If you liked to read heart-pounding mysteries when you were a child, no doubt you came across either “The Nancy Drew Mysteries” or the boy-centric partners, “The Hardy Boys Mysteries.” All of the Drew books were penned under the name Carolyn Keene, but no such woman existed.
In fact, multiple writers contributed to this long-running and extensive series thanks to the man behind it all, Edward Stratemeyer. He started the books himself but quickly found himself too busy. He hired a number of ghostwriters, who all added to the collection under the Keene name. Just how many writers were there? Time to get to the bottom of this mystery.
We didn't think many of you were on the lookout for a giant lumberjack, so big and powerful that he logged entire states, built mountains with his bare hands, and had a big blue ox as his best friend. As a Canadian and French tall tale, this character has plenty of stories about him, and just as many – or more – fiberglass statues along the northern border of the states.
However, it's possible that the stories of Bunyan were based on a pair of real lumberjacks, Bon Jean and Fabian Fournier. At any rate, his gigantism is a true invention, with most stories placing him at about seven feet.
In 1998, Scottish writer William Boyd wrote a biography about artist Nat Tate. The book expressed Tate's struggles with being an artist and inside his life. A big book launch occurred, which included fabulous guests and a star host is none other than David Bowie.
It should have been a little more obvious that Nat Tate never existed since the book launch happened on April Fool's Day eve. The hoax was an effort to get the famous names to realize they were wrong, though many said they had known the man or had heard of him before. Fake quotes from other biographers that were supposed to pretend they knew him helped build up the idea.
Pope Joan, as the story goes, was a woman that reigned as the Holy Father for an unknown number of years during the middle ages. Usually, the tale ends with that she managed to rise through the ranks by disguising herself as a man, eventually being elected pope.
However, the truth comes out when Joan gives birth during a procession, and she dies shortly after. While the story was popular for a long time, modern scholars now believe it to be entirely fictional. The earliest version of the story comes from the thirteenth century, and the events are set in 1099.
Her name is on plenty of books that lined your grandmother's shelf, but this famous food matriarch never really existed. Despite being the queen of the kitchen for more than a few generations, she was only a fictional character, invented to give a humanizing aspect to the cookbooks that the company was selling.
While the “First lady of the Kitchen” wasn't real, she inspired more than a few people to try their hand at making tasty food on their own, which led to plenty of real names you might recognize. The character and brand were created in 1921 by Washburn-Crosby, which later became General Mills. Plenty of women have portrayed her anonymously, but they had their own names.