The Museum of Hoaxes
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Actress who claimed she was kidnapped by puritans, 1950
Can a bar of soap between your sheets ease muscle cramps?
Prankster causes volcano to erupt, 1974
A black lion: real or fake?
Samsung invents the on/off switch
Cat that walked 3000 miles to find its owners, 1951
The Nazi Air Marker Hoax, 1942
Script of Casablanca rejected, 1982
Old-Time Photo Fakery, 1900 to 1919
Did Poe say 'The best things in life make you sweaty'?
Hearst’s War, 1897
William Randolph Hearst, owner of the New York Journal, had a reputation for never letting truth get in the way of a good story. According to one famous tale, when hostilities broke out between the Spanish and the Cubans, Hearst sent the illustrator Frederic Remington to Cuba to draw pictures of the conflict. Finding that not much was happening, Remington cabled Hearst in January 1897: "Everything is quiet. There is no trouble here. There will be no war. I wish to return."

Supposedly Hearst cabled back: "Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war."

It is doubtful Hearst ever sent such a telegram. The first report of it appeared in a 1901 book, On the Great Highway, by journalist James Creelman. Creelman was in Europe at the time the telegram was supposedly sent, so he either heard the story second-hand or invented it himself. Since he was known for exaggeration, the latter is likely. Hearst himself denied having sent such a telegram.

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