Prompted by the recent riots over a Muhammad film which may not have been made, Benjamin Radford compiles a list of “seven religious hoaxes throughout history”:

The trailer for the film “Innocence of Muslims” recently led to riots over its depiction of the prophet Muhammad as a womanizer, child molester and criminal. Several Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, were killed in protests that have been linked to the film. Despite the outrage it’s not clear that the film actually exists; certainly a trailer for it does, but a trailer isn’t a film. Investigation into the anti-Muslim “film” is ongoing, but as yet there seems to be no evidence that the film exists other than as a deadly hoax.

– Benjamin Radford, ‘A History of Religious Hoaxes’, Bad Science, 1 October 2012

Have a look at his informative and entertaining list here. The Cardiff Giant comes in at number three:

When farm workers digging a well in Cardiff, N.Y., uncovered a fossilized man in 1869 they found something remarkable. The Cardiff Giant, as the figure became known, was a somewhat realistic figure with roughly human dimensions — except that it was nearly 10 feet tall. It was clearly something unique — but what exactly it was divided the public. Some believed it was a stone carving, but who would have made it so long ago that it was buried so deep in the ground? Others, including a local reverend, were convinced it was proof of the literal truth of Biblical scripture, specifically Genesis 6:4 (“There were giants in the earth in those days” KJV). Here, finally, was one of those Biblical giants, discovered on a rural New York farm! It was in fact a clever hoax by a man named George Hull who had planted the carved stone where it would later be found by the farm hands, partly to prove the Bible literalists wrong.

– Benjamin Radford, ‘A History of Religious Hoaxes’, Bad Science, 1 October 2012

See also:

“The Cardiff Giant to be Resurrected by Syracuse artist, Ty Marshal”
“The Cardiff Giant is Resurrected! With Cardiff Giant Soap, Cardiff Giant Chocolate, Cardiff Giant Wine, and Cardiff Giant Coffee”

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