1) The Loch Ness Monster 1934
In 1934 the image above, the most famous Nessie photo, was taken by a doctor named Robert Kenneth Wilson. This was the beginning of a long, fruitless search for the Loch Ness Monster.
Wilson claimed he took the photograph early one the morning while driving along the northern shore of Loch Ness. He said he noticed something moving in the water and stopped his car to take a photo. Loch Ness is a long, narrow lake southwest of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. It is also the second deepest loch, at an astounding 755 feet (230 meters) at its deepest point.
In 1994 a man named Christian Spurling, confessed to his involvement in a plot to create the famous Nessie photo . He revealed it was a plot that involved both Marmaduke Wetherell (stepfather) and Robert Wilson (friend).
According to Spurling, Wetherell was said to have initially come up with the hoax ,because he was humiliated by his previous attempt at finding the monster. Wetherell approached Spurling and asked him to make a convincing serpent model. Spurling did this by using a toy submarine fitted with a sea-serpent head. This model was then photographed in Loch Ness.
The picture was then given to Wilson, whose job it was to convince the world that Nessie existed. Wilson was given the photo because he was a trusted man, being a doctor. So he'd serve as a credible front-man.
Although Nessie is discounted by scientists as a myth, Loch Ness has become a popular tourist destination and interested parties can jump on a boat and travel around the loch looking for the famous monster.
2) Piltdown Man 1912
In 1912 Charles Dawson, an amateur Archaeologist and Solicitor claimed to have discovered the ‘missing link’ between ape and man. He had found part of a human-like skull in Pleistocene gravel beds near Piltdown village in Sussex, England.
He fooled the most eminent minds at the time into believing a previously unknown human ancestor had been found in an English gravel pit.
However, in 1949 new dating technology arrived that changed scientific opinion on the age of the remains using fluorine tests.
Evidence gathered by Dr. Kenneth Page Oakley, Geologist at the Natural History Museum, Sir Wilfrid Edward Le Gros Clark and Joseph Weiner proved that the Piltdown Man was a forgery.
The fossil was a composite of three distinct species.
Using a fluorine-based test to date the skull, the researchers determined that the upper skull was human of approximately 50,000 years old. To create the appearance of age the bones were stained with an iron solution and chromic acid.
This eliminated the possibility of the Piltdown Man being the missing link between humans and apes as at this point in time humans had already developed into their Homo sapiens form.
The jawbone was that of an orangutan however, it was only a few decades old. A second test, using nitrogen analysis, confirmed the first test. They also found that the jaw had also been artificially stained.
The fossil teeth were that of a chimpanzee. Microscopic examination revealed file-marks on the teeth. The teeth had been modified to a shape, so they could have been associated with the jaw of a primitive man. They'd been pared down so they were more suited to a human diet.
Scans of the bones reveal the same dental putty was used throughout the specimens to reconstruct the human bones and to piece orangutan remains onto them. The putty was also used to load the bones and teeth with gravel from Piltdown to make them look more authentic.
In 1953 Charlson Dawson's discovery of the Piltdown Man was exposed as a forgery. Modern science conducting scientific work have discovered that many of Dawson's other discoveries were also a fraud.
3 ) The Cottingley Fairies 1917
In 1917 Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, two young cousins living in Cottingley, near Bradford, England, had taken photos depicting themselves interacting with fairies.
In the summer of 1919, the matter became public knowledge, and even fooled Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (author of Sherlock Holmes). He vouched for their authenticity by writing an article for a leading magazine claiming that they were authentic. He viewed the photos as clear proof of the existence of fairies.
However in the early 1980s Elsie and Frances admitted that the photographs were fakes. They'd copied illustrations of dancing girls from a popular children's book of the time, Princess Mary's Gift Book, published in 1914. They created cardboard cutouts of the dancers and drew wings on them. They then supported them with hatpins, disposing of their props in the beck once the photograph had been taken.
Elsie said that she and Frances were too embarrassed to admit the truth after fooling Doyle, the author of Sherlock Holmes: "Two village kids and a brilliant man like Conan Doyle – well, we could only keep quiet." In the same interview Frances said: "I never even thought of it as being a fraud – it was just Elsie and I having a bit of fun and I can't understand to this day why they were taken in."