The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
 
Loch Ness Monster Hoaxes
Paul Krassner's Stereophonic Hoax, 1960
Eccentric's last prank, 66 years after his death, 1900
Prof. Wingard's Death Ray Hoax, 1876
Stotham, Massachusetts: the town that didn't exist, 1920
Tube of liquor hidden in prohibition-era boot, 1920s
The Nobody For President Campaign, 1940 to Present
The Great Space Monkey Hoax, 1953
The most sacred relic: the Holy Foreskin, circa 800 AD
The Great Electric Sugar Swindle, 1884
Hoaxes of Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American writer, celebrated for his dark, gothic tales of horror and suspense. He enjoyed playing games of rationality with his readers. Sometimes he cast himself as a master detective capable of discerning the truth behind any illusion or riddle, a role he expressed through the famous character of Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin. This is also seen in his effort to solve puzzles, such as the mystery of the operation of the Great Chess Automaton.

At other times, Poe liked to display his ability to hide the truth from his readers, to force them to play detective. He published six hoaxes during his brief life. Most modern anthologies of his works fail to note that these stories were first presented to readers in the guise of nonfiction. In fact, both detective and hoaxer were two sides of the same coin for Poe. Both roles manifested the power he believed a rational mind could wield over reality. Poe was also fascinated by other hoaxes besides his own. He once referred approvingly to the age in which he lived as the "epoch of the hoax."

Listed below are his six hoaxes.
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.