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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
A visitor pointed out to me that I had neglected to include Lake Michigan Whale Watching in my list of hoax sites. Plus, while we're on the subject of whale watching in the midwest, let's not forget the web page devoted to the wonders of Mankato, Minnesota, where the temperature never drops below 70 degrees fahrenheit, even in the dead of winter, thanks to the presence of hot springs that heat the air. Mankato boasts a thriving whale watching industry on account of the annual summer migration of the whales up the Minnesota River. And to return to Lake Michigan, who can forget the case of the Viagra spill that temporarily revived its flagging spirits.
A visitor (Bill Graham) informed me of a memorable hoax that I missed: Ye Olde Frothingsloth Pale Stale Ale. Frothingslosh is a unique beer that's so light that the beer actually floats on top of the foam. It all started out as a running joke on Rege Cordic's Pittsburgh radio show in the 1950s. He made up all kinds of joke ads for this fictitious beer and invented slogans such as "A whale of an ale for the pale stale male" and "Hi dittom dottom, the foam is on the bottom." But the Olde Frothingsloth concept became so popular, that eventually it caught the attention of the Pittsburgh Brewing Co. who started selling small runs of Olde Frothingsloth for special occasions such as Christmas and holidays. Of course, the beer being sold was really just Iron City Beer repackaged with Olde Frothingslosh labels, but the labels themselves were so outrageous that they instantly became prized among beer can collectors. The most popular cans were those that featured Miss Olde Frothingslosh, Fatima Yechburgh (pictured below), the supposed winner of the Frothingslosh Beauty Contest. Fatima was described as a resident of a small town near Pittsburgh. When not studying arc welding, she enjoyed soap carving, arm wrestling, sky diving, and ballet. I believe that the Pittsburgh Brewing Co. still occasionally produces small runs of Olde Frothingslosh. I'd love to try some.
Heineken invites you to create your own hoax.
Last week everyone was linking to this spoof about the missing Weapons of Mass Destruction. It even managed to become the first item displayed if you typed in 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' on Google (though Google has since changed that). In the same spirit, here's a spoof page about Jayson Blair and the New York Times.
It sounded awful. Five puppies thrown onto the highway from a moving car. Tracy Lloyd claimed that she managed to save one of them, while other motorists scooped up the other four. Turns out the whole tale was bogus. Lloyd wasn't allowed to keep pets in her apartment, so she had made up a sob-story to convince her landlord to bend the rules for her. Her story was exposed when the person who sold the dog to her saw Lloyd telling about the highway incident on tv.
David Emery, of About.com's Urban Legends and Folklore page, found out that the Baby Ink tattoo parlor was an April Fool's day joke created by a couple of San Diego DJs. The DJs boast about the prank on their website (you need to scroll about halfway down to find the reference).
Finally an answer to the riddle of 'what is Splat' that sounds like it's probably correct. According to John Lundberg of circlemakers.org, Splat was a sculpture created by the British artist John Isaacs in the mid 1990s.
On July 8, 1947, 56 years ago today, the Roswell Daily Record made UFO history by announcing on its front page the discovery by the army of a flying saucer in the Roswell region. The army soon retracted its statement that it had discovered a flying saucer, leading to ever-growing suspicion of a cover-up. Here's a transcript of the 1947 article.
Here's the latest hoax website making the rounds: Baby Ink, a tattoo parlor for kids. The site claims that any kid over the age of six months is allowed to get a tattoo as long as their parent signs a consent form. But I don't believe that's right. That would be a bit like saying kids are allowed to smoke or drink alcohol as long as their parents consent to it. No, I think you have to be 18 or over to get a tattoo (or is it 16 and over?). The site lists a San Diego location that's quite near to where I live. I think I'll drive by and see what's actually there.
A reporter at the Roswell Daily Record gets fired for printing a quote he claimed to have gotten from a groundskeeper at a local golf course named 'Carl Spangler.' In reality, the quote came from Bill Murray's character in Caddyshack, 'Carl Spackler.' The quote referred to a new type of hybrid grass developed by the groundskeeper that had this amazing feature: "you can play 36 holes on it in the afternoon, take it home and just get stoned to the bejeezus-belt that night on the stuff."