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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: History
Electric Kite Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jun 01, 2003
MAJOR HOAX NEWS: Historian Tom Tucker argues in a recent book that Benjamin Franklin's story about flying a kite in a thunderstorm to prove that lightning was a form of electricity was actually a hoax. Franklin never did the experiment. I'm going to order a copy of Tucker's book (which will be released in a week or so) to read the full argument for myself, but if true, then I guess I can add the 'electric kite hoax' to the list of Franklin's other hoaxes.
Categories: History Comments (0)
The Solomon Stone
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jan 19, 2003
Scientists puzzle over the mystery of the Solomon stone found in Israel. As the London Times puts it: it "is either a state-of-the-art hoax or an ancient Hebrew inscription - more than 2,000 years old - confirming the Biblical account of Solomon's temple." Many people would dearly want this to be true. So in such cases the burden of evidence should be set even higher, to counter the wish-fulfillment impulse.
Categories: History Comments (0)
US News & World Report and the Great Moon Hoax of 1835
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 19, 2002
US News & World Report has a special double issue this week on "The Art of the Hoax". Check out the lead article, "Strange but true: This is the golden age of hoaxes." Yours truly was interviewed for it and gets mentioned twice! Very exciting. But also check out their short piece on the Great Moon Hoax of 1835. As it turns out, they fell for a tall-tale about this hoax. In the first paragraph they claim that because of this newspaper hoax:"Daily sales of the Sun skyrocketed from 4,000 to 19,000–making it the world's most popular paper and launching a new kind of journalism."Not so! For almost a century historians have been repeating this story about…
South Sea Bubble
Posted by The Curator on Fri Aug 09, 2002
The Guardian reviews a new book about the South Sea Bubble of the 1720s, titled A Very English Deceit by Malcolm Balen. It seems pretty timely, given all the financial scandals of today. Apparently all the Enrons and Worldcoms don't even compare to the South Sea Bubble when it comes to truly world-class fraud on a grand scale.
Categories: Business/Finance, History Comments (0)
The Poet and the Murderer
Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 01, 2002
The London Times reviews a new book about Mark Hoffman, the forger (and murderer) who fabricated many documents from Mormon history. The book is called The Poet and the Murderer, by Simon Worrall.
Categories: History Comments (0)
The Vinland Map
Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 01, 2002
The Vinland Map has finally been proven to be a fake. It supposedly was a map that showed the discovery of North America by Leif Eriksson in 1000 BC, but analysis of map's ink has shown that it was created after 1923. Details will appear in an upcoming issue of Analytical Chemistry published by the American Chemical Society.
Categories: History Comments (0)
The Hitler Diaries
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jul 30, 2002
New evidence indicates that Gerd Heidemann, the journalist largely behind the Hitler Diaries hoax, was an East German double agent working for the Stasi. This breathes new life into the old theory that the hoax was actually a communist plot.
Categories: History, Journalism Comments (0)
The Cardiff Giant
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jul 28, 2002
Go visit Cooperstown, New York, where the Cardiff Giant still resides. It's housed in the Farmer's Museum. Cooperstown is also home to the Baseball Hall of Fame. There's an article about the town in today's Toronto Star.
Categories: History Comments (0)
P.T. Barnum
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jul 11, 2002
Here's an interesting site about P.T. Barnum, including a list of his most famous humbugs: ptbarnum.org
Categories: Entertainment, History Comments (1)
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