|Died||5 December 1913 (65) |
Joseph Mulhattan (sometimes credited as Mulhatton) was an American travelling hardware salesman and serial hoaxer, the author of a multitude of fabricated stories that were widely published in local, American national, and international newspapers as legitimate news, including: alleged plans to have George Washington's petrified remains put on public display at Washington Monument; the exploration of an enormous underground river beneath Birmingham, Alabama; the fall of the largest meteor ever known; the calculation of the precise location of the Star of Bethlehem; an invisible moon thirty-thousand miles from the Earth; a lost pyramid and the golden treasures of an extinct race in Kentucky; hemp-harvesting monkeys and a plan to import them in huge numbers; the hair bleaching and reddening properties of Mono Lake, California; and the discovery of the Magnetic Saguaro Cacti of Arizona and the Arbor Diaboli (Devil Tree) of Mexico. He was frequently compared in later years to Raspe's Baron Munchausen character, and amassed an impressive array of headline titles from "Prince of Liars" to "King of Romancers."
- Wright, Laura, Joe Mulhatton: The Appalachian Baron Munchausen, vacreeper.com, http://vacreeper.com/joe-mulhatton/
A Survey of Hoaxes
- "PRINCE OF LIARS. A LIFE WORK OF HOAXES.", Queanbeyan Age (NSW, Australia): 3, 1901-06-29, https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/31088835
- "Mulhattan in a Fair Way for Recovery", Dubuque Daily Herald (Dubuque, Iowa): front, 1891-05-10, https://newspaperarchive.com/dubuque-daily-herald-may-10-1891-p-1/, "Joseph Mulhattan, of national fame as a newspaper writer, who recently had brain trouble in Chicago, is here under surgical treatment and is in a fair way of recovery. It was discovered by trephining the skull that a portion of the bone was penetrating the brain. The bone was carefully removed and the patient is now doing well."
- "TOLD BY A NEAT LIAR. CHARACTERISTIC STORIES OF JOE MULHATTAN. The Poor Fellow Is Now in a Madhouse — Never Told Lies That Did Anyone Personal Injury — The Natural Fountain.", Silver Messenger (Challis, Idaho), 1901-02-26, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88056158/1901-02-26/ed-1/seq-2
- "STILL LIVING. Joe Mulhattan, the Famous Kentucky Munchausen, Is Engaged in the Mining Business Out in Arizona", Hopkinsville Kentuckian (Hopkinsville, KY): 3, 1902-11-25, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069395/1902-11-25/ed-1/seq-3
- "JOE MULHATTON DEAD -- OR JOKE?", Chicago Tribune (Chicago, IL): 6, 1913-12-21, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/355079084/, "As Joe once before reported his own death it is possible that his "drowning" may turn out to be a joke."
- "Most Artistic Liar in the World Drowns in River in Arizona", El Paso Herald (El Paso, TX): 1, 1913-12-09, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88084272/1913-12-09/ed-1/seq-1/, "Phoenix. Ariz., Dec. 9. News of the drowning of Joe Mulhatton, which occurred at Kelvin last Friday, has brought to mind the fact that for years he was regarded as the biggest and most artistic liar in the United States. He was proud of that reputation."