Hoax  

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Seven years after the publication of Sue's Les Mystères du peuple, a French revolutionary named Maurice Joly plagiarized aspects of the work for his anti-Napoleon III pamphlet, Dialogues in Hell between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, which in turn was later adapted by the Prussian Hermann Goedsche into an 1868 work entitled Biarritz, in which Goedsche substituted Jews for Sue's infernal Jesuit conspirators. Ultimately, this material became incorporated directly into the notorious anti-Semitic hoax, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Great Moon Hoax, The Balloon-Hoax

A hoax is an attempt to trick an audience into believing that something false is real. There is often some material object (e.g., snake oil) involved which is actually a forgery; however, it is possible to perpetrate a hoax by making only true statements using unfamiliar wording or context (see DHMO). Unlike a fraud or con (which is usually aimed at a single victim and are made for illicit financial or material gain), a hoax is often perpetrated as a practical joke, to cause embarrassment, or to provoke social change by making people aware of something. Many hoaxes are motivated by a desire to satirize or educate by exposing the credulity of the public and the media or the absurdity of the target. Political hoaxes are sometimes motivated by the desire to ridicule or besmirch opposing politicians or political institutions, often before elections.

Governments often perpetrate hoaxes to assist them with unpopular aims such as going to war (e.g., the Ems Telegram). In fact, there is often a mixture of outright hoax, and suppression and management of information to give the desired impression. In wartime, rumours abound; some may be deliberate hoaxes.

There is often considerable controversy about whether a given factoid is true or a hoax.

The word hoax is said to have come from the common magic incantation hocus pocus. "Hocus pocus", in turn, is commonly believed to be a distortion of "hoc est corpus" ("this is the body") from the Latin Mass. Many etymologists dispute the latter claim.

List of hoaxes

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Hoax" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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