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Female thieves hide money in their bras, 1950
The Hoaxing Hitchhiker, 1941
Adolf Hitler Baby Photo Hoax, 1933
Old-Time Photo Fakery, 1900 to 1919
Bonsai Kittens, 2000
Vilcabamba, the town of very old people, 1978
What do the lines on Solo cups mean?
'Solar Armor' freezes man in Nevada Desert, 1874
Pierre Brassau, Monkey Artist, 1964
Prof. Wingard's Death Ray Hoax, 1876
Mme. Pompadour’s Metric Measure -- April Fool's Day, 1925
Merle Blanc, a humorous Parisian newspaper, laid a trap for André Perate, curator of the Versailles Palace. They sent him a letter, using the aristocratic signature "Madame de Mesnil-Heurteloup," offering to donate a "double decimeter measure in rosewood" once used by Mme. de Pompadour. They suggested it could be placed in the recently reopened Pompadour apartments in Versailles.

Perate hand-wrote a reply, thanking "Madame de Mesnil-Heurteloup" for her gift, but questioning whether the relic was worthy of a place in the palace. He asked if the measure was mounted in leather and bore the Pompadour arms. He concluded by suggesting that she bring the measure to Versailles to allow him to judge its value.

Merle Blanc gleefully reproduced a facsimile of his reply, noting that the learned curator had failed to realize that Mme. Pompadour died thirty years before the metric system was invented. They suggested that they might seek space in French museums "for Napoleon's automobile, a bracelet worn by the Venus de Milo, and an eyeglass belonging to Victory of Samothrace." [The New York Times, Apr 12, 1925.]

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