A Stone-Cold Hoax

Melville Stone was a publisher of the Chicago Daily News during the 1870’s. In his memoir, he related the following anecdote of a hoax pulled by the Chicago Daily News against its competitor.

The staff at the Daily News had a feeling that the Chicago Post and Mail, which was run by the McMullen brothers, was plagiarizing their news and scoops. To test their theory, the Daily News published a news about a famine in Serbia, wherein the mayor of Balgrade apparently said in Serbian, “Er us siht la Etsll iws nel lum cmeht.”, which translates, “The municipality cannot aid.”

As they anticipated, the afternoon edition of the Post and Mail also published the same story together with the Serbian quote. Stone immediately went to all the other Chicago papers to tell them about the hoax. He revealed that the quote was fake, and if you read it backward, it would read, “The McMullens will steal this sure.”

Stone remarked that after the revelation, the Post and Mail was highly lampooned by the other Chicago papers, and it never recovered from the humiliation. Around two years later, Post and Mail was acquired by the Daily News for a very small amount of money.


About Edmark M. Law

My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. I blog at learnfunfacts.com. You can find me on Twitter @EdmarkLaw and Facebook. My email is edmarklaw@learnfunfacts.com
This entry was posted in Anecdotes, Oddities and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to A Stone-Cold Hoax

  1. That was great! Where do you find these things?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I read a lot. Though I hope that I won’t run out of these in the future ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, you wonโ€™t. There might be a quiet period, but then suddenly you will be flooded with good stories again. At least, that is how I find Blog writing to be. Sometimes I have non stop creative story ideas and other times I find myself feeling very boring. That is when I know my mind needs a break like when we were young and we took our summer vacation. When I allow my mind to quiet down and/or take a weekend trip away new ideas start to come again. THAT is what I have noticed for me. ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Mike says:

    Loved this story!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thou shalt not plagiarize! Great story. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. pvcann says:

    Justice, great story.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. David says:

    Could this be the origin of Fake News ๐Ÿ˜†

    Liked by 2 people

  6. WaltPage says:

    Great story, great hoax!! Thanks for a great morning read!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Too funny! The McMullens werenโ€™t very bright, were they? ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

    Liked by 2 people

  8. pendantry says:

    Great anecdote! I hope you have more of those ๐Ÿ™‚
    PS Typo alert:
    “Chicago Post and Mial”
    should be:
    “Chicago Post and Mail”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for letting me know.

      I am now using a new mechanical keyboard with a more sensitive switch so I have been making several typos during the last few days. It would take some time before I would get used to it. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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