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This Day in the History of Hoaxes: August 30


August 30, 2000: Prison Escape Prank On this day in 2000, residents of Millbrae, CA were terrified when two handcuffed men in orange jail jumpsuits went around the neighborhood, pounding on doors, asking for help in removing their shackles.

Yeti Footprint Photos For Sale


Eric Shipton's Yeti footprint photos, taken on his 1951 Everest expedition, are going up for sale. These photos played a big role in Bigfoot history since it was these photos that inspired a Yeti craze in the media during the 1950s, which then fed directly into the Bigfoot craze that started when giant-size footprints were found in California in 1958.

Champagne Tablets


Earlier this month, images of a new product, instant champagne tablets, went viral in France. They were supposedly the creation of the champagne label Veuve Clicquot.

This Day in the History of Hoaxes: August 29


August 29, 1923: Grover Bergdoll's Gold The claim that a road worker had discovered Grover Bergdoll's buried pot of gold prompted a two-day investigation by federal agents.

Das Can-in-Stein


April Fool becomes reality. ThinkGeek first introduced "Das Can-in-Stein" on April 1st, as an April Fool's Day joke.

For ZZ Top, life imitates hoax


In 2012, a ZZ Top fan made a hoax video that purported to show the trio performing the 1955 folk-country classic "Sixteen Tons" with guitarist Jeff Beck.

Sailing Stones Explained


The Sailing Stones of Death Valley are the real-life counterpart of Dan De Quille's 1867 hoax about the "traveling stones" of Pahranagat Valley.

The Shadwell Shams


The Spitalfields Life blog has a brief account (with lots of pictures) of the so-called Shadwell Shams.

This Day in the History of Hoaxes: August 28


August 28, 1972: Clifford Irving Goes to Prison On this day in 1972, Clifford Irving began serving a 2½-year sentence for conspiracy and fraud on account of selling publisher McGraw-Hill a fake autobiography of billionaire Howard Hughes, for which he was paid $750,000.

Happy Meal Ouija Board


After Amy Bruni (of SyFy's Ghost Hunters) posted on Facebook about how excited she was that McDonald's had decided to offer a Ouija Board as the new Halloween Happy Meal toy, so many people believed her that Snopes debunked the rumor the next day.

An interview with a fake news site


The American Press Institute interviews the founders of Nipsys News, which is one of those sites that allows anyone to create fake news stories.

Gnome sighting in Pennsylvania


Author Keith Sniadach set up a camera in the woods behind his summer cabin in western Pennsylvania, programming the camera to take photos when it detected heat or motion.

Pregnancy Hoax


Kevin and Becky Clark, who were hoping to adopt a child, were contacted by a woman claiming to be pregnant and hoping to find a couple to adopt it.

This Day in the History of Hoaxes: August 27


August 27, 2003: Mars as big as the Moon The news that on this day in 2003 the Earth and Mars would be closer than they had been in 60,000 years (only 56 million km apart) inspired a viral email claiming that on the night of the 27th Mars would "look as large as the full moon" in the sky, and that "No one alive today will ever see this again." Since 2003, this viral email has resurfaced every year as August 27 approaches, despite attempts by NASA (and many others) to debunk it.

Fake News Hoax: Zimmerman Arrested in Ferguson


The latest fake news story gone viral on social media is the claim that George Zimmerman (who shot Trayvon Martin back in 2012) was recently arrested in Ferguson after following two black teenagers out of a Dunkin Donuts and then aiming a handgun at them when they confronted him.

Ebola Rumors


Ebola rumors and conspiracy theories are spreading fast in Africa. One rumor is that the disease itself is a hoax invented by governments to boost their power.

Nessie Explanations


Mental Floss has a list of 7 explanations for the Loch Ness Monster. That is, 7 things that people might be seeing and misinterpreting as Nessie.

Yellowstone Rumor Control


Guides at Yellowstone report that they're having to spend a lot more time debunking rumors because of a large increase in the number of scare stories about the park circulating online.

This Day in the History of Hoaxes: August 26


August 26, 1966: Trained the Wrong Side The press described it as "one of the war's most confused episodes" when Sgt.

This Day in the History of Hoaxes: August 25


August 25, 1835: The Great Moon Hoax The New York Sun announced that the British astronomer Sir John Herschel had discovered life on the moon by means of a new telescope "of vast dimensions and an entirely new principle." Later updates revealed the existence of creatures such as lunar bison, fire-wielding biped beavers, and winged "man-bats." The report caused an enormous sensation.


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