Did you know you can’t say the word gullible without touching the top of your mouth with your tongue? It’s true…and you just tried to do it, didn’t you? It’s funny how easily duped we can all be, even when things are technically true. So, although hindsight is 20/20 and you might know that all of these hoaxes were proven false, don’t get too high and mighty; we are all susceptible to being fooled. From jackalopes to alien autopsies, here are 25 Hoaxes That Had Us Fooled.
Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus
Given the Latin name Octopus paxarbolis, the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus was rumored to be an endangered species of cephalopod, living both on land and in water. It fooled many until it was proven that the Tree Octopus was an internet hoax created by Lyle Zapato in 1998.
The Pickled Dragon
In December 2003, David Hart claimed he found a jar with a reptile-like winged creature immersed in formaldehyde. He then showed it to his friend, Allistair Mitchell, who runs a marketing firm in Oxford. Together, they told the press that the jar and its contents came with documents stating it was submitted by German scientists to the Natural History Museum in the late 19th century. It turned out that the whole thing was a hoax purported by Mitchell to promote his upcoming novel.
The Piltdown Man
Stories about bone fragments of the fossilised remains of an unidentified early human began circulating in 1915. The fragments were said to have been found in Piltdown, East Sussex and were subsequently named Piltdown Man. The hoax was exposed when it was discovered that the remains were a fabricated combination of the lower jawbone of an orangutan and the skull of a fully developed modern human.
The Cottingley Fairies
In 1917, Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths took photos and claimed they had shots of some real fairies. Elsies father, Arthur, never believed the photos were real. At that time, famous writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote an article for The Standard Magazine which vouched for the authenticity of the photographs. In the 1980’s, the girls admitted the four photos were fake. However, Frances insisted that the fifth and final picture was real and maintained this claim up until the time of her death.
In a nutshell, psychic surgery is a supposed surgical procedure involving the use of bare hands. It’s believed the pathological matter causing the disease is removed without the aid of medical equipment and that the incision spontaneously heals. The US Federal Trade Commission has thankfully dismissed Psychic Surgery as a form of medical fraud.