The Digital Campfire: Leon Czolgosz

29 04 2010

My next round of creepypasta is an especially short-and-to-the-point one.

Leon Czolgosz
Leon Czolgosz, assassin of William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, was electrocuted for his crime on October 29, 1901, at Auburn Prison in Auburn, New York. Among the personal effects found in his cell was a U.S. quarter stamped with the date 2218. The face in profile on said quarter was not George Washington, but rather a face which has yet to be identified.

Okay, so this one obviously isn’t much of a creepy story. But I love it for the following reason: it’s a fantastic lie. As a casual fan of lying (I’m not compulsive, just a hobbyist), I have nothing but respect for this complex, detailed, direct and utterly-full-of-shit statement. It’s the type of lie that’s so patently absurd that people might actually believe it if you adopt an appropriately matter-of-fact tone.

Imagine saying this one out loud (you’d have to learn how to pronounce Czolgosz).There’s so many details and so much formal language (“personal effects,” “yet to be identified.”), that most people would be confused before you hit the fifth comma. Then, before they’re able to fully orient themselves within your story, you abruptly end with a completely ridiculous lie. Now, you simply have to observe the gathered onlookers as they nod, trying to piece together what the hell you were just talking about. And then, you get to laugh and laugh and laugh.

Take care in using this story around coin-collectors or Snopes readers, though. They will likely smirk and point out that the Washington quarter wasn’t introduced until 30 years later. If you’re looking for a tactful method of dealing with this possibility, I suggest smacking the offending brainiac upside the head with a frying pan and scampering away. PROTIP: as you flee the scene, consider shouting “He’s on to us!”

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