The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
 
Dog wins art contest, 1974
The Nobody For President Campaign, 1940 to Present
The Cottingley Fairies, 1917
The Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, 1959
Boy floats away in balloon, 2009
Dead Body of Loch Ness Monster Found, 1972
The worms inside your face
The Stone-Age Tasaday Hoax, 1971
The Cradle of the Deep, a literary hoax, 1929
Burger King's Left-Handed Whopper Hoax, 1998
The Captain of Köpenick, 1906
On October 16, 1906, an out-of-work German shoemaker named Wilhelm Voigt donned a second-hand military captain's uniform he had bought in a store, walked out into the street, and assumed control of a company of soldiers marching past. He led them to the town hall of Köpenick, a small suburb of Berlin, arrested the mayor and the treasurer on charges of embezzlement, and took possession of 4,000 marks from the town treasury. He then disappeared with the money. The incident became famous as a symbol of the blind obedience of German soldiers to authority — even fake authority.

The police tracked him down nine days later, and he was sentenced to four years in jail. But he proved to be such a likable character (and popular hero) that the Kaiser pardoned Voigt after he had served less than two years. Voigt subsequently pursued a career in show business, where he entertained audiences by re-enacting his stunt on the stage.

Links and References
Categories: Military, Imposters, 1869-1913
Commenting is no longer available for this post.


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