The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
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Iceberg floats into Sydney Harbor, 1978
Paul Krassner's Stereophonic Hoax, 1960
The Great Electric Sugar Swindle, 1884

What do the lines on Solo cups mean?
Jernegan's Gold Accumulator Scam, 1898
Baby Yoga, aka Swinging Your Kid Around Your Head
Cat that walked 3000 miles to find its owners, 1951
The Great New York Zoo Escape Hoax, 1874
Snowball the Monster Cat, 2000
Iceberg floats into Sydney Harbor, 1978
Pilgrims Flock to Manoppello’s Shrine
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 31, 2014
Promoters of the Manoppello Image are hoping that it's soon going to be as popular as the Shroud of Turin. Like the Shroud, it's supposedly the actual face of Jesus miraculously imprinted onto a piece of cloth. But I see a problem with their plan. The Shroud of Turin, say what you will about it, genuinely looks mysterious and creepy. But the Manoppello Image just looks like a bad painting. U.S. Pilgrims Flock to Manoppello’s Shrine After Benedict XVI Visit National Catholic Register Pilgrims have flocked to see an image debated to be the veil of Veronica, the resurrection cloth of Christ or a centuries-old hoax... Some believe the image is the storied "veil of Veronica," the cloth...
Categories: Religion Comments (2)
Monster Map
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 31, 2014
Tah gave me a heads up about this 'Here There Be Monsters' shirt that was the deal-of-the-day at Shirt Woot! It reminded me that I recently came across a foldout Storyteller's Map of American Myths in the Aug 22, 1960 issue of Life magazine. It's full of strange creatures such as the Arizona Ghost Camel ("once imported by the army, wandered the desert with dead riders), Michigan Tigerfish ("lurking around Saginaw Bay ate cabin boys"), and the New Jersey Mosquito ("as large as a swallow and fierce as an eagle, was trained by the Indians to hunt. One sting could stop a deer in its tracks.") And the same issue also had a foldout guide to "Yarns and Whoppers and Practical Jokes" that depicts...
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales Comments (0)
Catching up with Stephen Glass
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 29, 2014
Stephen Glass can't catch a break. He burned his bridges in journalism, and now the lawyers don't want him either. Stephen Glass, journalist fired for fake stories, denied law license abclocal.go.com SAN FRANCISCO (KABC) -- Disgraced former journalist Stephen Glass was denied a license to practice law in California in a state supreme court ruling on Monday. The court ruled unanimously against Glass, a magazine writer who was fired after 31 of 42 high-profile stories were determined to contain fabrications and falsehoods. Glass, 41, was fired from the The New Republic magazine in 1998 after working there for three years. After being exposed, he continued to cover up his work by creating fake...
Categories: Journalism Comments (2)
100-year-old Time Capsule Letter Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 27, 2014
Matt Novak, writing for Gizmodo Australia, notes that 100 years ago a news story circulated reporting that Frank Rockwell, the mayor of Akron, Ohio, had written a letter to Akron's future mayor in 2014: Fort Wayne Sentinel - Jan 24, 1914 Mayor Rockwell wrote a letter yesterday to the person who will be mayor of Akron 100 years hence. The epistle tells the future mayor of the present debt, the names of all the city officials, the problems confronting the municipality and the political situation in Akron in 1914. The letter will be sealed, addressed to "His Honor, Mayor of Akron, 2014," marked with instructions not to be molested or opened until that year and placed in a bank vault to be...
Categories: Future/Time, History Comments (0)
Marlboro Marijuana Cigarettes
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 27, 2014
The latest fake news story to go viral claims that, due to the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, Philip Morris has decided to start selling Marlboro Marijuana Cigarettes, marketed under the brand name "Marlboro M". The fake news story was posted on the satire site "Abril Uno" on January 21st. From the article: Phillip Morris, the world’s biggest cigarette producer, announced today that they will join the marijuana legalization bandwagon and start producing marijuana cigarettes. Marketed under the brand “Marlboro M”, the cigarettes will be made available for sale through marijuana-licensed outlets in the state of Colorado, and the state of Washington when it becomes commercially...
This is not U2
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jan 26, 2014
Mysterious ways of Dave Fanning hoax; 2fm DJ passes off song by obscure English band as the latest single from U2. The Sunday Times (London) January 26, 2014 DUE TO a long friendship with U2, his radio show is always the first to play any new songs from the Dublin group. Earlier this month, however, U2 fans didn't find what they were looking for when Dave Fanning, the 2fm DJ, promised to play their new single - but instead spun a track from an unknown British band... What listeners actually heard was a song entitled Bad Machine by Dark Stares, a virtually unknown band from St Albans in London... Last week, Fanning dismissed the transmission as a hoax and insisted the joke was on listeners...
Categories: Music Comments (2)
We Will All Be Microchipped!
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 24, 2014
Scare stories about how governments are going to force us all to be "microchipped like dogs" have been circulating for well over a decade. Mixed in with these stories have been Christian fundamentalist claims that implanted microchips are the "Mark of the Beast". The latest scare story to surface is an article (written in broken English) recently posted on topinfopost.com, claiming that "On May 2014, through Europe newborn children will be compelled to take in a subcutaneous RFID chip." Nope. Ain't happening. The photo accompanying the article actually shows a flexible "Biostamp" recently developed by the Massachusetts-based firm MC10. But don't worry. The fundamentalists are convinced...
Categories: Technology Comments (2)
Giant Red Palm Weevil Larva
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 24, 2014
An Italian newspaper has reported that firefighters near Naples recently discovered a giant larva of a Red Palm Weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus). The larva, which was as big as an adult pig, was still alive, and as the firefighters approached it, the thing emitted a shrill cry similar to the whinny of a horse. The larva appears to be a result of "radioactive gigantism" caused by toxic waste in the so-called "Land of Fires" region of southern Italy. It has been taken to the Naples Museum to be studied by entomologists. At least, this is what I could understand of the story with help from Google Translate. (Any corrections/additions from Italian speakers would be appreciated!) The entire...
Categories: Animals Comments (0)
Theodore Roosevelt Rides a Moose
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 23, 2014
Theodore Roosevelt served as President of the United States for 8 years, from 1901-1909. He was, as Wikipedia notes, acclaimed for his "cowboy persona and robust masculinity." However, his masculinity was not so robust that he once rode a moose, despite what this photo appears to show. In 1912, Roosevelt split from the Republican Party, after having become unhappy with its increasingly conservative policies. He then ran for President as head of the newly formed Progressive Party. After forming this party, Roosevelt exuberantly proclaimed, "I'm feeling like a bull moose!" For which reason, the Progressive Party was often referred to as the "Bull Moose Party." Two months before the...
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (3)
The Unfortunate Consequence of Ignoring Facebook Hoaxes
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 22, 2014
Hidden Valley Ranch Scented Candles
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 22, 2014
[via reddit]
Categories: Food Comments (0)
Beijing residents are not flocking to see virtual sunrises
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 21, 2014
Well, I fell for this. A recent article posted on the Daily Mail was headlined, "China starts televising the sunrise on giant TV screens because Beijing is so clouded in smog." An accompanying photo showed a giant TV screen in a smoggy Tiananmen Square showing a sunrise. The article elaborated: The smog has become so thick in Beijing that the city’s natural light-starved masses have begun flocking to huge digital commercial television screens across the city to observe virtual sunrises. The futuristic screens installed in the Chinese capital usually advertize tourist destinations, but as the season’s first wave of extremely dangerous smog hit – residents donned air masks and left...
Categories: Journalism Comments (0)
Henry Clay Hooker and the Great Turkey Drive of 1866
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 21, 2014
Henry Clay Hooker (source: wikipedia) Henry Clay Hooker was a wealthy rancher in the Old West. He was known as the "cattle king of Arizona." Modern audiences may know him because he was played by Charlton Heston in the 1993 movie Tombstone. Perhaps the most famous part of Hooker's life story is the claim that he made his fortune by herding 500 turkeys over the Sierra Nevada mountain range into Nevada. The story goes that Hooker moved out to California from the East Coast as a young man. He opened a hardware store in Placerville, and was growing quite successful until tragedy struck in 1866 when his store and entire stock of goods burned to the ground, leaving him with only $1000. But...
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales Comments (2)
This photo of "Hercules, the World's Biggest Dog" is one of the best known "hoax" viral images on the Web. It started circulating in early 2007, initially on its own, but soon the Internet had supplied an explanatory caption: Hercules: The World's Biggest Dog Ever According to Guinness World Records Hercules was recently awarded the honorable distinction of Worlds Biggest Dog by Guinness World Records. Hercules is an English Mastiff and has a 38 inch neck and weighs 282 pounds. With "paws the size of softballs" (reports the Boston Herald), the three-year-old monster is far larger and heavier than his breed's standard 200lb. limit. Hercules owner Mr. Flynn says that Hercules weight is...
Squirrel AIDS is a hoax
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 17, 2014
The Ocean County Health Department of New Jersey recently began receiving numerous phone calls and emails from people worried about the health risk posed by squirrels with AIDS. Many parents asked whether they should allow their children to play outside. In response, the health department has posted a statement assuring the public that there is no such thing as 'Squirrel AIDS' or 'SQUAIDS'. Nor have there been any confirmed cases of illness transmitted to a human from a squirrel. No cases of squirrel-to-human disease transmission? I immediately thought, 'What about rabies?' But some googling reveals that although squirrels can theoretically contract rabies, it's very rare for them to do...
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (0)
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.