Joseph Mulhattan

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Joseph Mulhattan
Joseph Mulhattan - illo.jpg
c. 1888
Alias(es) Orange Blossom
Born c. 1848
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Died 5 December 1913 (65) [1]
Kelvin, Arizona
"Joseph Mulhatton as he looked in more prosperous times, when he was one of the highest salaried drummers in the country, and as he appeared yesterday." (SF Call, 7 Oct. 1904)

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."

Resources

A Survey of Hoaxes

Later Years

References

  1. "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."