Comment: Leo Taxil’s Confession, circa 1897.

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Leo Taxil’s Confession, circa 1897.

In 1873, residents of Marseille were horrified to learn that a great infestation of sharks had gathered in the sea just off-shore. Fishermen wrote letters to the local press detailing their narrow escapes from these man-eaters...

Twenty-four years later, the author of that hoax, Léo Taxil, finally confessed, or rather, bragged, that he was responsible. Taxil was nineteen at the time of the shark hoax. A few years later he perpetrated another hoax about a sunken city under Lake Geneva that soon had scholars expounding on Atlantis and pre-Noah society. These were only two of the hoaxes pulled off by Taxil who called hoaxing “a noble career”:

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul