List of hoaxes

List of hoaxes

The following are lists of hoaxes:

Proven hoaxes

These are some claims that have been revealed to be deliberate public hoaxes.

This list does not include hoax articles published on or around April 1, a long list of which can be found in the "April Fool's Day" article.

* The "Genesis" messenger of the Publius Enigma
* Some Crop circles. In 1991, two English gentlemen (Doug Bower and Dave Chorley) claimed credit for the entire phenomenon, though it's widely accepted that they are just responsible for a handful of crude circles.
* George Adamski's claims to have gone into space in UFOs. His book was based on his earlier book of fiction.
* Ray Santilli's "Alien autopsy"
* Apollo 20 hoax, a purported joint American-Soviet manned lunar mission to retrieve ancient alien artifacts from the moon [ [ Apollo 20 hoax videos] ] [ [ Interview with Apollo 20 hoax perpetrator William Rutledge] ]
* "The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk", a book about purported sexual enslavement of a nun
* Richard Bachman, a pseudonym for Stephen King that got out of control
* Bananadine, a fictional drug made from bananas
* Bathtub hoax, an imaginary history of the bathtub published by H.L. Mencken
* Canadians "Crossing into united states by car" email hoax
* Johann Beringer's lying stones
* The Big Donor Show, a hoax reality television program in the Netherlands about a woman donating her kidneys to one of three people requiring a transplantation
* Jayson Blair's plagiarized and fabricated articles for the "New York Times"
* Berners Street Hoax in 1810
* Tawana Brawley rape allegations
* Steve Brodie, who did not jump from the Brooklyn Bridge
* The Cardiff Giant, of which P. T. Barnum made up a replica when he could not obtain the "genuine" hoax
* Andrew Carlssin, a nonexistent "time travelling" stock broker arrested for SEC violations.
* Thomas Chatterton's "medieval" poetry
* The Cottingley Fairies
* "Death in the Air: The War Diary and Photographs of a Flying Corps Pilot", a book containing World War I Aerial combat photos that were actually models superimposed on aerial backgrounds.
* Disappearing blonde gene
* Document 12-571-3570 supposedly establishing that sex had taken place during a space mission
* Drake's Plate of Brass, accepted for 40 years as the actual plate Francis Drake posted upon visiting California in 1579
* The Donation of Constantine
* Hanxin, industrious and scientific hoax of a forgery Digital signal processor
* George Dupre, who claimed to have worked for SOE
* "The Education of Little Tree", widely acclaimed autobiography by Asa Earl Carter, later revealed to be fictional.
* Albert Einstein quotation supporting Astrology Harvcol|Hamil|2007
* Emulex hoax, a stock manipulation scheme
* Ern Malley, a fictitious poet
* Essjay controversy, a false claim of academic credentials, starting on Wikipedia and continued into a "New Yorker" interview
* Fiji mermaid, the supposed remains of a half fish half human hybrid.
* The Flying Bigfoot of Florida
* Spiritualist Arthur Ford's claim of psychic contact with Harry Houdini.
* "Fragments: Memories of a Wartime Childhood 1939-1948", Binjamin Wilkomirski's memoirs, which were supposed to be a faithful account of his childhood in a Nazi death camp
* Furry trout
* Stephen Glass's falsified articles for "The New Republic"
* The Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814
* "The Hand that Signed the Paper", purportedly based on the experiences of "Helen Demidenko", actually Helen Darville
* Joice Heth, African-American slave exhibited by P. T. Barnum as George Washington's nurse.
* "Histoire de l'Inquisition en France", the 1829 book by Etienne Leon de Lamonthe-Langan
* The Hitler Diaries
* The Horn Papers
* The Hundredth Monkey, a supposed zoological behavioral phenomenon
* Idaho's name
* "Il Bambino", a sculpture created by Michelangelo but sold as a classic Greek statue.
* Clifford Irving's biography of Howard Hughes
* The Jackalope, supposedly a form of rabbit with antlers.
* Jdbgmgr.exe virus hoax
* Anthony Godby Johnson, a nonexistent author of a hoax autobiography "A Rock and A Hard Place".
* The Lady Hope Story, a claim of Charles Darwin's deathbed conversion to Christianity
* Lobsang Rampa
* Enric Marco, who presented himself as a victim of the extermination camp of Mauthausen until uncovered in 2005.
* The Masked Marauders, a non-existent "super group" supposedly consisting of Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Their supposed "bootleg album" was listed in a mock review in the 18 October 1969 issue of "Rolling Stone Magazine". An album entitled "The Masked Marauders" was shortly released, but the sound-alike musicians were later exposed to be members of The Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band. []
* Milli Vanilli, a duo that did not sing its own songs
* The Moles' "We Are The Moles", a 1967 single promoted with not-so-subtle hints that it might be The Beatles recording under a pseudonym. It was actually recorded by Simon Dupree and The Big Sound - a 1960's UK pop group, members of whom later formed the progressive rock band Gentle Giant.
* Mon cher Mustapha letter, a letter supposedly written by a Muslim immigrant in France, designed to stir up anti-immigrant sentiment
* Nacirema, a fictional tribe
* The Necronomicon, a fictitious occult book quoted by writer H. P. Lovecraft in many of his stories.
* Ompax spatuloides Castelnau, a fish "discovered" in 1872 in Australia, made of a mullet, an eel and the head of a platypus.
* "The Works of Ossian," "translated" by James MacPherson
* "Our First Time", an early popularized Internet hoax.
* The shoot-outs of Palisade, Nevada
* Paul Is Dead (Paul McCartney death hoax)
* The perpetual motion engines built by John Ernst Worrell Keely and Charles Redheffer
* Pickled dragon
* Piltdown Man, allegedly a missing link between humans and apes. It was unmasked as a hoax in 1953 after 4 decades of being accepted by the majority of scientists.
* Platinum Weird, deliberate hoax by David A. Stewart and Kara DioGuardi about a non-existing band from 1974 promoted using false advertising.
* Pope Joan - the one and only supposed female pope.
* Princess Caraboo, aka Mary Baker
* Bot Winter of 'Bot Lies' fame
* The Priory of Sion, a made-up secret society that plays a prominent role in the DaVinci Code
* "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", a book instrumental in the surge of antisemitism during the last hundred years.
* George Psalmanazar and his "Formosa"
* Psychic surgery
* Q33 NY, an Internet hoax based on the 9/11 event
* "A Racial Program for the Twentieth Century"
* "The Report From Iron Mountain", a literary hoax claiming that the government had concluded that peacetime was not in the economy's best interest.
* Rosie Ruiz, who cheated in the Boston Marathon
* Audrey Seiler, 20-year-old woman who faked her own abduction in Madison, Wisconsin in 2004
* The Skvader, a form of winged hare supposedly indigenous to Sweden.
* "Songs of Bilitis", supposed ancient Greek poems "discovered" by Pierre Louÿs
* "Space Cadets", a 2005 TV programme by Channel 4, in which contestants were fooled into thinking that they were training at a Russian space academy to become space tourists.
* The "R. E. Straith" letter sent to George Adamski by James W. Moseley (Moseley & Pflock, 2002:124-27, 331-32).
* The "Surgeon's Photo" of the Loch Ness Monster
* James Vicary's Subliminal advertising Ref harvard|Boese2002|Boese 2002:127-8|
* Tamara Rand prediction of the 1981 assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, which was actually made after the fact Ref harvard|Randi1982|Randi 1982:329|.
* Tashkent earthquake hoax, an earthquake prediction rumor.
* Thatchergate Tapes, a fake conversation with which the punk rock band Crass fooled the governments of the USA and UK.
* Robert Tilton's "prayer cloths"
* Mary Toft, rabbit mother
* Kazuo Uzuki, April Fools Joke where Topps issued baseball card of non-existent person
* Toothing, an invented fad about people using Bluetooth phones to arrange sexual encounters
* Tourist guy, photo of a tourist at the top of the World Trade Center building on 9/11 with a plane about to crash in the background
* The Turk, a chess-playing automaton that actually contained a person.
* Benjamin Vanderford's video of his own beheading in Iraq
* "Vortigern and Rowena," a work allegedly by William Shakespeare that was actually by William Henry Ireland, collector of books and forger of Shakespeareana
* World Jump Day
* Laurel Rose Willson's claims to be a survivor of Satanic ritual abuse (as Lauren Stratford), and of the Holocaust (as Laura Grabowski)
* Wyoming Incident, supposed videos of mysterious broadcast signal intrusions
* Yellowcake forgery, the false documents suggesting Iraq's Saddam Hussein was to purchase uranium from Niger
* Zzxjoanw, a fictitious word that fooled logologists for 70 years
* Frank Scully's 1950 book "Behind the Flying Saucers", which claimed that aliens from a crashed flying saucer were being held
* Mars hoax, a yearly hoax, started in 2003, falsely claiming that at a certain date Mars will look as large as the full moon
* "Michelle Remembers", a memoir of Satanic child abuse
* Holocaust teaching controversy of 2007

Hoax accusations

*Apollo Moon Landing hoax accusations
*Footage that seems to depict the death of Palestinian boy Muhammad al-Durrah has been faked.
*Frank Dux claims that the movie "Bloodsport" is autobiographical
*The death of Elvis Presley.
*The death of Andy Kaufman.
*The death of 2pac.

Proven hoaxes of exposure

"Proven hoaxes of exposure" are semi-comical or private sting operations. They usually encourage people to act foolishly or credulously by falling for patent nonsense that the hoaxer deliberately presents as reality. See also "culture jamming".

* The [ Arm the Homeless Coalition]
* The "Atlanta Nights" hoax
* The British television series Brass Eye encouraged celebrities to pledge their support to nonexistent causes, to highlight their willingness to do anything for publicity.
* The [ Centaur from Volos] displayed at the John C. Hodges library at The University of Tennessee
* Carlos, a fictional spirit medium created by James Randi and Jose Luis Alvarez. [ [ "Carlos" hoax of Jose Alvarez ] ] [ (scroll down)]
* Crop circles
* Dihydrogen Monoxide
* Disumbrationism
*Genpets, the bio-engineered pet creatures
*Grunge speak, an alleged slang of the Seattle rock underground, concocted by a Sub Pop employee and profiled in the "New York Times"
* ID Sniper rifle, a rifle that shoots GPS chips to mark and track suspects
*The Lovelump bio-engineered sex toy
* Project Alpha - exposed poor research into psychic phenomena
* Pacific Northwest tree octopus, by Lyle Zapato
* Sina, the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals
* Media pranks of Joey Skaggs
* The Sokal Affair
* The Taxil hoax by Léo Taxil, poking fun at Freemasonry
* The avant-garde "music" of "Piotr Zak"
* The practice of growing Bonsai Kittens
* "Requiem for a Martian," a supposed episode of "Star Trek" that in fact was never filmed (and is unlikely to have even been written as a screenplay); supposedly it was so awful that it was suppressed after a single airing.
* The Ronnie Hazlehurst obituary - a rogue wikipedia edit was repeated by several British newspaper in obituaries, though it was completely untrue. [ Historic page detailing the media's gullibility] ]
* The AC Omonia (a Cypriot football club) hoax - a rogue wikipedia entry led a journalist to mistakenly publish a fictional account of a supporters club. [ Historic page giving details of the hoax]

Possible hoaxes

* The Amityville Horror - ghostly events reported by the buyers of a house where another family had been murdered Ref harvard|Hines1988|Hines 1988|64-66.
* The Ashtar Galactic Command broadcast on Southern Television
* Trance Channeling, a New Age form of spiritualism.
* Psychic performances of Uri Geller ref_harvard|Randi1982|Randi 1982|
* Kensington Runestone - an artifact which implies Scandinavian explorers reached the middle of North America in the 14th century
* [
* The Loudun demonic possessions of 1634 that led to the execution of Urban Grandier for witchcraft.
* NESARA conspiracy theory, a purported secret law under gag order by The Supreme Court, which would abolish the IRS and eliminate all credit card debt.
* Walam Olum - alleged migration legend of the Lenape people, likely perpetrated by Rafinesque
* "The Policeman's Beard is Half Constructed", book supposedly written by AI program "Racter"
* The Philadelphia Experiment a supposed experiment to make a ship compeltely invisible to radar even to the eye. Many factual errors have emerged and official U.S. navy records show no proof or record of the experiment ever taking place or of the ship ever having been in the alleged locations of the experiment.
* Zeno map; Shows lands known not to exist,
* The works of James Frey which were at least partially fictional and have been alleged to be a complete hoax.
* Claims by Eugenia Smith and Anna Anderson to be Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia. Smith is almost certainly a hoaxer; Anderson may have actually believed herself to be the Grand Duchess
* The Killian documents - documents used in a 60 Minutes story alleging George W. Bush did not fulfill his National Guard duty requirements
* The Patterson-Gimlin film of Bigfoot
* The Book of Veles
* The Buddha Boy - a meditating boy of apparently superhuman perseverance
* Mel's Hole - a pit alleged to be bottomless
* Josef Papp's solo thirteen hour trans-Atlantic submarine voyage
* Philippine historical figure Kalantiaw
* The Vinland map - alleged medieval map of the "New World"
* The Voynich Manuscript - a mysterious book in an unknown and never-translated language
* John Titor's time travelling claims
* Zinoviev Letter- alleges a socialist conspiracy between the Soviet Union and British Labour Party
* Metallic Metals Act - a study that may not have actually been conducted about a fictional piece of legislation; the study is still cited in textbooks
* Natasha Demkina - Russian woman who claims to have x-ray vision
* Rendlesham Forest Incident - possible hoax
* The Tasaday tribe

Practical joke hoaxes

* Alternative 3 - a British conspiracy theory documentary broadcast in 1977
* The Balloon-Hoax
* The "British Arctic Territory" flag [!bat.html]
* The Dreadnought hoax
* Peter Jackson's Forgotten Silver
* The Fortsas hoax, a purported auction of one-of-a-kind books in 1840 in Belgium.
* "I, Libertine," originally nonexistent book
* "Naked Came the Stranger"- a purposely horribly-written novel
* Plainfield Teacher's College and its football team
* Sawing off of Manhattan Island
* Society for Indecency to Naked Animals - ("A nude horse is a rude horse")
* The spaghetti tree harvest was a hoax broadcast by the BBC in 1957.
* Christopher Walken for US president. []

Known pranksters, scam artists and impostors

* Frank Abagnale, professional impostor and check forger
* Alan Abel, US professional hoaxer
* Jim Bakker, Evangelist
* P. T. Barnum, US showman known for his sensational hoaxes
* Sacha Baron Cohen, British comedian and media prankster - a.k.a. Ali G and Borat Sagdiyev
* Pablo Belmonte, Spanish video editor known for his Nintendo-related hoax videos (Nintendo On, Super Mario Galaxy DS, etc.)
* Jorge Luis Borges, Argentinian writer who often included references to nonexistent books and authors in his works
* Horace de Vere Cole, British aristocrat
* Jeanne Dixon, a self-proclaimed psychic.
* Benjamin Franklin, American patriot, scientist and publisher
* William Randolph Hearst, a newspaper tycoon known as "the father of yellow journalism".
* Danny Hellman, NY cartoonist sued for impersonating Ted Rall in e-mails
* Benny Hinn, faith healer
* Elmyr de Hory, art forger
* Brian G. Hughes, US banker
* Reginald Jones, British professor
* Andy Kaufman, US comedian and inter-gender wrestling champion
* M. Lamar Keene, Self-exposed fraudulent medium
* J. Z. Knight, trance channeller who claims to contact an entity called Ramtha
* Victor Lustig, professional con artist
* Jim Moran, publicist, actor and TV panellist
* Chris Morris, British comedian and actor of "Brass Eye", "The Day Today"
* Frederick Emerson Peters, professional impostor and check forger
* Charles Ponzi, originator of the Ponzi Scheme
* Peter Popoff, Faith healer
* George Psalmanazar, European writer
* James Randi, professional stage magician, hoaxer and hoax debunker
* James Reavis, professional forger and impostor
* Harry Reichenbach, Hollywood publicist
* Joey Skaggs, US media prankster
* Soapy Smith, Jefferson Randolph Smith, infamous 19th century confidence man
* Edward Askew Sothern, British actor
* Robert B. Stein, former UFO photographer and debunker of photographic hoaxes
* Jonathan Swift, British humorist and writer
* Robert Tilton, Evangelist
* Hugh Troy, US painter
* Dick Tuck, US political prankster who harassed Richard Nixon.
* Wilhelm Voigt, the "Captain of Köpenick"
* Mike Warnke, Evangelist and supposed former Satanic High Priest
* Joseph Weil, professional scam artist
* Stanley Clifford Weyman, professional impostor

Journalistic hoaxes

Deliberate hoaxes, or journalistic fraud, that drew widespread attention include:

* Jayson Blair, reporter for "The New York Times"
* Janet Cooke, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her fictitious "Washington Post" story about an eight-year-old heroin addict named Jimmy
* Stephen Glass, reporter for "The New Republic"
* The Great Moon Hoax of 1835
* Great Wall of China hoax of 1899
* Jack Kelley, longtime "USA Today" correspondent
* The New York Zoo hoax of 1874
* Nik Cohn's "New York" magazine article, "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night", which was the source material for the movie "Saturday Night Fever", and which Cohn admitted decades later had been fiction, not reportage.
* The Flemish Secession hoax of 2006 []
* Dark Side of the Moon (documentary) - this French mockumentary "proving" that the Apollo moon landings were hoaxes is itself an admitted hoax
* Konspiration 58 about the soccer world cup of 1958.
* David Manning, a ficitious film critic created by Sony in order to place good quotes on Columbia Pictures' film advertising.
* Fuckart & Pimp a hoax art exhibition at London's Decima gallery, which purported to be the show of a female artist having sex with clients to consummate the sale of her paintings, created a world-wide media scandal but was later revealed to be a hoax.



* cite book
author = Alex Boese
title = The Museum of Hoaxes: A Collection of Pranks, Stunts, Deceptions, and Other Wonderful Stories Contrived for the Public from the Middle Ages to the New Millennium
publisher = Dutton/Penguin Books
year = 2002
isbn = 0-525-94678-0
oclc = 50115701

* Boese, Alex, "Hippo Eats Dwarf: A Field Guide to Hoaxes and other B.S.", Harvest Books 2006, ISBN 0-15-603083-7.

* citation
last = Hamel |first = Denis
year = 2007
month = November
title = The End of the Einstein-Astrology-Supporter Hoax
journal = Skeptical Inquirer
volume = 31
issue = 6
pages = 39–43
doi =
id =
url =
format =
accessdate =

*note label|Hines1988|Hines 1988| cite book
author = Terence Hines
title = Pseudoscience and the Paranormal: A Critical Examination of the Evidence
publisher = Prometheus Books
year = 1988
isbn = 0-87975-419-2
oclc = 17462273

* James W. Moseley and Karl T. Pflock, (2002). "Shockingly Close to the Truth: Confessions of a Grave-Robbing Ufologist", Prometheus Books, ISBN 1-57392-991-3
* Curtis Peebles (1994). "Watch the Skies: A Chronicle of the Flying Saucer Myth", Smithsonian Institution, ISBN 1-56098-343-4.

* cite book
last = Randi
first = James
authorlink = James Randi
year = 1982
title = Flim-Flam!
publisher = Prometheus Books
oclc = 9066769

ee also

*Beale Ciphers (alleged location of hidden treasure)
*Lost Dutchman Mine (alleged location of hidden treasure)
*Oak Island (alleged location of hidden treasure)
*List of fictitious people (people it was claimed really existed – unlike fictional characters).

External links

* [ Museum of hoaxes - A collection of hoaxes]
* [ Snopes - A database about urban legends]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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