Famous Hoaxes Quiz
In an 1878 April Fool's Day hoax, the New York Graphic newspaper claimed that Thomas Edison had invented a machine that could do what?
- It was also supposed to be able to turn soil into cereal. (Decades later, the death ray was seriously proposed by Edison's rival, Nikola Tesla.)
Orson Welles's radio adaptation of War of the Worlds caused thousands of people to panic, misled by the use of fictional news broadcasts. In the adaptation, where were Martians supposed to have landed?
- In addition to throngs of people flooding the streets, local police and media outlets were swamped with phone calls asking about the Martian attack and how to handle it. The New York Times alone received 875 calls. More in Media Myths.
James Frey's memoir was an Oprah book in 2005. It turned out that he had exaggerated or made up much of it. What was the name of the book?
- The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things is by J.T. LeRoy, accused of being deceitful about his or her own identity.
On April 1, 1996, which company announced that it had bought the Liberty Bell?
- In this April Fools' joke, they announced that it would be renamed the Taco Liberty Bell. More on this and other fake advertisements in Corporate Shenanigans.
Who wrote dozens of articles for the New York Times that turned out to contain inaccurate, invented, or plaigiarized material?
- Stephen Glass made up material for articles in The New Republic. His story was made into a movie, Shattered Glass.
In a 2000 hoax, which animal-rights group warned that it would sabotage a Texas bass fishing tournament by spilling tranquilizers into the lake?
George Hull and William Newell were responsible for a hoax in which the petrified body of a man over 10 feet tall was discovered and put on display. What was it named?
- The Cardiff Giant was actually carved from a block of gypsum. Piltdown Man was supposed to be the "missing link" between man and ape, but was actually created by assembling parts from various animals. Read about both in Science Experiments.
If you received an e-mail out of the blue from the widow of former Nigerian dictator Sami Abacha, offering you the chance to make millions of dollars, you should...
- Read more about 419 scams, Craig Shergold, and chocolate chip cookies in E-mail Emergencies.
Three of these hoaxes involving marathon winners happened. Which did not?
- Tehami might have gotten away with it, except that his coach had a moustache and he didn't. Lewis was in track and field, but not a marathon runner. We have articles about Lorz and Ruiz.
On April 1, 1980, the BBC announced that Big Ben's clock would be replaced by what?
- They were flooded with calls from people protesting the change.