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LiteratEye #11: Motive for Murder

Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Literary Hoaxes

Here’s the eleventh installment of LiteratEye, a series found only on The Art of the Prank Blog, by W.J. Elvin III, editor and publisher of FIONA: Mysteries & Curiosities of Literary Fraud & Folly and the LitFraud blog.

LiteratEye #11: Motive for Murder
By W.J. Elvin III
April 24, 2009

“I felt at the time like someone would have to die, that drastic measures were called for, but I didn’t know who.” … “I even thought of the possibility of killing people who were not involved in the fraud schemes at all “¦ And I could tell the fraud victims I was too busy with those deaths to come through on the frauds. The whole idea was not to get caught for the frauds.” (Quotes from Mark Hofmann noted in the book, “Salamander” by Linda Sillitoe and Allen Roberts).

Mark W. HofmannMark Hofmann would be considered a celebrity genius of literary forgery and fraud if he hadn’t flipped out and killed some people. As a result of the murders, he’ll go down in history as a warped and callous ogre.

Before going on, I’d like to clear the air about one thing. There’s a mistake I’ve been making for some time in referring to Hofmann as “the greatest forger of the past century.” George J. Throckmorton brought it to my attention in one of the few books about the case that I’d overlooked until recently, “Motive for Murder.” What should be said is: “Mark Hofmann was the greatest forger of the last century who got caught.”

Obviously, the truly great forgers will remain forever unknown.

Aside from that, the most interesting aspect of Throckmorton’s book is, as the title suggests, his exploration of Hofmann’s motive for the killings. (more…)