Famous Hoaxes Throughout History

Before 1700 | 1700-1799 | 1800-1868| 1869-1913| 1914-1949| 1950-1976| 1977-1989| 1990-1999| After 2000


As World War II ended, the world achieved a kind of stability. But it was a stability organized around huge superpowers and giant corporations. As a result a kind of paranoia crept into public discourse, expressed in talk of conspiracy theories, secret government programs, and visitors from outer space. The flip side of this paranoia was defiance. As the conservatism of the 1950s gave way to the radicalism of the 1960s, hoaxing and tricksterism became popular as ways to defy the relentless march of corporate, bureaucratic control.

The Great Monkey Hoax
An extraterrestrial is found lying on a Georgia highway
Society for Indecency to Naked Animals
Ensuring decency, by clothing naked animals
Bigfoot Hoaxes
Suppositious reports of a giant primate at large in North America
The Third Eye
Son of a British plumber claims that he's really a Tibetan monk
The Olympic Underwear Relay
Rogue runner holds aloft flaming underwear
The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
Mild winter brings bumper spaghetti crop to Switzerland
The Virginia City Camel Race
The origin of the proud tradition of camel racing in the middle of the Nevada Desert
Dick Tuck
Political prankster takes aim at Richard Nixon
Paul Is Dead
Did Paul McCartney really die on November 9, 1966?
"Subways Are For Sleeping"
Mediocre play receives rave reviews thanks to creative marketing efforts
Report from Iron Mountain
Government plot to maintain a perpetual state of war
Naked Came the Stranger
A literary hoax proves that sex sells
The Stone Age Tasaday
Stone Age tribe found in the Philippines