Many students (and teachers alike!) do not know Edgar Allan Poe was well-known for his hoax stories (he was quite the prankster and loved to watch people believe the stories).
This activity is designed to open students to a whole genre that they typically do not learn about. My students personally enjoyed reading the different hoax stories and learning about each of them. Follow-up to this assignment is to talk about current hoax stories (either on the news or published).