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Category: History
Atlantis Found
Posted by The Curator on Fri Dec 10, 2004
A lot of people lately seem to be finding the lost city of Atlantis. Back in June a researcher said he located it off the southern coast of Spain by studying satellite images. Then last month US researchers said they found the city off the coast of Cyprus by using sonar technology. But my favorite is the discovery of Atlantis announced yesterday by the Hawaiian Phonics tutor Dennis Brooks. He's studied the issue deeply and has concluded that Atlantis is, in fact, Tampa, Florida. He points out that the dimensions of Atlantis as described by Plato pretty much match up with the dimensions of Tampa and Harbor Island (in Tampa Bay). So…
Stunning Ingratitude of De Gaulle
Posted by The Curator on Sat Nov 27, 2004
In 1945 did Charles De Gaulle really say to Winston Churchill, in reference to the military aid that the Allies provided to France to defeat Germany, that "We shall stun you with our ingratitude"? Monday, November 22 was the birthday of De Gaulle, and a number of right-leaning blogs marked the occasion by posting this quotation (they seem to have picked it up from an article in the Belfast Telegraph). So did De Gaulle really say this? Even though the tense verbal exchanges between De Gaulle and Churchill are well known, this particular remark sounded hoaxy to me. A quick google search…
Categories: History, Military, Politics Comments (7)
Coca-Cola Fantasy Items
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 08, 2004
Here's an interesting piece from a newspaper about the burgeoning market in Coca-Cola Fantasy items. One of the paper's readers wrote in to ask whether their Coca-Cola belt buckle designed by Tiffany Studios and showing a nude woman sitting on a crescent moon was of any value (unfortunately there's no picture of the item). The paper's reply: No, because the item is a fantasy fake: [This] is what Coca-Cola collectors call a "fantasy," which is a piece that never existed as an old item, was not used in advertising by the Coca-Cola Co. (nor sanctioned by them), but is a modern creation meant to appeal to collectors or to mislead the unwary. There are…
Categories: Advertising, Food, History Comments (31)
California As An Island
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 04, 2004
The Philadelphia Print Shop has a great online collection of ancient maps that contain mythical geography. Mythical geography describes "geographic features that appear on the map but not on the earth; cities where none ever were, islands where there are but waves, lakes and rivers where there is dry land, and kingdoms of non-existent kings." (I have some more information about this topic in my Medieval Travel Lies Gallery). My favorite ancient maps in the Print Shop's collection are the ones of California as an island. Of course, it remains to be seen whether these were actually geographic myths, or astute predictions of the future. Being in…
Categories: History, Places Comments (4)
Inscription One: Real or Fake?
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 02, 2004
Inscription One is a stone obelisk engraved with ancient Thai script that describes the utopian kingdom of Siam. Believed to have been created in 1292, it's considered one of the great national treasures of Thailand, comparable to the American Liberty Bell or the English Magna Carta. But recently two scholars, Michael Wright and Piriya Krairiksh, have suggested that Inscription One is nothing more than a fake. They theorize that the obelisk actually dates only to 1833, the year in which it was 'rediscovered' by Prince Mongkut (who later became King Rama IV). They suggest that the Prince used it as a piece of national propaganda to promote his reformist policies.…
Categories: History Comments (4)
The Journal of Liwwat Bocke
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jun 15, 2004
Liwwat Bocke was a German woman who moved to Ohio as a young woman during the nineteenth century. From the 1820s until the 1880s she kept a journal of her experiences... a journal that eventually spanned 1100 pages, all of which is written in a dialect of northern Germany known as Plattdeutsch. When historians discovered her journal during the 1970s they thought it was a remarkable find, sure to shed valuable light on the history of the settlement of Ohio. But now they're not so sure. Analysis of the document has revealed that it's a fake, plagiarized from other sources and containing numerous anachronisms. What no one can figure out is who created this forgery, and why they did it.…
Giant Skeleton Unearthed
Posted by The Curator on Thu May 13, 2004
A remarkable photograph reveals archaeologists unearthing a massive (and when I say massive, I mean massive... we're talking a 50-foot behemoth here) skeleton at a site in Saudi Arabia. Of course, the Saudi military is keeping this all very hush, hush. The public couldn't handle knowing about such a remarkable discovery. If you get your news from The New Nation, 'Bangladesh's Independent News Source,' you might think this was an actual piece of news. But of course, it's totally false. The picture comes from a Worth1000 photoshop contest. The original, undoctored source of the image was a Cornell-sponsored dig of a mastodon…
Not Cook
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 29, 2004
The Australian Museum has determined that a bone in its possession, that sports an arrow sticking through it, did not come from the leg of Captain James Cook. Strike all that. My mistake. The arrow is made out of bone, and this bone was long rumored to be a bone from Captain James Cook's leg. But it appears that the bone is actually from some kind of sea mammal.
Categories: History Comments (1)
Hitler Diary sold
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 27, 2004
I'm a few days late noting this story, but I had to mention it anyway. One volume of the forged Hitler Diaries was recently sold at auction in Berlin, fetching around $7700. If there really was such a thing as a brick-and-mortar Museum of Hoaxes, I would have definitely put in a bid for it.
Shroud of Turin
Posted by The Curator on Sun Apr 18, 2004
BBC News has a good summary of the Shroud of Turin controversy, in light of the second face that was discovered on the backside of it. "Does this mean it is real after all? Or does it mean it's an even better hoax than was previously thought?" The answer: no one really knows. I noted in my book that the debate about the shroud rages on and likely will for the foreseeable future. The emergence of new evidence has simply made that more true than ever.
Categories: History, Religion Comments (24)
The Vinland Map
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 03, 2004
The debate about the Vinland Map continues, and Scientific American summarizes the controversy. Everyone agrees that the parchment the map was written on is medieval, but what about the ink? That's the question.
Categories: History Comments (0)
Kensington Runestone
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 12, 2004
The Kensington Runestone, unearthed in Minnesota in 1898 and hailed as evidence of the presence of Norse explorers in ancient America, is off on a grand tour. First stop Sweden.
Categories: History Comments (0)
The Commissar Vanishes
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 12, 2004
The Michigan Relics
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 01, 2004
In October, 1890 James Scotford unearthed some relics while digging postholes for a fence in Montcalm County, Michigan. The relics appeared to demonstrate the prior existence of a Near Eastern culture in ancient America. They were eventually debunked as frauds, though not before attracting a lot of attention and stirring up lots of controversy. Now the relics are on display again. The Michigan Historical Museum has a special exhibit devoted to them titled 'Digging Up Controversy: The Michigan Relics.' Much of the exhibit can be viewed online. Definitely worth checking out.
Categories: History Comments (0)
Vindication for Man Will Never Fly Society
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 17, 2003
The reenactment of the Wright Brothers' first flight failed. I hate to say it, but the members of the Man Will Never Fly Society, whom I linked to just a few posts below, did predict that would happen.
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