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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: History
Happy Birthday, P.T. Barnum!
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jul 06, 2003
America's greatest showman, Phineas Taylor Barnum, born July 5, 1810, celebrates his 193rd birthday today. Happy Birthday, Barnum! In his autobiography Barnum had this to say about his birthday: My first appearance upon this stage was on the 5th day of July, Anno Domini 1810. Independence Day had gone by, the cannons had ceased to thunder forth their remembrances of our National Anniversary, the smoke had all cleared away, the drums had finished their rattle, and when peace and quiet were restored, I made my debut. This propensity of keeping out of harm's way has always stuck by me. Barnum was responsible for many hoaxes. Among his more famous ones were Joice Heth (billed as the oldest…
Categories: History Comments (0)
The Taughannock Giant
Posted by The Curator on Sat Jul 05, 2003
July 4, 1879 a giant stone man (weight: 800 pounds; height: seven feet) was unearthed near Ithaca, New York (suspiciously close to Cardiff, New York). He was soon dubbed the Taughannock Giant. The stone man was described by a commentator as "a human figure lying on its back, arms nearly straight and the legs crossed at the ankle... well proportioned with the exception of the feet, which appear more like those of an ape." Scientists pronounced it an authentic fossilized man. In reality, it was the handiwork of one Ira Dean who had carved it in his basement. For the complete story, check out the Taughannock Stone Man Web Page created by Dan Dickinson, Jeff Dennis, and Ben…
Categories: History Comments (0)
The Hitler Diaries
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jul 01, 2003
An interesting comment from a visitor about the Hitler Diaries: Dear Alex, The most tell-tale and overlooked detail about the Hitler Diaries being fake you do not mention in your article, although it makes the complete affair all the more funny: On the front cover were two metal letters, supposedly the initials "A H" for Adolf Hitler, in an old German Gothic lettering. The funny part being that ridiculously neither Gerd Heidemann nor any other from the *Stern* staff nor the experts they consulted saw that the "A" was actually an "F".
Categories: History Comments (0)
Hoaxes from the Philippines
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jul 01, 2003
Here's an interesting discussion of some historical hoaxes from the Philippines, specifically those perpetrated in the early twentieth century by Jose E. Marco, a philatelic forger.
Categories: History Comments (7)
Utah town celebrates Viking origin
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jul 01, 2003
Come next April (2004) the town of Cedar City, Utah will be celebrating the Festival Royale of Himmelsk, a four-day event to honor the group of Vikings who founded the town in 956 AD. The entire story of this strange festival is told here. (Thanks to Lansin Carmean for forwarding this story to me).
Categories: History, Places Comments (0)
Princess Caraboo Parking Lot
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 27, 2003
I've just learned from a resident of Bristol that the gravesite of Princess Caraboo is soon going to be paved over and turned into a parking lot. It seems a poor way for Bristol to treat one of its most famous historical figures. I found one page protesting the planned parking lot.
Great Wall of China Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jun 26, 2003
This day in hoax history. June 25, 1899: The Great Wall of China Hoax.
Categories: History, Journalism Comments (0)
Mein Kampf Sequel
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jun 18, 2003
It turns out that Hitler wrote a sequel to Mein Kampf, and unlike the infamous Hitler Diaries, it's not a hoax. It's soon going to be published in an English translation. This NY Times article about it also contains a good summary of the Hitler Diaries hoax.
Categories: History Comments (0)
Brother of Jesus
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jun 18, 2003
The box that some people claim once contained the remains of the brother of Jesus has been determined to be a fake.
Categories: History Comments (0)
Yehoash Tablet
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jun 09, 2003
The "Yehoash Tablet" found in Israel last year turns out to be a fake.
Categories: History Comments (0)
Laramie Kid Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jun 01, 2003
More about the Laramie Kid Hoax. I just received an email from the Long Riders guild alerting me to the great series of articles they have on their website, fully debunking the claims of Frank Hopkins (aka the Laramie Kid). Hopkins claimed to have been one of the great horse riders of all time, including among his accomplishments winning a 3000 mile horse race across Arabia on a mustang called 'Hidalgo.' In October 2003 Disney will be releasing a film based on this supposed event, starring Viggo Mortensen as Hopkins. It is claiming the movie is 'based on the true story of Frank Hopkins.' But as the Long Riders Guild demonstrates, none of Hopkins' claims were true. There's…
Categories: History Comments (0)
Electric Kite Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jun 01, 2003
MAJOR HOAX NEWS: Historian Tom Tucker argues in a recent book that Benjamin Franklin's story about flying a kite in a thunderstorm to prove that lightning was a form of electricity was actually a hoax. Franklin never did the experiment. I'm going to order a copy of Tucker's book (which will be released in a week or so) to read the full argument for myself, but if true, then I guess I can add the 'electric kite hoax' to the list of Franklin's other hoaxes.
Categories: History Comments (0)
The Solomon Stone
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jan 19, 2003
Scientists puzzle over the mystery of the Solomon stone found in Israel. As the London Times puts it: it "is either a state-of-the-art hoax or an ancient Hebrew inscription - more than 2,000 years old - confirming the Biblical account of Solomon's temple." Many people would dearly want this to be true. So in such cases the burden of evidence should be set even higher, to counter the wish-fulfillment impulse.
Categories: History Comments (0)
US News & World Report and the Great Moon Hoax of 1835
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 19, 2002
US News & World Report has a special double issue this week on "The Art of the Hoax". Check out the lead article, "Strange but true: This is the golden age of hoaxes." Yours truly was interviewed for it and gets mentioned twice! Very exciting. But also check out their short piece on the Great Moon Hoax of 1835. As it turns out, they fell for a tall-tale about this hoax. In the first paragraph they claim that because of this newspaper hoax:"Daily sales of the Sun skyrocketed from 4,000 to 19,000–making it the world's most popular paper and launching a new kind of journalism."Not so! For almost a century historians have been repeating this story about…
South Sea Bubble
Posted by The Curator on Fri Aug 09, 2002
The Guardian reviews a new book about the South Sea Bubble of the 1720s, titled A Very English Deceit by Malcolm Balen. It seems pretty timely, given all the financial scandals of today. Apparently all the Enrons and Worldcoms don't even compare to the South Sea Bubble when it comes to truly world-class fraud on a grand scale.
Categories: Business/Finance, History Comments (0)
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