In the late 1970s the UK's Anglia Television ran a respected weekly documentary series: Science Report. But when the show was cancelled in 1977, the producers decided to channel Orson Welles in their final episode. The result was Alternative 3. Over the course of the hour, the audience would learn that a Science Report investigation into the UK "brain drain" had uncovered shocking revelations: man-made pollution had resulted in catastrophic climate change, the Earth would soon be rendered uninhabitable, and a secret American / Soviet joint plan was in place to establish colonies on the Moon and Mars. The show ended with footage of a US/Soviet Mars landing from May 22, 1962. After Alternative 3 aired, thousands of panicked viewers phoned the production company and demanded to know how long they had left to change planets. [more inside]
Bogus! Why do fakes get made? Why do people fall for hoaxes? Greed, pride, revenge, nationalism, pranks, and gullibility mix in an archaeological setting. Archaeology Magazine examines eight classic cases, and more.
Ghosts, apparitions, angels, spiritual visitations and views of the future "The relationship between photography and the spirit world of ghosts, apparitions and angels during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was a blending of popular belief and scientific fraud. The lack of sophistication in the public in an age of deeply held religious values and the generally accepted belief that the camera recorded truth allowed the unscrupulous to exploit the situation for financial gain...This online exhibition explores the diverse interactions between mortals and the spiritual world..." [via Bouphonia]
Jean Shepherd has been mentioned before but WFMU's Beware of the Blog has finally dug out an mp3 of Shepherd himself telling the story of "I, Libertine" (mp3 link) (wiki). I, Libertine was a literary hoax that began as a practical joke. Shepherd asked his listeners ("the Night People") to go into bookstores and ask for a book that didn't exist. Fueled by bewildered bookstore owners and distributors, I, Libertine eventually did end up as a genuine bestseller, proving his point that the process of choosing bestsellers was flawed.
In April of 1817, a distraught, exotic, bizarre young lady wearing a black turban appeared in the village of Almondsbury, England. She spoke an unintelligible language, and mystified villagers brought her to see the local magistrate. Linguistic experts of the day were baffled: until a Portuguese sailor appeared, who claimed to be able to translate. He explained that she was kidnapped royalty from the island of Javasu. She called herself Princess Caraboo.
Piri Reis Map I am a sucker for those books that hypothesize that Earth was visited by extra-terrestrials in the distant pass. One artifact that is brought up in nearly all of them is The Piri Reis Map, a document that seems to be a map includes parts of the world (such as Antarctica's ice-covered mountains) that were thought to be very recent discoveries. But, are they a hoax?
Top 100 April Fools Hoaxes of all time. Also, April Fools on the Net - a history of newsgroup April Fools posts.
NASA Challenges Moon Hoax Conspiracy After decades of almost ignoring claims that the Apollo missions were hoaxed, NASA commissioned aerospace writer James Olberg to write an official rebuttle. Perhaps a bit more reasonable than the NASA Stooge, the book is aimed at the general public.