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The Best Hoaxes in Music History

on May 03, 2013, 12:01am
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Pink Floyd’s Publius Enigma


What’s the hoax? An encoded scavenger hunt for a “unique prize” centered around Pink Floyd’s 1994 The Division Bell album and tour with clues hidden in album art, live visuals, and allegedly hidden in the album’s lyrics. The Enigma originates from the Usenet newsgroup, alt.music.pink-floyd, where a poster named Publius announced the contest/riddle and that he’d serve as a “guide” to point fans in the right direction. Speculation and skepticism ran rampant, but appearances of the words “Publius” and “Enigma” on stage and in print verified the contest to be the real deal.

Over the years, Pink Floyd have regarded the Enigma with vague or dismissive comments. In his biography, Nick Mason said it was the record company’s idea. According to Publius, the band was in on it: “Although all great music is subject to multiple interpretations, in this case there is a central purpose and a designed solution.”

To this day, the riddle has never been confirmed solved and debate about its legitimacy continues. However, this writer has a theory. Might the “unique prize” in fact be something everyone can share? Dark Side of the Moon resurfaced during The Division Bell tour, and with it came imagery inspired by The Wizard of Oz. What if, acknowledging the accidental synch of Dark Side withWizard of Oz, Pink Floyd tailored Division Bell to synch with 1985’s Return to Oz? The resulting synch is very surprising and far more complex than “Dark Side of the Rainbow” ever was. Might this be the long sought after “prize”? See for yourself:

The Source: Anonymous Usenet user “Publius”, possibly Pink Floyd, possibly Columbia Records. More info: The Publius EnigmaWikipedia.

Hoax Score: 7 out of 10 – As long as you’re a believer.

-Cap Blackard

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