The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
 
Rare planetary alignment decreases gravity, 1976
The Diaphote, a television hoax, 1880
The Crown Prince Regent of Thulia, 1954
Actress who claimed she was kidnapped by puritans, 1950
The Great Space Monkey Hoax, 1953
The Cottingley Fairies, 1917
The Great Electric Sugar Swindle, 1884
Fake Photos of Very Large Animals
Paul Krassner's Stereophonic Hoax, 1960
Samsung invents the on/off switch
Fairy Kidnappings and Fairy Shysters
Fairies have a pretty good public image. They're widely regarded as good creatures, since they're small, delicate, and magical. But in European folklore, they were often considered quite malevolent. The wikipedia article on fairies notes the belief in fairy kidnapping:

Any form of sudden death might stem from a fairy kidnapping, with the apparent corpse being a wooden stand-in with the appearance of the kidnapped person. Consumption (tuberculosis) was sometimes blamed on the fairies forcing young men and women to dance at revels every night, causing them to waste away from lack of rest. Fairies riding domestic animals, such as cows or pigs or ducks, could cause paralysis or mysterious illnesses.



And apparently, the belief in fairy kidnapping created an opportunity for con artists. Dr. Beachcombing, who runs Beachcombing's Bizarre History Blog, notes the existence of what he calls "fairy shysters":

Sharp swindlers who, in the nineteenth and twentieth century, went around taking innocent and usually vulnerable men and women for 'a ride'. Beach has gathered some remarkable examples together, including three extraordinary instances of 'fairy shysters' posing as fairy kidnapped family members.

Unfortunately, Dr. Beachcombing is holding off on describing these cases until a later date, but I thought the idea of a fairy shyster was intriguing.
Categories: Con Artists, Paranormal
Posted by The Curator on Fri May 04, 2012
Comments (1)
I recall that having a stroke was evidence of having been shot by fairy arrows. 'Elf Shot', or small triangular stones, would be pointed as evidence that the fair folk were hunters, the rest of the arrow having rotted away.
Posted by Robin Bobcat  in  Californian Wierdo  on  Fri May 04, 2012  at  11:21 AM
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