10 Crazy Hoaxes That Duped the World

Escape of Anastasia Romanov
The Romanov family. Topical Press Agency/Hulton Royals Collection/Getty Images

Who can resist the idea that somehow, some way, Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanov escaped and lived to see another day? Anastasia was the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra. When Russia's Bolsheviks revolted in the early 20th century, they rounded up the czar and his family and shot them all, execution style. Anastasia was 17.

For years following the slayings, people whispered Anastasia had escaped. Some said her brother, Alexei, had survived as well [source: Maugh II]. Then women began emerging in various spots around the globe, all claiming to be Anastasia. One woman, Anna Anderson, fought for 32 years -- from 1938 to 1970 -- to be legally recognized as the heir to the Romanov throne [source: Levy].

Then in 1991, a grave in Yekaterinburg was discovered that held nine bodies, including members of the Romanov family and their servants. But the bones of Alexei and one daughter were missing. Could it be that Anderson or another one of those female claimants really was Anastasia? Nope. In 2007, another grave was discovered near the Yekaterinberg one, and guess what it contained? The bones of two Romanov youngsters, a boy and girl [source: Maugh II].