Hoaxes Throughout History
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C

The observation that it's easy to try one lie, but hard to try only one. In other words, one lie tends to lead to more lies. The term was coined by Al Giri, professor of philosophy at Loyola University.
Jean V d'Armagnac was the penultimate Count of the French province of Armagnac. He became infamous after he fell in love with his younger sister and had two sons with her. He sought approval from the Pope to marry her, but the Pope refused. Undeterred, the Count bribed a papal official to forge a papal bull allowing the marriage. When the Pope learned of this, he excommunicated the Count. Later, King Charles VII's army killed the Count and dragged his body through the streets. More…
Carlo Sigonio was a highly respected Italian scholar who specialized in the history of Rome. Around 1583, he claimed that he had discovered a new complete work by the great Roman orator Cicero, titled De Consolatione or the Consolation. In it Cicero grieved for his daughter's death. Only small fragments of this work had ever been found before. The discovery of this manuscript caused great excitement, but when other scholars read it, the general consensus was that it had to be a fake as it contained numerous anachronistic phrases and Italian mannerisms that Cicero would never have used. Sigonio stubbornly defended the work, but today it is still regarded as being a forgery. Sigonio probably wrote the book himself, perhaps to display his mastery of Ciceronian scholarship.
The Cerne Abbas Giant is a chalk figure of an enormous naked man wielding a club carved into the side of a hill in Dorchester, England. The giant is widely believed to have been carved thousands of years ago. But in recent years historians have suggested that the Giant may date only to the seventeenth-century, since the first written reference to it only dates to 1694. Furthermore, its creation may have been intended as a prank. More…
Cacareco was a 5-year-old female rhinoceros who was elected to an empty seat on the city council in Sao Paulo, Brazil, after students printed up 200,000 ballots, urging people to vote for her. Not only did Cacareco win, but she did so by a landslide, garnering 100,000 votes (15% of the total). This was one of the highest totals for a local candidate in Brazil's history to that date. The voters hadn't been deceived. They were quite aware they were voting for a rhino. One of them even commented, "Better to elect a rhino than an ass." Nevertheless, Cacareco was unable to serve because election officials nullified all ballots for her and scheduled a new election the following week. The election of Cacareco is considered to be the most famous example of a protest vote in history. More…