Thursday, October 29, 2009

World's Biggest Hoaxes, Hoodwinks and Bamboozles, the Complete Set of 20.

As promised, here are the 2009 Allen & Ginter Hoaxes, Hoodwinks and Bamboozles set in its entirety. I pulled quite a few of these, but got caught up in the frenzy of trying to finish my set, which is done thank you very much. Anyway, I traded away every Hoax card that I pulled as soon as I pulled it, so I have to thank 3 people for making this happen for me. First, the Night Owl for delivering the final card, second the Hamiltonian for sending over 2 of them and sparking my interest in the set again. It was pretty easy for me to get sucked in to this one, the cards just look cool. The classic parchment color, the laid look of the smooth cardstock, the interesting stories behind each hoax; I wanted these cards because I actually wanted to read them. I did get to read them all and now I can share each and everyone one of them with the blog-o-sphere. I do have to send a HUGE THANK YOU to one final person - my buddy Duane from the Democratic Roadkill blog sent me a bunch of great stuff including 17 cards from this awesome set. He is desperately trying to find the final four cards he needs to finish the 2008 minis set, so check his blog out and see if you can help a blogger in need. Here we go, in order…
HHB1 Charles Ponzi. Yep, he is the swindler behind the scheme that bears his name that has come back in style of late. The Ponzi Scheme is scam that offers cash return to early investors, but the money comes straight from the pockets of later investors. He bilked unsuspecting folks for millions in 1920 and then spent a bit of time in prison.
HHB2 Alabama Changes the Value of Pi. This is straight from the back of the card… “In an internet proliferated parody of attempts to ban the teaching of evolution, the April 1998 issue of New Mexicans For Science reported that Alabama had voted to change the value of Pi from 3.14159 to the “Biblical value” of 3.0
HHB3 The Runaway Bride. In 2005 a crazy lady from Georgia faked her own kidnapping to avoid marrying a guy named John Mason. You got lucky dude. After a massive manhunt she surrendered to police and was sentenced to probation and community service.
HHB4 Idaho. I really wanted this card so I could read what the hoax was. I have been to Idaho and I eat potatoes that come from there on a regular basis, so I wondered how an actual state could be a hoax. Turns out that the hoax comes from the state’s name. Lobbyist George Willing convinced the US Congress that “Idaho” was a Shoshone Indian word for “gem of the mountains”. He eventually admitted that he just made up the word.
HHB5 The Turk. In 1770 a machine called “The Turk” was “invented”. This machine could play chess and the “machine” defeated many people including Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon Bonaparte. Turns out it was just a costume and there was a person inside it, but it was a person who was really good at chess.
HHB6 Enron. This shouldn’t need an introduction, but here goes… Enron had been a legitimate Houston based energy company before its bankruptcy in 2001. Then, it was found out that it operated almost solely on fraud and deception. The whole scandal brought down many, including the Arthur Anderson accounting firm.
HHB7 Anna Anderson. She claimed to be the long lost Grand Duchess of Anastasia. She wasn’t, but it wasn’t exposed until post-mortem DNA tests exposed her.
HHB8 Ferdinand Waldo Demara. This guy was a lot of things, but not really. He is the inspiration for the book “The Great Imposter” and the TV show “The Pretender”. Throughout his life Demara impersonated a surgeon, psychologist, prison warden, lawyer and a monk.
HHB9 San Seriffe. Britain’s “Guardian” newspaper created the island of San Seriffe as an elaborate April Fools day joke in 1977 when they published a 7 page history of the phony island.
HHB10. D.B. Cooper. This was the name given to the mystery man who hijacked a Boeing 727 in 1971 obtained a $200,000.00 ransom and parachuted from the plane never to be seen or heard from again.
HHB11. Wisconsin State Capital Collapses. Another April Fools Day prank, this one happened in 1933, complete with photos of the ruins and all. The Madison Capital Times newspaper ran this story as a joke saying the Capital fell after a gas leak caused an explosion.
HHB12. Victor Lustig. The man who sold the Eiffel Tower. He posed as a Parisian official and told the scrap metal company that it was too costly to maintain and had to be destroyed in 1925.
HHB13. The War of the Worlds. Good ole Orson Welles and his narration of the HG Wells novel on the air on Halloween night in 1938… One million Americans were convinced that the earth was being invaded by Martians. Read a book America!
HHB14. George Parker. Much like Vic Lustig, Parker was a business man who sold things that he didn’t own including a number of New York City landmarks, the most famous being the Brooklyn Bridge. The expression “And if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you” came from Mr. Parker.
HHB15 The Bathtub Hoax. In 1917 the New York Daily Mail published a fictitious history of the bathtub which is still repeated as the truth today. The story claimed that bathtubs were unacceptable by the populace until President Mallard Fillmore got on himself.
HHB16. The Cottingley Fairies. Again, in 1917, but this time in England, the news fooled the public. Two children were photographed with “fairies”. The photographer later admitted that the pictures had been faked and the fairies were cardboard cut-outs, but insisted that they had actually seen spirits.
HHB17. James Reavis. In the late 19th century, Reavis devised an elaborate scheme to attempt to prove that he owned the state of Arizona. He had false family diaries, deeds and a long family tree to attempt to substantiate his right to ownership.
HHB18. The Piltdown Man. For 40 years the discovery of bones in Piltdown, England were regarded as evidence of a new type of early man, but in 1953 they were found to be an amalgamation of human and chimpanzee bones.
HHB19. The Cardiff Giant. In 1869 workers digging a well in Cardiff, New York allegedly found the petrified remains of a 10-foot-tall man. It was actually made of gypsum and planted there by George Hull who hired the workers to unearth it.
HHB20. Cold Fusion. Had it been real, “cold fusion” may have provided the world with an inexpensive and plentiful source of energy. This was claimed by two scientists in 1989, but was later deemed impossible and an example of pathological science.
Well, there ya have it folks! Thanks to Allen & Ginter, you may have learned something today, I did. I love baseball cards, but I also love the way that A & G slip in a little history, some Americana and a bit of legend and pop culture into their card sets. This was a fun set to chase, I am glad it is done and I want to thank Duane from Democratic Roadkill once more for hooking me up with all of these neat little cards. I think Creatures of Myth, Legend and Terror may be my next stop… The main thing that I learned from this is that it has been far too long since someone has pulled off a real good hoax that didn't involve ripping people off. I am excited to be a part of the blog-o-sphere in April this year! This was an awful lot of scanning and uploading, so please spread the word that these are up. Gotta go to work, enjoy! Go Rays! Troll out.


  1. Interesting post! I learned some stuff today. :)

  2. Good work putting this altogether. I actually got a question right on Jeopardy because of the George Parker card. The more you know...