Mystery-loving boys might not have read the Nancy Drew books, but there were plenty of Hardy Boys mysteries for them to page through. However, Franklin W. Dixon wasn’t a real person – he was the name that every book bore. Edward Stratemeyer was the genius behind this, and he collected a group of ghostwriters to keep the books coming out at a steady pace.
All in all, this tactic worked gangbusters, since the Hardy Boys have achieved enduring popularity, spanning nearly nine decades through various re-images.
It would be great if Yang Kyoungjong was real since he was said to have fought on three different sides of World War II, but it isn't to be. From conscription in the Imperial Japanese Army to fighting against Nazi Germany with the Russians to defending Normandy on the side of the Wehrmacht during D-Day, the man did it all.
Except, of course, he didn't – there's no evidence that Kyoungjong actually existed other than word-of-mouth stories. A Korean company attempted to film a documentary about the story, finding no public records of any sort. Even his famous picture was just labeled “Japanese man.”
As one of the world's largest and oldest religions, Buddhism still has plenty of questions about the founder, Siddhartha Gautama – more commonly known as the Buddha.
Unfortunately, this is literally ancient history. The events of his life are said to have happened more than twenty-five hundred years ago, and many, many of the details of his life have been yet to be found, or have been lost entirely. He wasn't known as the Buddha (One who has achieved perfect spiritual enlightenment) until centuries after his death.
If you're playing an old version of “Trivial Pursuit,” you might get a question about who invented the bra. The correct answer, according to the game, is a man with the perfect name for such a creation: Otto Titzling. This apocryphal creation was actually first named as the inventor of the brassiere in the 1971 book “Bust-Up: The Uplifting Tale of Otto Titzling.”
The name was perfect because it was fake – humorist Wallace Reyburn came up with it in the early seventies, but it was picked up by numerous outlets, including board games, as fact. Sadly, the truth is far less humorous.
The story of Agnus McVee, a bloodthirsty Scottish woman who operated a murder hotel in Canada during the late 19th century is perfect campfire fodder. It was said that Agnus, alongside her husband Jim and son-in-law Al Riley, kidnapped young women to work the brothels, and killed miners who stayed at the hotel to steal their gold.
Over fifty killings were on their heads, and there was plenty of buried treasure to get people interested in the tale. However, it seems that the original legend of Agnus McVee came from the nineteen seventies, in a book about buried treasure in British Columbia.