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Famous Hoaxes

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28 facts:

Amityville Haunting
   was perpetrated by   
George & Kathy Lutz
Conned Jay Anson into writing about the time they spent in a supposedly haunted house. The real (and only) horror at the house occurred prior to Lutz's purchase when Ronald DeFeo Jr. went on a shooting rampage in the house, killing his parents and four siblings.
Autobiography of Howard Hughes
   was perpetrated by   
Clifford Irving
In the early 1970's he created a fake autobiography of eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes. He was eventually convicted of fraud. The hoax was reflected in the film “Hoax” with Richard Gere.
Balloon Boy
   was perpetrated by   
Richard and Mayuri Heene
October 15, 2009 the world excited about the news of the six year old boy from Colorado, swept away a home-made balloon. His parents had previously participated in a reality show and wanted to become famous again.
Cardiff Giant
   was perpetrated by   
George Hull
He buried on the farm of his brother a carved plaster three-meter giant clutching his stomach, as if at the time of death, it was suffering from pain.
Cottingley Fairies
   was perpetrated by   
Elsie Wright & Frances Griffiths
Fooled a generation of spiritualists including Sir Conan Doyle. In 1981 both women revealed that the fairies were nothing more than cardboard cutouts.
Cupid Sculpture
   was perpetrated by   
In order to make ends, together with a friend he created a fake cupid which they aged in order to make it look ancient. The forgery wasn’t discovered for several years. Michelangelo was allowed to keep his share of the money because the statue was sculpted extremely well.
Fake Bigfoot
   was perpetrated by   
Tom Biskardi, Rick Dyer & Matthew Whitton
Claimed to have a corpse in excellent condition. Upon closer examination it was revealed that it was just a rubber gorilla suit.
Feejee Mermaid
   was perpetrated by   
Indonesian Craftsmen
A mummified body of a creature that was half mammal and half fish. The original exhibit was popularized by circus great P.T. Barnum. It came into his possession via his counterpart Moses Kimball. In reality, it was made using either papier-mâché and materials from exotic fish, or the tail of a fish and a torso of a baby orangutan, stitched together with the head of a monkey.
First Nessie Snapshot
   was perpetrated by   
Robert Kenneth Wilson
In 1934 Wilson claimed he filmed the monster accidentally when walking around the loch. It was later determined to be a fake, made by Wilson and his three accomplices.
Hitler Diaries
   was perpetrated by   
German Magazine Stern
Allegedly discovered diaries of Adolf Hitler’s. It was later revealed that the diaries were from former Nazis, eager to rehabilitate the image of Hitler.
Idaho Name
   was perpetrated by   
George Willing
Suggested “Idaho” as a name for the new state, claiming that it meant “the sun comes from the mountains” in a Native American language. Willing, a known eccentric, admitted that Idaho wasn’t a Native American word at all and claimed that he had simply made it up.
Leap from the Brooklyn Bridge
   was perpetrated by   
Steve Brodie
Brodie, supposedly jumped into the water from a height of 42 meters. Subsequently, it became clear that Steve’s pals threw a dummy off the bridge. But the revelation did not prevent Brodie from exploiting his fame as the heroic Brooklyn Bridge diver.
The Man in the Moon
   was perpetrated by   
New York Sun
The newspaper published front page articles claiming astronomer Sir John Herschel discovered intelligent life on the moon. He had nothing to do with the stories. The Sun published further instalments until the public guessed they were pretty fishy.
Munich Olympics Marathon
   was perpetrated by   
Norbert Sadhaus
He deftly joined the forty-two-kilometer marathon with less than a kilometer to the end and easily overtook the tired athletes. He found himself in the limelight as the Olympic champion, but officials quickly exposed the hoax.
Niger Uranium
   was perpetrated by   
Italian Military Intelligence
Forgeries that played a big part in the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003. The papers supposedly provided evidence that Sadaam Hussein was looking to build weapons of mass destruction.
Patterson Bigfoot Film
   was perpetrated by   
Ray Wallace & Roger Patterson
A 1967 home movie that showed what appeared to be an apelike figure striding away from the camera in a wooded area. The Wallaces admitted that it was Ray's wife, Elna, cavorting in a gorilla suit.
Paul is Dead
   was perpetrated by   
Beatles Fans
Claim that hidden messages stating that Paul McCartney was dead could be heard when certain Beatles songs were played backwards. A legend arose that McCartney had died in a car accident and had been replaced by a look-alike.
Perpetual Motion Machine
   was perpetrated by   
Charles Redheffer
In 1813, thousands of New Yorkers paid a dollar each to gaze upon the invention. A belt-drive was discovered linking the machine to an old man turning a handle in the room next door.
Phenomenal Pitcher Sid Finch
   was perpetrated by   
George Plimpton
In 1985 Sports Illustrated reported about a player almost 2 times faster than other player and never misses. He was supposedly under the guidance of the great Tibetan lamas Milaraspa. Many believed the story even though the article was joke contrived by Plimpton.
Piltdown Man
   was perpetrated by   
Unknown Forger
Persisted for 40 years, it consisted of fragments of a skull and jawbone that were thought to be the fossilized remains of an unknown form of early human - the missing link.
Priory of Sion
   was perpetrated by   
Pierre Plantard
Plantard created the whole organization in an attempt to prove that he was related to the Merovingian bloodline. Used by Dan Brown in the DaVinci Code.
Roswell Alien Autopsy
   was perpetrated by   
Ray Santilli
A sensational video with the alleged autopsy of an alien from Roswell, NM.
Sarah Palin's Phonecall With Sarkozy
   was perpetrated by   
Marc-Antoine Odette
The Canadian comedian and broadcaster claimed to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy. In the conversation hints were provided several times that the call was a hoax.
Sinistral Hamburger
   was perpetrated by   
Burger King
Published an ad for a new “Left-Handed Whopper”, specially designed for left-handed eaters. It was said the new burger had the same composition as the original Whopper, but all the ingredients were rotated 180 degrees.
Spaghetti Tree
   was perpetrated by   
Richard Dimbleby
A harmless April Fool's Day gag the BBC screened showing women in Switzerland harvesting long strands of pasta before laying these out in the sun to dry.
The Tasaday
   was perpetrated by   
Philippine Government Official
Claimed to have discovered a Stone Age tribe living on the island of Mindanao. When President Marcos was toppled in 1986, 'tribesmen' were found living in houses and wearing normal clothes. By then the minister in question had fled with millions of dollars donated to help protect these so-called ancient people.
Turk Automoton
   was perpetrated by   
Wofgang Von Kempelen
Supposedly fully functional automaton that could play chess and win against any human opponent. Several great minds tried to figure out how the machine worked, including Benjamin Franklin. In reality a man who manipulated the chess pieces was stowed inside the contraption.
War of the Worlds
   was perpetrated by   
Orson Welles
A radio program that aired on Oct. 30, 1938, caused panic among millions. The radio play was made in the form of a report about the real invasion of Martians. People fought hysterically, jumped out of windows, and some claimed they witnessed the Martians, and only narrowly escaped death.

Facts contributed by:

Gokie Gary

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