The Museum of Hoaxes
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Monkeys pick cotton, a 19th-century urban legend
Mencken's fake history of the bathtub, 1917
Sober Sue, the woman who never smiled, 1907
The Hoaxing Hitchhiker, 1941
Jernegan's Gold Accumulator Scam, 1898
Actress who claimed she was kidnapped by puritans, 1950
The Stone-Age Tasaday Hoax, 1971
Fake Fish Photos
Van Gogh's ear exhibited, 1935
Eccentric's last prank, 66 years after his death, 1900
Professor Trevor L. Montgomery and his Theoretical Beaver
The 2001 Spring line-up at Cornell University's prestigious series of psychology lectures included a talk by Professor Trevor L Montgomery. The CV Montgomery sent Cornell in anticipation of the talk advertised that he had "developed a neo-Husserlian critique of the conceptual failings of contemporary consciousness theory." It went on:

In order to gnaw through this Husserlian 'logjam' in the flow of (un)consciousness science, Dr Montgomery has recently unleashed his theoretical beaver: the concept of 'deconsciousness'.

The CV also noted that Montgomery had studied "comparative brain homology in Oxpeckers, Great Tits and London cab drivers."

On the day of the talk, a bearded Professor Montgomery got up to speak. But it soon became clear to the sixty people in attendance that something was not quite right, as no one could understand anything Montgomery was saying. Some audience members walked out. Eventually the audience realized the talk was a farce.

Professor Trevor L. Montgomery was really James Cronin, an executive at Sparza, a British internet company. He had conceived the hoax with the help of two fellow graduates of Oxford, Jim Adams and Daniel Richardson. According to Cronin, the majority of the crowd at Cornell who stayed to listen to Professor Montgomery explain his theoretical beaver found it quite entertaining, once they realized it was a joke.

Links and References
"Academica don't mind brain theory hoax." (Aug 23, 2001).
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.