These 10 People Never Existed but Fooled So Many

  • March 28, 2017
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This isn't a list about myths or folklore. These people are all relatively recent inventions, sometimes accidental, sometimes intentional hoaxes, and occasionally a public misconception. These are only ten examples of people who never existed.

Number 4 is still embarrassing after all this time.


Araki Yasusada

Yasusada was allegedly a Hiroshima survivor whose son discovered his poetry shortly after his death. The eventual publication of his pieces in the late 80s and early 90s caused a big splash. Unfortunately, the work itself held the clues that it wasn’t authentic, referencing things that either did not exist or would be unknown to someone living in Japan at the time they were written. The real writer is believed to be Kent Johnson, though he maintains it wasn’t him.


Allegra Coleman

In ’96 Esquire magazine ran a piece on a non-existent celebrity, the upcoming starlet Allegra Coleman. The piece, however, was intended to satire celebrity gossip pieces of the time, and eventually Esquire revealed this, though not until after agents came looking for Coleman. On the upside, it helped to launch Ali Larter’s acting career. She was the model for Coleman.


Colonel Tomb

This legendary Vietnamese fighter pilot resulted from a misunderstanding of radio call signals as a name and, more heavily, the Vietnamese practice of awarding victory stars to a plane independent of who pilots it. To date there are no records of a Colonel Tomb within the Vietnamese army, even for use in propaganda within the country itself.


John Barron

Donald Trump didn’t exactly “need” a spokesman in the 1980s, but there were several instances where he wanted to make a statement without directly associating himself with it. Enter John Barron, who would speak on behalf of Trump when he was out of town and (coincidentally) facing heavy criticism. Barron was used for a decade to spin things in Trump’s favor before Trump himself testified under oath that he “believed” he had used the name at least once before.


Kaycee Nicole

In 1999 internet users around the world were moved by the blog Living Colours, which described a teenage girl’s struggle with leukemia up until her death the following year. The incredible details of the story convinced many it was real; those same details also proved it was a hoax. Many of the images Kaycee posted identified a real school, eventually linking back to Debra Swenson. Swenson adopted parts of the story (and some of the images) from her own daughter.