There’s something to be said for being humble and keeping your accomplishments and blessings to yourself. If you’re living well and doing good things, you don’t technically need to tell anyone in the world about it. But sometimes it’s hard to resist the urge to show off. Throughout history there have been people who said or did things that were so remarkable they couldn’t help but be seen as boasts, and some were more believable than others. Not to say that all of these people are lying. But we’re not saying all of them were telling the truth, either.
10. David Ingram Claimed to Have Walked from Florida to Canada in 1568
Feats of strength and endurance are always impressive. We have the Olympic games every two years, alternating between winter and summer games, just so the best athletes around the world can compete with one another and see who really is the best in that moment. But those games are very structured and also limited in scale. For a truly epic achievement of human endurance, we can head back to the year 1568 and take a look at David Ingram.
Ingram was a British sailor who landed in the Gulf of Mexico with a crew of 100 after losing a battle to the Spanish. By Ingram’s account, most of the men began to head south while Ingram and a few others headed north. They stayed within 30 miles of the coast and walked. And walked. And then walked some more.
It took the men close to a year to cover a 2,000 mile trek before they were rescued. By then only Ingram and two others were left alive. They set out in Florida and ended up in Nova Scotia, on the east coast of Canada. Pretty incredible, right?
Ingram shared details of his journey after he was rescued, and history has frowned on some of them. For instance, when he recounted seeing herds of elephants in the wilderness. It’s worth noting that Ingram was illiterate so his tale was in the form of questions answered and they were asked 20 years after the fact. So the details may have been fuzzy, exaggerated, or totally made up. We’ll likely never know for sure.
9. Wilt Chamberlain Claimed to Have Slept with 20,000 Women
It’s really hard to overstate just how remarkable Wilt Chamberlain was. The man broke dozens of records in professional basketball including scoring 100 points by himself in a single game. On the court, he was amazing in ways few players can even hope to match and many of his records are considered unbeatable.
Off the court, Chamberlain was somehow even more larger than life, so to speak. His most notable claim to fame outside of the game was that he slept with 20,000 women.
Chamberlain made the claim in a book in 1991. He was born in 1936 so, at that time, he was 55 years old. No one knows for sure when Chamberlain may have become sexually active in life, but let’s say he started as a teen (most people do the hypothetical math with him at 15 to make the numbers easier to deal with), and then say he had about 40 years to achieve that 20,000 boast. That means he needed to sleep with 500 women a year for 40 straight years. That’s about 1.4 women every day of his adult life, plus a few teen days.
Many people have questioned this claim over the years and argued it to be entirely unrealistic. What is known is that his friends and teammates knew he was a fan of having threesomes so he often slept with two women at the same time. It’s also been stated by teammates that they saw him with at least 23 women over a 10 day road trip at one point.
Is the number truly fake? Only Chamberlain knew for sure, and he died in 1999.
8. Alan Shepherd Claimed He’d Hit a Golf Ball For Miles Across the Moon
Alan Shepherd was the first American into space and also the 5th man on the moon. His contributions to space exploration are immense and he will go down in history as a true inspiration. As remarkable as his life and career were, even Shepherd was not above fudging the odd detail of his accomplishments, or at least it seems that way.
One of the most memorable parts about Shepherd’s trip to the moon was when he claimed he hit a golf ball on the moon and it traveled for “miles and miles and miles.” Now, as you may know, gravity on the moon is just a fraction of what it is on Earth and a human astronaut can jump on the moon and soar across the lunar surface like they have wings. But how far can a golf ball really go?
Turns out, not miles and miles and miles. And let’s be fair to Shepherd here, that quote was made as a bit of a joke. He later downgraded his skills to 600 feet with an assist from the moon’s ? gravity. That sounds more reasonable. But it’s still way off.
Thanks to photographic evidence, it’s been determined that the distance between Shepherd’s footprints and the location of the ball was just 120 feet. Not bad if he was using a sand wedge.
7. A Texas Veterinarian Claimed to Have Collected Bigfoot’s DNA
Mankind loves a mystery, especially one that teases at discovery something that could be both terrifying and wonderful. That’s a lot of the appeal behind UFOs and aliens. But there are some homegrown mysteries of the same sort, too. Bigfoot, for instance. The legendary monster said to roam almost all over the world under one name or another. This not-quite-human man-beast has fascinated people for ages. But so far, no one has ever found a real one. Doesn’t mean no one has tried, though.
Aside from photos and videos that are more or less convincing depending on your predispositions, some have used science to try to prove Bigfoot’s existence, and no one tried harder than Dr. Melba Ketchum (no relation to Ash) who claimed to have sampled Bigfoot’s DNA and analyzed it in 2012 thus proving the creature was not only real but part human.
Ketchum’s press release stated that Bigfoot was from a species that separated from mankind about 15,000 years in the past when another species mated with human females. You may be surprised to learn that none of this was peer reviewed and no one else had seen the evidence of these claims.
6. Nokia Boasted 400,000 Sales of Their N Gage Game System
Handheld gaming has had its ups and downs over the years. The Gameboy was a revolution in modern gaming, but then the Atari Lynx was something of a failure. Among the sea of entries into the field was the Nokia N Gage system which debuted in 2003 to great numbers. Nokia claimed they sold 400,000 units in just two weeks. That would have made it a smashing success.
If you’re struggling to remember what a Nokia N Gage even looked like and how it could have been such a hit, don’t worry. It was not a hit. Nokia later admitted that their boastful claims were less than truthful. They had shipped 400,000 units to stores, but that didn’t mean consumers bought them. In fact, they managed to sell just 5,000 units in the first week.
5. Hulda Clark Made Millions Claiming She Could Cure Cancer
Hulda Clark was a fraud and her lies took advantage of some of the most vulnerable people in the world. Clark claimed she could cure cancer. And when people are desperate enough, when they know they’re going to die or that their loved one is going to die, they will believe almost anything. They will also pay almost anything, and that is what Clark took advantage of.
Clark claimed she had created a low-voltage electrical device that wouldn’t just cure cancer, but AIDS and numerous other fatal conditions. She wrote books and sold supplements and her devices to people who were dying. She convinced them that intestinal parasites were the root of all these ailments and, with her machine and diet adjustments, all could be fixed.
Needless to say, Clark was a fraud from top to bottom and, ironically, she ended up dying of cancer herself.
4. 700 People Claimed to be Related to Prince After He Died
Have you ever heard about a person winning the lottery and suddenly discovering all these distant relatives they never knew? It happens, and in different ways. For instance, after the musician Prince died without leaving a will, suddenly 700 whole people showed up claiming to be his relatives.
Prince’s estate was estimated to be worth nearly $1 billion, so anyone hoping to prove he was their long lost brother was going to need scientific evidence, but that didn’t stop people from trying with stories as weak as “we lived in the same neighborhood.”
3. Terrence Howard Claims to Have Invented New Math
Many people have claimed to invent remarkable things over the years, including cold fusion or an engine that runs on water. Actor Terrence Howard claimed to have invented a new kind of math.
In Howard’s system, 1 x 1 = 2. This was a big, foundational principle of his belief system and also the reason why people widely mocked him online. His explanation is hard to understand because, well, obviously. But it has to do with his belief that if the square root of four is two, then the square root of two should be one, otherwise two doesn’t mean anything and therefore one times one equals two. Did you get that? Not many other people did, either. At its best, it seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of what exactly “times” means in a multiplication equation.
Despite the silliness, Howard is firmly and sincerely on board with what he calls Terryology, and believes that geniuses like Tesla, Einstein and Pythagoras would be blown away but what he’s done.
2. Matt Hoffman Says He’s Had 100 Concussions
BMX racer Matt Hoffman was one of the bigger names of the X-Games crowd around the time that Tony Hawk rose to fame. He also can lay claim to another noteworthy thing, though this is less enviable. Hoffman says he has suffered over 100 concussions in his life.
Like football players, BMX racers take hard falls and hit their heads a lot. It’s been suspected that Dave Mirra, another star of the circuit, took his own life after personality changes brought on by too many concussions.
As for Hoffman, he once forgot his wife was pregnant after taking a blow to the head. It wasn’t a memory that seemed to come back, either. He just had to relearn that he was about to be a dad. He also claimed that he had total amnesia for eight months at one point, and spent seven years unable to taste food.
While his claims sound outlandish, it’s worth noting that head trauma of this kind has been linked to serious and also violent personality changes. Suicides and homicides have been linked many times to athletes who had endured too many concussions, so this is a serious matter with life-changing consequences.
1. Novelist Barbara Cartland Claimed 49 Marriage Proposals
In the world of romance there are a handful of things a person is apt to boast about. We already saw Wilt Chamberlain’s claims about sexual partners, but what about a more wholesome boast? Author Barbara Cartland, once called the Queen of Romance, claimed that 49 men had proposed marriage to her before she ultimately got married. That’s a lot of courting.
The story she told was that she had made up a rule that she would never kiss a man until such time as he had formally proposed marriage. That does offer a little bit more insight into why so many, though it’s still a lot of effort for a man to go through just for a kiss, especially if a ring was involved. Needless to say, Cartland must have been a remarkably charming woman.