The signature of God

In 1726, Johann Beringer of Wurzburg in Germany published details of fossils found outside the Bavarian town. These included lizards in their skin, birds with beaks and eyes, spiders with their webs, and frogs copulating.

Other stones bore the Hebrew letters YHVH, for Jehovah, or God. He believed them to be natural products of the "plastic power" of the inorganic world, and said so in a book.

Alas, they had been planted fraudulently by spiteful colleagues. The legend is that Beringer impoverished himself trying to buy back all copies of his book, and the finds became known as lugensteine, or "lying stones".