The Museum of Hoaxes
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Old-Time Photo Fakery, 1900 to 1919
Life discovered on the moon, 1835
The worms inside your face
The Great Space Monkey Hoax, 1953
The boy with the golden tooth, 1593
The Lovely Feejee Mermaid, 1842
Taco Bells buys the Liberty Bell, 1996
Eccentric's last prank, 66 years after his death, 1900
Man flies by own lung power, 1934
Fake Photos of Very Large Animals
The Great Cave Sell -- April Fool's Day, circa 1845
On an undetermined April 1 in the 1840s, a story appeared in the Boston Post announcing that a cave full of treasure had been discovered beneath Boston Common. It had supposedly been uncovered by workmen as they removed a tree from the Common. As the tree fell, it revealed a stone trap-door with a large iron ring set in it. Beneath the door was a stone stairway that led to an underground cave. In this cave lay piles of jewels, old coins, and weapons with jeweled handles. As word of the discovery spread throughout Boston, parties of excited curiosity-seekers began marching out across the Common to view the treasure. A witness later described the scene: "It was rainy, that 1st of April, the Legislature was in session, and it was an animated scene that the Common presented, roofed with umbrellas, sheltering pilgrims on their way to the new-found sell. A procession of grave legislators marched solemnly down under their green gingham, while philosophers, archaeologists, numismatists, antiquarians of all qualities, and the public generally paid tribute to the Post's ingenuity." Of course, the Common was empty of all jewel-bearing caverns, as the crowd of treasure seekers eventually discovered to its disappointment.

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