The Museum of Hoaxes
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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
Sports Hoaxes
The Channel Swim Hoax, 1927. On October 10, 1927, Dorothy Cochrane Logan entered the water at Cape Gris Nez, France. Her goal was to swim across the English Channel. Thirteen hours later she reappeared at Folkestone, England. Her time had set a new world record, for which a newspaper awarded her a prize of 1000 pounds. But a few days later Logan confessed her crossing had been a hoax. She had only spent four hours in the water. The rest of the time she had traveled on board... Continue…
The Olympic Underwear Relay, 1956. Route of the 1956 Olympic torch relay, from Cairns to Melbourne. In 1956 runners bore the Olympic flame across Australia, on a path from Cairns to Melbourne, where the summer games were to be held. But before the flame even got as far as Sydney, it had to endure a series of setbacks. Torrential rains soaked it. Burning heat almost overwhelmed the runners. The flame even went out a few times. Then in Sydney itself it encountered a situation unique... Continue…
The Virginia City Camel Race. In 1959 Bob Richards, editor of the Nevada-based Territorial Enterprise, announced that a camel race would be held that year down the main street of Virginia City. He challenged other local papers to race their camels in the event. Continue…
Rosie Ruiz Wins the Boston Marathon, 1980. Ruiz supported by police after she crosses the finish lineOn 21 April 1980, Rosie Ruiz, a 23-year-old New Yorker, was the first woman to cross the finish line in the Boston Marathon. She had achieved the third fastest time ever recorded for a female runner (two hours, thirty-one minutes, and fifty-six seconds), which was made all the more remarkable by the fact that she looked remarkably sweat-free and relaxed as she climbed the winner's podium... Continue…
Sidd Finch, 1985. Sidd Finch In its April 1985 edition, Sports Illustrated published an article by George Plimpton that described an incredible rookie baseball player who was training at the Mets camp in St. Petersburg, Florida. The player was named Sidd Finch (Sidd being short for Siddhartha, the Indian mystic in Hermann Hesse's book of the same name). He could reportedly pitch a baseball at 168 mph with pinpoint accuracy. The fastest previous recorded speed for... Continue…
The Great Potato Play, 1987. On August 31, 1987, the double-A Williamsport Bills were playing the Reading Phillies. Rick Lundblade of the Phillies was on third base, waiting to run for home. The pitcher threw the ball low, into the glove of the catcher, Dave Bresnahan, who immediately threw it towards third hoping to pick off Lundblade. But the throw went wild, over the head of the third baseman, and Lundblade triumphantly sprinted towards home. But when he reached home he... Continue…
Monkey Fishing. Jay Forman wrote an occasional "Vice" column for the online magazine Slate.com. In it he often described various bizarre activities he had engaged in or witnessed over the years. For instance, one column probed the synergies between guns and liquor. Another discussed his short career in the pornography trade. In his 8 June 2001 column, he described his participation in the extreme sport of monkey fishing. Monkey fishing, in Forman's usage of the... Continue…
Hunting for Bambi, 2003. In July 2003, Las Vegas TV station KLAS-TV reported that a local company was selling “Bambi Hunts.” These were games in which men with paintball guns hunted naked women in the Nevada desert. Anyone could sign up to join in a "hunt", although it could cost as much as $10,000 per game. An international media frenzy ensued. Numerous critics denounced the hunts, pointing out that a paintball hitting a naked woman could seriously hurt her.... Continue…
Samukeliso Sithole. Samukeliso Sithole Samukeliso Sithole was a rising female star in the world of Zimbabwe athletics. The 17-year-old track-and-field athlete had won awards at various regional athletic events, including five gold medals at the Southern Region Youth Championship in 2004. But in 2005 her career came to an abrupt halt when it was revealed that she was actually a he. Continue…

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