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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
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The Stone-Age Tasaday Hoax, 1971
Bizarre pictographs of Emmanuel Domenech, 1860
Can a bar of soap between your sheets ease muscle cramps?

Baby Yoga, aka Swinging Your Kid Around Your Head
The Stone-Age Tasaday Hoax, 1971
The damp spot that hoaxed a city, 1912
The Case of the Vanishing Belly Button, 1964
The Gallery of Fake Viral Images
The boy with the golden tooth, 1593
Jennifer Love Hewitt's Disappearing Breasts
Photoshopped Greek Mugshots
Posted by The Curator on Sat Feb 09, 2013
Over in Greece there's uproar over some mugshots of suspected bank robbers. Photos of the men being taken into custody show them badly bruised, but in the mugshots released by the police these bruises have disappeared, and the police admit that, yeah, they photoshopped the mugshots to remove the bruises. Critics say this was done to hide evidence of police brutality. The police say they did it to make the men recognizable. In the photos below, the pre-mugshot pics are on the left, and the photoshopped mugshots on the right. [nbcnews]
Man prosecuted for photoshopping
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 08, 2013
Over in Zimbabwe they treat photoshopping as a serious offense, especially if you decide to photoshop your head onto the body of Robert Mugage, as graphic designer Ronald Chikambure allegedly did. The official charge against him was "undermining the authority of the President." Apparently detectives were tipped off that Chikambure was displaying said photoshopped picture on the wall of his office, so they raided his office. They didn't find the picture on the wall, but they did find a copy of it on his laptop, and that was enough to land him in court. Unfortunately, a copy of the photo in question doesn't seem to have been released. I guess they don't have the Smoking Gun over in Zimbabwe....
Looking for eye squirters
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 08, 2013
I assume this email was sent to me because buried in the Museum's blog there's a post about eye squirting. So I'm passing it along to you all, in case anyone is interested: Hi! I'm the Casting Producer for a new television show with Talpa Media, the creators of "The Voice." We're bringing our Dutch hit, "Challenge Me" to the states and we’re looking for people who have the ability to squirt milk from their eye. If chosen to be on the show, you'll have the opportunity win thousands of dollars AND gain national exposure for using the talents you already have! Please contact me ASAP for more details. If you want to squirt milk from your eye on TV, contact me and I'll give you the casting...
Categories: Miscellaneous Comments (0)
Donny and Marie Join the Klan?
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 08, 2013
I've noticed that a picture of this book, Donny and Marie Join the Klan, has recently been doing the rounds online. Just in case anyone might have thought this was a real book, no, it wasn't. The original was Donny and Marie - The Top Secret Project, published in 1977. Clever alteration.
Categories: Books Comments (1)
Fake Ed Asner tries to help Pittsburgh cinema
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 08, 2013
Yet another example of a celebrity imposter masquerading online. In this case, the imposter evidently thought their deception was for a worthy cause. Nevertheless, it's still a deception. Fake Ed Asner Endorses Struggling Dormont Theater CBS Pittsburgh The Facebook post from the fake Ed Asner page reads "Help the Hollywood Theater! One of Pittsburgh's last historic neighborhood cinemas. I have found memories of visiting this venue as a much younger man while visiting relatives. I'll double every donation!" Theater manager Chad Hunter was excited but skeptical when he saw the post. He tried sending a thank you message to Asner via the social media website but never heard back. That's when...
The Disappearance of Matthew Robillard
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 07, 2013
Sounds like the guy got tired of his old life and decided to disappear and start a new one. Matthew Robillard's Lethbridge Disappearance A Hoax: Police huffingtonpost.ca Police in southern Alberta say the disappearance of a young family man late last week was a hoax. Matthew Aaron Robillard's relatives called police Thursday when the 25-year-old Lethbridge man failed to show up for work at a Scotiabank in nearby Picture Butte. His car was later discovered with a smashed window in an industrial area near the Calgary airport. Media reported his keys, wallet and phone had been left in the car along with a strange package of cigarettes. He apparently didn't smoke. Investigators found Robillard,...
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (1)
Fake WWI Spy Trees
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 07, 2013
An unusual example of military deception! The Army's special branch: How bizarre fake spy trees appeared in no-man's land during WWI (and killed hundreds of soldiers) Daily Mail Artists in the Royal Engineers were tasked with meticulously selecting a real tree on the battlefield by measuring and photographing it extensively. The ideal tree was dead and often it was bomb blasted. The photographs and sketches were then sent to a workshop where artists constructed an artificial tree of hollow steel cylinders. It contained an internal scaffolding for reinforcement, to allow a sniper or observer to ascend within the structure. Then, under the cover of night, the team cut down the authentic tree...
Categories: Military Comments (0)
Did President Taft once get stuck in a bathtub?
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 07, 2013
William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States (1909-1913), was a large man. He reportedly weighed 355 pounds while in office, and according to rumor, he was so large that he once got stuck in the white house bathtub. The experience supposedly so rattled him that he ordered the installation of an extra-large tub big enough to hold four ordinary men. William Howard Taft The story of him getting stuck in a tub has been frequently repeated in books and newspapers, but is there any truth to the tale? Constitution Daily recently investigated the rumor, scouring through newspaper archives, documents from the National Archives, and Taft biographies, and concluded that "the entire 'stuck...
Categories: Politics, Urban Legends Comments (1)
Crop circles from 1945?
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 06, 2013
Greg Jefferys, a PhD candidate at the University of Tasmania, recently claimed to have found evidence that crop circles were around long before the crop circle craze of the 1990s focused attention on them. He studied images in Google Earth's 1945 overlay, showing historical pictures of British locations 68 years ago, and found numerous circular patterns in the British countryside. [link: Birmingham Mail] Jefferys is quoted as saying, "This discovery proves that claims by various artists to be the sole creators of crop circles are themselves a hoax. It just goes to show that the circles remain unexplained. I hope this discovery will stimulate renewed interest in crop circles by serious...
Categories: Crop Circles Comments (2)
Iran’s Space Monkey Mix-up
Posted by The Curator on Tue Feb 05, 2013
There's some monkey business going on in Iran's space program: Iran's Space Agency Confirms Reports on Launch Used Images of Two Different Monkeys thelede.blogs.nytimes.com A senior official at Iran's space agency confirmed on Saturday that state media reports on the launching of a monkey into the thermosphere had used images of two different monkeys. The official insisted, however, that the monkey had survived the journey and that Iran was not trying to cover up a failed flight... doubts about Iran's claim that the monkey had survived the journey spread after journalists noticed that the monkey pictured in the first reports from state-run news organizations had a prominent mole over its...
Categories: Animals, Technology Comments (1)
USC Glamour Queen Hoax, 1944
Posted by The Curator on Sat Feb 02, 2013
In April 1944, the University of Southern California held its annual Campus Queens beauty contest. Each dormitory and sorority was allowed to put forward one candidate. Several "non-org" (or non-affiliated candidates) were allowed to enter the contest as well. This made for a total of 20 contestants vying for the title. Six winners would be selected by an all-university vote. Their prize was that their full-length portrait would appear in the university yearbook. (Not much of a prize, but I suppose it's something they could show their grandkids later in life.) However, that year an imposter appeared among the candidates. Can you spot who it was? The odd-woman-out, or odd-man-out as it...
Beyonce admits she lip-synched at inauguration
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 01, 2013
Honestly, I don't know why people made an issue out of this. Do we really expect that singers should be able to belt out perfect vocals in freezing weather? Beyonce says sang along to pre-recorded track at inauguration reuters.com Singer Beyonce said she sang along to a pre-recorded track at the inauguration of President Barack Obama, but delivered a stirring a cappella version of the U.S. national anthem at a Super Bowl news conference on Thursday... "It was a live television show and a very, very important emotional show for me and one of my proudest moments, and due to the weather, to the delay, due to no proper sound check, I did not feel comfortable taking the risk. It was about the...
Categories: Music Comments (0)
Prof. Humbolt’s Electric-Light Fluid Scam, 1896
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 31, 2013
I came across the above complaint in Gleanings in Bee Culture (1896). It seems that a door-to-door salesman was going around selling something he called "Prof. Humbolt's Electric-Light Fluid," which had absolutely nothing to do with electricity or electric lighting. The term "electric" was thrown into just about every product name back then to make products sound more scientific and modern. As far as I can tell from the description, this "electric-light fluid" was a powder (not a fluid!) that people could add to the kerosene or coal oil in lamps. Supposedly it made the lamps burn brighter, smoke less, and reduced the risk of them exploding. Kind of like those fuel additives that are sold...
Categories: Products, Scams Comments (1)
A Case of Art Plagiarism
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 29, 2013
Art fraud typically involves the copying or imitation of famous artists. For instance, Han van Meegeren made millions by claiming that his paintings were actually newly discovered works by Vermeer. But the recent case of Rashidi Barrett shows that it's also possible to make money by copying the work of relatively obscure artists. Rashidi Barrett (image posted on his website) Barrett's work generated positive buzz when he began showing it in Norfolk, Virginia around 2011. He used his job DJ-ing to promote his work — he called himself DJ Cornbread — and soon he was having exhibits at local galleries where he managed to sell some pieces, earning himself a few thousand dollars. He...
Categories: Art Comments (2)
Slave Girl for $7.14 Hoax, 1959
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 28, 2013
Here's an example of a rumor that swept through an African community back in 1959. The story appeared in The Bakersfield Californian (Nov. 10, 1959). Slave Girl For $7.14 All A Hoax MOMBASA, Kenya (UPI) — Crowds of Africans who wanted to buy wives for $7.14 each have been told by the government that those stories about slave auctions were only rumor. Local official W.P.M. Maigacho had to issue an official denial of the rumors after men from outlying tribes twice gathered in the town of Tononka, expecting to take part in a slave auction. According to the rumors, native girls from a local mission were being sold for the equivalent of $7.14. The purchaser could take the girl to...
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.