What does it take to pull off the perfect hoax? It’s no easy task. Your hoax has to be believable, but just incredible enough to wrap people up in it. When a hoax goes a little too far, that’s how it becomes obvious. These eight hoaxes, although incredibly bizarre, have fooled people over the years. I wonder whether people nowadays would fall for any of them?
1. The Alien Autopsy.
A grainy black and white film appeared in the mid 1990s purporting to be footage of government scientists dissecting an alien from the Roswell UFO crash. The film has since been thoroughly debunked. It is still interesting to watch, even if you know it’s completely fake.
2. The Chess Machine.
The Turk was a famous hoax from the late 1700’s. Allegedly, it was a machine that knew how to play chess, and usually won. In reality, though, inside the machine was a chess master who was actually playing the game. Before being debunked though, the Turk played and defeated both Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon Bonaparte.
3. The Hitler Diaries.
In 1983, a German magazine paid the equivalent of $6 million to acquire what it thought was an extensive collection of Adolf Hitler’s dairies. It wasn’t long after they received the books that the magazine figured out they were frauds. The creator of the fake diaries, Konrad Kujau, spent 42 months in prison for his deception.
4. Idaho is a made-up name.
The name Idaho doesn’t actually mean anything. When it was time to come up with a name for the territory a lobbyist suggested Idaho. He said the name meant gem of the mountain in Native American. Later the lobbyist, George M. Willing, revealed it was a made up name, and it was changed. However when the territory became a state in 1863, they went back to the name Idaho. Weird.
5. Microsoft buys the Catholic Church.
In 1994, a fake press release began circulating on the Internet that Microsoft was planning to buy the Catholic Church and the rights to the Bible. It was the first Internet hoax of its kind. Microsoft even had to issue a formal denial of the fake press release. It’s still not known who wrote the fake release.
6. Pasta Gardens.
On April Fools Day, 1957, the BBC aired a story about how this year’s pasta harvest was going to be a robust one due to the early spring. The next day the BBC was inundated with calls from people wanting to know how to grow their own pasta. *facepalm*
7. Life on the moon.
Around the turn of the century, New York City newspaper The Sun published a series of six articles reporting that life had been found on the moon. Not just any ordinary life either, but a great civilization complete with unicorns, bipedal beavers, and winged humans. It took the writer of the stories five years to finally confess that he made it all up.
8. A real super group.
In 1969 Rolling Stone editor, Greil Marcus, sick of the super group fad, made up a story about Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney forming a band. Instead of people thinking it was a fake, like Marcus intended, they ate it up. He hired a band from San Francisco to even record a fake debut album for the super group. It sold 100,000 copies.
I can’t believe people actually thought they could grow their own pasta. (Although, I can understand why wishing that were true. What a delicious hoax.) Don’t forget to share these crazy hoaxes with your friends and leave a comment below: