Quiz on famous hoaxes

Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on January 11, 2018 Published on May 05, 2017


This week’s quiz celebrates famous hoaxes

On May 6, 1983, the 60-volume Hitler Diaries were revealed as a hoax after being purchased for more than $5 million by the German magazine Stern. This week’s quiz celebrates famous hoaxes, and has been certified by Unesco as the best quiz on the subject.

1 In August 1996, what did Ramar Pillai supposedly demonstrate in front of a large audience and live cameras?

2 In 2005, James Frey wrote so movingly about his drug addiction and subsequent recovery that Oprah Winfrey invited him to her show. When most of his writings were revealed to be fictional,Winfrey called him back on the show and accused him of lying, which didn’t hurt the book sales at all. Name Frey’s work.

3 What, first reported in an Indian city in May 2001, and discussed that entire summer, was the main plot device in a 2009 film directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra?

4 Even if you are not interested in population growth studies, why would you have probably seen a map depicting the increase in urban habitation in India from 1992 to 2003?

5 The biography of this 19th-century Englishman, Flushed With Pride, written by Wallace Reyburn, credited him as the inventor of the flush toilet. While he was a well-known sanitary engineer, he never had any patent on toilets. Just give his surname, a good enough reason for most people to believe Reyburn’s hoax?

6 American novelist Clifford Irving took a huge advance from McGraw-Hill to publish the autobiography of which American personality, who supposedly dictated the book?

7 Which event did a New York bricklayer supposedly win in 1904 before the organisers discovered that he was given a lift by his manager?

8 In 1969, the music world was stunned by the review of a new group, The Masked Marauders, which featured Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who didn’t have their names on the album for legal reasons. The record sold over 1,00,000 copies before the hoax was revealed. Which publication was behind this hoax?

9 What did an organisation want 600 million people to do on July 20, 2006, 11:39:13 Greenwich Mean Time, which would shift the Earth out of its normal orbit and stop global warming?

10 George Shaw at the British Museum received an animal specimen in 1799 that he was sure was a fake. A few years later, a few live specimens convinced the museum that this bizarre creature actually existed. Name the creature.


1. He made ‘herbal’ petrol from herbs and water; he was allotted 10 acres before being exposed as a fraud and arrested in 2000

2. A Million Little Pieces

3. The monkey man, a creature with red eyes and black hair, who, apparently, roamed Delhi’s rooftops. The film is Delhi-6

4. It has been widely shared on social media as a NASA photograph of India during Diwali

5. Crapper; Thomas Crapper

6. Howard Hughes. The hoax inspired a Richard Gere film

7. The 1904 Olympic Games marathon in St Louis

8. Rolling Stone, whose then editor, Greil Marcus, was tired of the trend of rock stars getting together as super groups

9. Jump; The World Jump Day. The site still claims that the jump had caused a decrease of global temperatures

10. The duckbill platypus, one of the only two egg-laying mammals

Joy Bhattacharjya is a quizmaster and Project Director, FIFA U-17 World Cup

Follow Joy on Twitter @joybhattacharj

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Published on May 05, 2017
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