Perhaps an even bigger hoax was the aptly named Crocker Land, a fictional island in the North Pole. This land was “discovered” by Robert Peary, a polar explorer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who claimed to be the first man to set foot on the North Pole.
Peary named his discovery after George Crocker, a banker financing his voyages, and soon Crocker Land took the world by storm. In 1913, the San Francisco Call even published a drawing for its readers.
However, not everyone bought the story. Rival explorer Frederick Cook, who’d also staked claim to being the first man to reach the North Pole, challenged Peary. As things grew heated, Peary’s assistant, Donald MacMillan, decided to lead an expedition to prove the existence of Crocker Land — yet he came up short.
After a long, uneventful journey, MacMillan wrote, “My dreams of the last four years were merely dreams; my hopes had ended in bitter disappointment.”