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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
Spielberg Slaughters A Triceratops
Posted by The Curator on Sat Jul 12, 2014
Last Sunday, Facebook user Jay Branscomb posted a picture of director Steven Spielberg posing with a triceratops, with the comment, "Disgraceful photo of recreational hunter happily posing next to a Triceratops he just slaughtered. Please share so the world can name and shame this despicable man." Of course, triceratops have been extinct for millions of years. Spielberg was posing next to a movie prop from Jurassic Park, not an actual animal. Branscomb intended his post as a joke, alluding to the ongoing brouhaha about Kendall Jones, the 19-year-old cheerleader who likes hunting big game and posing with her kills. Branscomb's post quickly went viral, and it seems that the vast…
This Day in the History of Hoaxes: July 12
Posted by The Curator on Sat Jul 12, 2014
July 12, 1945: Van Meegeren Confesses
Han van Meegeren, on trial in the Netherlands for selling to the Nazis a painting by Johannes Vermeer (considered a national treasure), defended himself by confessing that the painting wasn't actually by Vermeer. He had painted it himself. In fact, he had been churning out fake Vermeers for years, amassing a small fortune in the process. He was convicted of forgery, but died of a heart attack before serving any time. More…
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This Day in the History of Hoaxes: July 11
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jul 11, 2014
July 11, 1947: Twin Falls UFO Hoax
The FBI, Army Intelligence, and police all responded to a report of the discovery of a "flying saucer" in the yard of Mrs. T.H. Thompson of Twin Falls, Idaho. The saucer was discovered by her neighbor who heard a "thudding noise" at about 2:30 am, ran outside, and found a large metallic disk on the lawn. The authorities spent a day trying to figure out what the object was, as townsfolk worried whether they were being invaded by extraterrestrials, before four teenage boys admitted they had made it as a prank. It had taken them several days to make the saucer which was replete with "a plexiglass dome, radio tubes, burned wires, and glistening sides of silver and gold."
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The Rat Wrap
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jul 10, 2014
Photos of a rat found in a wrap ordered from Chop't (a New York sandwich and salad restaurant) have recently caused quite a stir on Twitter. Naturally, people are wondering if this is some kind of hoax, since claiming to find gross things in your food is a time-honored way of trying to shake down restaurants. (Remember the lady who found the severed finger in her chili at Wendy's!) Gothamist has been in touch with people at the law firm where the "rat wrap" was delivered to, who insist that there's no hoax on their end. And Chop't is saying that it doesn't believe this is the work…
Categories: Food Comments (0)
29 (lip-synced) celebrity impressions in one song
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jul 10, 2014
A video of musician Rob Cantor doing 29 Celebrity impressions in one song got over 7 millions views on youtube since July 1. But now Cantor has admitted that he was lip-syncing the impressions as a way to get people to listen to the song. The process of creating the impressions that he lip-synced to turns out to have been quite elaborate, and he's released a new video showing how it all worked. And that video is also going viral. So this guy really knows how to use social media to his advantage! Thewrap.com has some more details.
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This Day in the History of Hoaxes: July 10
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jul 10, 2014
July 10, 1969: Donald Crowhurst's boat found
Crowhurst was a competitor in a round-the-world, non-stop, solo sailing race. But as he lagged further behind the other competitors, he devised a scheme to fake his way into the lead by remaining in the Atlantic while the other boats circumnavigated the globe, so that upon their return it would appear as if he was in the lead. But apparently realizing that he was doomed to be found out, and possibly having succumbed to insanity, he jumped overboard instead, leaving his boat empty. [wikipedia]
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Holy Eggplants
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 09, 2014
Line cook Jemarcus Brady, who works at Gino's restaurant in Baton Rouge, LA., was recently slicing through an eggplant, when he realized that the seeds spelled the word 'GOD'. Brady said that seeing that word in the eggplant was like God himself "showing me, hey, I'm real." However, this isn't the first time the name of God has appeared in an eggplant. The phenomenon has a long history. Back in 2007, Felicia Teske of Pennsylvania also found the word "GOD" in an eggplant. Before that, in 2003, a woman in Mendhasalis, India sliced into an eggplant and found that…
Categories: Pareidolia Comments (0)
The Disappearing Redhead Gene
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 09, 2014
Marie Claire notes on its blog that the idea that the gene for red hair could soon become "totally extinct" is just a hoax. [The disappearing redhead gene is a variant of the old disappearing blonde gene urban legend.] Nevertheless, Marie Claire does warn that global warming could cause "a dramatic increase in people born with auburn hair." It's getting this from The Daily Record, which in turn is getting it from a Dr. Alistair Moffat who works at a genetic testing company. Moffat's reasoning is that "red hair in Scotland, Ireland and the north of England is adaptation to the climate. We do not get enough sun and have to…
Categories: Urban Legends Comments (4)
Selfie taken by a ghost
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 09, 2014
Gina Mihai of Romania claims that on her cell phone she received a selfie taken by her grandmother, who happens to be dead. Gina says, "I was making doughnuts at the time and didn't want to get the phone dirty so I put it in my pocket, and when I took it out there was the image on the phone." Logically, it must be a picture of her grandmother, rather than a blurry shot of Gina herself, since Gina had failed to take any food to her grandmother's grave, per Romanian custom, and this is her grandmother's way of reminding her to do so. [Daily Mirror]
Categories: Paranormal Comments (1)
This Day in the History of Hoaxes: July 9
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 09, 2014
July 9, 1986: Cruise Control as Autopilot Legend
On this day in 1986, the Wall Street Journal reported what it described as a strange insurance claim paid off by Allstate. A woman, it said, had been cruising along a highway in the Washington DC area in her new van when her baby started crying from the back. So she turned cruise control on, believing this would allow the van to "drive itself," and left the wheel to check her baby. A multiple car-crash ensued. Allstate later clarified that it had never actually paid such a claim, though it conceded that the story of this supposed incident was frequently shared among its claims managers.
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This Day in the History of Hoaxes: July 8
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jul 08, 2014
July 8, 1953: The Great Monkey Hoax
Three young men reported running over a space alien on a rural Georgia highway. What made this case unusual is that the body of the alien was lying on the highway to prove their tale. The incident quickly made national headlines. But when scientists from Emory University examined the 'alien,' they determined it was actually a Capuchin monkey with its tail cut off and fur removed with depilatory cream. The boys confessed they had created it as a prank. More…
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My Lips Are For Blowing
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jul 07, 2014
It seems pretty obvious, if you think about it, that the album "My Lips Are For Blowing" by Svetlana Gruebbersolvik cannot be a real album. After all, even if you assume that the name of this album might have been an awkward translation from a Russian original, why would Tamla records (aka Motown) have put out an album of a Russian recorder player? Nevertheless, the image of this album cover has circulated widely, and a lot of people seem to be under the impression that it's an actual album. For instance, it recently popped up on the "History in Pictures" twitter feed, with no indication given that…
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (4)
Bible Didn’t Stop Bullets
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jul 07, 2014
Back in February, a bus driver, Rickey Wagoner, claimed that he was shot at by three teenagers while he was standing outside his bus. But he survived because a Bible he was carrying in his shirt pocket miraculously stopped the bullets. (The version of the Bible was a translation by Eugene Peterson titled 'The Message'.) Police have now conducted a thorough investigation and concluded that the bus driver couldn't have been telling the truth. According to the Dayton Daily News: Police ballistics tests showed that bullets fired from the handgun - a 25-caliber Raven model semiautomatic - at the same distance as had been fired at Wagoner’s book penetrated the…
Van Gogh’s ear on display
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jul 07, 2014
The ZKM Media Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany has been displaying a living replica of Van Gogh's ear. It was created by artist Diemut Strebe, working together with scientists at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. Strebe took cells from one of Van Gogh's descendants and grew them into an ear replica, using a 3-D printer to create the shape. [wsj.com] This recalls Hugh Troy's prank from 1935 in which he molded some dried beef into the shape of an ear, mounted it in a velvet-lined box, and surreptitiously put it up on display in the Museum of Modern Art during an exhibition of Van Gogh's work, along with a sign that identified…
Categories: Art Comments (1)
This Day in the History of Hoaxes: July 7
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jul 07, 2014
July 7, 1948: Crash of Tomato Man
During the late 1970s, a photo began to circulate within the UFO community that purported to show the remains of a large-headed alien whose craft had supposedly crashed near Laredo, Texas on July 7, 1948. The photo was offered as proof that alien crafts have crashed on Earth. The "alien" figure began to be referred to as "Tomato Man" because of its large, round head. But investigation revealed that the crash scene contained objects that were definitely man-made, suggesting that the photo actually shows the crash of a small plane that occurred more recently than 1948. [ufoevidence.org]
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.