Cautionary Tales – The Truth About Hansel and Gretel

22nd October, 2021

Cautionary Tales is written by me, Tim Harford, with Andrew Wright. It is produced by Ryan Dilley and Marilyn Rust.

The sound design and original music is the work of Pascal Wyse. Julia Barton edited the scripts.

Thanks to the team at Pushkin Industries, including Mia Lobel, Jacob Weisberg, Heather Fain, Jon Schnaars, Carly Migliori, Eric Sandler, Emily Rostek, Maggie Taylor, Daniella Lakhan and Maya Koenig.

[Apple] [Spotify] [Stitcher]

Further reading and listening

Hans Traxler’s book is, of course, The Truth About Hansel and Gretel – unfortunately it is available only in German. An excellent starting point to understand the hoax is Jordan Todorov’s article for Atlas Obscura. Paul Berczeller’s documentary about Takako Konishi is This Is a True Story.

The study of the effectiveness of flagging satire is R Kelly Garrett, Shannon Poulsen, Flagging Facebook Falsehoods: Self-Identified Humor Warnings Outperform Fact Checker and Peer Warnings, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Volume 24, Issue 5, September 2019, Pages 240–258,

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