Image: Wellcome Library, London/(CC BY 4.0)
About This QuizSometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Other times, it's just fiction. How much do you know about these horrible hoaxes?
Which famous horror story claimed to be true, but actually was not?
"The Amityville Horror"
The foundation upon which The Amityville Horror was built was true. A son killed six members of his family in 1974. But, the stuff that came after (alleged haunting of the new occupants) was all made up, which the new owners eventually admitted to.
What did two British men do to make people think that aliens were visiting?
made crop circles
Two men were found to have made crop circles for at least a decade, and inspired others to do the same, all to trick people into thinking that aliens were responsible.
shone bright lights into the skies in rural areas
staged a disappearance, then came back with tales of alien abduction
What did a woman named Mary Toft allegedly give birth to in 1700s England?
Toft and her husband hid baby bunny rabbits under the sheets and pretended that she was giving birth to them. She was apparently very distressed, having suffered a miscarriage only the month before. She even went so far as to put animal parts in her vagina!
a demon child
Which science-fiction tale led the world into actual hysteria?
"The Andromeda Strain"
"War of the Worlds"
"War of the Worlds" first aired as a radio broadcast and many people missed the disclaimer at the beginning that it was fiction and thought it was real. Hysteria ensued.
Other than to make money, what was the point of the hoax that was the "Cardiff Giant"?
to show how easy Bible stories were to disprove
Although mostly conceived to swindle people out of money, those who believed in the Cardiff Giant said it was proof of giants depicted in the Bible. But one of the men behind the hoax was an atheist and said that the trick showed how simple it is to fake such things.
to prove that people were getting shorter over time
to discourage developers from messing with old cemeteries
Which of these celebrities arguably has the most death hoaxes to his credit?
If bad press is to be believed, Bieber has so far died twice by suicide, once in a shooting and once of an overdose. Obviously, none of those are true, as the Biebs is still alive and well.
What creature was allegedly photographed swimming up a highway in Houston after Hurricane Harvey?
The same fake shark photo circulated after previous hurricanes, and was even aired on television by an egg-faced reporter.
In 2009, a child named Falcon was told to hide while his parents deceived the world. What was their story about Falcon's whereabouts?
He'd been kidnapped by gypsies.
He was floating on top of a helium balloon.
The "balloon boy" story made huge headlines as people hoped for Falcon's safe return. When the hoax was revealed, his parents were arrested, charged, sentenced and fined.
He was able to turn himself invisible.
Why could no one get a reservation at the top-rated restaurant The Shed at Dulwich in London?
It didn't really exist.
In 2017, a freelance writer created a fake listing on Tripadvisor for a restaurant, complete with photos, a menu and a website. He asked friends and family to write lots of glowing reviews. It eventually got to the No. 1 position on Tripadvisor before he exposed the whole thing.
Only one patron a night was accommodated.
It didn't take reservations. It was a hole-in-the-wall spot masquerading as a fine dining establishment.
Which loathed dictator's diaries were allegedly recovered from a plane crash?
Known as "The Hitler Diaries," they were proved to be nothing but bad forgeries after a newspaper forked over big bucks to buy them.
Wellcome Library, London/(CC BY 4.0)