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Pufedorf hoax

The Pufedorf hoax was created by Danish multimedia artist Peter Wendelboe. It involves a mythical Nazi ship and a mythical Nazi munitions factory, both called Pufedorf.  The ship and the building were allegedly destroyed single-handedly by Frode Bay Madsen, who claims he was a member of the Danish Resistance during WWII. Madsen has been used as a source in several books by Ole Hans Jensen and Britt Bartenbach. When Wendelboe announced that he had investigated Madsen's claims about his war heroics and was unable to verify them, Jensen and Bartenbach "started badmouthing" Wendelboe (Larsen 2007).

Another story told by Jensen and Bartenback that annoyed Peter Wendelboe involves a young woman named Jane Horney, whose father was Swedish and whose mother was Danish. At 18, she was married to a Swedish war correspondent stationed in Berlin and apparently used her feminine charms to get information from German military officers. After her divorce, she joined the Danish Resistance Movement. She was thought to be a double agent and was probably killed in late January, 1945, although her body was never found.  Jensen and Bartenback claim that "Jane Horney was not executed, but lived on to have a fantastic career, spanning from training Yassir Arafat in guerilla tactics in Palestine, August 1948, to later becoming Queen Elizabeth II's close confidante, earning her a burial at Buckingham Palace, when she died in 2003." The evidence for these claims must be locked in a vault whose combination is known only to Jensen and Bartenback.

Wendelboe's hoax began when he,

as a lark, suggested that the ship Frode Bay Madsen had purportedly sunk was called "Pufedorf". It did sound German ("dorf" means "village"), but, in reality, was rather obvious: "Pufedorf" spelled backwards means "Frode Fup" - "Frode the Fake". The crude joke, however, was completely lost on both Frode Bay Madsen, Ole Hans Jensen and Britt Bartenbach. Frode Bay Madsen declared that this was, indeed, the ship's name, as well as the factory's. (Larsen)

Jensen and Bartenbach repeated the Pufedorf story as a fact in their next book. Duping this pair should not have been too difficult. After all, Bartenbach cites her own dreams as a historical source and believes she is psychic, according to Claus Larsen.

Wendelboe created several aliases on the Internet, which he used to dupe Jensen and Bartenbach. He contacted them as Inga Hamilton (claiming to be Jane Horney's niece) and put them in touch with another alias, Helle Scheel Jacobsen (the alleged daughter of a Danish couple murdered in 1948). Wendelboe also created an Italian named Frode E. Bugie (Italian for "Fraud and Lies"), an Argentinean travel agent, a photographer named Timo Y. Mentiras (Spanish for "Scam and Lying"), and a person called Emmud Terret Tirbelo (spelled backwards this reads "Ole Britt er ret dumme," meaning "Ole & Britt are rather stupid"). Each of these characters was invented by the hoaxer to further ensnare his prey. Wendelboe even created a website that was allegedly run by Helle Scheel Jacobsen (posting a picture he lifted from a retirement home ad) and fed Jensen and Bartenbach false information for several years through these aliases and the website.

Some of the false information is absurd but was passed on by Jensen and Bartenback in their publications as if it were god's truth. For example: "Helle Scheel Jacobsen turned out to be the head of the Secret Service at the White House, Washington, covering four Presidents, from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush, and is currently in charge of security of Al Gore."  The munitions plant Madsen claimed to have destroyed was allegedly manufacturing nuclear warheads for the Nazis! (Larsen)

On February 26th, 2007, on a late night show on National Danish TV, Jensen and Bartenbach presented their case for a grand conspiracy to keep the truth hidden from the world. They also claimed that, for uncovering the conspiracy, they would be awarded the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor (look closely at the words on this medal).

The following evening on the same National TV show, Wendelboe revealed the details of his hoax. The details of the hoax can be found on Wendelboe's website Pufedorf.dk (in Danish) or on Claus Larsen's website (in English).

Of course, all of the above could be a hoax played on me by Søren Vilsen and Claus Larsen. Vilsen, or someone claiming to be Vilsen, e-mailed me about the hoax and gave me the link to Claus Larsen's website. I don't read Danish, so I have no idea what is on the Pufedorf.dk website. I also heard from someone claiming to be Peter Wendelboe, who offered more information and some advice on an error I had posted in the first version of this entry. Or, perhaps I am hoaxing the reader. Maybe I am Peter Wendelboe and I invented Vilsen and created a mock Skeptic Report website.

I give you my word, however, that I am not a hoaxer. Trust me. I used to teach ethics.

See also Aztec UFO hoax, Carlos hoax, Cottingly fairy hoax, Arthur Ford hoax, Mary Toft hoax, Piltdown hoax, Steve Terbot, hoax, and the Sokal hoax.

Last updated 07-Aug-2012

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