The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
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The Stone-Age Tasaday Hoax, 1971
Cat that walked 3000 miles to find its owners, 1951
The Olympic Underwear Relay, 1956

Man flies by own lung power, 1934
Fake Fish Photos
Samsung invents the on/off switch
Snowball the Monster Cat, 2000
Cursed by Allah
The Cottingley Fairies, 1917
Bonsai Kittens, 2000
Small or Large Beer?
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 13, 2014
Would you like a small 12 oz beer for $4, or a large 12 oz one for $7? Your pick! It reminds me of that old Dunkin' Donuts offer: "Free 3 muffins when you buy 3 at the regular half-dozen price!" Except in the beer case, people were (allegedly) paying more for nothing but a different cup design. Hockey Fans Suing Arena Over Misleading Beer Prices By REBECCA BOONE Associated Press A handful of Idaho hockey fans sued a Boise arena on Tuesday, saying they were duped into thinking a $7 beer contains more brew than a $4 beer. The lawsuit says CenturyLink Arena, home of the Idaho Steelheads hockey team, defrauded customers by charging $3 more for a tall, narrow cup advertised as a "large" that...

Categories: Advertising Comments (0)
First Kiss
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 13, 2014
Director Tatia Pilieva recently released a video showing 20 strangers who were paired up and then asked to kiss each other. The video quickly went viral, with currently over 37 millions views on YouTube. But now the video is being outed as a kind of hoax because while it is true that the people were all strangers to each other, they were also professional performers. And the whole video was an ad for clothes, paid for by Wren Studio which is promoting its "Fall 14 collection". Amanda Hess writes for Slate: The video peddles the fantasy that beauty can spring from an unexpected connection between two random people, but what it's really showing us is the beauty of models making out....

Categories: Sex/Romance, Videos Comments (0)
Surf Heart
Posted by The Curator on Sat Mar 08, 2014
Recently seen circulating on Twitter with the caption, "Heart glare reflection on the shores of Hawaii". The picture was taken in Hawaii. That's true. Waikiki beach, to be specific. But the 'heart glare reflection' isn't real. The photo is a manipulation created by DeviantArt user 'charmbuster' back in April 2008. He wrote: "an experiment... this is a slight photomanip, the shape was so close i had to make it a heart! (waikiki beach)" It's been floating around the Internet ever since 2008. Sometimes it's titled 'sea heart' or 'beach heart'. (via PicPedant)

Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (0)
Martha Nasch—the woman who didn’t need to eat or drink
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 07, 2014
In September 1934, Louis Nasch, a department store painter living in St. Paul, Minnesota, alerted the press to the fact that his wife, Martha, hadn't had anything to eat or drink in the last seven years. She hadn't slept either. And yet she was perfectly healthy. Louis explained that he decided to go public with this information because "I do not want people to think I am starving my wife." Louis and Martha Nasch Upon being questioned by the press, Martha insisted it was true, though she conceded that she realized "the world will not believe me." To back up her claim, her husband, their 12-year-old son Robert, and a girl who lived next door had all signed a statement swearing they hadn't...

Categories: Food, Health/Medicine Comments (4)
1500 euro to host a Ukrainian girl
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 06, 2014
Italian social media is all abuzz with the news that the European Commission is offering to pay any EU family 1500 euro a month to host a political refugee from Ukraine — but particularly to host young Ukrainian women "who have always been discriminated against for trivial reasons." In response, many men are taking to Twitter/Facebook and are selflessly offering to host a young Ukrainian woman without receiving any compensation at all! Unfortunately the offer isn't real. The story comes from an Italian fake news site: Giornale del Corriere. [via blog sicilia]

Sinatra Burgers
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 06, 2014
In 1966, Dean Martin contributed a burger recipe to The Celebrity Cookbook, which was a collection of recipes by celebrities put together by Dinah Shore. Martin's simple recipe was as follows: MARTIN BURGERS 1 lb. ground beef 2 oz. bourbon---chilled Preheat a heavy frying pan and sprinkle bottom lightly with table salt. Mix meat, handling lightly, just enough to form into four patties. Grill over medium-high heat about 4 minutes on each side. Pour chilled bourbon in chilled shot glass and serve meat and bourbon on a TV tray. In 2010, Martin's burger recipe, scanned from The Celebrity Cookbook, appeared online and quickly went viral. I think it may have first been posted by the culinary...

Categories: Food Comments (0)
The Snow Snake
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 05, 2014
The above photo has recently been circulating on social media purporting to show a "snow snake". A caption provides this warning: This is the deadly snow snake. It has bitten 3 people in the state of Ohio and one in Pennsylvania. It’s been spotted in other states. It comes out in the cold weather and at this time there is no cure for it's bite. One bite and your blood starts to freeze. Scientist are trying to find a cure. Your body temperature start to fall once bitten. Please stay clear if you have see it. Please forward this and try to save as many people as we can from this deadly snow snake. The usual skeptics are saying that the creature in the photo is really just a rubber snake,...

HUVr Board
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 05, 2014
On March 3 a video appeared online (with an accompanying website) announcing that a company had created an actual working hoverboard (aka HUVr Board), of the kind seen in the 1989 movie Back to the Future II, using antigravity technology. The video immediately went viral, with over 3 million views already on YouTube. As many have noted, the video is clearly fake. No one has created a working hoverboard. But it was an impressive fake. Especially noteworthy is the number of celebrities appearing in the video — including Christopher Lloyd, Moby, Tony Hawk, Terrel Owens, etc. Which raises the question: why did someone go to the considerable expense of creating this video? What's the...

Categories: Technology, Videos Comments (0)
Hairy Chest Sweater
Posted by The Curator on Sun Mar 02, 2014
On April 1, 2013, Internet commerce site Firebox.com released a new product — the 70s Hairy Chest Sweater. From the product description: What makes lumberjacks, 70s television stars and the giant Brown Bears of Alaska so irresistibly attractive to others? Simple. Their long, luxuriant chest hair. Sadly, the recent 'man-scaping' trend has led to an epidemic of people pedantically plucking their pecs. Oh, the humanity. Thankfully, we’ve found a solution (while you wait for your rug to regenerate). The 70s Hairy Chest Sweater. This 100% polyester sweater is almost guaranteed to increase your masculinity, virility and ability to chop wood. Pull it on to cover that embarrassing...

Categories: April Fools Day, Fashion Comments (0)
The Brooksville Monster, 1959
Posted by The Curator on Sun Mar 02, 2014
In June 1959, reports surfaced of a monster seen in the woodlands of Central Florida, near Brooksville, about forty miles north of Tampa. Witnesses described seeing a giant creature with glowing eyes that towered over 9-feet-tall and moved rapidly through the trees with massive strides. The creature was active at night. Monster hunters went out to search for it. Some of them were armed with guns, and a few claimed to have spotted it and took a shot at it, but no creature was bagged. The reports aroused the curiosity of two Tampa Tribune reporters, Harry Robarts and Bob Fellows, who decided to track down the monster. They camped out for a few nights in the woods around Brooksville, but...

Categories: Cryptozoology Comments (0)
Aurora From Space
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 28, 2014
On the night of Feb. 27, a geomagnetic storm caused Northern Lights to be visible in Europe at unusually low latitudes. And lots of photos of the lights soon began to appear online. So thanks to Marco for giving us a heads up about this fake image that's begun circulating, purporting to show the aurora from space (with some tweets claiming it's a photo taken from the International Space Station). The quick summary is that this isn't a photo at all. It's an artist's conception of what an aurora would look like from space. But as Marco points out, this isn't how an aurora would actually look like from space, since there's no atmosphere visible in the image (no clouds). And the aurora is...

Categories: Comments (4)
A Mistaken Lunatic
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 28, 2014
Since today is the first day of Error Day, this story seems appropriate. Assuming that the story was accurately reported, it demonstrates that the difference between sanity and insanity is often just a matter of context. The clipping comes from The Sydney Morning Herald - Dec 26, 1884. But I first saw the story over at Brian Chapman's Legends & Rumors blog. A correspondent of the Pall Mall Gazette writes: — "An Oxfordshire woman met with an experience a few days back which should act as a warning to intending visitors to lunatic asylums. The person in question journeyed to Littlemore, a village four miles distant from Oxford, where there is an asylum, with the intention of visiting a...

Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (0)
Operation Cat Nip Confusion
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 28, 2014
In August 2011, hundreds of cats were rescued during a hoarding case, and then a team of veterinary students volunteered their time to spay and neuter the cats in order to prepare them for adoption. A photo of this mass spaying/neutering event (named Operation Cat Nip) ran in the Gainesville Sun. But about a year later that same photo began appearing on Twitter, stripped of any explanatory context, and accompanied by the caption: "Retweet if you say NO to animal testing." The photo also had a watermark added, "Cause Animale Nord,"which is the name of a French animal welfare society. Thousands of people obediently retweeted the photo, many of them adding messages expressing their...

Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos Comments (2)
April Fool UFO Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 27, 2014
One problem is that the planned hoax is too late in the day. According to the rules of April Fool's Day, pranks have to be done before noon! If you do it after noon, then you become the fool. (Does no one care about the rules any more???) So it would be better to do this early in the morning on the 1st, rather than in the evening. RC Group Plans UFO Hoax A Group of RC enthusiasts plan a April Fools Day UFO hoax. This group of RC enthusiasts seem to have a secret plan to create an apocalyptic UFO doomsday hoax on April Fools Day. I not sure how long this big secret can be kept seeing that the entire plan is posted on their public forum. The group plans on getting as many people as than can...

Every day is Back to the Future Day!
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 27, 2014
A Tumblr blog titled "Today is the Day Marty McFly Went to the Future" posts a new photo every day, indicating that today is the day McFly arrives in the future, as indicated by the Delorean's onboard time monitor in Back to the Future Part II (1989). It's the latest take on the perennial return of Future Day (an ongoing internet prank in which people claim that the date of McFly's arrival is closer at hand than it really is). The actual date of McFly's arrival is October 21, 2015.

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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.