The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
 
Eras: 0-1699 1700s 1800-1868 1869-1913 1914-1949 1950-1976 1977-1989 1990s 2000s
The Hoax Archive — A collection of the most notorious deceptions throughout history
Cryptozoology Hoaxes
Jacko. The British Columbia Daily Colonist reported that a gorilla-type creature had been captured by railway workers and was being held in a local jail. It was given the nickname "Jacko." However, the entire thing turned out to be a hoax, as the hundreds of people who visited the jail and tried to view Jacko discovered, since Jacko was nonexistent. This story languished in obscurity until the 1950s when a reporter came across a reference to it (unaware... Continue…
The Loch Ness Monster. Ancient Scottish legend told of a "beast" that lived in the waters of Loch Ness. St. Columba, for instance, was supposed to have encountered a large serpent in the River Ness over 1400 years ago. But the modern history of Nessie began in 1933 when a new road was completed along the northern shore of the Loch, providing easy access to unobstructed views of the water. Soon after this, a couple spotted an "enormous animal" in the Loch. The... Continue…
The Spray Photograph. On November 12, 1933, Hugh Gray was walking back from church along the shore of Loch Ness when, so he later claimed, he saw an "object of considerable dimensions—making a big splash with spray on the surface" of the Loch. Luckily he had his camera with him, so he began snapping pictures. Only one of the pictures showed anything. Nessie believers hailed it as the first photographic evidence of the monster. Skeptics, however, dismissed it as... Continue…
The Surgeon’s Photo, 1934. In April 1934, Colonel Robert Wilson, a respected British surgeon, came forward with a picture that appeared to show a sea serpent rising out of the water of Loch Ness. Wilson claimed he took the photograph early in the morning on April 19, 1934, while driving along the northern shore of the Loch. He said he noticed something moving in the water and stopped his car to take a photo. For decades this photo was considered to be the best evidence of... Continue…
The Stuart Photograph. On July 14, 1951, Forestry Commission employee Lachlan Stuart took a picture of mysterious humps rising from the loch. Over twenty years later researchers visited the spot where he had taken the picture and realized the humps would have been in extremely shallow water close to the shore, meaning that Stuart's monster must have been awfully flat. Confirming their suspicions, author Richard Frere later revealed that Stuart had confessed to him the... Continue…
The MacNab Photograph. July 29, 1955: Bank manager Peter MacNab snapped a photo of something large moving through the water of the loch near Urquhart Castle. But when researcher Roy Mackal studied the photo, he discovered differences between the negative of the image and the print that MacNab had originally shown to the media. Specifically, there was more of the image in the print than there was in the negative (the tree at the bottom left is missing from the... Continue…
The Birth of Bigfoot, 1958. Jerry CrewAugust 27, 1958: While working on a construction site in northwest California, a tractor operator named Jerry Crew found a series of massive, 16-inch footprints tracked through the mud. Due to the size of the prints, the media began referring to the creature that created them as "Bigfoot." The name stuck, eventually replacing Sasquatch in the popular imagination as the name for North America's legendary ape-man. It was long suspected... Continue…
The Brooksville Monster, 1959. Reports of a giant monster with glowing eyes stalking the woods of Central Florida at night aroused the curiosity of two Tampa Tribune reporters. But after interviewing locals, they discovered that the creature was actually a "homemade spook" created by a housewife who had fashioned it out of a bed sheet, a cow's skull, and a flashlight inside the skull. She had tied her monster to a 100-foot rope between two trees and pulled it from side to side with a fishing line. Continue…
The Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot Film. October 20, 1967: Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin travelled on horseback into the Six Rivers National Forest of northern California, carrying with them a 16mm camera, determined to get some footage of Bigfoot. Near Bluff Creek they spotted what appeared to be a female Bigfoot (shown in the thumbnail) striding along a riverbank. Patterson managed to record 952 frames of film before the creature disappeared into the forest. The footage he took... Continue…
Body of Nessie Found, 1972. On the day before April Fool's Day, 1972, a team of British zoologists from the Flamingo Park Zoo found a mysterious carcass floating in Loch Ness. Initial reports claimed it weighed a ton and a half and was 15 ½ feet long. Continue…
Frank Searle, Monster Hunter. Frank Searle, a former army captain, arrived in Loch Ness to search for the monster during the early 1970s and soon established a reputation as a definite character. He was like a colonial-style adventurer, assisted by a succession of attractive young "monster huntresses." He took an enormous number of photos of Nessie, many of which were published by the media, but all of which have been dismissed by experts as fakes. His early photos, such as... Continue…
The Flipper Photo. August 7, 1972: An expedition to find Nessie led by Dr. Robert Rines of the Academy of Applied Science struck gold when its underwater camera took a picture of what appeared to be the flipper of a large aquatic animal resembling a plesiosaur. However, the relatively clear image of a flipper shown to the public was not quite what the camera had initially recorded. The initial image was far less distinct. (It basically looked like a shot of a bunch... Continue…
Nessiteras Rhombopteryx. Sir Peter Scott of the Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau participated in the 1972 expedition that produced the flipper photo. Feeling that the photo provided proof that some kind of large creature existed in the loch, he decided to give the animal a scientific name: Nessiteras Rhombopteryx (which meant "the Ness wonder with a diamond fin"). But London newspapers soon pointed out that if you juggled around the letters in this name, you got... Continue…
Bride of Bigfoot. Cherie Darvell was a member of a film crew searching for Bigfoot in the woods outside Eureka, California. Unfortunately for her, she found Bigfoot and he abducted her. Or so she claimed. Humboldt County organized a search party to find her, but without success. (Total cost for the search: $11,613. Humboldt County tried to sue Shasta County to make them pay a portion of the cost, but a judge struck down their suit, ruling that the search for... Continue…
The Loch Ness Muppet, 1977. May 21, 1977: Anthony 'Doc' Shiels claimed that he took this picture while camping beside Urquhart Castle. Its startling clarity (it's probably the clearest picture of Nessie ever taken) has made it popular with the public. But it's hard to find any expert willing to take it seriously, simply because the creature depicted in it looks so obviously fake. (And it's odd that there are no ripples in the water around the neck.) Skeptics refer to... Continue…
Loch Ness Conger Eels. May 2, 2001: Two large, serpent-like conger eels were found on the shore of the loch. Since the eels were saltwater creatures and the loch is freshwater, they evidently had been placed there. The leading theory was that a hoaxer, hoping the eels would be mistaken for mini-Nessies, had dumped them there. Continue…
The Loch Ness Fossil. July 2, 2003: Gerald McSorley, a Scottish pensioner, found a fossilized section of a plesiosaur vertebrae when he accidentally tripped and fell into the loch. Nessie enthusiasts speculated the fossil might have come from an ancestor of the monster. But subsequent examination revealed the vertebrae were embedded in limestone not found near Loch Ness, and the fossil showed signs of having recently been in a marine environment. In other words, it... Continue…
The Loch Ness Tooth. March 2005: Two American students visiting Scotland claimed to have found an enormous tooth (possibly belonging to Nessie) lodged in the carcass of a deer along the shore of the loch. However, (so they said) a game warden who happened to be passing by almost immediately confiscated the tooth from them, though not before they got a few pictures of it. The students subsequently created a website to publicize their find and lobby for the return of... Continue…

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