This Day in the History of Hoaxes: August 10 Posted by The Curator on Sun Aug 10, 2014 August 10, 1840: The Fortsas Bibliohoax Numerous book collectors arrived in Binche, Belgium, hoping to attend the sale of the library of the Comte de Fortsas, advertised as taking place on this day (Aug 10) in 1840. The Fortsas library only included 52 books, but each book was absolutely unique — the only copy of the title known to exist. But soon after their arrival, the collectors discovered there was no Comte de Fortsas, nor any of his books. The entire auction had been arranged by a local antiquarian, Renier Hubert Ghislain Chalon, as an elaborate practical joke. More… Categories: This Day in History Comments (0) This Day in the History of Hoaxes: August 9 Posted by The Curator on Sat Aug 09, 2014 August 9, 1962: The Hastings Rarities Fraud Taxidermist George Bristow had a reputation for being able to find rare birds, which he stuffed and sold at high prices to collectors. But on this day (Aug. 9) in 1962 (15 years after Bristow's death) the journal British Birds published a study arguing that it was statistically impossible for anyone to have found that many rare birds in one small area, Hastings, of southern England. It's suspected that Bristow had imported frozen birds from abroad, then he had claimed to have found them in England, where their presence was unexpected, which allowed him to sell them at high prices. [Hastings Museum] Categories: This Day in History Comments (1) This Day in the History of Hoaxes: August 8 Posted by The Curator on Fri Aug 08, 2014 August 8, 1903: Trial of Thérèse Humbert Begins Thérèse Humbert declared herself to be the sole heir of an American millionaire whom she had saved from food poisoning, and on the basis of this was able to obtain loans from leading French bankers for millions of francs. She kept the scam going for a quarter-century before being exposed. Both the inheritance, and the American millionaire, were fictitious. Given the magnitude of her fraud (she was referred to as the "swindler of the century" at the time) it was remarkable that she received only a 5-year sentence. [wikipedia] Categories: This Day in History Comments (0) This Day in the History of Hoaxes: August 7 Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 07, 2014 August 7, 1926: The Midwife Toad Fraud Exposed Biologist Paul Kammerer had observed that when he forced "midwife toads" to mate in water (they usually mate on land) their offspring, several generations later, had developed black traction pads on their forelimbs, which made water-mating easier for them. He offered this as proof of Lamarckian inheritance. But on this day in 1926, Dr. G.K. Noble reported in the journal Nature his discovery that the black traction pads were merely injected ink. The revelation destroyed Kammerer's reputation. He committed suicide less than two months later. More… Categories: This Day in History Comments (0) This Day in the History of Hoaxes: August 6 Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 06, 2014 August 6, 1969: Naked Came the Stranger Revealed The novel Naked Came the Stranger, credited to Penelope Ashe, had sold a respectable 20,000 copies. But it sold many more copies after 25 reporters from Newsday revealed, on this day in 1969, that they were all the true authors, having written it as a team in a deliberate attempt to produce a terrible novel. The satirical purpose of the hoax was to demonstrate that sex, rather than literary standards, sells books. Although, of course, the book's generous marketing budget, which included ads that ran in the New York Times for several weeks before its publication, didn't hurt either. More… Categories: This Day in History Comments (0) This Day in the History of Hoaxes: August 5 Posted by The Curator on Tue Aug 05, 2014 August 5, 1934: The Oldest Ear of Corn Debunked After displaying an object for 20 years that it had believed to be the "oldest ear of corn" in the world (supposedly fossilized corn several thousand years old), the Smithsonian Institution admitted on this day that the object, upon closer examination, had been revealed to be a clay rattle shaped like corn. The museum had acquired the corn from a "collector of curios" in Peru. The rattle itself was interesting, as an ancient artifact, but it had no biological significance. More… Categories: This Day in History Comments (0) This Day in the History of Hoaxes: August 4 Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 04, 2014 August 4, 1972: Female Wanted to Become Pregnant An ad placed in a Philadelphia paper sought a "female to become pregnant" in return for a "$10,000 fee plus expenses." A reporter who called the number reached Leonard Goldfarb, who claimed he was representing a childless couple. But when news of the ad got picked up by the national press, prompting hundreds of women to apply, Goldfarb admitted there was no child-seeking couple. He was actually an "economic mathematician," and he had placed the ad in order to gather data about "what price pregnancy" as well as to "pinpoint a serious sociological problem." Categories: This Day in History Comments (0) This Day in the History of Hoaxes: August 3 Posted by The Curator on Sun Aug 03, 2014 August 3, 1965: Rex Heflin Photographs a UFO On this day in 1965, highway maintenance worker Rex Heflin stopped his truck as he was driving outside Santa Ana, CA and took a series of photos that he claimed showed a UFO hovering in the sky. The photos gained widespread publicity, and have come to be considered classic UFO photos. However, they were soon labeled a "hoax" by the Air Force's Project Blue Book, and the Air Force was almost certainly correct. Heflin apparently created them by dangling a toy train wheel on monofilament fishing line out of his truck window. [The UFO Iconoclast] Categories: This Day in History Comments (1) This Day in the History of Hoaxes: August 2 Posted by The Curator on Sat Aug 02, 2014 August 2, 1967: Please Don't Douse Your Phone! The British Post Office, in charge of the nation's phone system, issued an alert about a recent spate of phone calls in which a man, posing as a telephone engineer, informed people that in order to cure a fault on their line they had to drop their phone in a bucket of water. Several people had fallen for this ruse before it came to the attention of the Post Office. The alert also noted that, earlier in the year, a prankster had enjoyed "considerable success" by calling people and saying in an authoritative voice, "Get a large pair of scissors and cut the wire between your telephone and handset receiver. There is some danger." Categories: This Day in History Comments (0) This Day in the History of Hoaxes: August 1 Posted by The Curator on Fri Aug 01, 2014 August 1, 1956: I, Libertine Revealed In the 1950s, bestseller lists were partially based on the number of requests for a title at stores. Nighttime deejay Jean Shepherd hatched a plan to throw a wrench in this system by having his listeners descend on bookstores en masse and ask for a non-existent book titled I, Libertine. Requests for the title eventually made their way to publisher Ian Ballantine who (once he figured out what was going on), decided to publish I, Libertine as an actual book. A month before the book's release, the Wall Street Journal revealed the hoax, and the resulting publicity helped boost its sales. More… Categories: This Day in History Comments (2) This Day in the History of Hoaxes: July 31 Posted by The Curator on Thu Jul 31, 2014 July 31, 1952: Suicide Rescue Hoax Medal of Honor winner Maynard H. Smith was praised for his heroism when he dramatically rescued 21-year-old Ernestine Whomble on this day as she tried to commit suicide by jumping off the sixth-floor ledge of the YWCA building in Wash. DC. But praise turned to condemnation when Whomble later confessed the rescue had been staged as a way to gain publicity for Smith who hoped to run for the governorship of Virginia. Smith denied the charge but couldn't satisfactorily explain why he had been in the YWCA at that moment. He was convicted of causing a false police report to be filed and fined $50. Categories: This Day in History Comments (0) This Day in the History of Hoaxes: July 30 Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 30, 2014 July 30, 1999: The Blair Witch Project Opens The Blair Witch Project opened on this day in 1999 and quickly became one of the most successful independent films of all time. It owed much of its success to a marketing scheme centering around the blairwitch.com website, where web surfers could view detailed historical information about the legend of the Blair Witch. It was all so convincing that many people were fooled into believing that the Blair Witch was a real historical figure, which she wasn't. The entire tale was fictitious. More… Categories: This Day in History Comments (0) This Day in the History of Hoaxes: July 29 Posted by The Curator on Tue Jul 29, 2014 July 29, 1955: The MacNab Photograph Bank manager Peter MacNab took this photo on a "hazy, warm" July afternoon in 1955. However, he didn't share it with the world until October 1958 on account of "diffidence and fear of ridicule." It quickly came to be considered a classic Loch Ness Monster photo. However, MacNab distributed two slightly different versions of what he claimed was the original negative, leading many (even Nessie believers) to suspect a hoax, because if MacNab did doctor the original image (either painting in the monster, or painting out a boat) he may created multiple "original" negatives during this process. Categories: This Day in History Comments (0) This Day in the History of Hoaxes: July 28 Posted by The Curator on Mon Jul 28, 2014 July 28, 1932: The Latin-Chanting Ghost of Joliet As word spread of a ghost that chanted songs in Latin at midnight in the graveyard of the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet, crowds of hundreds of people (pictured) started gathering to hear the phantom crooner. Each night the voice was said to emanate from a different grave. But on this day in 1932, prison officials finally located the source of the singing. It was an inmate, William Chrysler, who had night-watch duty at the prison's quarry pumphouse behind the cemetery. His voice carried into the graveyard and seemed to "haunt" it. He was actually singing in Lithuanian, not Latin. Categories: This Day in History Comments (2) This Day in the History of Hoaxes: July 27 Posted by The Curator on Sun Jul 27, 2014 July 27, 1907: The Wedding of the Ancients On this day, a widely reported wedding to unite John B. Bundren, Sr. (101-yrs-old) and Rose McGuire (100-yrs-old) was exposed as a fake. The couple were said to have been engaged 85 years ago, but could not wed at that time due to the objection of her parents. The romantic tale was a fiction created by 44-year-old John B. Bundren, an army clerk, who had worn a wig and beard to look like a senior version of himself in the wedding announcement photo. The bride-to-be was an actress. He did it, he said, in order to gather facts about longevity for a book he planned to write on the subject. Categories: This Day in History Comments (0) Page 1 of 296 pages 1 2 3 > Last › Member Login/Password? Forum Posts Can somebody explain marijuana to me?— My Superior Manly Intelligence— Dog elected Mayor in Minnesota town— Man fined for pretending to be ghost— http://stopmasturbationnow.org/— Database error when I log in— Oh the irony...— Hitler died in Brazil???— Baby with electric hair— July 1st--Because Its Time for a New Thread!— Subscribe To receive Hoax Museum blog posts by email, enter your email address:via Feedburner Blog Categories Advertising Animals April Fools Day Art Bad Excuses Birth/Babies Body Manipulation Books Business/Finance Celebrations Celebrities Con Artists Conspiracy Theories Crop Circles Cryptozoology Nessie Death eBay Education Email Hoaxes Entertainment Exploration/Travel Extraterrestrial Life Fashion Folklore/Tall Tales Food Free Energy Future/Time Gnomes Gross Hate Crimes/Terror Health/Medicine History Identity/Imposters Journalism Law/Police/Crime Literature/Language Magic Mass Delusion Military Miscellaneous Music Paranormal Pareidolia Photos/Videos Places Politics Pranks Products Pseudoscience Psychology Radio Religion Scams Science Sex/Romance Social Networking Sites Sports Technology This Day in History Urban Legends Videos Websites zzPhoto Archive Large Animals viral images Blog Archive August, 2014 July, 2014 June, 2014 May, 2014 April, 2014 March, 2014 February, 2014 January, 2014 December, 2013 November, 2013 October, 2013 September, 2013 August, 2013 May, 2013 April, 2013 March, 2013 February, 2013 January, 2013 October, 2012 September, 2012 August, 2012 July, 2012 June, 2012 May, 2012 April, 2012 March, 2012 February, 2012 January, 2012 December, 2011 November, 2011 October, 2011 September, 2011 August, 2011 November, 2010 April, 2010 January, 2010 December, 2009 November, 2009 October, 2009 September, 2009 August, 2009 July, 2009 June, 2009 May, 2009 April, 2009 March, 2009 February, 2009 January, 2009 December, 2008 November, 2008 October, 2008 September, 2008 August, 2008 July, 2008 June, 2008 May, 2008 April, 2008 March, 2008 February, 2008 January, 2008 December, 2007 November, 2007 October, 2007 September, 2007 August, 2007 July, 2007 June, 2007 May, 2007 April, 2007 March, 2007 February, 2007 January, 2007 December, 2006 November, 2006 October, 2006 September, 2006 August, 2006 July, 2006 June, 2006 May, 2006 April, 2006 March, 2006 February, 2006 January, 2006 December, 2005 November, 2005 October, 2005 September, 2005 August, 2005 July, 2005 June, 2005 May, 2005 April, 2005 March, 2005 February, 2005 January, 2005 December, 2004 November, 2004 October, 2004 September, 2004 August, 2004 July, 2004 June, 2004 May, 2004 April, 2004 March, 2004 February, 2004 January, 2004 December, 2003 November, 2003 October, 2003 September, 2003 August, 2003 July, 2003 June, 2003 May, 2003 January, 2003 November, 2002 October, 2002 September, 2002 August, 2002 July, 2002 Iceberg floats into Sydney Harbor, 1978 Cursed by Allah The night Martians invaded New Jersey, 1938 Jennifer Love Hewitt's Disappearing Breasts Adolf Hitler Baby Photo Hoax, 1933 Cat that walked 3000 miles to find its owners, 1951 Can a bar of soap between your sheets ease muscle cramps? The Sandpaper Test, 1960 The most sacred relic: the Holy Foreskin, circa 800 AD The worms inside your face Eccentric's last prank, 66 years after his death, 1900 Baby Yoga, aka Swinging Your Kid Around Your Head The Diaphote, a television hoax, 1880 The damp spot that hoaxed a city, 1912 Prankster causes volcano to erupt, 1974 The Great New York Zoo Escape Hoax, 1874 Rare planetary alignment decreases gravity, 1976 A black lion: real or fake? Fake Fish Photos Did Paul McCartney die on Nov. 9, 1966? Site Map Main Page Recent Comments About the Museum Contact Archives Hoax Archive Hoax Photo Archive April Fool Archive Tall-Tale Creatures Forum Old Forum Galleries Top 100 April Fools Hoax Political Candidates Top 10 College Pranks Tests Hoax Photo Tests Gullibility Tests All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.