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Mencken's fake history of the bathtub, 1917
The Instant Color TV Hoax, 1962
The worms inside your face
The Hoaxing Hitchhiker, 1941
The boy with the golden tooth, 1593
Baby Yoga, aka Swinging Your Kid Around Your Head
The Lovely Feejee Mermaid, 1842
Tube of liquor hidden in prohibition-era boot, 1920s
The Nazi Air Marker Hoax, 1942
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Plymouth Rock Pieces on eBay
Status: Scam
According to legend, Plymouth Rock was the first thing the pilgrims set foot upon when they landed in Massachusetts. I think that the rock itself is now on display in Plymouth. But United Press International reports that pieces of the Rock are popping up on eBay where they're fetching as much as $900. The catch is that there's absolutely no way to verify that these really are pieces of the original Plymouth Rock. A lot of people did carve off chunks of Plymouth Rock during the 18th and 19th centuries, but there's no way to differentiate a real piece of Plymouth Rock from a fake piece.
Categories: Con Artists, eBay, History
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 28, 2005
Comments (13)
Well, what kind of rock is Plymouth Rock? I have no idea. But any geologist with an ounce of sense could at least compare the two and say whether it's the same kind of rock--I'd be amused if people are buying sedimentary rocks when the real deal is igneous, for instance--and you can also study samples under the microscope to determine mineral composition.
Posted by Liz  on  Mon Nov 28, 2005  at  05:24 AM
It's a shame that you had to point out being able to tell if it's the real thing or not, cause I've got a baggie of sand and dirt that the pilgrims cleaned off their shoes before the first Thanksgiving, and I was thinking of selling THAT on eBay...
Posted by Christopher in Joplin, Missouri  in  Joplin, Mo  on  Mon Nov 28, 2005  at  07:56 AM
A dozen years ago, the alleged Plymouth Rock was under a sort of shrine near the shore in the town of Plymouth -- not at the Plantation recreation site.

It would not have been difficult for someone to chip bits off, but as it is probably much the same rock as any lying around the area, it would be easier to perpetrate a fraud. Frauds on eBay? Surely that's never happened before!

Here's a picture:
http://nanosft.com/plymouth/rock1.html

Note that the Pilgrims didn't land *on* the rock as it exists in the shrine today.
http://www.pilgrimhall.org/Rock.htm

Souvenier hunters chipped away at Stonehenge, too.
Posted by cvirtue  in  deleted  on  Mon Nov 28, 2005  at  10:04 AM
What about carbon dating?
Posted by Sakano  in  Ohio  on  Mon Nov 28, 2005  at  02:42 PM
In that pavillion thing they have the official Plymoth Rock about 10-15 feet down, and you look over the rail at it. They say that it's Plymoth Rock, but there's no actual way to prove the Pilgrims stepped on it at all. Carbon dating would go back millions of years, not to 1620
Posted by Nick D  on  Mon Nov 28, 2005  at  03:38 PM
Going simply on memory, carbon dating measures the amount of decay of the isotope Carbon 14 which is only found in organic matter, not stone. It is used to identify when the organic material died and thus stopped replenishing the Carbon 14 in it's system. Radiocarbon dating's upper limit is somewhere around 60,000 years.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Mon Nov 28, 2005  at  04:55 PM
Oh. My. God. Is there nothing that some people aren't stupid enough to buy? I thought that the company who are trying and SUCEEDING in selling air was bad enough! Really! I mean, a rock that you cannot carbon date! Its genious! Though I half expected while reading the article that it was going to say that the chunks had an engraving of Jesus, or Mary, or even Pope Jean Paul II on them!
Errrrr! Why didn't I think of that?
Posted by Lady Hedoniste  in  Chilling with 14 other tiny people in your head.  on  Mon Nov 28, 2005  at  09:02 PM
What would carbon dating prove? It's a rock, and it's so many years old, there are probably plenty of rocks in the world which are the same age as the Plymouth Rock
Posted by Owen  on  Tue Nov 29, 2005  at  01:56 PM
Suppose you could know it was a real piece of Plymouth Rock?
It's still just a rock.
Posted by Big Gary in Falfurrias, Texas  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Tue Nov 29, 2005  at  07:42 PM
it's rock in plymouth. no one "landed" on it. a freaking rock near where "pilgrims" landed. the first time the rock is mentioned it is described as "a great rock" in 1715. (95 years after the landing) it was engraved in 1880. a father told his son it was "where our forefathers first set foot" and a myth was born. why would anyone want a $900 piece of a myth. it is granite similar to the rocks found in your backyard, in the park, on that hill over there, and in my kitchen holding my sink in place. why would anyone want a $900 piece of a myth that is probably out of your neighbors side yard? everyone is stupid. makes some money off them.
Posted by Joel  on  Wed Mar 01, 2006  at  09:26 AM
Actually, it's not even near where the 'pilgrims' landed - about 90 miles away. They weren't even aiming for Massachusetts. They meant to land in Virginia, but were blown off course by a storm, and the crew of the ship refused to take them south - they were sick of them.
Posted by JD  in  Right here  on  Thu Jul 20, 2006  at  03:46 PM
OMG poeple you cant carbon date a frickin rock. You can only carbon date organic matter that contains carbon 14.

There are some means of dating rock, but none that would apply here.
Posted by Matt  in  Ohio, USA  on  Fri Aug 11, 2006  at  06:45 PM
Actually, I'm selling about as verifiable a piece of the Plymouth Rock as you're going to find on ebay right now. The auction ends 1/29/07. Auction number 280073528870
Posted by Ken  in  Philadelphia  on  Mon Jan 22, 2007  at  11:46 AM
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