The Museum of Hoaxes
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Adolf Hitler Baby Photo Hoax, 1933
Mencken's fake history of the bathtub, 1917
What do the lines on Solo cups mean?
Mule elected G.O.P. committeeman, 1938
The Cottingley Fairies, 1917
Tube of liquor hidden in prohibition-era boot, 1920s
The Stone-Age Tasaday Hoax, 1971
Paul Krassner's Stereophonic Hoax, 1960
Cursed by Allah
Use your left ear to detect lies
Giant Penguin in Berlin -- April Fool's Day, 1931


A German newspaper ran a "news photo" of a giant five-foot-high penguin affectionately kissing a man with its long beak. The accompanying story explained that the Gargantuan penguin had recently been brought to Berlin and was being kept in a private zoo. Eventually, the plan was to take it on a tour of the world as part of an attraction in a circus.

The story created a minor sensation in Berlin. Pet store owners, animal trainers, and naturalists all received numerous calls from people wishing to see the giant penguin.

Several days later the newspaper admitted that not only the picture a composite, but that the bird shown was a stuffed member of its species. [Milwaukee Sentinel - May 17, 1931]

April Fool Categories: Birds, Germany, 1931, Photo Hoaxes.
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.