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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: History
Sky Disc of Nebra
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 02, 2005
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 it were charged with handling stolen goods after they tried to sell the disc to a museum. I don't really understand what the basis…
Categories: History, Science Comments (14)
The Bat Creek Stone
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 15, 2004
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 that the mounds had been built by ancient American Indians, not by an ancient tribe of world-wandering Europeans or Israelites (the origin of the Indian mounds was a huge…
Categories: History Comments (43)
Atlantis Found
Posted by The Curator on Fri Dec 10, 2004
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 points out that the dimensions of Atlantis as described by Plato pretty much match up with the dimensions of Tampa and Harbor Island (in Tampa Bay). So…
Stunning Ingratitude of De Gaulle
Posted by The Curator on Sat Nov 27, 2004
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 De Gaulle and Churchill are well known, this particular remark sounded hoaxy to me. A quick google search…
Categories: History, Military, Politics Comments (7)
Coca-Cola Fantasy Items
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 08, 2004
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 item, was not used in advertising by the Coca-Cola Co. (nor sanctioned by them), but is a modern creation meant to appeal to collectors or to mislead the unwary. There are…
Categories: Advertising, Food, History Comments (31)
California As An Island
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 04, 2004
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 the ones of California as an island. Of course, it remains to be seen whether these were actually geographic myths, or astute predictions of the future. Being in…
Categories: History, Places Comments (4)
Inscription One: Real or Fake?
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 02, 2004
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 which it was 'rediscovered' by Prince Mongkut (who later became King Rama IV). They suggest that the Prince used it as a piece of national propaganda to promote his reformist policies.…
Categories: History Comments (4)
The Journal of Liwwat Bocke
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jun 15, 2004
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. Analysis of the document has revealed that it's a fake, plagiarized from other sources and containing numerous anachronisms. What no one can figure out is who created this forgery, and why they did it.…
Giant Skeleton Unearthed
Posted by The Curator on Thu May 13, 2004
A remarkable photograph reveals archaeologists unearthing a massive (and when I say massive, I mean massive... we're talking a 50-foot behemoth here) skeleton at a site in Saudi Arabia. Of course, the Saudi military is keeping this all very hush, hush. The public couldn't handle knowing about such a remarkable discovery. If you get your news from The New Nation, 'Bangladesh's Independent News Source,' you might think this was an actual piece of news. But of course, it's totally false. The picture comes from a Worth1000 photoshop contest. The original, undoctored source of the image was a Cornell-sponsored dig of a mastodon…
Not Cook
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 29, 2004
The Australian Museum has determined that a bone in its possession, that sports an arrow sticking through it, did not come from the leg of Captain James Cook. Strike all that. My mistake. The arrow is made out of bone, and this bone was long rumored to be a bone from Captain James Cook's leg. But it appears that the bone is actually from some kind of sea mammal.
Categories: History Comments (1)
Hitler Diary sold
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 27, 2004
I'm a few days late noting this story, but I had to mention it anyway. One volume of the forged Hitler Diaries was recently sold at auction in Berlin, fetching around $7700. If there really was such a thing as a brick-and-mortar Museum of Hoaxes, I would have definitely put in a bid for it.
Shroud of Turin
Posted by The Curator on Sun Apr 18, 2004
BBC News has a good summary of the Shroud of Turin controversy, in light of the second face that was discovered on the backside of it. "Does this mean it is real after all? Or does it mean it's an even better hoax than was previously thought?" The answer: no one really knows. I noted in my book that the debate about the shroud rages on and likely will for the foreseeable future. The emergence of new evidence has simply made that more true than ever.
Categories: History, Religion Comments (24)
The Vinland Map
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 03, 2004
The debate about the Vinland Map continues, and Scientific American summarizes the controversy. Everyone agrees that the parchment the map was written on is medieval, but what about the ink? That's the question.
Categories: History Comments (0)
Kensington Runestone
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 12, 2004
The Kensington Runestone, unearthed in Minnesota in 1898 and hailed as evidence of the presence of Norse explorers in ancient America, is off on a grand tour. First stop Sweden.
Categories: History Comments (0)
The Commissar Vanishes
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 12, 2004
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