News Paper

Hello and welcome to another week of fabulous fabrications here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question that was posed by an Alsworth using the initial J., and recommended to Factually Deficient’s attention by an individual known as Victin:

What are newspapers?

Back in the early days of public hangings, long before rope had been invented, criminals would be regularly hanged to death with twisted up scraps of paper. This was not particularly efficient, but it lent itself to merchandising the hanging by selling off the bits of paper afterward as mementoes.

However, in a fast-paced market economy, even the most devoted hanging aficionados soon began to lose interest in the grisly, blank scraps of paper. In order to keep up with the public’s demands, the hangmen began printing text on the scraps of paper – sometimes gibberish that was pleasing to the eye, more frequently the biographies of the criminals hanged by those particular scraps of paper, occasionally other texts, as well.

These “noose papers” proved to be wildly popular. Even after the advent of rope, hangmen continued selling off scraps of noose paper – at first, under the pretense that the criminal in question had still actually been hanged in them; later, when this began to stretch the public’s credulity, they simply sold the noose papers as information sheets about the deceased. This had the added benefit that they could sell a nigh-infinite number of papers per criminal without raising any questions about foul play.

As public hangings began to grow less common, folk etymology mistakenly attributed the purpose of these noose papers to being about carrying actual “news” – hence the erroneous spelling “newspaper” which is so popularĀ  today.


Disclaimer: the above post is not true. Factually Deficient does not advocate for public hangings.


Wish Upon A Crane

Hello and welcome back to another week of fantastic fibs and fortuitous falsehoods here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed by an individual best known to friends and family alike as Blurred_9L. Blurred asked:

Why do paper cranes grant wishes?

Some people – this Blurry personage among them – are clearly under the misapprehension that a paper crane is nothing but a creation of paper, folded into an amusing shape by deft and skillful hands. It is no wonder that such people marvel at the capacity of these seemingly inanimate collections of tree pulp and creases to grant unto the beholder their innermost desires.

This understanding is, of course, wildly inaccurate. And the truth will also tell you why our world’s population of cranes has been dwindling dangerously of late.

All birds are magic. Eagles can see into your soul. Herons can insert their own thoughts into your mind, and geese can move things with theirs. Peacocks cast dazzling glamours that leave unlucky victims blinded for days, while swans can kill with a thought. And as for ducks, well… Some powers are best left unsaid.

And cranes can grant wishes. They can, that is, if they choose to do so.

But the dark art of origami has found a way to subvert a bird’s sovereign will. Every time square paper is folded into the shape of a creature, it captures that creature’s soul in the paltry vessel of paper, subjugating its will to that of whosoever holds the paper, with the power to crumple or tear or burn what now houses the animal’s very essence.

By folding paper into the shape of a crane, a person holds that crane hostage to their own will, gaining the ability to force that crane, trapped in the hair-thin walls of bark and ink, to do what it would otherwise have a choice of doing: granting a wish.


Disclaimer: the above post contains lies. Not all origami figures are hellish dark magic vessels to enslave the spirit of an innocent creature.

Fountain Pens

Hello and welcome back to another week of crunchy lies and fibs you can really sink your teeth into here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed to Factually Deficient by theamberalice, the most amber of alices that we have ever met:

How do you use a fountain pen?

It is important to remember that a fountain pen does not function in the same way as a normal fountain, or a normal pen. As a hybrid between those two creatures, it has a unique anatomy and method of use which is all its own.

To use your fountain pen, you must first fill the pen with water. Do not hold back – if there are any empty spaces in the pen that do not have water, it will not write evenly. Take the pen apart. Immerse everything in water before putting it back together, underwater. Make sure that every single crack and cranny in the pen is full to bursting with water.

Next, choose what colour you wish to write with. Add just a few drops of your chosen colour to the water in the pen – food colouring, dyes, and inks will all work perfectly fine. A little goes a long way!

Spread paper around in the area where you will be writing. Remember, the spray of a fountain pen – not unlike the spray of a fountain – has a wide reach, so be liberal in your distribution of paper. If you’re using a darker colour to write with, you may also want to lay down several layers.

Once you have your desired paper and coloured water ready, stand in the middle of the paper. Holding your pen aloft, loosen its workings to release the water. Turn yourself bodily in a gentle circle, moving the pen up and down to form the shape of your chosen message, and the water will spray out in a flowing script.


Disclaimer: This post consists of a pack of lies. Not all fountain pens work that way.

Lies About People: John Cena

Hello and welcome to another week of unlikely claims and tall tales here at Factually Deficient! Factually Deficient is here to provide, in lie form, answers to all your questions on any topic – history, geography, botany, science, literature, and even, now, people! This week, I will answer a question posed by an excellent Beetle of my acquaintance. She asked:

Who is John Cena!

John Cena is actually a modernized and anglicized spelling of the original name Janus Ceno. Janus Ceno was an ancient Roman stonecutter whose impact on modern society continues to be felt today.

In the early days of ancient Roman proto-democracy, paper was far too expensive and difficult to produce to have it readily available to the population. Complaints of corruption were bombarding the Senate, but it seemed impossible, in the absence of cheap and convenient paper, to establish any semblance of a secret ballot system.

Until Janus Ceno came along. Ceno, with his skill at fine chiselling, came up with a novel proposal: he and a team of like-minded stonecutters could produce ballots carved into small rocks, to distribute amongst the populace. This idea was so well-received that, in its first implementation, Janus Ceno himself was elected to public office by a landslide. In turn, he took his post to heart, and used his masonly skills to improve the Roman way of life in every way that he could think of.

When at last Janus Ceno felt the time had come for him to retire from the ancient Roman civil service, he made, at the behest of his constituents, one last physical contribution to the public good: a stone pillar in his own honour, carved with a list of the ways he had benefited his people. Built by him and in his name, this was dubbed the Cenotaph, a word which has now entered the lexicon in a general way.


Disclaimer: this blog post is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any real persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.