Bizarre Hoaxes That Fooled The World

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Bizarre Hoaxes That Fooled The World

 

The internet is dark, filled with terrible sources of information. Every day, people fight against the toxic deep fakes, conspiracy theories, fake news mills, and of course, the good old-fashioned internet hoaxes. It is easier to spread any kind of misinformation these days due to technology as anyone can create a web page or post information to blogs. There have been countless posts on the Internet, sometimes sent via email, that have carried inaccurate news stories and columns. Unfortunately, some of these hoaxes are so believable, people tend to insist it's the truth. Here are some examples:

 

Photo Credit: People Magazine

 

The Last German Prisoner of War

In 1932, many people in Germany celebrated Oscar Daubmann as a national hero. He became a symbol of hope to families around the country whose sons had never come home. This is after he claimed to have spent the last 16 years in a French prisoner-of-war camp during World War I. He said that he managed to escape and walked nearly 4,800 kilometers (3,000 mi) along the coast until he was picked up by a steamer headed for Italy. However, the French government had no record of “Daubmann” in their files. It turned out that he was Karl Hummel, a tailor and career criminal, who made up the story to get a free ride from Italy to Germany.

 

Photo Credit: Jamiecat via flickr

 

Amityville Horror

In 1975, George and Kathy Lutz together with their three children moved into the Amityville home. It was believed that the family who previously lived there were killed by Butch DeFeo, their youngest son. Later on, the Lutz family claimed that they were supernaturally attacked by a ghost or demon. Their story eventually became the screenplay for the hit film "The Amityville Horror." According to Live Science, a science news website that features groundbreaking developments in science, space, technology, health, the environment, our culture, and history, it was proven that the story was all made up after DeFeo's lawyer admitted that he and the Lutz family concocted the hoax.

 

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

Life on the Moon in 1835

In 1835, it was reported that astronomer Sir John Herschel discovered new planets orbiting other stars. Aside from that, he apparently had “solved or corrected nearly every leading problem of mathematical astronomy." And one of these new astronomical discoveries was life on the moon. However, it turned out that Herschel had no idea about these alleged discoveries. He had no way to determine if there was life on the moon and he never even cracked the entire field of mathematical astronomy.

 

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

The Great Balloon Hoax

On April 13, 1844, American daily newspaper The New York Sun published an article claiming that eight people had flown across the Atlantic Ocean, from England to the US, in a balloon. According to List Verse, an online site that publishes lists that intrigue and educate, specializing in bizarre or lesser-known trivia, several popular and prominent figures were there, including the balloonist Monck Mason. However, this story was taken down by the newspaper publication after two days because it was a hoax. It turned out that it was made up by Edgar Allan Poe, who badly needed money at that time.

 

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

The Crop Circle Phenomena

These strange circles first appeared in the British countryside. The truth is, they only date back about 30 years. In September 1991, two men, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, confessed that they had created crop circles for decades as a prank to convince people that UFOs had landed, creating the crop circle phenomena. However, they did not make all the circles. There were several copycat hoaxes done by others.

 

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

The Dumb Oracle

In 1726, a young woman named Mary Toft claimed that she gave birth to five bunnies after being sexually assaulted by a huge rabbit. She later gave birth to a few more rabbits. The news had spread throughout England and Europe. However, this was all just a hoax. Toft admitted that her husband secretly hid bunnies in her bedsheets. This hoax was eventually called the “dumb oracle.”

 

Photo Credit: AbeBooks.com

 

“The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk”

Maria Monk, a former nun, published a book in January 1836 titled “The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk.” The book contained stories about her time spent in the Hotel Dieu nunnery in Montreal, Canada, detailing bizarre happenings. This included mass physical abuse, initiation ceremonies involving coffins, and “the cap,” a leather hat known to inflict pain through an unknown method. However, Colonel William Leete Stone, a New York City newspaper editor, eventually discovered that all of Monk’s claims were hoaxes. He revealed that her story had no basis after he traveled to and investigated in the Hotel Dieu nunnery. 

 

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