Hoax Museum Blog: History

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)


Giant Skeleton Unearthed — 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.…
Posted: Wed May 12, 2004.   Comments (0)

Not Cook — 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.
Posted: Thu Apr 29, 2004.   Comments (1)

Hitler Diary sold — 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.
Posted: Mon Apr 26, 2004.   Comments (0)

Shroud of Turin — 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.
Posted: Sun Apr 18, 2004.   Comments (24)

The Vinland Map — 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.
Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2004.   Comments (0)

Kensington Runestone — 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.
Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2004.   Comments (0)

Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2004.   Comments (0)

The Michigan Relics — In October, 1890 James Scotford unearthed some relics while digging postholes for a fence in Montcalm County, Michigan. The relics appeared to demonstrate the prior existence of a Near Eastern culture in ancient America. They were eventually debunked as frauds, though not before attracting a lot of attention and stirring up lots of controversy. Now the relics are on display again. The Michigan Historical Museum has a special exhibit devoted to them titled 'Digging Up Controversy: The…
Posted: Thu Jan 01, 2004.   Comments (0)

Vindication for Man Will Never Fly Society — The reenactment of the Wright Brothers' first flight failed. I hate to say it, but the members of the Man Will Never Fly Society, whom I linked to just a few posts below, did predict that would happen.
Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2003.   Comments (0)

Manned Flight is a Hoax — According to the members of the Man Will Never Fly Society, the official account of the Wright Brothers' 1903 first flight, the anniversary of which is coming up on Dec. 17th, is all a hoax. They contend that the plane never flew... and all subsequent manned flights are a hoax also. Never mind that the majority of the members of this society are pilots. Every year they meet and have a boozy celebration to commemmorate the Wright Brothers' non-flight. In fact, alcohol seems to be the…
Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2003.   Comments (0)

Antebellum Island — The Onion has a good parody of the Reality TV genre: Antebellum Island. It's a new 'alternate reality' show, supposedly being aired by CBS, set on an island on which the South won the Civil War. The show's motto is 'Secede, Suppress, Survive.'
Posted: Thu Dec 04, 2003.   Comments (0)

Princess Caraboo — BBC Legacies, the BBC's new website for exploring local history, is doing a feature this month on Local Legends, and has put up an article about one of Bristol's local legends, Princess Caraboo (though perhaps legends is the wrong word to describe the Princess, since she was quite real, though not a real Princess). It's a good article, and they were nice enough to link back to the Museum of Hoaxes in a sidebar.
Posted: Wed Dec 03, 2003.   Comments (0)

Vinland Map — According to a new study, the Vinland Map (that map of North America drawn by ancient Vikings) may be genuine.
Posted: Wed Nov 26, 2003.   Comments (0)

Hitler Hoaxes — Mixing together some content that had been on the site before, with a little stuff from my book, I just created a small gallery of hoaxes involving Adolf Hitler. He was a strange man, and he inspired some strange hoaxes.
Posted: Mon Nov 17, 2003.   Comments (0)

Hi-Brazil — When I was writing up the book version of The Museum of Hoaxes, there were quite a few hoaxes that, for one reason or another, I had to leave out. I went so far as to write up descriptions of many hoaxes that I later had to cut from the book, in order to keep the book's length manageable. All these discarded hoaxes have been sitting on my hard drive for over a year now, but I've decided to put them all up here on the website. I should have done it sooner, but laziness got in the way. So…
Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2003.   Comments (0)

Cardiff Giant — At the Farmer's Museum in upstate New York this weekend they're celebrating the Cardiff Giant's 134th birthday with a birthday cake contest. It seems to me they're celebrating his birthday a little early. I thought he was discovered on October 16, 1869. But I'm not one to split hairs over something like that. I just wish I was there.
Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2003.   Comments (0)

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