The Internet is known as a venue where hoaxes proliferate. Even before the dawn of cyberspace, however, elaborate scams and deceptions were not unknown. Here’s a list of some of history’s best known hoaxes.
The Mechanical Turk
In the latter part of the 18th century, a life-sized doll made the rounds of imperial palaces throughout Europe. The doll was modeled in the form of a man dressed in a turban and robes, and posed in front of a cabinet whose surface was a chessboard. This so-called Mechanical Turk was an automaton that played chess, its creators maintained. More often than not, it beat its human opponents. Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin were among the many famous people played against it. This ingenious device, though, was actually a trick: A chess master sat inside the cabinet and controlled the Turk’s moves from within.
The Cardiff Giant
In the late 1860s, a man named George Hull got into a heated argument over whether or not Biblical accounts of the giants that once roamed the earth were actually true. To win this argument, he hired some men to carve the huge figure of a man out of a 10 foot block of gypsum, which he then had transported to his cousin’s farm in upstate New York and arranged to have buried.
Subsequently, Hull’s cousin hired some men to dig a well on his property. In the process, these men “discovered” the gypsum carving, which became known as the Cardiff Giant. Hull and his cousin took the Giant on tour and made a tidy sum from it before their deception was discovered. At the height of the Cardiff Giant’s fame, P.T. Barnum himself made an offer of $50,000 for the attraction.
The War of the Worlds
On October 30, 1938, Americans tuning in late to their regular radio newscast were horrified to discover that the Earth had been invaded by Martians. What they were hearing, in fact, was Orson Welles’ dramatization of the classic H.G. Wells’ science fiction novel, “The War of the Worlds.” Unfortunately, they’d missed the beginning of the program during which Welles explained to listeners what they were about to hear. Mass hysteria ensued resulting in thousands of calls to police stations, newspaper offices and radio stations.
Source: Best Psychology Degrees