On Saturday, a video posted to Twitter by journalist Justin Chapman showed a rocket being launched. Eight seconds later, a parachute is seen deploying too early, and the rocket plummets to the ground.
“Mad Mike Hughes just launched himself in a self-made steam-powered rocket [yes, you read it right] and crash landed. Very likely did not survive,” Chapman wrote alongside the clip.
— Justin Chapman (@justindchapman) February 22, 2020
There is no footage of Hughes — who’s a so-called “flat earther” — actually getting into the rocket, nor are there crash site images.
The usual-suspect Lugenpresse are all over the “Mad Mike” story. Naturally, they’re pursuing the “science denialism” hoax — ahem, I mean narrative. Of course, the psyop also targets the “radical doubters,” such as regular Winter Watch readers. And of course instilling more magical cartoon world thinking in the population is a goal. The cognoscenti on the Tweeter comments above bought this hook, line and sinker and without question.
And, whodathunk, the self inflicted ill fated Mad Mike offered this little gem of advice.
“I just want people to question everything. Question what your congressman is doing, your city council. Question what really happened during the Civil War. What happened during 9/11.”
The mishap was reported at 1:52 p.m. on private property in the Barstow area, San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said in an email to NBC News. She did not identify Hughes.
“A man was pronounced deceased after the rocket crashed in the open desert during a rocket launch event,” she said.
The sheriff’s department did not identify the victim, but Hughes’ partner Waldo Stakes, who was at the rocket launch, confirmed to the Associated Press that Hughes was killed.
Indeed, following Hughes’ supposed death at age 64, came this quote from the PR rep in a Buzzfeed article:
“We used flat Earth as a PR stunt. Period,” Shuster told BuzzFeed News. “Flat Earth allowed us to get so much publicity that we kept going! I know he didn’t believe in flat Earth and it was a schtick.”
shtick (Yiddish: שטיק)
a gimmick, comic routine, style of performance, etc. associated with a particular person.
Despite the schtick confession, Hughes had promoted a bogus flat Earth psyops.
“A plan to prove the Earth flat or round will be presented to an International audience,” reads a promo for the two-day event. “The list of topics to be presented include flat Earth and other controversial subjects. The full list of speakers is yet to be determined.”
There, Hughes will announce a “’rockoon’ launch to the edge of space” and “an Antarctic expedition with the goal of reaching the edge of the world … to prove once and for all that this Earth is flat,” according to the event’s promotional declaration.
According to the Associated Press, Hughes built his first crewed rocket on Jan. 30, 2014, and flew 1,374 feet (419 m) in just over one minute over Winkelman, Arizona.
Again, there was no video of Hughes entering the rocket, and there were doubts that he was in it when it launched.
According to CBC News, Hughes collapsed after the landing and it took him three days to recover. Hughes stated that the injuries suffered from the flight put him in a walker for two weeks.
After professing his belief in a flat Earth later that year, Hughes gained support within the flat-Earth community. His post-flat-Earth fundraising campaign made its $7,875 goal. He had said he intended to make multiple rocket journeys, culminating in a flight to outer space, where he believed he would be able to take a picture of the entire Earth as a flat disc.
He then claimed in November 2017 that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had given him verbal permission more than a year prior to launch his rocket, pending approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
However, a BLM spokesman said its local field office had no record of speaking to Hughes at the time.
The untested initial rocket was intended to reach a speed of 500 mph (800 km/h). Further rocket trips, which were to be launched from a balloon 20 miles (32 km) up were intended to reach above the atmosphere into outer space. Hughes acknowledged there were risks.
“It’s scary as hell,” he told the Associated Press. “But none of us are getting out of this world alive.”
A fundraising campaign to cover the costs of the delay raised around $100 of its $10,000 goal.
An alleged successful launch on March 24, 2018, resulted in his reaching a height of 1,875 feet (572 m) and a “hard landing” in the Mojave Desert. The steam-powered rocket launched at a sharp angle to avoid falling back to Earth on public land, and landed about 1,500 feet (460 m) away from the launch point. Hughes’ team reported a maximum speed of 350 mph (560 km/h). Hughes reported no serious injury from the landing.
Winter Watch Takeaway: a psyops hoax