The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Gallery of Fake Viral Images
The disumbrationist art hoax, 1924
Paul Krassner's Stereophonic Hoax, 1960
The Great New York Zoo Escape Hoax, 1874
Iceberg floats into Sydney Harbor, 1978
Script of Casablanca rejected, 1982
Sober Sue, the woman who never smiled, 1907
Fake Fish Photos
The Cradle of the Deep, a literary hoax, 1929
Life discovered on the moon, 1835
Tom Thumb’s Baby
The most famous performer managed by P.T. Barnum was the diminutive Charles Sherwood Stratton, aka General Tom Thumb. 19th-century audiences were enthralled by the sight of him parading around dressed as Napoleon.

On February 10, 1863 Tom married Lavinia Warren, a woman equally small in size. The two then toured together through Europe as husband and wife. To complete the scene of domestic bliss, Barnum often had Lavinia pose holding a baby.

It was claimed that this was the child of Lavinia and Tom, but in fact it was simply an orphaned baby Barnum had provided them with. Because of her size, Lavinia was incapable of having a baby of her own. Unfortunately, as the baby grew it soon began to overshadow Lavinia. Therefore Barnum switched the infant with a smaller one. He repeated this practice whenever each successive baby grew too large for its 'parents.'
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.