The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
   
The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: History
World’s Largest Lamb Sculpture — Some guy named Bill Veall claims to have discovered the world's largest rock sculpture. It's somewhere in the Peruvian Andean mountains, and it's in the shape of a "sacred lamb". He says he found it by using satellite imaging techniques to search for ancient shapes and formations. I guess that rules out any possibility he's just seeing what he wants to see. (sarcasm) From Sky News: "Mr Veall, who studies the relationships between astronomy and archaeological monuments, has faced a…
Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2008.   Comments (25)

Longitude Hoax? — The story of the 18th-century contest (sponsored by the British government) to find a solution to the problem of how to determine longitude at sea has received much attention, mostly due to Dava Sobel's best-selling book about it. But Pat Rogers argues in the Times Literary Supplement that Sobel (and just about every other historian who has written about the subject) has fallen for a hoax. Specifically, all of these historians have described one Jeremy Thacker as an inventor who, early…
Posted: Tue Nov 18, 2008.   Comments (7)

The Sun and the Moon — My doctoral dissertation was partially on the subject of the Great Moon Hoax of 1835. I never finished writing the dissertation, but I did spend a LOT of time researching the moon hoax, and I always thought that it would make a great subject for a general-interest book -- using the moon hoax as a window on New York City and America in 1835. Turns out I waited too long. Someone beat me to it. Matthew Goodman has recently come out with The Sun and the Moon: The Remarkable True Account of…
Posted: Thu Nov 06, 2008.   Comments (3)

New Cardiff Giant Book — It's probably not going to be received by the book-buying public with as much enthusiasm as the latest John Grisham thriller, but this is the kind of book that gets me excited. It's a new (and what looks to be very well researched) history of the Cardiff Giant hoax titled A Colossal Hoax: The Giant From Cardiff That Fooled America by Scott Tribble. It's due out at the end of November. A bit pricey, but that's often the case with non-mass-market books. From its blurb: In October 1869,…
Posted: Fri Oct 17, 2008.   Comments (3)


The Museum of Fakes — The BBC reports that a 60-year-old Korean man has been arrested for running "a private museum stuffed with fakes." He bought cheap artifacts from flea markets and then displayed them as ancient treasures. He claimed one of his fakes was a "Koryo Dynasty celadon." All in all, he managed to earn $443,000 from this scam through ticket sales. Two things occur to me: 1) So people are assuming that most museums aren't full of fakes? The dirty little secret of the worlds of art and…
Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008.   Comments (16)

Benjamin West and the Venetian Secret — The Yale Center for British Art is hosting an exhibition about an obscure 18th-century art hoax (one that I had never heard of before). The exhibition is titled "Benjamin West and the Venetian Secret" -- which makes it sound a bit like a new Harry Potter novel. From Art Knowledge News: In 1796 Benjamin West, the American-born President of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, fell victim to a remarkable fraud. A shadowy figure, Thomas Provis, and his artist daughter, Ann Jemima Provis,…
Posted: Fri Sep 19, 2008.   Comments (1)

Chi-Rho Amulet is a Fake — Researchers have determined that the Chi-Rho Amulet, found in Shepton Mallet in 1990, is a fake. When it was first discovered in a Roman grave eighteen years ago, it was thought to be the earliest Christian artifact ever found in Britain. Local residents were so excited by the discovery that they named an entertainment center and a street after it. But tests indicate that the silver in the amulet is of nineteenth-century origin. Suspicion is focusing on protesters who were opposed to…
Posted: Fri Sep 19, 2008.   Comments (1)

Is Bra-Burning a Myth? — Bra-burning came to symbolize the feminist movement, but according to this article at pressofAtlanticCity.com, the original 1968 bra-burning protest, that first associated bra-burning with feminism, never actually happened. Members of New York Radical Women, upset by the Miss America Pageant's focus on women's physique and seeing an opportunity to publicize their cause, traveled to Atlantic City by bus. They wanted to burn things, as was in vogue then (people mad about other topics -…
Posted: Fri Sep 12, 2008.   Comments (12)

Space Pistols May Be Fake — Two hundred years ago General Ignacio Alvarez, commander of a South American region that would later become Argentina, sent James Madison a pair of duelling pistols forged from the iron of a meteorite. It was a pretty cool gift -- assuming the guns were real. But recent tests performed at the ISIS neutron source in the UK have revealed that the guns were cheap fakes. From BBC News: The machine was used to compare Monroe's pistols to a fragment of a meteorite from the Campo del Cielo…
Posted: Mon Jun 02, 2008.   Comments (2)

Shig-Shag Day — Since April 1st is fast approaching, I've been doing a lot of research into the origins of April Fools Day in order to supplement the info I already have on the site. In the course of this research, I came across references to an old English holiday called Shig-Shag Day, celebrated on May 29, that has some similarities to April Fools Day. Shig-Shag Day is also called Shick-Shack Day or (more boringly) Oak Apple Day. Celebrants would place sprigs of apple oak in their hats or lapels to…
Posted: Sat Mar 22, 2008.   Comments (6)

Hoax Holocaust Memoir — The big news in the world of hoaxes, revealed last week (and already posted in the forum), was the revelation that Misha Defonseca's best-selling, non-fiction memoir of growing up in war-torn Europe turns out to be fiction. (Thanks to everyone who forwarded me links to the news.) Defonseca's memoir, Misha: A Memoir of the Holocaust Years (also titled Surviving with Wolves), describes how when she was a young child her Jewish parents were seized by the Nazis, forcing her to wander…
Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008.   Comments (19)

Reichenbach’s version of “September Morn” controversy definitely debunked — Two days ago I noted that I had posted an account of the "September Morn" controversy in the hoaxipedia, and I also said that I had my doubts about the role the publicist Harry Reichenbach played in the controversy. Well, I did some more research, and I've now been able to confirm my doubts. Reichenbach was just spinning a wild yarn. Some background: The story (according to Reichenbach) is that back in 1913 he was working at a New York City art dealer who was trying to sell 2000 copies…
Posted: Fri Sep 07, 2007.   Comments (7)

How much of the legend of the 17th-Century tulipmania is true? — The tulip craze that hit Holland in the seventeenth century is arguably the most famous financial bubble in all of history. According to the popular account of what happened, prices for tulips began to go through the roof in 1636 as word spread that wealthy people were willing to pay huge sums of money for tulips. Soon the general population joined in the speculative fervor, many people using their life savings in order to buy bulbs, believing they could resell them at windfall…
Posted: Mon May 14, 2007.   Comments (13)

The Underground Railroad Quilt Code — Did escaping slaves fleeing from the South in the pre-Civil War era use secret codes woven into quilts to communicate with each other and guide them on their journey? That is the premise of the quilt-code theory, first popularized in a 1998 book written by Jacqueline Tobin and Raymond Dobard, Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad. A National Geographic article from 2004 elaborates on the theory: A plantation seamstress would sew a sampler quilt…
Posted: Sat May 12, 2007.   Comments (15)

Tall-Tale Postcard Gallery — The Wisconsin Historical Society has just posted a large collection of tall-tale postcards online, along with some accompanying history. Definitely worth checking out. Highlights include galleries devoted to two early masters of the tall-tale genre, William H. Martin and Alfred Stanley Johnson. It's also possible to buy reproductions of these prints through their website. The only thing I find regrettable is that their site is full of all kinds of warnings threatening people not to…
Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2006.   Comments (13)

Cardiff Giant: The Musical — The Des Moines Register reports that a new musical about the Cardiff Giant hoax has debuted in Iowa:It's an unlikely recipe for a musical: an odd 19th-century hoax set to the music of Iowa composer Karl King. But a group of creative minds in Fort Dodge, led by Deann Haden-Luke, managed to pull it together with a financial boost from the Iowa Arts Council. "Cardiff," presented by Comedia Musica Players, premieres tonight in Fort Dodge and plays through Sunday. I usually think of the…
Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2006.   Comments (6)

Mission Accomplished Vanishes — Remember George Bush's Mission Accomplished speech from May 2003 on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln? The one in which he announced the end of major combat operations in Iraq. I wrote about it in Hippo Eats Dwarf as an example of Political Theater, or a "Potemkin Photo Op": a stage-managed event, created solely for media consumption, that offers a misleading picture of reality. Now it has also become an example of historical revisionism. If you check out the video of the event on…
Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006.   Comments (19)

Quick Links: Bull on Roof, etc. — Bull on Roof Chumuckla Elementary School found a lifesize fibreglass bull on the roof on Monday. The bull belongs to a local ranch owner, and is worth more than $1000. £1/4M Compass is £50 Fake A compass, said to have been used by Lawrence of Arabia in his adventures and sold for £254,000 at Christie's auction house along with a watch and cigarette case, could be worth no more than £50. Kaczynski stands in for Kaczynski Polish President Lech Kaczynski has stepped in to replace his…
Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2006.   Comments (10)

Happy Birthday, Cardiff Giant — He's 137 years old today (October 16). The Washington Post reports: On Oct. 16, 1869, workers in Cardiff, New York, dug up what they thought was a 10-foot-tall petrified man. The Cardiff Giant was big, all right -- a big hoax. A year earlier, George Hull paid $2,600 to have the giant made, then buried on a farm. Even after Hull admitted the hoax, people wanted to see it. They still do: The Cardiff Giant has been displayed in Cooperstown, New York, since 1948. Of course, I have much more…
Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2006.   Comments (6)

Quick Links: The Welsh Robin Hood, etc. — Was Robin Hood Welsh? American historian claims Robin Hood was Welsh, not English. Also that his real name was Bran. "He claims Robin would not have been able to hide out in Sherwood Forest because it would have been too small and well chartered." The Nottingham City Council says: "We laugh at this suggestion." Pastor Indicted For Faking Raffles We've learned not to trust internet lotteries. It looks like church lotteries are going the same way: "Rev. Robert J. Ascolese... would call…
Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2006.   Comments (6)

Page 2 of 6 pages  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›
All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.