The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
Prof. Wingard's Death Ray Hoax, 1876
Iceberg floats into Sydney Harbor, 1978
The Instant Color TV Hoax, 1962
Fake Photos of Very Large Animals
Baby Yoga, aka Swinging Your Kid Around Your Head
The disumbrationist art hoax, 1924
Sober Sue, the woman who never smiled, 1907
Bonsai Kittens, 2000
Did Poe say 'The best things in life make you sweaty'?
Paul Krassner's Stereophonic Hoax, 1960
Lucina Sine Concubitu, 1750
In 1750 the British Royal Society received a curious report titled Lucina Sine Concubita, which translated means "Pregnancy without Intercourse".

In the letter the writer argued that women could become pregnant without having engaged in any sexual activity, due to the presence of microscopic "floating animalcula" present in the air. The author claimed to have isolated some of these animalcula using "a wonderful, cylindrical, catoptrical, rotundo-concavo-convex machine." When he examined these animalcula under a microscope he found them to be shaped like miniature men and women. This discovery, he suggested, would go a long way toward restoring the honor of women who could not otherwise explain their pregnancies. An engraving accompanying the letter showed a "floating animalcula" approaching a sleeping woman.

The author concluded by proposing that, for the purpose of experimentation, a royal edict should ban copulation for one year.

The letter was signed by Abraham Johnson, but this was a pseudonym of Sir John Hill. His intent was apparently to satirize the "spermist" theory, which held that sperm were actually little men (homunculi) that, when placed inside women, grew into children.

The letter proved very popular and was printed and distributed widely throughout Europe.

It is also said that Hill wrote the letter to revenge himself for having been denied membership to the Royal Society. (Needs confirmation)

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