Anyone can be famous and the same goes for people who never even existed. Whether they are part of ancient folklore or popular legends, history has been kind to many famous people who you might be surprised to know that they were never real. Lets have a look at the 15 famous people who never existed:
15. Robin Hood
A highly skilled archer and swordsmen, the references of Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men appear two centuries after the time of his assumed lifetime.
Not only that, but even his name has been a matter of debate as it is assumed to be a variation of Robehod – a title generally given to English law breakers.
A fictional character created by Indian author Abdul Halim Sharar, Anarkali was a slave girl who was ordered to be buried alive between two walls of a tomb by Emperor Akbar due to her affair with his son Jahangir.
Nevertheless, a vast amount of Pakistanis and Indians believe the story to be true and even to this day, the story of Anarkali brings numerous tourists in Pakistan’s city of Lahore. Real or not, the legend of Anarkali has received so much attention that she even has a mausoleum dedicated to her in Lahore.
The Greek author has two epic poems, Iliad and Odyssey, to his name and even has his official Facebook page. Apart from universally believed to be a blind writer from Ionia, almost everything else about Homer is debated to the point of wondering whether he actually existed.
In fact, not even the timeline of his lifetime is confirmed but generally accepted to be during late seventh century and early eighth century. Even if that was true, his works seem to be too advance for the mentioned time period and are now generally attributed to unidentifiable authors.
12. Pope Joan
During the Middle Ages, a woman disguised herself as a man and reigned as a pope for quite a number of years but was caught when she gave birth during a procession. Despite her tale being a part of literature, drama art and film, her authenticity is often questioned.
Despite many several inconsistencies of Pope Joan in various records, she was believed to be a real person for centuries but scholars now believe that she never actually even existed and was probably made up as anti-Catholic propaganda.
11. William Tell
The folk hero holds a special place in the hearts of every individual in Switzerland. Presumably lived in 14th century, William Tell was an expert marksman who shot an apple off the head of his own son, assassinated a tyrannical official and often stepped up to oppressive authority.
Today, Tell is so respected that November 18 has been given the title of William Tell Day to honor him. Mostly famous for the epic tale of shooting an apple off his son’s head, it is to be noted that such act has been a part of several legends and myths including Norse mythology. Furthermore, the earliest accounts only mention him by pictures instead of actual texts so it is highly unlikely that Tell was a real figure.
10. Betty Crocker
A fictional cook made by the Washburn-Crosby company, Betty Crocker was a marketing strategy used in the advertising of several food and recipes. Based on the likeness of vaudeville performer Adelaide Hawley Cumming, the character became an American cultural icon.
The first name of the sweetheart of baking was considered too American and the last name was chosen from one of the directors of the company’s board. Despite being unreal, Crocker was treated as such and even had her own signature. In 1945, Fortune magazine named her the second most popular woman in America.
9. King Arthur
Arguably the most famous tale in Britain, King Arthur pulled out a sword from a stone to earn his rightful place as the king of England. Once he claimed the throne, King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table defended Britain against Saxon invaders in late 5th and 6th century.
With his earliest records dating back to 12th century in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s imaginative History of the Kings of Britain, many have concluded that King Arthur was purely a fictional character and was made to restore a sense of British pride.
8. Carolyn Keene
As the author of Nancy Drew mystery books, Carolyn Keene sold more than 100 million copies and was even invited to join the Authors Guild. Unknown to the readers, the author never existed and it was a pseudonym used by several ghost writers to pen down the series.
Invented by published Edward Stratemeyer, the authors received a $125 salary for each book and had to sign a secrecy contract that forbade them from claiming any sort of credit for the books.