The Museum of Hoaxes
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Use your left ear to detect lies
Old-Time Photo Fakery, 1900 to 1919
Princess Caraboo, servant girl who became a princess, 1817
Did Paul McCartney die on Nov. 9, 1966?
Burger King's Left-Handed Whopper Hoax, 1998
war of the worlds
The night Martians invaded New Jersey, 1938
The Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, 1959
The Sandpaper Test, 1960
Female thieves hide money in their bras, 1950
The Great New York Zoo Escape Hoax, 1874
The Dayton Hudson Hoax, 1987
On 23 June 1987, P. David Herrlinger, a 46-year-old investment adviser working out of Cincinnati, called up the Dow Jones News Service and informed them that he represented a large private investment firm which was about to offer to buy the retailer Dayton Hudson for $6.8 billion. The news immediately triggered a $9 spike in the company's stock price.

The news turned out to be completely bogus. Herrlinger had apparently made the call after suffering a mental breakdown. When his co-workers asked him what he was doing, he replied, "We're going to make some money," and when confronted with the obvious fact that he lacked the financial resources necessary to make a $6.8 billion offer on Dayton Hudson, he commented, "An offer is really an intangible thing."

Herrlinger, through his lawyer, later argued that Dow Jones bore the responsibility for disseminating the fake takeover bid, on the logic that they should never have believed him in the first place. In the aftermath of the hoax, many expressed concern at the ease with which a single irrational individual had been able to manipulate the market.
Categories: Stockmarket, 1977-1989
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.