links to this CBC roundup of famous literary hoaxes
The Hitler DiariesBookslut
In 1983, the German magazine Stern announced that journalist Gerd Heidemann made the greatest Nazi memorabilia find of all time: Adolf Hitler’s diary, a whopping 62-volume set covering the crucial years of 1932 to 1945. Despite containing cornball entries like “must not forget to get tickets for the Olympic Games for Eva Braun” (or maybe because of that), the diaries were authenticated by several respected historians. Within days of the story breaking, however, a forensic study of the actual paper stock confirmed that the diaries could not have been penned in the ’30s and ’40s, and were thus fake. They had been written by a Stuttgart forger named Konrad Kujau; both he and Heidemann served time in prison.
links to this Encyclopedia Hanasiana roundup of rather less-known literary hoaxes
Henry David Thoreau
Thoreau never actually stayed at Walden Pond, relying instead on the observations of a series of stringers and unpaid interns—although he did briefly touchdown at the Concord airport to “get the dateline.”