Literary Hoaxes
Latest Posts / April 1, 2016

Instead of my usual “Fun Facts Friday” post, I thought that for April Fools I might list some of my favorite historical literary hoaxes. In 1794, William Henry Ireland faked a mortgage deed supposedly signed by William Shakespeare. Ireland claimed to have more artifacts (letters, receipts and contracts) but was soon discovered to be a fake, especially after a supposedly new play was performed. Ireland did become a London celebrity for a while. Author Clifford Irving claimed reclusive billionaire Howard Hues hired him to write a biography, claiming Hues was a fan. McGraw-Hill jumped at the opportunity and the writing began. Mr. Irving would have gotten away with the “biography”, but Howard Hues broke his long media silence in 1972 to denounce Irving. After 17 months in Jail Irving wrote a book about the affair titled The Hoax which was later made into a movie. After the death of American hero Davy Corkett an autobiography was published Col. Crockett’s Exploits and Adventures in Texas, written by himself. The book became a best seller but later discovered to be hoax written by newspaper editor and lawyer n Richard Penn Smith who compiled the information from resources both real and fiction filling in the rest from his own imagination….

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