Dean Swift’s Hoax : Famous Impostors by Bram Stoker

Famous Impostors : Hoaxes Dean Swift’s Hoax


Bram Stoker

Famous Impostors by Bram Stoker

Dean Swift’s Hoax

One of the most beautiful hoaxes ever perpetrated was one for which Swift was responsible. He caused a broad-sheet to be printed and circulated which purported to be the “last dying speech” of one Elliston, a street robber, in which the condemned thief was made to say:

“Now as I am a dying man, I have done something which may be of use to the public. I have left with an honest man—the only honest man I was ever acquainted with—the names of all my wicked brethren, the places of their abode, with a short account of the chief crimes they have committed, in many of which I have been their accomplice, and heard the rest from their own mouths. I have likewise set down names of those we call our setters, of the wicked houses we frequent, and all of those who receive and buy our stolen goods. I have solemnly charged this honest man, and have received his promise upon oath, that whenever he hears of any rogue to be tried for robbery or housebreaking, he will look into his list, and if he finds the name there of the thief concerned, to send the whole paper to the Government. Of this I here give my companions fair and public warning, and hope they will take it.”

So successful, we are told, was the Dean’s ruse that, for many years afterwards, street robberies were almost unknown.

Famous Impostors

Chapter I. Pretenders
A. Perkin Warbeck
B. The Hidden King
C. Stephan Mali
D. The False Dauphins
E. Princess Olive

Chapter II. Practitioners of Magic
A. Paracelsus
B. Cagliostro
C. Mesmer

Chapter III.
The Wandering Jew

Chapter IV.
John Law

Chapter V. Witchcraft and Clairvoyance
A. Witches
B. Doctor Dee
C. La Voisin
D. Sir Edward Kelley
E. Mother Damnable
F. Matthew Hopkins

Chapter VI.
Arthur Orton (Tichborne claimant)

Chapter VII. Women as Men
A. The Motive for Disguise
B. Hannah Snell
C. La Maupin
D. Mary East

Chapter VIII. Hoaxes, etc.
A. Two London Hoaxes
B. The Cat Hoax
C. The Military Review
D. The Toll-Gate
E. The Marriage Hoax
F. Buried Treasure
G. Dean Swift’s Hoax
H. Hoaxed Burglars
I. Bogus Sausages
J. The Moon Hoax

Chapter IX.
Chevalier d’Eon

Chapter X.
The Bisley Boy