The Museum of Hoaxes
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Dead Body of Loch Ness Monster Found, 1972
Rare planetary alignment decreases gravity, 1976
The Great Electric Sugar Swindle, 1884
Cursed by Allah
Snowball the Monster Cat, 2000
The Hoaxing Hitchhiker, 1941
The Cradle of the Deep, a literary hoax, 1929
The Case of the Vanishing Belly Button, 1964
Swiss peasants harvest spaghetti from trees, 1957
Burger King's Left-Handed Whopper Hoax, 1998
The BMW Crop Circle, 1993
A crop circle appeared in a field of rye located outside of Johannesburg, South Africa during the first week of February 1993.


The South African media speculated excitedly about whether it was the work of a UFO. Many newspapers and TV and radio shows discussed it, fanning interest in the incident. Popular curiosity grew until February 14, when a small detail was pointed out that had previously escaped almost everyone's notice: the circle formed a BMW logo.

The circle turned out to be the work of the Hunt Lascaris ad agency, working on behalf of BMW. TV commercials soon followed, showing aerial views of the circle accompanied by the tag-line, "Perhaps there is intelligent life out there after all." Hunt Lascaris estimated that it received over $1 million worth of free publicity from the stunt.

Links and References
  • Barnes, Kathleen. (March 15, 1993). "Close encounter is of the BMW kind." Advertising Age.
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.