The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
 
The Great Wall of China Hoax, 1899
Female thieves hide money in their bras, 1950
The Man-Eating Tree of Madagascar Hoax, 1874
Eccentric's last prank, 66 years after his death, 1900
Van Gogh's ear exhibited, 1935
Dog wins art contest, 1974
Swiss peasants harvest spaghetti from trees, 1957
Prof. Wingard's Death Ray Hoax, 1876
The most sacred relic: the Holy Foreskin, circa 800 AD
The Nobody For President Campaign, 1940 to Present
The Great Loveland Potato Hoax: Was this the first viral fake photo ever?
Rick Padden of Loveland, Colorado has written a play about a famous hoax from his own town: The Great Loveland Potato Hoax. It'll be on stage at Loveland's Rialto Theater.

The Loveland Potato Hoax took place in 1895. It involved a potato farmer who created a fake photo of himself holding a giant potato. The photo started circulating around the country, passing from one person to another, until it eventually came to the attention of Scientific American, which published it, mistakenly presenting it to readers as a real photo. The farmer was subsequently flooded with inquiries from people who wanted pieces of the potato so they could grow their own giant spud.


The hoax is significant because the photo is quite possibly the first viral fake photo ever — predating by over 100 years such famous viral fake photos as Snowball the Monster Cat and Touristguy.

I can't think of any other photo that would possibly qualify as a viral fake photo before this one. There were definitely famous fake photos before 1895, such as the fake heroic photos of Abraham Lincoln. But they didn't circulate in a viral fashion. At least, not to my knowledge.

Anyway, I thought the hoax was worth adding to the hoax archive, so that's what I've done. The comment link is redirected there.
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 15, 2012
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