There are many urban legends and jokes that assume the use of aliases and fictitious people. Some of them acquired a certain popularity, really not existing. It is enough only to recall the anecdotal lieutenant Kizhe from Russian history.
In any case, the mystery surrounding the fictional character only helped him to become even more famous. Let’s talk about the 10 most famous personalities, which, as it turned out, never existed.
Rumors about the appearance in some countries of a mysterious and fantastically gifted athlete are not so rare. It seems that the new talent will be able to change the future of the sport. One such story was the appearance of Masal Bagolava, a 16-year-old football prodigy from Moldova. Soon, in football blogs and forums throughout Europe, suddenly began to discuss the young acute striker, who already lit up and in his national team. Soon this story became the property of the media around the world, the hot news dispersed so quickly that no one checked it. News about the player was published on the famous site Goal.com, in early January 2009, the London Times mentioned the phenomenon as the best football player in Moldova. The newspaper also said that the young football player can go to the English “Arsenal”. About the new Messi there were so many rumors that they were eventually checked. Football blogger Nick McDonnell conducted a study that proved the truth – Masala Bagolava in nature does not exist! In fact, the whole media company became the work of an Irishman, who got tired of listening to the untruth about football, constantly being replicated by the press. So he created a fake article in Wikipedia first, followed by a series of blog posts and forums. With the help of fake reports Associated Press formed a whole cult of a young Moldovan who never existed.
Today, looking at many works of contemporary fine art, one can not help thinking: “Anyone could draw it.” In 1964, the Swedish journalist Duck Axelsson decided to test this idea by conducting some tests. In his trick, which later became a known hoax, he took several pictures of a chimpanzee named Peter from a local zoo and began to spread art around the country. The author of samples of contemporary art was named an unknown French artist Pierre Bresso. In order to attract professionals to the test, art historians, Axelsson chose the best of the chimp pictures and sent them to a major exhibition in Gothenburg. Most critics rated the mysterious Mr. Bresso as a bold and new talent. One of the reviews said that the artist “creates with the delicacy of a ballerina.” When the truth was revealed, and it turned out that the paintings belong to the monkey, none of the art historians hurried to take back their words. One of the critics, Ralph Anderberg, who praised Bresso more than anyone else, even after revealing the mystery of the artist, insisted that Peter’s work was still the best at this exhibition. Of course, not everyone was delighted with this trick of journalists. One of the critics in his report wrote that only an ape can be responsible for these pictures, hinting at Axelsson.
Film fans and critics often oppose so-called “whistle-censors” – observers who are ready to write a positive review of any film. Film studios need only give them a hearty lunch and drink wine – that’s the tip ready! David Manning of Ridgefield Press seemed one of the worst representatives of such a company. Around 2000, his laudatory reviews were accompanied by such hated films as “Animal” (“another winner!”) And “Invisible” (“colossal!”). Manning would undoubtedly be considered a contender for the title of the worst film critic in America, prevented by one key detail – such a person does not exist.It turned out that David is the fruit of the fantasy of marketers from Sony, who was invented by them as a tool for creating a positive press for their partner, Columbia Pictures. The deception was revealed by Newsweek magazine, when the editorial board tried to contact Ridgefield Press, a small weekly newspaper from Connecticut. It turned out that nobody ever worked there, named David Manning. This incident opened the eyes of the Sony management to the actions of its marketing unit, a representative of the studio, claimed that everyone was terrified of such a rally. However, an innocent joke turned into a big trouble – two moviegoers in California were able to sue the company $ 1.5 million, claiming that the ghost film critic could dishonor them to watch bad films.
Today there are many famous people who seem to do nothing for this. Therefore, there is nothing surprising in that a person who does not really exist can become a celebrity. Once the journalist Martha Sherrill came up with the starlet Allegra Coleman. Was launched a large-scale hoax in the media. In 1996, the magazine “Esquire” appeared an article by Sherill, in which Coleman was declared the next girl-dream of Hollywood. On the cover of the magazine, even a picture of a girl appeared, which was portrayed by the little-known model of Ali Larter. The article contained a number of information about the life of the beginning actress, including her battle with the paparazzi for photos of a naked girl with her boyfriend David Schwimmer. She wanted her article to become a model of satire for magazines, which are full of gossip from the stellar life. She also managed to show how Hollywood works: even after revealing the hoax, the agents were still looking for Coleman to get involved in the cooperation. As a result, the whole story became a good springboard for Ali Larter’s career.
Sports journalist George Plimpton became a legend, his most memorable rally was the creation of a fictitious player in baseball. April 1, 1985 in the magazine Sports Illustrated appeared one of the largest April Fools’ hoaxes. The journalist said that there was a new star of baseball – the hitherto unknown pitcher Hayden Sid Finch. Plympton reported that Finch was 28 years old, and before that he studied at Harvard and spent some time in the Far East in search of inner peace. Finch had never played baseball before, but was noticed, thanks to his unique talents. He could throw the ball at a speed of 168 miles per hour, while high accuracy was achieved at 103 miles per hour. The article said that at the present time a rookie-mystery is being viewed in the New York Mets. In his article, Plympton notes some of Finch’s oddities. So, he wore shoes only on one foot, plays the French horn and knows how to speak the mysterious language of Zen. The article was not without the photo of Sid Finch, who was portrayed by a teacher of high school, Joe Burton, unknown to the general public. The picture showed how the mysterious player communicates with the other player of the team – Lenny Dikstroy and listens to the coach Mets Mel Stotlemora. True, the hero of the publication turned away from the lens. Although the article also implicitly indicated the April Fools’ joke, many simply did not understand the rally. The magazine received more than 2,000 letters asking them to tell more about the phenomenon. Immediately there was an article about Finch’s press conference, at which he announced the end of his sports career. A week later, the magazine was forced to print an announcement about the journalist’s hoax. Pope John Paul.
This pontiff is one of the most famous in the history of the Roman church, but modern scholars question the fact of its existence. It is believed that this Pope held his post for only a few years in the region of 853-855 AD.For the first time information about him appeared in the writings of the 13th century Dominican monk Jean de Mayi, this half-legend for many centuries was very popular in Europe. History had many options, but the most popular version says that Father John was actually a pious and very bright woman who posed as a man and quickly made a career in the Catholic Church, eventually becoming Pope. Legend has it that her reign came to an end when, once riding a horse, she became ill, and soon she gave birth to a child. Then the plot of history has many options for continuations. It is said that a woman died during childbirth, others say that the causes of death were natural causes, mention that the enraged crowd killed John after learning the truth. Historians have found many evidences that categorically deny the possibility of the existence of Pope John. Some argue that such a tale originated from a satirical story about Pope John XI. As a result, today there is no doubt that this legend played an important role in the religion of the Middle Ages. Various religious figures and popular writers, like Boccaccio, often referred to this story. It was said about the statues erected in honor of John. The legend persisted for several centuries, until in 1601 Pope Clement VIII officially denied it.
The Internet almost immediately became a breeding ground for various rallies and the creation of virtual personalities. The most famous example was lonelygirl15. This name is directly related to the YouTube video portal. One day in 2006, one 16-year-old girl named Bree started her video blog on this site. The video did not contain anything indecent – it was an online diary of a college student, who talked about boring life in her hometown. Lonelygirl15 quickly became popular, eventually its channel became the most visited on YouTube. However, some episodes over time caused the girl’s suspicions. At various forums and sites began to discuss the reality of the video shot. It did not take long to prove that such a girl does not exist in reality, her role was played by the 19-year-old beginning Hollywood actress Jessica Rose. The account on YouTube, like the whole story, was created by the media. Mystification was intended to demonstrate the possibility of creating a television show online, directly on the Internet. This story made lonelygirl15 a real cultural phenomenon, the stories about her life appeared for another two years. Over time, the story became semi-fantastic, the true character of Bree in the opinion of the fans disappeared from the show back in 2007. Episodes about the virtual girl in the end looked more than 110 million people.
Comedian Andy Kaufman became famous for his unexpected rallies of his audience, by mixing actor’s skills and creating fictional characters. One of the most famous works of the artist was Tony Clifton, a vulgar and often drunk singer who served as a warm-up for Kaufman’s comedy show. The voice of Clifton was so terrible that the public endured it with difficulty. As a result, even the stereotype of an aging entertainer arose, which was made by the unlucky singer. Clifton condescendingly regretted, and this made the unlucky performer even popular. After it became known that Clifton is actually portrayed by Kaufman in another suit and make-up, the humorist was denied the opportunity to speak under a different name further. The decision was found quickly – now Tony Clifton became a friend and brother of Andy, Bob Zhmud. Now the entertainer and humorist were really different people, which the administration demanded. Clifton was invited to other shows – Evening with David Letterman and in the talk show Dina Shor, where the famous trick of Tony happened.He was kicked out of the studio after he broke the egg on the leader’s head live! Clifton was invited even as a special guest in the series “Taxi”, but the debut in the movie did not take place, too destructive was the identity of Tony. In 1984, Kaufman died, never fully revealing the truth about the fictional character. Even today, until the end, it is not clear how many times Clifton was portrayed by the comedian himself, and how many by his assistants. However, even after Kaufmann’s death, some people tried to portray Clifton, thereby only contributing to the illusion that Tony was a real character.
This director has a pretty busy career, in which there were both the feature films themselves, and trailers for them, cartoons and music videos. Alan could be called one of the most prolific directors of Hollywood, if not for one thing only – this person does not exist. In America, since 1968, a tradition has developed – if the director does not want, for some reason, his name was listed in credits, then he asks to use Alan Smithy’s pseudonym instead. For the first time the name appeared in the credits to Donald Siegel’s apartment “The Death of an Arrow”. The film was filmed by two directors, each of whom refused to be named in the film. So it was decided to use a fictitious name, which has since been used always when the director believes that his work was cut by the producers. At the same time, the final product is not at all what I wanted to take off. Today in the database of movies Alan Smitty acts as a director at once 73 tapes. These include the failed Hellraiser: Bloodline, Solar Crisis, as well as television projects, including some episodes of Cosby and McGuire. Even mainstream filmmakers like Michael Mann and Paul Verhoeven used the opportunity to hide their name in the credits, when their pictures “Warrior” and “Shougels” were significantly edited for the television version. The Guild of Directors of America officially banned the use of the name Alan Smithy in the late 90’s after the release of the movie “Burn, Hollywood, Burn” where exactly the name of the main character. Since then, filmmakers prefer to choose other aliases, but there are brave souls who still call themselves by that name. As a result, since 2000, the ghost director has “removed” 18 more movies.
Our list includes well-known personalities, but none of them had the same impact on world politics, religion as Presbyter John. It is believed that this king was in charge of a powerful Christian country in Central Asia. Such a legend appeared in the 12th century, spreading over 400 years from China to the Atlantic, thanks to Christian missionaries. Presbyter John and his kingdom was truly a sensation for Europe, when in 1165 his letter appeared there. The king himself ruled in India, and his ancestors were one of the legendary wise men. Europeans immediately perceived the new state as the light of civilization in places of exotics and barbarians. Presbyter John appeared as a wise and kind man who ruled a rich country. In his reign, such miracles as eternal youth and a Garden of Eden were noted. Although there was little evidence of the existence of the mysterious monarch, the legend about him existed for several centuries. At one time the name of John was associated with one of the military leaders of Genghis Khan, this version appeared just after the fall of the territories of the Crusaders in Palestine. As a result, it was only after the 1600s that scientists and travelers could prove that presbyter John was just a myth. However, rumors about the mysterious king could affect a lot – from religion and ending with world trade. For example, Christian missionaries noticeably stepped up their activities in Asia and Africa, and hoped to find a lost kingdom. This myth pushed the researchers, like Magellan, to seek new lands that could reveal the mystery of the mythical ruler.