The Pictographs of Abbe Emmanuel Domenech
Pictographs from the Manuscrit Pictographique Americain
In 1860 a book was published in France titled Manuscrit Pictographique Americain
. The volume, which was apparently written by the Abbe Emmanuel Domenech (1825-1905), described the priest's explorations in the American Southwest and Mexico, and was illustrated with what were said to be Native American pictographs.
The pictographs were extremely strange and unlike anything normally attributed to Native American cultures. They displayed stick-like figures with enlarged genitals who in some scenes appeared to be urinating, and in other scenes to be whipping each other.
It is not clear whether Domenech himself actually drew the illustrations, although they were certainly not authentic Native American pictographs. It is possible that they were drawn by Juan de Torquemada, a sixteenth-century Franciscan missionary in Mexico, and then discovered by Domenech. It is also possible that Domenech had nothing to do with the book, and his name was simply listed as the author without his knowledge.
The motivation behind this hoax is not clear.
Stein, Gordon. The Encyclopedia of Hoaxes. 1993. p.19.
Text copyright © 2002 Alex Boese