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Dec. 26, 1903: Ear transplant is a hoax

Posted by: Ben Welter under Minnesota History, Crime Updated: January 18, 2013 - 3:41 PM
 
In response to Deadspin’s piece on Manti Te’o and his imaginary love life, I scoured the Tribune archives for any story containing the words “hoax” and “girlfriend.” Alas, no matches. But I did find this. Check the dateline, Notre Dame fans.
 

FAKE NEWSPAPER REPORTERS OPERATING IN NEW YORK

 
SOUTH BEND, Ind., Dec. 26. – The story sent out from New York recently of a Western millionaire paying $5,000 for a human ear and having it transplanted to his own head to replace a missing organ, is declared to be a hoax.
 
The story is said to have been invented by a group of physicians, a newspaper space writer, a traveling salesman, and one or two others, who meet occasionally in New York, and who find amusement in concoting and circulating stories which, on account of their unusual features, will attract wide attention. This same group is said to have started the story that Elbert Hubbard was refused a room at the Waldorf-Astoria, and also the story of an elopement of Elbert Hubbard’s son.
 
The operation alleged to have taken place in Philadelphia, by which an ear was transplanted from the head of one man to that of another, is declared by a Chicago physician, to whom credit is given for uncovering the “fake,” to be impossible.

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