List of hoaxes

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The following are lists of hoaxes:

Proven hoaxes[edit]

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 Fools' Day" article.





Proven hoaxes of exposure[edit]

"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.

Possible hoaxes[edit]

Practical joke hoaxes[edit]

Accidental hoaxes[edit]

"Accidental hoaxes" are not strictly hoaxes at all, but rather satirical articles or fictional presentations that ended up being taken seriously by some.

  • Ghostwatch, a BBC television play broadcast on Halloween in 1992, was on its surface a live outside broadcast from a haunted house presented by well-known television personalities. Despite appearing in a drama slot and having a credit for a writer, viewers afterwards complained about being fooled.[9]
  • 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.[10]
  • The Necronomicon, a fictitious occult book quoted by writer H. P. Lovecraft in many of his stories.
  • The War of the Worlds, the title of Orson Welles's Mercury Theatre on the Air radio broadcast of October 30, 1938, has been called the "single greatest media hoax of all time", although it was not—Welles said—intended to be a hoax. The broadcast was heard on CBS radio stations throughout the United States. Despite repeated announcements within the program that it was a work of fiction, many listeners tuning in during the program believed that the world was being attacked by invaders from Mars. Rumors claim some even committed suicide. Rebroadcasts in South America also had this effect even to a greater extent.[11]
  • Drake's Plate of Brass, accepted for 40 years as the actual plate Francis Drake posted upon visiting California in 1579

Religion related hoaxes[edit]

Known pranksters, scam artists and impostors[edit]

Journalistic hoaxes[edit]

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Moore, Matthew (27 May 2008). "'Biggest drawing in world' revealed as hoax". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 February 2010. 
  2. ^ Plimpton, George (2004), The Curious Case of Sidd Finch, New York, NY: Four Walls Eight Windows, ISBN 1-56858-296-X 
  3. ^ Mehta, Ankita (2014-08-28). "'Two Moons' Hoax: Absence of Twin Moon on 27 August Disappoints Many". International Business Times. Retrieved 2014-08-31. 
  4. ^ Brown, Dan (2003). The Da Vinci Code. Doubleday. ISBN 0385504209. 
  5. ^ 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 .
  6. ^ "McDonald's issues Twitter denial after hoax poster saying blacks will be charged extra goes viral". Daily Mail. 13 June 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  7. ^ "Alien hoax dismays scientists". BBC News. 1998-11-03. Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  8. ^ "British Arctic Territory Flag Hoax". Retrieved 2009-11-28. 
  9. ^ "Ghostwatch (1992)". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ The War of the Worlds, search on "South America". See also Broadcast Remakes

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]