execution method in which the person being executed is strapped to a chair and electrocuted through electrodes placed on the body. This execution method is used mostly in the United States of America and has become a symbol of the death penalty there, although its use is now in decline. The electric chair was first used in 1890. It was used by more than 25 states throughout the 20th century, acquiring nicknames such as Sizzlin’ Sally, Old Smokey, Old Sparky, Yellow Mama, and Gruesome Gertie. From 1924 to 1976, the electric chair was used as method of capital punishment in the Philippines.


One day, when Ethiopian Emperor Menelik with foreign visitors was showing the city of Addis Ababa, they reached a place where criminals were hanged from a tree. The Emperor tried hard enough to divert the attention of the foreigners to the opposite direction. However, the foreigners noticed it and asked the Emperor, "Why do you carry out death penalties this way?" Emperor Menelik replied, “These are criminals who killed innocent people; don’t you execute these kind of people according to the law of the land in your country?" The foreigners said “Yes, the criminals are executed using the electric chair, not out in the public like this." Menelik asked back “How does this electric chair perform this task?" The reply was “You make the criminal sit on the chair, and turn on the switch. Automatically, the criminal dies."

Menelik was so impressed that he ordered three electric chairs, and they were delivered from the United States. Upon its arrival, criminals in death row were brought in and were forced to sit on the chair while Menelik was standing to watch how it is done. At this time, the Emperor’s engineering advisors said, “Your Highness, the chair does not kill by itself."
The Emperor replied “Why not?"
The advisors: “It needs electricity."
The Emperor: “What is electricity?"
The advisors: “Electricity is useful to generate light and energy."
Menelik: “I need to import electric power system here. In the mean time, give me one of the electric chairs to be used in the room where the throne is kept, and give the other one to LQUE MEQUAS Abate."


So, to make the best of a bad situation, Menelik used one of these chairs as his royal throne. His aids soon realized the public relations value of the emperor sitting in the white man’s “hot seat”, and speared claim among the population that the great Menelik was immune the white man’s killing ways.

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