the oera linda book, 19th century

This book is the result of a practical joke which unintentionally ran out of hand. Its authors made use of the 19th-century tendency to embellish the grand history of Friesland and the Frisians. They made up a story and wrote it down in an equally non-existent ‘Old Frisian’ language, written in a script similar to runic script.

Oera Linda boek, 19de eeuw

The Oera Linda book, 19th century. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The story is about a family named Over de Linden, ‘Oera Linda’ in the mock-language. The original idea was that readers would gradually become aware that it was a joke, but apparently the book was so convincing that it was declared genuine by the Fries Genootschap, an official authority dealing with Frisian historical and cultural matters.

Now wouldn’t you be fooled by something looking so authentic as this book?