A hoax is an attempt to intentionally mislead lots of people. Some do it for fame and money; others just want to have a good laugh.
WeGoRo has gathered 13 of the most outrageous hoaxes where tens of thousands of people got hoodwinked.
The Cottingley Fairies is a series of photographs taken in 1917 and 1921 by two girls aged 10 and 16. The pictures were meant to be proof of the existence of fairies and elves, and made quite a stir, but they were eventually exposed as one of the most brilliant hoaxes of the 20th century. One of the girls turned out to have been an assistant at her college’s photo laboratory.
Even Arthur Conan Doyle firmly believed in the authenticity of these pictures until his death.
In 2002, the BBC published an article stating that fewer people with blonde hair are born every year and will eventually die out in two hundred years.
The New York Times later published another article that pronounced the study results as false. However, the myth lived on, and it’s been repeated many times since.
In fact, recessive genes, like the fair hair gene, are transferred down the generational line without showing, only to appear all at once somewhere along it.
The idea that a monster is dwelling in Loch Ness is probably the most popular hoax in the world. In 1934, the Daily Mail published the first ever photograph of the mystical animal by a London surgeon, Dr. Wilson.
The photo shocked the whole world, but in 1994 it was determined to be a fake. Up until then, faith in Dr. Wilson’s honesty and the intriguing myth of the monster were unwavering.
In 1912, amateur archaeologist Charles Dawson claimed that he’d found the remains of an ancient creature: allegedly, it was the missing evolutionary link between primates and human beings.
Dawson’s deceit was only uncovered 40 years later, when scientists determined that the "Piltdown Man’s" skull was actually a medieval man’s skull connected to an orangutan’s jaw.
Near the end of the 19th century, New York photographer William Mumler began making pictures that showed alleged ghosts of deceased family members of the people photographed.
Mumler’s most famous work was the photo of Mary Todd Lincoln with a "ghost" of her late husband, President Abraham Lincoln. The photo lab was extremely popular, but when Mumler was exposed as a fraud he went broke.
In 1725, Professor of Medicine Johann Beringer discovered engraved limestone pieces that depicted prehistoric animals and plants and had Hebrew inscriptions on them.
Beringer thought this to be the will of God, and even published a book about his finds. However, it turned out that the whole affair was a hoax perpetrated on him by his colleagues.
The scandal that followed left the scientist, along with the originators of the hoax, in disgrace.
In the 18th century, inventor Wolfgang von Kempelen constructed a chess-playing automaton that looked like a Turk sitting behind a table.
“The Turk“ only lost 6 games out of 300 played, and it even outsmarted Napoleon, which made it extremely famous. No one could guess how it worked: everybody saw that the machine mostly consisted of the mechanism, and there wasn’t enough room for a person inside.
Later though, it was found that there was a real chess player inside — he had lost both his legs in a war. He saw the chessboard with the help of magnets and controlled ”The Turk."
In 1947, a UFO alleged crashed in Roswell, USA.
In 1995, British film producer Ray Santilli made public a sensational video showing the autopsy of a dead alien from that spacecraft. Later, however, it turned out that the film was a fake made up by Santilli himself using a humanoid doll.
After the tragic events of 9/11, a photo appeared on the Internet showing a guy standing on the roof of the World Trade Center seconds before one of the planes crashed into it.
Observant users, though, found some discrepancies here:
In this way, the myth of the "tourist of death" was busted.
In 1938, director Orson Welles made a radio play based on The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, a novel about Martians attacking the Earth.
The radio adaptation was made to resemble a live broadcast, and it was a perfect hit: the speech was interrupted by static and “correspondents“ covering events.
The listeners had been warned that it was only a play, but some still forgot this fact. Some people who heard it even panicked and fled the city (especially after ”President Roosevelt’s" plea to remain calm).
In 1813, Charles Redheffer pronounced himself to be the man who invented the perpetual motion machine. The statement caused a hullabaloo, but engineer Robert Fulton was skeptical about the notion.
Having taken a careful look at the device, Fulton came to the conclusion that there had to be a power source that made the machine work. The "power" turned out to be an old man sitting in the attic rotating the handle.
In 1969, a rumor spread that Beatles singer Paul McCartney had died in a car accident three years earlier. The producers allegedly didn’t want to make a fuss about it and replaced Paul with a double, while the other band members, unable to speak openly, began inserting “clues“ into album covers and song lyrics.
Here are a few examples:
On the Abbey Road cover (3), Paul is the only one who’s bare-footed (the deceased are buried without shoes in many countries) and isn’t keeping pace with the others.
On the cover of Magical Mystery Tour (4), the band wears animal costumes, one of which is a black walrus: allegedly a symbol of death.
As for McCartney himself, he finds the whole theory funny. And, of course...
Well-known myth tells us that reason, logic and civility ruled in ancient Greece, where you could meet Aristotle and Plato casually strolling the town talking about high matter. Truly, the era was a golden age for humanity.
In reality though, Ancient Greece resembled a modern-day sectarian war zone, with constantly warring bands. Ancient Greeks exiled, lynched, or executed some of the brightest people among them. Like, for example, Socrates, who was put on trial, and as the result of losing it — was executed.
Preview photo credit Origins Explained/youtube.com