Famous 'Baby Dragon'
In The Bottle Is A Hoax
Author's Baby Dragon Hoax Pays Off With Book Deal

By Anthony France
The Telegraph - UK

Note - In this day and age where lying is trendy and chic hoaxes and fraudsters litter the landscape, this will come as little surprise. Beware, however, there is no humor in this kind of immorality...all to make a few bucks. We are lied to 24/7 by the US government and the same state of affairs confronts our British cousins. This kind of 'prank' further degrades what whisps of ethics remain in Western society. Anything for a buck ...or a book or screenplay deal. -ed

An author has won a lucrative publishing contract after staging a hoax involving a baby "dragon" to launch his writing career.

Allistair Mitchell had grown frustrated after being rejected by countless publishers and agents, so he devised an elaborate way of creating interest in his book before any pages had been printed.

Mr Mitchell, who writes under the pen name P R Moredun, invented a tale about a dragon being found in a garage last year.

Stories ran in the media in January claiming that German scientists had created the specimen in the 1890s, suspended it in formaldehyde and sent it to the Natural History Museum.

Their aim was to dupe their British counterparts, with whom they were said to have an intense rivalry.

But, so the story went, the museum dismissed the matter as a hoax and the "dragon" was spirited away by a museum porter and later found in the garage.

In fact, the dragon was created by Crawley Creatures, the model makers behind the BBC's Walking with Dinosaurs television series, and the jar in which it was stored was made by a glass-blowing studio in the Isle of Wight.

Mr Mitchell, 42, of Oxford, has now signed an exclusive deal with Waterstone's for his book Unearthly History, a thriller for adults and children and featuring, of course, a dragon.

He said: "Essentially I created the hoax to market my book even before it was published."

A spokesman for Waterstone's said: "My bet is that it is going to be a big seller because of the hoax - but also because it is a great book and people will recommend it to others."

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2004.



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