The definition of hoax (Merriam-Webster dictionary) is:
'to trick into believing or accepting as genuine something false and often preposterous'.
'Accidental hoaxes' are not strictly hoaxes at all, but rather satirical articles or fictional presentations that ended up being taken seriously by some.
Which of these hoaxes do you think fooled the most people for the longest?
|The Hitler Diaries||The Spaghetti Tree||The War of
(and other films)
|In April 1983, the West German news magazine Stern published excerpts from what purported to be the diaries of Adolf Hitler, known as the Hitler Diaries (Hitler-Tagebucher), which were subsequently revealed to be forgeries. The magazine had paid nearly 9 million German marks for the sixty small books (plus a "special volume" about Rudolf Hess' flight to the United Kingdom) covering the period from 1932 to 1945. Two historians, Professor Hugh Trevor-Roper and Gerhard Weinberg, were retained by Times Newspapers and Newsweek, respectively, to authenticate the diaries prior to bidding for the serialisation rights. The diaries were later shown to be forgeries written by Konrad Kujau, a notorious Stuttgart forger.||
The spaghetti tree hoax is a famous 3-minute hoax report broadcast on April Fools' Day 1957 by the BBC current affairs programme Panorama. It told a tale of a family in southern Switzerland harvesting spaghetti from the fictitious spaghetti tree, broadcast at a time when this Italian dish was not widely eaten in the UK and some Britons were unaware that spaghetti is a pasta made from wheat flour and water. Hundreds of viewers phoned into the BBC, either to say the story was not true, or wondering about it, with some even asking how to grow their own spaghetti trees. Decades later CNN called this broadcast 'the biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled'.
|On 30th. October 1938, The Mercury Theatre on the Air, a show featuring the acclaimed New York drama company founded by Orson Welles and John Houseman, broadcast a dramatisation of The War of the Worlds by H.G.Wells. It 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. Rumours claim some even committed suicide.||
Film making is, by its very nature, smoke and mirrors, trickery and deception. It is 'make believe' and the action on the screen has been thoroughly rehearsed and is performed by actors who speak lines from a prepared script wearing make-up and using props. Dr. No was released in 1962 and movie audiences were stunned by the vision of Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder singing as she came out of the water and captivating a salivating Sean Connery (as 007) with her sexy body and alluring erotic voice. Who could not be bowled over? It helped launch her as one of the most desired women in the world.
But not if you had heard her natural voice! The film producers did not reveal to the audiences that Andress had been dubbed. Her voice was once famously described as sounding like a 'Dutch comedian'. But there was no screen credit for the unseen professional actress who revoiced her - and the powerful publicity machine made sure the truth was concealed.