There are many urban legends and jokes that involve the use of pseudonyms and fictional people. It is enough just to remember the anecdotal lieutenant Kizhe from Russian history.
In any case, the mystery surrounding the fictional character only helped him become even more famous. Let's talk about the 10 most famous personalities who, as it turned out, never existed.
Masal Bagolav. Rumors about the appearance in any countries of a mysterious and fantastically gifted athlete are not so rare. It seems that new talent could change the future of sports. One of these stories was the appearance of Masala Bagolava, a 16-year-old football prodigy from Moldova. Soon, football blogs and forums all over Europe suddenly began to discuss the young sharp striker, who had already appeared in his national team. Soon, this story became the property of the media around the world, the hot news spread so quickly that no one checked it. The news about the player was published on the famous website Goal.com, in early January 2009 the London Times mentioned the phenomenon as the best footballer in Moldova. The newspaper also said that the young footballer could move to English Arsenal. There were so many rumors about the new Messi that they eventually began to be tested. Football blogger Nick McDonnell conducted a study that proved the truth - Masala Bagolava does not exist in nature! In fact, the entire media company became the work of one Irishman, who was tired of hearing the lies about football, constantly circulated by the press. So he first created a fake Wikipedia article, and then a series of blog posts and forums. With the help of fake reports from the Associated Press, a whole cult of a young Moldovan that never existed has formed.
Pierre Bressot. Today, looking at many works of modern fine art, the thought involuntarily comes to mind: "Anyone could draw it." In 1964, Swedish journalist Dak Axelsson decided to test this idea with some tests. In his trick, which then became a famous hoax, he took several paintings of a chimpanzee named Peter from the local zoo and began to spread the art throughout the country. An unknown French artist Pierre Bressot was named the author of samples of contemporary art. In order to attract professionals in their field, art critics, to the test, Axelsson chose the best of the chimpanzee paintings and sent them to a major exhibition in Gothenburg. Most critics praised 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 belonged to a monkey, none of the art critics was in a hurry to take back their words. One of the critics, Ralph Anderberg, who praised Bresso the most, even after revealing the artist's secret, insisted that Peter's work was still the best in this exhibition. Of course, not all journalists were delighted with such a trick. One critic wrote in his report that only a monkey could be responsible for these paintings, alluding to Axelsson.
David Manning. Movie buffs and critics often oppose so-called "whore quotation books" - reviewers who are ready to write a positive review of any film. Film studios just need to give them a hearty lunch and a drink of wine - that's the review ready! David Manning of Ridgefield Press seemed to be one of the worst representatives of such a company. Around 2000, his laudatory reviews accompanied such hated films as "Animal" ("another winner!") And "Invisible" ("colossal!"). Manning would no doubt be considered a contender for the title of America's worst film critic, but one key detail gets in the way - no such person exists. It turned out that David was a fantasy of Sony marketers, who was invented by them as a tool for creating positive press for their partner, Columbia Pictures. The deception was exposed by Newsweek magazine when the editorial staff tried to contact the Ridgefield Press, a small Connecticut-based weekly newspaper. It turned out that no one named David Manning had ever worked there. The incident opened the eyes of Sony executives to the actions of their marketing arm, a studio spokesman who claimed that everyone was horrified by the prank. However, an innocent joke turned into big trouble - two moviegoers in California managed to sue the company for $ 1.5 million, claiming that the ghost film critic could dishonestly lure them into watching bad films.
Allegra Coleman. Today there are many famous people who do not seem to do anything for this. Therefore, there is nothing surprising in the fact that a person who does not really exist can become a celebrity. One day, journalist Martha Sherrill invented starlet Allegra Colman. A large-scale hoax was started in the media. In 1996, an article by Sherrill appeared in Esquire magazine, in which Coleman was hailed as Hollywood's next dream girl. The cover of the magazine even featured a photo of a girl portrayed by little-known model Ali Larter. The article contained a number of details about the life of the aspiring actress, including her battle with the paparazzi for photographs of a naked girl along with her boyfriend David Schwimmer. Sherrill wanted her article to become a model of satire for magazines that are full of gossip from the stellar life. The journalist was also able to show how Hollywood works: even after the disclosure of the hoax, the agents were still looking for Coleman in order to attract him to cooperation. As a result, this whole story became a good springboard for Ali Larter's career.
Sid Finch. Sports journalist George Plimpton became a legend, his most memorable rally was the creation of a fictional baseball player. One of the biggest April Fools' hoaxes appeared in Sports Illustrated on April 1, 1985. The journalist said that a new baseball star has appeared - the hitherto unknown reliever Hayden Sid Finch. Plympton reported that Finch is already 28 years old, and before that he studied at Harvard and spent some time in the Far East in search of inner peace. Finch has never played baseball before, but has been spotted for his unique talents. He could throw the ball at 168 miles per hour, while high accuracy was achieved at 103 miles per hour. The article stated that the mystery rookie is currently undergoing screening at the New York Mets. In her article, Plympton notes some of Finch's oddities. So, he put on shoes only on one leg, plays the French horn and knows how to speak the mysterious Zen language. The article also included a photo of Sid Finch, portrayed by an unknown high school teacher Joe Burton. The snapshot showed how the mysterious player communicates with another player on the team - Lenny Dykstroy and listens to Mets coach Mel Stotlemore. True, the hero of the publication turned away from the lens. Although the article secretly indicated an April Fool's joke, many simply did not understand the rally. The magazine received over 2,000 letters asking for more information about the phenomenon. An article immediately appeared about Finch's press conference, at which he announced the end of his sports career. A week later, the magazine was forced to publish an advertisement about the hoax carried out by the journalist.
Pope John. This pontiff is one of the most famous in the entire history of the Roman Church, but modern scholars question the fact of his existence. This Pope is believed to have held office for only a few years around 853-855 AD. For the first time, information about him appeared in the writings of the 13th century of the Dominican monk Jean de Maya, this semi-legend was very popular in Europe for many centuries. The story had many options, but the most popular version is that Father John was actually a pious and very flamboyant 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 one day, while riding a horse, she became ill, and soon she gave birth to a child. Further, the plot of the story has many options for continuation. They say that the woman died during childbirth, others say that natural causes were the cause of death, they also mention that an angry mob killed John after learning the truth. Historians have found a lot of evidence that categorically deny the possibility of the existence of Pope John. Some argue that such a tale arose from a satirical account of 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 have often referred to this story. It was also said about the statues erected in honor of John. The legend persisted for several centuries until Pope Clement VIII officially denied it in 1601.
Lonelygirl15. The Internet almost immediately became a breeding ground for various practical jokes and the creation of virtual personalities. The most famous example is lonelygirl15. This name is directly related to the YouTube video portal. One day in 2006, a 16-year-old girl named Bree started her video blog on the site. The video contained nothing inappropriate - it was an online diary of a college student talking about the boring life in her hometown. Lonelygirl15 quickly became popular, over time her channel became the most visited on YouTube. However, some episodes over time aroused suspicion among the girl's fans. On various forums and sites began to discuss the reality of the video. It didn’t take long to prove that such a girl didn’t exist in reality, her role was played by 19-year-old aspiring Hollywood actress Jessica Rose. The YouTube account, like this whole story, was created by the media. The hoax was intended to demonstrate the possibility of creating a television show online, right on the Internet. This story made lonelygirl15 a real cultural phenomenon, stories about her life appeared for another two years. Over time, the plot became semi-fantastic, but the true character of Bree, according to fans, disappeared from the show back in 2007. As a result, more than 110 million people watched the episodes about the virtual girl.
Tony Clifton. Comedian Andy Kaufman became famous for his unexpected pranks of his audience, by mixing acting and creating fictional characters. One of the artist's most famous creations was Tony Clifton, the vulgar and often drunk singer who served as the opening act for Kaufman's comedy shows. Clifton's voice was so terrible that the audience could hardly bear it. As a result, there was even a stereotype of an aging entertainer, who was the unlucky singer. Clifton was condescendingly pitied, and this made the hapless performer even popular. After it became known that Clifton was actually portrayed by Kaufman in a different costume and makeup, the comedian was denied the opportunity to perform under a different name further. The solution was found quickly - now Tony Clifton is Andy's friend and brother, Bob Zhmuda. Now the entertainer and the humorist were really different people, which was what the administration demanded. Clifton was invited to other shows - An Evening with David Letterman and Dina Shore's talk show, where Tony's famous trick happened. He was kicked out of the studio after breaking an egg on the host's head live! Clifton was even invited as a special guest in the series "Taxi", but his debut in the movie did not take place, Tony's personality turned out to be too destructive. In 1984, Kaufman died, never fully revealing the truth about his fictional character. Even today, it is not completely clear how many times Clifton was portrayed by the comedian himself, and how many by his assistants. However, even after Kaufman's death, some people tried to portray Clifton, thereby only contributing to the illusion that Tony is a real character.
Alan Smithy. This director has a rather rich career, in which there were both feature films themselves and trailers for them, cartoons and music videos. Alan could be called one of the most prolific directors in Hollywood, if not for one thing - this person does not exist. A tradition has developed in America since 1968 - if the director does not want his name to appear in the credits for some reason, then he asks to use the pseudonym Alan Smithy instead of his name. For the first time, the name appeared in the credits to Donald Siegel's apartment "Death of the Shooter". The film was directed by two directors, each of whom turned down the honor of being featured in the film. So it was decided to use a fictitious name, which has always been used since then when the director believes that his work was redrawn by the producers. At the same time, the final product is not at all what I wanted to shoot. Today, Alan Smithy directs 73 films in the movie database. These included the disastrous Hellraiser: Bloodline, Solar Crisis, as well as television projects, including some episodes of The Cosby and MacGyver Show. Even mainstream directors like Michael Mann and Paul Verhoeven used the opportunity to hide their name in the credits when their films Skirmish and Showgirls were heavily edited for television. The Directors Guild of America officially banned the use of the name of Alan Smithy in the late 90s after the release of the movie "Burn Hollywood Burn" where the main character was called. Since then, filmmakers have preferred to choose other pseudonyms, but there are daredevils who still refer to themselves by this name. As a result, since 2000 the ghost director has “shot” 18 more films.
Presbyter John. Our list includes quite famous personalities, but none of them has had the same influence on world politics and religion as Presbyter John. It is believed that this king was the head of some 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 became a real sensation in Europe when in 1165 his letter appeared there. The king himself ruled in India, and his ancestors were one of the legendary Magi. Europeans immediately perceived the new state as the light of civilization in the places of exoticism and barbarians. Presbyter John presented himself as a wise and kind man who ruled a rich country. During his reign, miracles such as eternal youth and the Garden of Eden were noted. Although there was little evidence of the mysterious monarch's existence, the legend of him lasted 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, only after the 1600s, scientists and travelers were able to prove that Presbyter John was just a myth. However, rumors about a mysterious king could influence a lot - from religion to world trade.For example, Christian missionaries have noticeably stepped up their activities in Asia and Africa, hoping to find the lost kingdom. This myth pushed researchers like Magellan to look for new lands that could reveal the secret of the mythical ruler.