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List of Hoaxes
The following are
lists of :
These are some claims that have been revealed, or proven definitively, 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 "
List of April Fools' Day jokes" article.
Cedric Allingham, fictitious author who wrote a book about meeting the pilot of a Martian spacecraft. Allingham was created by British astronomer Patrick Moore and his friend Peter Davies.
Alien autopsy, a hoax film by Ray Santilli
Amina Abdallah Arraf al Omari, a fake Syrian blogger
Apollo 20, a series of YouTube videos claiming to show evidence of intelligent, extraterrestrial life on the moon
, a collection of documents related to the life of Jesus The Archko Volume
The Awful Disclosures of , a book about purported sexual enslavement of a nun Maria Monk
The Balloon-Hoax, depicting a cross-Atlantic hot air balloon trip The
balloon boy hoax, a boy reported to be traveling uncontrollably at high altitudes in a home-made helium balloon but later discovered to be hiding in the attic of his house
Bananadine, a fictional drug made from bananas
Bathtub hoax, an imaginary history of the bathtub published by H.L. Mencken
Johann Beringer's Lying Stones
Berners Street hoax in 1810
Franz Bibfeldt, a fictitious theologian originally invented to provide a footnote for a divinity school student, which later became an in-joke among academic theologians
, a hoax reality television program in the Netherlands about a woman donating her The Big Donor Show kidneys to one of three people requiring a transplantation
Blue waffle, a supposedly contagious sexually-transmitted disease affecting only women, causing a blue discoloration of the vagina
C.W. Blubberhouse, whose letters in UK national newspapers were exposed as a hoax by the Sunday Times
Calaveras Skull was a human skull found by miners in Calaveras County, California, which was purported to prove that humans, mastodons, and elephants had coexisted in California. The
Cardiff Giant, was a hoax of a hoax, when P. T. Barnum made up a replica because he could not obtain the "genuine" hoax item
CERN ritual, supposed occult sacrifice on the grounds of CERN. The
Cottingley Fairies, cut-out fairies accepted as real
Crop circles. English pranksters Doug Bower and Dave Chorley claimed they started the phenomenon, and hundreds of "copycat" circles have been fabricated since by other hoaxers.
Dahu, a legendary creature well known in France, Switzerland and the north of Italy
Disappearing blonde gene
Document 12-571-3570, supposedly established that sex had taken place during a U.S. space mission
Donation of Constantine, a forged imperial decree by which the 4th-century emperor Constantine the Great supposedly transferred authority over Rome and the western Roman Empire to the Pope. The
Dreadnought hoax, perpetrated in 1910 by Horace de Vere Cole and a group of friends who, pretending to be an official delegation from Abyssinia, tricked the Royal Navy into giving them an official tour of the battleship HMS Dreadnought
Drop bear, a supposed dangerous species of koala
Emulex hoax, a stock manipulation scheme
The English Mercurie, a literary hoax purporting to be the first English language newspaper
Ern Malley, a fictitious poet
Fiji mermaid, the supposed remains of a half-fish half-human hybrid
Sidd Finch, fictional baseball player  Furry trout
Geostationary Banana Over Texas, an apparent hoax to secure artistic funding
Gorgeous Guy, apparently motiveless hoax, which gained the perpetrator some media attention
Great Moon Hoax, a series of articles published in describing a Lunar civilization The Sun
Gundala, a superhero movie that was promoted on the web despite the fact that it did not exist
Joice Heth, African-American slave exhibited by P. T. Barnum as George Washington's nurse.
Hanxin, a DSP microchip claimed to be developed completely by Chen Jin himself, which was proved as Motorola's microchip with its original trademark sanded away
, the 1829 book by Étienne-Léon de Lamothe-Langon Histoire de l'Inquisition en France The
Hitler Diaries, purportedly written by Hitler The
Horn Papers, a genealogical hoax
Hunting for Bambi, a fictional competition to hunt semi-naked women with paintball guns in the deserts of Las Vegas.  The
Ireland Shakespeare forgeries, a collection of Shakespeare-related documents supposedly discovered by William Henry Ireland and published in 1795 by his father, Samuel Ireland; the discoveries included a "lost" play, Vortigern and Rowena
Clifford Irving's biography of Howard Hughes The
Jackalope, supposedly a form of rabbit with antlers The
Jacko hoax, a supposed gorilla or sasquatch caught near Yale, British Columbia, in 1884
Jussie Smollett attack, supposed anti-gay, anti-black attack on the Empire actor in Chicago The
Lady Hope Story, a claim of Charles Darwin's deathbed conversion to evangelical Christianity
Kryakutnoy, purported Russian inventor of the hot-air balloon
Lenin was a mushroom, a television hoax by Soviet musician Sergey Kuryokhin and reporter Sergey Sholokhov. It was first broadcast on 17 May 1991 on Leningrad Television.
Lucy Lightfoot, a supposed legend from the Isle of Wight about a girl who disappeared in 1831. Later admitted to have been made up in the 1960s by the vicar of St Olave's Church, Gatcombe.
Maggie Murphy hoax, a hoax that claimed a farmer grew an oversized potato
Manhattan Airport Foundation, advocating for the development of an airport replacing Central Park. 
Mars hoax (also called the Two Moons hoax), a yearly hoax, started in 2003, falsely claiming that at a certain date Mars will look as large as the full moon 
, an album issued by a The Masked Marauders Warner Bros. Records subsidiary that reportedly featured a jam session between Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The perpetrator was magazine. Rolling Stone The
Microsoft acquisition hoax, a 1994 hoax claiming that Microsoft had acquired the Roman Catholic Church. The hoax is considered to be the first hoax to reach a mass audience on the Internet. Despite debunking by Microsoft, similar stories about Microsoft and other companies implementing unrealistic acquisitions continued.  The
Miscovich emeralds hoax, an attempt by a diver to pass modern emeralds off as treasures from a sunken Spanish galleon.
Monster of Lake Fagua, an 18th-century hoax about a dragon-like monster supposedly found in Peru. The
Momo Challenge hoax, a fake social media challenge supposedly encouraging children to self-harm and kill themselves. Robert Mueller sexual assault hoax, perpetrated by far-right conspiracy theorists Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl.
: a 1969 novel by a group of American journalists attempting to satisfy, and thus expose, what they perceived as degraded standards in popular American literature; it succeeded, selling about 90,000 copies before the hoax was revealed. Naked Came the Stranger
Nibiru cataclysm: a rogue planet and doomsday theory involving a planet collision with Earth. Debunked by NASA and others as a hoax.
, a "fish" supposedly discovered in 1872 in Australia, made of a mullet, an eel and the head of a platypus, as a joke on Ompax spatuloides Karl Theodor Staiger which also fooled Francis de Laporte de Castelnau into writing a scientific description of the "species".
"translated" by The Works of Ossian, James MacPherson
, an early popularized Internet hoax. Our First Time
: fake document alleging Jewish superiority over Gentiles by a non-existent Our Race Will Rule Undisputed Over The World rabbi named Emmanuel Rabinovich.
Edward Owens, perpetrated on the English-language popflock.com resource in 2008 by a class at George Mason University. The
Pacific Northwest tree octopus ( Octopus paxarbolis)
Paul is dead ( Paul McCartney death hoax) The
perpetual motion engines built by John Ernst Worrell Keely and Charles Redheffer The
Persian Princess, a mummy of an alleged princess which surfaced in October 2000, which proved to be an archaeological forgery and possibly a modern murder victim.
Pierre Brassau was a pseudonym for a chimpanzee whose art was exhibited in a gallery under the presumption that Brassau was a real human artist. The chimpanzee received positive reviews from several critics.
Plainfield Teacher's College, a fictional school whose football scores ended up in major newspapers in 1941.
Platinum Weird, deliberate hoax by David A. Stewart and Kara DioGuardi about a fictitious band from 1974 promoted using false advertising
Pope Joan - the one and only supposed female pope
The Poppy Fields, a made-up band that earned a number 24 hit for " 45 RPM", a song they had not recorded
Princess Caraboo, aka Mary Baker The
Priory of Sion, a made-up secret society that plays a prominent role in The Da Vinci Code 
Progesterex, a date-rape drug
Prophecy of the Popes
, a book instrumental in the surge of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion antisemitism during the twentieth century 
George Psalmanazar and his " Formosa"
Q33 NY, an Internet hoax based on the 9/11 attacks
: fake document A Racial Program for the Twentieth Century Tamara Rand prediction of the 1981 assassination attempt on
Ronald Reagan, which was actually made after the fact ( Randi 1982:329).
Redcore, a browser purported to be developed in-house, but was revealed to be based on Chromium 
chronicles the rejection by publishing houses of the opening chapters of Rejecting Jane Jane Austen novels submitted to them under a pseudonym by British writer David Lassman
, a literary hoax claiming that the government had concluded that peacetime was not in the economy's best interest The Report From Iron Mountain
Rosenhan experiment: the admission of healthy "pseudopatients" to twelve psychiatric hospitals.
Rosie Ruiz, who cheated in the Boston Marathon
Frank Scully's 1950 book Behind the Flying Saucers, which claimed that aliens from a crashed flying saucer were being held "
Seriously McDonalds", a viral photograph apparently showing racist policies introduced by McDonald's. 
Michael Shrimpton, who perpetrated a hoax that Germany was planning a nuclear attack on the 2012 Summer Olympics The
Skvader, a form of winged hare supposedly indigenous to Sweden The 'Sloot Digital Coding System' (SDCS), a methode of digital compression devised by Dutchman
Jan Sloot which allegedly could compress an entire movie into 8 kilobyte
, supposed ancient Greek poems "discovered" by Songs of Bilitis Pierre Louÿs
, a 2005 TV programme by Space Cadets 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 Gray Barker and James W. Moseley ( Moseley & Pflock 2002:124-27,331-32).
James Vicary's Subliminal advertising ( Boese 2002:127-8) The "
Surgeon's Photo" of the Loch Ness Monster SETI: EQ Pegasus Hoax of 1998 
T-Z Tania Head (
Alicia Esteve Head) became the most prominent survivor of 9/11, meeting with politicians and leading a group of survivors, when in fact, on 9/11 she was in Barcelona. Her whole story was a lie, the second famous hoax in her life. The
Taughannock Giant, a petrified giant "discovered" in Ithaca, New York, in 1879. This copycat hoax was inspired by the Cardiff Giant ten years earlier.  
Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax
Thatchergate Tapes, a fake conversation with which the punk band Crass fooled the governments of the US and UK Slowing of Satellites above
Tirunallar Saniswaran Temple, because of mysterious UV rays from Saturn, claimed to have been admitted as a Miracle, by NASA 
Robert Tilton's "prayer cloths"
Mary Toft, the rabbit mother
Toothing, an invented fad about people using Bluetooth phones to arrange sexual encounters
Tourist guy, fake 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
Trodmore Racecourse, a fictitious Cornish race meeting
Taro Tsujimoto, a fictional Japanese ice hockey player selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft. The Sabres' general manager, Punch Imlach, made the selection as a protest against the NHL's draft procedures.
The Turk, a chess-playing automaton that actually contained a person
Tuxissa, a computer virus hoax Benjamin Vanderford's
Villejuif leaflet, a pamphlet distributed in Europe with claims of various food additives having carcinogenic effects.
Southern Television broadcast interruption hoax (1977), hoax message inserted into an IBA broadcast in the United Kingdom on 26 November 1977
David Weiss, a fictitious person that was used by the Jerusalem Post as a source
Laurel Rose Willson's claims to be a survivor of Satanic ritual abuse (as Lauren Stratford), and of the Holocaust (as Laura Grabowski)
Wolpertinger, a Bavarian cousin of the Jackalope
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
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 .
- ghostly events reported by the buyers of a house where another family had been murdered. The Amityville Horror The
hoax Atlanta Nights The British television series
encouraged celebrities to pledge their support to nonexistent causes, to highlight their willingness to do anything for publicity Brass Eye
Dihydrogen monoxide hoax
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 - orchestrated by James Randi, exposed poor research into psychic phenomena
Pacific Northwest tree octopus, by Lyle Zapato
Sina, the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals
Nat Tate, an imaginary artist, about whom a biography was published in 1998 by William Boyd intended to temporarily fool the art world Media pranks of
Joey Skaggs The
Sokal affair The
Taxil hoax by Léo Taxil, poking fun at the Roman Catholic Church's attitude toward Freemasonry The avant-garde "music" of "
Piotr Zak" The practice of growing
Bonsai Kittens January 2009
Quadrant Hoax The Canadian House Hippo hoax briefly perpetrated by Concerned Children's Advertisers in public service announcements designed to encourage children to view items in the media with a critical eye.
Deliberate hoaxes, or
journalistic fraud, that drew widespread attention include:
A Rape on Campus written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely and published by Rolling Stone magazine, that recounted an alleged gangrape of a female college student by college men in graphic detail, but was later found out to have been entirely fabricated by the "victim" and the journalist.
Washington Irving created a hoax about the supposedly missing Diedrich Knickerbocker
Edgar Allan Poe created a hoax of moon travel in " The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall"
Jayson Blair, reporter for The New York Times
Janet Cooke, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her fictitious story about an eight-year-old Washington Post heroin addict named Jimmy The
Flemish Secession hoax of 2006
Stephen Glass, reporter for The New Republic
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 worldwide media scandal but was later revealed to be a hoax. The
Great Moon Hoax of 1835; Edgar Allan Poe would later claim that this was inspired by his own story " The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall," which was published only a few months before
Great Wall of China hoax of 1899
Johann Hari, journalist for , The Independent , The New York Times and other media organisations, who committed acts of plagiarism, fabricated sources and quotes, and posted malicious comments to social media and edits to the popflock.com resource biographies of his critics and opponents. Hari was forced to return the The Huffington Post Orwell Prize (which he won in 2008) after it was withdrawn by the Orwell Prize Council. 
Jack Kelley, longtime correspondent USA Today
David Lassman who wrote the 2007 ' Rejecting Jane' article, which chronicled Jane Austen's rejection by modern-day publishers
The New York Zoo hoax of 1874
Nik Cohn's magazine article, " New York Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night", which was the source material for the movie , and which Cohn admitted decades later had been fiction, not reportage Saturday Night Fever
Konspiration 58 about the soccer world cup of 1958
David Manning, a fictitious film-critic created by Sony in order to place good quotes on Columbia Pictures' film advertising
Holocaust teaching controversy of 2007
Cello Scrotum is a hoax medical condition originally published as a brief case report in the British Medical Journal in 1974.
San Serriffe, a fictional island nation made the subject of an extensive report created for April Fools' Day 1977 by Britain's newspaper Guardian The BBC's 1957 Spaghetti-tree hoax
Plimpton, George (2004). The Curious Case of Sidd Finch. New York, NY: Four Walls Eight Windows. ISBN . 1-56858-296-X
^ Mikkelson, Barbara & David P.
"Hunting For Bambi" at . Snopes.com: Urban Legends Reference Pages
Clark, Tim (July 22, 2009). "Airport Hoax". . London Daily Mail . Retrieved .
Mehta, Ankita (2014-08-28). ". 'Two Moons' Hoax: Absence of Twin Moon on 27 August Disappoints Many" International Business Times . Retrieved .
Heyd, Theresa (2008). . Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. 4. Email Hoaxes: Form, Function, Genre Ecology ISBN 90-272-5418-4 . Retrieved 2010.
Brown, Dan (2003). . Doubleday. The Da Vinci Code ISBN . 0-385-50420-9
Cohn, Norman (1966). Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish World-Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elder of Zion. New York: Harper & Row. .
Sarah Dai (2018-08-17). "Redcore CEO admits '100pc China-developed browser' is built on Google's Chrome, says writing code from scratch would 'take many years. '" South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 2018-08-17 . Retrieved .
"McDonald's issues Twitter denial after hoax poster saying blacks will be charged extra goes viral". . 13 June 2011 Daily Mail . Retrieved 2011.
"Alien hoax dismays scientists". BBC News. 1998-11-03 . Retrieved .
Rogers, A. Glenn (1953). "The Taughannock Giant" (Fall 2003). Life in the Finger Lakes . Retrieved 2019.
Githler, Charley (26 December 2017). "A Look Back At: Home-Grown Hoax: The Taughannock Giant". Tompkins Weekly . Retrieved 2019.
"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-12-23 . Retrieved . CS1 maint: archived copy as title ( link)
Boese, Alex (2002), 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 Dutton/ Penguin Books, 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.
Hamel, Denis (November 2007), "The End of the Einstein-Astrology-Supporter Hoax", , Skeptical Inquirer 31 (6): 39-43
Hines, Terence (1988), , Prometheus Books, Pseudoscience and the Paranormal: A Critical Examination of the Evidence ISBN , 0-87975-419-2 OCLC 17462273
Moseley, James W.; Pflock, Karl T. (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. Randi, James (1982), Flim-Flam!, Prometheus Books, ISBN , 0-87975-198-3 OCLC 9066769