In the Footsteps of Judge Ware

The Lewis Legacy-Issue 76, Spring 1998 The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing

As if the September and October 1997 revelations about Cusack and Selbourne chicanery were not enough, another scandal came to light in November. That is when news broke about the highly respected U. S. district court judge James Ware, who has an appointment for life and looked like a future Supreme Court nominee. In 1963 his brother was gunned down by white racists in Birmingham, Alabama. It turns out that the black youth named James Ware who lost his brother that way was another person entirely. Judge Ware had filched the story.

Daniel Schorr ran a column in the Christian Science Monitor, ranging from Cusack and Ware to Tawana Brawley and Kurt Vonnegut. (An Internet prankster circulated a humor piece as Vonnegut’s 1997 commencement speech at MIT.) Schorr recalled Janet Cook’s Pulitzer Prize winning hoax, Mark Hofmann’s and Clifford Irving’s forgeries, the fake Hitler and Jack the Ripper diaries, a fake photo of the Loch Ness monster, and the Piltdown Man. Plus the fake Vermeer paintings and false Anastasias. “I remain fascinated by the phenomenon of hoaxes … for fun, for profit, and because we have come to the border of reality.”

In the Los Angeles Times satirist Bruce McCall reported on a thriving new “Hoaxbusters” business. Its experts had allegedly found goofy errors in Selbourne’s and Cusack’s forgeries, as well as Admiral Peary’s diary. Next will be the 655-page lost Elvis diary found in an Egyptian pyramid by a Hungarian used-car salesman. “This much we know is authentic,” a Hoaxbuster confides. “The manuscript is written in Atlantean. Shirley MacLaine confirmed it.”