Historic Hoaxes Urban legends about historic hoaxes. 3 Hoaxes are not new to our generation — history is replete with them. A pair of hoaxsters once led hundreds of gullible New Yorkers into participating in a scheme to saw Manhattan Island in half. When the bathtub was introduced to the U.S. in the mid-1800s, its popularity was hindered by the belief that taking baths was injurious to a person’s health. * Entries marked with an asterisk will open in a separate browser window.