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The communication of hoaxes can be accomplished in almost any manner that a fictional story can be communicated: in person, via word of mouth, via words printed on paper, and so on.

As the technology of communication has advanced, the speed at which hoaxes spread has also advanced: a rumor about a ghostly drummer, spread by word of mouth, will impact a relatively small area at first, then grow gradually.

) to modern English speakers is a blended thick drink made with fruit.

A ‘urinal smoothy’ is downright disgusting, whatever it is.

Mythologist Joseph Campbell discussed his notion of the monomyth in his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

Campbell proposed that the heroic mythological stories from culture to culture followed a similar underlying pattern, starting with the "call to adventure", followed by a hazardous journey, and eventual triumph. From ancient times, travelers and explorers have written about their adventures.

Examples include books such as Hatchet or My Side of the Mountain.

Partridge's reputation was damaged as a result and his astrological almanac was not published for the next six years.

Journals which became best-sellers in their day were written, such as Marco Polo's journal The Travels of Marco Polo or Mark Twain's Roughing It.

Others were personal journals, only later published, such as the journals of Lewis and Clark or Captain James Cook's journals.

As for the closely related terms practical joke and prank, Brunvand states that although there are instances where they overlap, hoax tends to indicate "relatively complex and large-scale fabrications" and includes deceptions that go beyond the merely playful and "cause material loss or harm to the victim." According to Professor Lynda Walsh of the University of Nevada, Reno, some hoaxes—such as the Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814, labeled as a hoax by contemporary commentators—are financial in nature, and successful hoaxers—such as P. Barnum, whose Fiji mermaid contributed to his wealth—often acquire monetary gain or fame through their fabrications, so the distinction between hoax and fraud is not necessarily clear.

Alex Boese, the creator of the Museum of Hoaxes, states that the only distinction between them is the reaction of the public, because a fraud can be classified as a hoax when its method of acquiring financial gain creates a broad public impact or captures the imagination of the masses.

During the 20th century, the hoax found a mass market in the form of supermarket tabloids, and by the 21st century there were fake news websites which spread hoaxes via social networking websites (in addition to the use of email for a modern type of chain letter).

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