Top 5 Historical Hoaxes You’ve Never Heard Of.

Here are some of the most amazing and yet unknown hoaxes. These might not be the biggest hoaxes but their quite interesting. Check out other articles on WGTZ Blog for similar content.

#5: White Elephant

On April 1st(April Fools day), 1000 people went to the Frankfurt zoo each paying a mark,  because of this newspaper ad that described a “snow white” elephant. What they saw, was not a white elephant but a normal Indian elephant that had been painted white. The funny part is that most didn’t realize until they read about it in the papers the next day.

#4:  English Channel Hoax

On October 10, 1927, Dorothy Cochrane Logan entered the water of Cape Gris Nez, France to begin a swim between the English channel that separated France and England. And 13 hours later, she appeared in Folkestone, England. Her time set a world record and a newspaper gave her a prize of 1000 pounds. She confessed a few days later, saying that she had only been the water for 4 hours, and had boated to the English shore. She had to return the prize money and was fined.

Image result for english channel

#3: Bullet Proof Fish

John James Audubon, an american naturist, let the European naturist Constantine Samuel Rafinesque stay at his home for 3 weeks. Historians say that Constantine Samuel Rafinesque was annoying and for that reason Audubon decided to prank Rafinesque. Rafinesque loved to find new species of animals and so Audubon sketched some made up fish, one having bullet proof scales, and placed his fake drawings into Rafinesque’s stack of sketching. Rafinesque was so excited he even added his own field observations, and 9 years later they were published in his book “The Birds of America.” The book was ridiculed by scholars, and many thought that the entire book contained fake species. Its safe to assume that Rafinesque was pretty upset.

Biodiversity Heritage Library

#2 The Perpetual Motion Machine of 1813

A man by the name of Charles Redheffer created a machine that he said remained in perpetual motion(never stopping motion). It was huge for the time, because this meant the idea of unlimited creation of energy. One day, a mechanical engineer by the name of Robert Fulton was inspecting the machine and saw a small wobble in the machine, and claimed he could find out if it was fake. As it turns out, an old man in the basement was the one who was turning the machine the whole time. At the time of discovery, he was munching on some bread!

The perpetual motion machine of 1813

#1:Biggest Prank in History to be unknown

In the early 18th century, a collection of about 2000 stones were found outside a Bavarian town. They were brought to Johann Beringer, a professor at the University of Würzburg. These stones had carved “lizards in their skin, birds with beaks and eyes, spiders with their webs, and frogs copulating.” Some had astronomical objects and Hebrew letters etched into them. Beringer rejected the idea that they were man made and thought they were fossils from the great flood of the bible. He even wrote a book about them. And right when the book was about to be published, they brought back a stone with his name etched on it. Apparently 2 of his colleagues had planted the rocks to prank him.

Johann Beringer's lying stones in 1725

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