The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
   
The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: History
Feminist Icons Admit to Prank — Status: Confession of a prank Back in 1970 a picture was taken showing four young women waving placards with messages such as "Ban the Man" and "Down with Men and Marriage." The picture became a symbol of feminism. But thirty-five years later, the women have confessed that their anti-man protest was just a prank. Margot Ducat explains: "One day my colleagues - Jo Vincent, Sue James and Shirley Francis - found a wedding dress stuffed in one of the cupboards. Quite why someone left it…
Posted: Wed Jan 04, 2006.   Comments (28)

Plymouth Rock Pieces on eBay — Status: Scam According to legend, Plymouth Rock was the first thing the pilgrims set foot upon when they landed in Massachusetts. I think that the rock itself is now on display in Plymouth. But United Press International reports that pieces of the Rock are popping up on eBay where they're fetching as much as $900. The catch is that there's absolutely no way to verify that these really are pieces of the original Plymouth Rock. A lot of people did carve off chunks of Plymouth Rock during…
Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2005.   Comments (13)

Black League Basketball — Status: Never Existed Remember the Black Basketball League? Its teams (including favorites such as the Newark Eagles, Harlem Knights, Baltimore Crabs, West Philly Dancers and Cleveland Ebonies) competed from 1920-40, when they were shut out of the all-white league. Consumers can now honor the memory of this league by buying sportswear emblazoned with the team logos. Of course, if you don't remember this league, it might be because historians insist that it never existed. But Eric…
Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005.   Comments (32)

Fake Family Software — Status: Hoax-facilitating software Genealogists are in an uproar about new software that allows people to create fake (but real looking) online family trees. The program is called Fake Family. (Because of the controversy, the website of the software maker is now given over to an Open Letter to Genealogists.) Genealogists argue that the fake information created by this program could easily find its way into real family history databases. They also charge that the only purpose of the…
Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2005.   Comments (56)


The Bear on the California Flag Should Have Been a Pear — Status: Hoax A reporter for Inside Bay Area (I don't know his name... it's not given with the article) recently recounted how his granddaughter told him that the bear on the California flag was originally supposed to be a pear. Back in 1846, Capt. Jedediah Bartlett, leader of a band of rebels fighting against the Mexican authorities in California, supposedly drew up a flag for the future state. He thought a pear, as a symbol of the region's agriculture, would be a fitting symbol. But…
Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2005.   Comments (15)

Lincoln Death Photo — Status: Authentic In my hoax photo gallery I display a picture of the body of Abraham Lincoln lying in a casket and explain that the photo is fake because the army didn't allow any photos of Lincoln's body to be taken. But I just received an email from Rich noting that there is one authentic picture of Lincoln's corpse, and he's right. A photographer did manage to snap a shot of the dead Lincoln as he was lying in state in Manhattan's City Hall. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton had the…
Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2005.   Comments (29)

Michelangelo’s Laocoon — It's already well known that Michelangelo dabbled in art forgery. That's not disputed. For instance, there's his famous forgery of the Sleeping Cupid. However, Lynn Catterson of Columbia University thinks that a much more high-profile forgery should be attributed to him. She believes that Michelangelo forged The Laocoon, which has long been regarded as one of the most important pieces of ancient Greek sculpture in existence. She points out that Michelangelo was present when The Laocoon…
Posted: Wed Apr 06, 2005.   Comments (19)

Mickey’s Gala Premiere — In September 1939 the fledgling BBC television service was shut down because of the start of World War II. According to legend, transmission was ended in the middle of a broadcast of a Disney cartoon called "Mickey's Gala Premiere." When transmission resumed six years later an announcer came on the air and said, "Well now, where were we?" The Disney cartoon then began to play from the exact spot in which it had left off all those years ago. Is this story true? Almost, but not quite.
Posted: Wed Apr 06, 2005.   Comments (7)

Wageningen Liberation Monument — Here's a strange story. I'm not sure whether or not it's a joke. Supposedly the Dutch village of Wageningen commissioned the construction of a war memorial shaped like "a giant copper obelisk that rises and falls depending on the level of sunlight, and spurts flames out of the top during important festivals." Only after they built it did they realize it looked exactly like a giant penis and hastily decided to scrap it. There are two reasons I'm skeptical about this. First, the source is…
Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2005.   Comments (22)

Easter Legend is a Hoax — It's long been thought that the word Easter and the traditions we associate with it (the Easter Bunny and hiding eggs) stem from an old Germanic Saxon belief about the goddess Ostara. The Saxons believed that Ostara was sent by the Sun King during the spring to bring an end to winter. She bore a basket of colored eggs, and with the help of a magical rabbit would hide these eggs under plants and flowers to bring them new life. The name Ostara evolved into Oestre, or Easter. Turns out…
Posted: Sun Mar 27, 2005.   Comments (19)

The Old Negro Space Program — Conspiracy theorists say that man never landed on the moon, but the truth is even more shocking. As this short documentary film about the Old Negro Space Program reveals, the Blackstronauts of Black 'NASSA' landed on the moon a full three years before White NASA managed to get there. However, this achievement has been covered up by an elaborate 'Black Blackout' in the media. The film manages to capture exactly the right 'Ken Burnsesque' tone. Watch for how they keep repeating 'It was a…
Posted: Thu Mar 24, 2005.   Comments (9)

Pony Express Hoax — According to legend, the Pony Express mail service (which operated from 1860 to 1861) advertised for riders as follows: "Wanted. Young, skinny, wiry fellows. Not over 18. Must be expert riders. Willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred." But historian Joseph Nardone has determined that the ad is a hoax. It never ran. Or rather, it never ran during the operation of the Pony Express. He scoured hundreds of papers, but couldn't find it listed anywhere. The first time he found it…
Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2005.   Comments (6)

Sky Disc of Nebra — Yet another German archaeological fraud has possibly been uncovered. The Guardian reports that controversy has erupted over the authenticity of the 'Sky Disc of Nebra'. The disc, which shows the sun, moon and stars, was found in 1999 by two amateur metal detectors near the town of Nebra in Germany. It was believed to be 3600 years old. Now some experts, including Peter Schauer of Regensburg University, are claiming that it's a fake. This issue has arisen because the two guys who found…
Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2005.   Comments (14)

The Bat Creek Stone — In 1889 a curiously engraved stone was found in an Indian mound near Bat Creek, Ohio. The discoverer of the stone was John Emmert, who was working for the Smithsonian's Mound Survey Project. Emmert thought (or said he thought) that the inscription was written in Cherokee and sent the 'Bat Creek Stone' off to the Smithsonian, which accepted the stone as authentic. The Smithsonian then included a reference to the stone in its final report on the Mounds--the report in which it concluded…
Posted: Wed Dec 15, 2004.   Comments (43)

Atlantis Found — A lot of people lately seem to be finding the lost city of Atlantis. Back in June a researcher said he located it off the southern coast of Spain by studying satellite images. Then last month US researchers said they found the city off the coast of Cyprus by using sonar technology. But my favorite is the discovery of Atlantis announced yesterday by the Hawaiian Phonics tutor Dennis Brooks. He's studied the issue deeply and has concluded that Atlantis is, in fact, Tampa, Florida. He…
Posted: Fri Dec 10, 2004.   Comments (9)

Stunning Ingratitude of De Gaulle — In 1945 did Charles De Gaulle really say to Winston Churchill, in reference to the military aid that the Allies provided to France to defeat Germany, that "We shall stun you with our ingratitude"? Monday, November 22 was the birthday of De Gaulle, and a number of right-leaning blogs marked the occasion by posting this quotation (they seem to have picked it up from an article in the Belfast Telegraph). So did De Gaulle really say this? Even though the tense verbal exchanges between…
Posted: Sat Nov 27, 2004.   Comments (7)

Coca-Cola Fantasy Items — Here's an interesting piece from a newspaper about the burgeoning market in Coca-Cola Fantasy items. One of the paper's readers wrote in to ask whether their Coca-Cola belt buckle designed by Tiffany Studios and showing a nude woman sitting on a crescent moon was of any value (unfortunately there's no picture of the item). The paper's reply: No, because the item is a fantasy fake: [This] is what Coca-Cola collectors call a "fantasy," which is a piece that never existed as an old…
Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2004.   Comments (31)

California As An Island — The Philadelphia Print Shop has a great online collection of ancient maps that contain mythical geography. Mythical geography describes "geographic features that appear on the map but not on the earth; cities where none ever were, islands where there are but waves, lakes and rivers where there is dry land, and kingdoms of non-existent kings." (I have some more information about this topic in my Medieval Travel Lies Gallery). My favorite ancient maps in the Print Shop's collection are…
Posted: Wed Aug 04, 2004.   Comments (4)

Inscription One: Real or Fake? — Inscription One is a stone obelisk engraved with ancient Thai script that describes the utopian kingdom of Siam. Believed to have been created in 1292, it's considered one of the great national treasures of Thailand, comparable to the American Liberty Bell or the English Magna Carta. But recently two scholars, Michael Wright and Piriya Krairiksh, have suggested that Inscription One is nothing more than a fake. They theorize that the obelisk actually dates only to 1833, the year in…
Posted: Mon Aug 02, 2004.   Comments (4)

The Journal of Liwwat Bocke — Liwwat Bocke was a German woman who moved to Ohio as a young woman during the nineteenth century. From the 1820s until the 1880s she kept a journal of her experiences... a journal that eventually spanned 1100 pages, all of which is written in a dialect of northern Germany known as Plattdeutsch. When historians discovered her journal during the 1970s they thought it was a remarkable find, sure to shed valuable light on the history of the settlement of Ohio. But now they're not so sure.…
Posted: Tue Jun 15, 2004.   Comments (43)

Page 4 of 6 pages ‹ First  < 2 3 4 5 6 > 
All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.