The Museum of Hoaxes
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The damp spot that hoaxed a city, 1912
The Great Wall of China Hoax, 1899
Man flies by own lung power, 1934
Swiss peasants harvest spaghetti from trees, 1957
The Sandpaper Test, 1960
Loch Ness Monster Hoaxes
September Morn, the painting that shocked the censor, 1913
'Solar Armor' freezes man in Nevada Desert, 1874
BMW's April Fool's Day Hoaxes
Prankster causes volcano to erupt, 1974
Webnode -- April Fool's Day, 1999
A press release issued over Business Wire announced the creation of Webnode, a new company recently granted a government contract to regulate ownership of "nodes" on the Next Generation Internet (NGI). Each of these nodes (there were said to be over 50 million of them) represented a route that data could travel over the NGI. The company was licensed to sell each node for $100. Nodes would increase in value depending on how much traffic they routed. Owners would also receive usage fees for the data that flowed across their section of the internet. However, only individuals could own nodes, and no person could own more than 1,000 nodes. This limit was supposedly made in order to avoid monopolization of the internet by large corporations.

Although Webnode was not yet a publicly trade company, the press release declared that shares in the company could be reserved for later purchase, although no payment would currently be accepted. Because the Next Generation Internet was a real government project, many were led to believe that Webnode was also real (which, of course, it wasn't). Business Wire, however, didn't find the prank amusing. It sued the creators of the press release.

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