The Museum of Hoaxes
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Bizarre pictographs of Emmanuel Domenech, 1860
The Great Space Monkey Hoax, 1953
Cat that walked 3000 miles to find its owners, 1951
Rare planetary alignment decreases gravity, 1976
Vilcabamba, the town of very old people, 1978
The worms inside your face
The Cradle of the Deep, a literary hoax, 1929
Sober Sue, the woman who never smiled, 1907
Did Poe say 'The best things in life make you sweaty'?
war of the worlds
The night Martians invaded New Jersey, 1938
Brunus edwardii -- April Fool's Day, 1972
The April 1st, 1972 issue of the Veterinary Record, the weekly journal of the British veterinary profession, contained an article about the diseases of Brunus edwardii, which was described as a species "commonly kept in homes in the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe and North America." The article warned:

Pet ownership surveys have shown that 63.8 percent of households are inhabited by one or more of these animals, and there is a statistically significant relationship between their population and the number of children in a household. The public health implications of this fact are obvious, and it is imperative that more be known about their diseases, particularly zoonoses or other conditions which might be associated with their close contact with man.

For months afterwards the correspondence section of the Veterinary Record was dominated by letters about Brunus edwardii, most of which offered new observations about the species. However, a few correspondents were outraged by the article, such as A. Noel Smith who wrote, "How three members holding sets of impressive degrees can waste their time writing such garbage in a journal that is the official publication of the B.V.A. is beyond my comprehension, as is your effrontery to publish it under 'Clinical Papers'."

It was reported that the British Library later had difficulty deciding how to classify the article, but the article proved so popular that it was eventually published in a special edition by Whittington Press.

The images below, which accompanied the article, illustrate some of the diseases of Brunus edwardii. They are (from left to right): 1) Alopecia, discoloration (very loved); 2) Torticollis and loss of limb; 3) A case of emotional disturbance, hypertension; 4) Attic bear and mice; 5) Lopsided squint.


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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.