If something looks official enough, it’s not hard to convince people that it’s real. That’s how one New York City artist just pulled off a prank involving a very official-looking tribute…to a monster attack that never really happened!
Joe Reginella has sculpted a convincing memorial to the victims of the (definitely fictional) Staten Island Ferry Octopus Disaster of 1963. Just because it sounds totally ridiculous, though, doesn’t mean people aren’t fooled!
New York City-based freelance sculptor Joe Reginella has come up with a hilariously elaborate prank that’s actually fooling some folks: a tribute to the victims of the Staten Island Ferry Octopus Disaster, a monster attack that supposedly happened in the 1960s! He describes the project as “part practical joke, part multimedia art project, part social experiment.”
Joe even made a website for the prank detailing the fictional disaster: “It was close to 4am on the quiet morning of November 22, 1963 when the Steam Ferry Cornelius G. Kolff vanished without a trace. On its way with nearly 400 hundred people, mostly on their way to work, the disappearance of the Cornelius G. Kolff remains both one of New York’s most horrific maritime tragedies and perhaps its most intriguing mystery…”
“Eyewitness accounts describe ‘large tentacles’ which ‘pulled’ the ferry beneath the surface only a short distance from its destination at Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan. Nobody on board survived and only small pieces of wreckage have been found…strangely with large ‘suction cup-shaped’ marks on them.”
“The only logical conclusion scientists and officials could point to was that the boat had been attacked by a massive octopus, roughly half the size of the ship. Adding to the tragedy is that this disaster went almost completely unnoticed by the public as later that day another, more ‘newsworthy’ tragedy would befall the nation when beloved President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated.”
The prankster artist even went so far as to print up fake brochures that he and his associates have passed out to people on the street! The brochures detail the “story” of the disaster and give a fake address for a museum promising an octopus petting zoo, exhibits, and a “Ferry Disastore” gift shop!
A worker at the real Staten Island Museum has actually received questions about the fake institution! He says most people seem to suspect that the disaster is fake but have to double check just to be sure…
The memorial statue itself is pretty convincing and has attracted its fair share of interested visitors!
It’s even caused a few people to get mad, including one woman who tracked the artist down just to give him an earful. Luckily, most people understand that it’s all meant in good humor. “How can you get so bent out of shape? It’s a joke,” he said.