The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
The town of Bowen in Queensland, Australia is home to the world's largest mango statue. It's 33 feet tall, 26 feet wide, and weighs 7 tons. Yesterday, that mango went missing. Employees of the Bowen tourist information centre, adjacent to the statue, said they showed up for work and it was simply gone.
CCTV footage revealed a mobile crane backing up to the statue in the night and taking off with it.
Word quickly spread via social media of the missing mango.
However, people quickly suspected that the mango heist might be a publicity stunt since no theft report was filed with the police. And sure enough, a chicken restaurant chain, Nando's, has now...
After Justin Bieber reportedly looked at a few houses in the Buckhead community of Atlanta, Georgia, a group calling itself the Buckhead Neighborhood Coalition formed to protest him moving to the area.
And since the media loves to cover anything related to Justin Bieber, the protest group was soon making headlines, reported on by the BBC, CNN, Daily Mail, Time, Atlanta Journal Constitution, etc.
Harold White, leader of the group, told CNN: "We're concerned he'll bring the wrong type of element into a quiet, residential area. It is our position that a person with his means could certainly find a neighborhood more suited to his eclectic lifestyle."
On its Facebook page, the group further...
Artist Prudence Straite makes works of art out of fish-and-chip shop food. Below is her version of the Loch Ness Monster.
It's a chip monster, and it looks like the banks of the Loch are made from fried fish. [via Yahoo! News]
Some of the new developments include a device called the "soul phone," which is described as "an instrument that works like a telegraph through which people in spirit communicate."
Also learn how to communicate with the dead via regular phones: "Brazilian researcher Sonia Rinaldi... has been helping people by making phone calls to the beyond since March 2001. The majority have been for parents who have lost their children. Sonia writes, 'With this technology controlled by the Beyond, the call is not from the Beyond. They enter our terrestrial phone calls.'"
I guess that means you can talk to the dead on your iPhone. I wonder if there's an app for that?
A lot of the other stuff at the...
Another Jimmy Kimmel hoax. His crew built a replica of an Olympic Village dorm in their LA studio, then shot footage of a wolf wandering through its hallway. They had US luger Kate Hansen post the footage on YouTube, and to her Twitter account, claiming it was a wolf outside her room. A play on all the reports of stray dogs loose in Sochi. And, of course, the footage quickly went viral.
The wolf was actually a North American timber wolf that Kimmel's crew hired (a rescue wolf named Rugby). Kimmel admitted to the hoax on Twitter, and then gave a full explanation on his Thursday night show.
Very odd. The controversy is that this guy, if the allegations are true, is too old to be playing in a youth league. And he really doesn't look like he's 17. But wouldn't a guy in his 40s actually be at a disadvantage playing against much younger guys?
Lazio threaten legal action after claims Cameroon 17 year-old Joseph Minala is actually 41
Lazio have threatened legal action against anyone who questions the age of their 17-year-old Cameroonian player Joseph Minala. The Serie A club have even been forced to release his birth certificate, which they claim is "absolutely legitimate", following a report by Senagalese media that he is in fact 41.
Italian social media was buzzing recently with word of the discovery of a narrow tunnel, over 2000 years old, running beneath the Strait of Messina (the body of water between the mainland of Italy and Sicily).
The tunnel was believed to have been built by the Romans during the Punic wars (264-241 BC) as a passageway for troops. It was discovered by workers doing construction on a highway.
But the story turns out to have come from an Italian fake news site called Dangerous News. One of the tunnel photos came from an Aug 2011 Daily Mail article about the discovery of mysterious stone-age tunnels in Bavaria. [link: canicattiweb.com]
The larger context for this hoax is the on-again/off-again...
This cow illusion has been circulating since at least 2011.
And here's the original, which, I believe, is a stock photo. Though I don't know which stock photo agency it's from.
Trending recently on social media, a picture of "Venice Frozen".
There hasn't been freezing weather recently in Venice. So yes, the picture is fake. Anyway, even if it did freeze in Venice, the ice there wouldn't look that clear blue.
The photo is a composite created by Robert Johns. He posted it two weeks ago on his Instagram account.
He created the image by taking ice from a photo of Lake Baikal (taken by Daniel Kordan), and inserted it into a photo of Venice (taken by Luis Manuel Osorio Fernandez).
Lake Baikal by Daniel Kordan
Venice by Luis Manuel Osorio Fernandez
Robert Johns has done a series of these frozen Venice images. He intends them as art photos, not as deliberate...
Landon Austin posts on Instagram: "Making breakfast one morning I accidentally created #TheEggsOfAmerica."
Strange, because I actually think it looks like Jesus.
The never-ending saga of Richard Heene, aka Father of Balloon Boy, continues. It's actually kinda sad. A guy who's completely destroyed his credibility, still giving interviews to the media, hoping to convince people he's telling the truth.
Oprah Catches Up with "Balloon Boy" Flying Saucer Family; Richard Heene Insists "It Was Never a Hoax"
Broward Palm Beach New Times
"It was never a hoax," Richard Heene tells Oprah's cameras. "I took a guilty plea to save my family." He pled guilty to felony charges of attempting to influence a public servant and was ordered to pay $47,000 and serve 90 days in jail, and Mayumi pled guilty to a misdemeanor. But outside of the courtroom both Heene parents...
The Nun's Priest's Tale in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales tells the story of a vain rooster, Chauntecleer, whose vanity leads him to drop his guard while showing off how splendidly he crows. As a result, he almost gets eaten by a fox. But Chauntecleer outwits the fox that carries him away in its mouth by taking advantage of the fox's own vanity. He persuades the fox to stop and mock his pursuers. As soon as the fox opens its mouth to do so, Chauntecleer flies to safety up into a tree.
The story is one of the most popular of Chaucer's tales, because of its playful humor involving talking barnyard animals, much like a Disney cartoon. But in recent years the story has acquired a different...
THE LATEST BIGOTED NOTE HOAX: Deejays for a New York radio morning show aired a story about two gay dads who had sent out invitations for their daughters birthday party and had received back a note from the mother of one boy saying, "Tommy will NOT attend. I do not believe in what you do and will not subject my innocent son to your 'lifestyle.' I'm sorry Sophia has to grow up this way. If you have an issue or need to speak to me: [number erased]."
Turns out the entire story was made up. The deejays explained that they were staging a publicity stunt to boost ratings "attempting to spur a healthy discourse on a highly passionate topic". Not many people are buying that explanation.
Philip Kadish, who's completing his Ph.D. in American Lit. at The City University of New York, notes that a 'neglected anniversary' recently passed by: the 150th anniversary of the Miscegenation Hoax of 1864, which, as he notes, was "one of the greatest and least remembered political media hoaxes in American history."
The old hoax is certainly evidence that bigotry has always been a part of American politics. As Kadish notes, the hoax foreshadowed modern political hoaxes that play to bigotry, such as the claim that Obama is a Muslim.
The race-mixing hoax that dogged Lincoln
By Philip Kadish
This year is the 150th anniversary of one of the greatest and least remembered political media...
During the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on Feb. 7, there was a scene in which five giant snowflakes hanging in the air were supposed to expand to form the Olympic rings, followed by fireworks going off around them. However, one of the snowflakes failed to expand, and the fireworks never materialized.
It was an embarrassing screw-up, since it was seen by millions of people around the world. And it quickly proved to be a focal point for hoaxes and parody.
People watching the games in Russia never saw the screw-up at all, because the Russian broadcaster Rossiya 1 quickly substituted footage from an earlier rehearsal showing everything working perfectly. The Russian...
All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.