The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
There's some controversy over the Daily Mirror's recent cover showing a crying child. The context implies it's a British child crying because of a lack of food, but (as blogger Dan Barker uncovered) it's actually an American child who was crying because she lost an earthworm.
Turns out it was a stock photo that the Daily Mirror acquired from Getty Images. But the Daily Mirror is defending itself. Its editor Lloyd Embley writes, "Imagine the stink if we'd used a pic of an actual child who had received food parcels." [theguardian.com
A statue of the Virgin Mary outside a church in Griffith, Indiana has recently attracted attention because a stain on the statue's face looks like a tear. A water mark from rain would be the obvious explanation, but a young girl interviewed for the news broadcast says it's "A sign from God and shows us that Jesus actually did sacrifice his life for us." [ABC 6
If this was just a random unsourced picture on the Internet I would probably suspect that it had been manipulated to create the dragon effect. However, it comes from a professional photographer, Noel Celis of AFP Photo, and is hosted on Getty Images. And these sources provide no indication that the photo was manipulated in any way. So I have to conclude that it's real. In other words, that it's a case of pareidolia, rather than photo fakery.
Getty Images offers this caption:
"A fire breather performs in Chinatown in Manila a day before the Chinese New Year on January 22, 2012. The Lunar New Year falls on January 23 and is the begining of the Spring Festival holiday."
This sign appeared on a road in the town of Cambridge, UK on April 1st. There was some speculation that it might have been a joke, but the Cambridge News confirms that it actually was a genuine sign for a temporary road closure. Just a case of strange British road names. And pure coincidence that the sign went up on April 1.
The rock-rolling whitefish is a little-known species of fish, whose existence has only ever been reported (as far as I know) in the June 1932 issue of Montana Wild Life magazine. Discovery of this creature was credited to Jack Boehme, a manufacturer of fish tackle.
Here's the information that Montana Wild Life offered about this unusual creature:
It seems that this rock-rolling Montana whitefish extolled by Jack Boehme, and organized by a taxidermist of no mean versatility, is endowed with horns. Boehme declares, to all visiting dudes, that the specimen on display was caught in Boulder creek. Of course Montana has some dozen of these Boulder creeks, hence the exact location of the catch...
Steve Feltham has spent 23 years looking for Nessie. In all that time, he's only seen her once, 21 years ago. He says, "I was sitting on the shore near the Fort Augustus end of the Loch when something went past the bay, through the water. It was like a torpedo shot and it had some weight behind it, hitting through the waves. Nothing in Loch Ness could create a disturbance like that – apart from Nessie. I just sat there in amazement."
Unfortunately, that was also the day he forgot to bring his camera. So, he's got no pictures of Nessie to show for his long search. dailystar.co.uk
The video of this April Fool's Day prank, played by students at Aquinas College on their Macroeconomics professor, now has over 25 millions views on YouTube, which has to make it one of the most popular April Fool pranks this year (if not the most popular). It's nice to see that a low-budget prank by amateurs still can overshadow all the April Fool marketing efforts of the advertising professionals.
The premise of the prank is that a female student receives a call on her cell phone during class. The professor has a rule that if a student has failed to turn their phone off, and it rings during class, they have to answer it in front of everyone. So the student proceeds to take the call, only...
The Travel Channel show "Mysteries at the Museum" recently filmed an episode at the Salida Museum in Colorado, where they dug into the history of the fur-bearing trout.
Back in the late 1930s, a Salida resident, Wilbur Foshay (who was a bit of a con artist, as well as being a member of the Salida Chamber of Commerce), brought a lot of media attention to the town by claiming that fur-bearing trout could be found in the nearby Arkansas River. But he complained that the fur-bearing trout could never be caught because fishing wasn't allowed in Colorado rivers during January, when the fish was most active. So he was urging the Colorado Game and Fish Association to allow a special exception to...
Simon Worrall, author of "The Poet and the Murderer" (about the Mark Hoffman forgeries) recently wrote an article for BBC News Magazine about the Voynich manuscript. Worrall notes that new theories about the manuscript "breed like mayflies." However, he confesses to believing that it's a modern forgery created by its discoverer, Wilfrid Voynich.
He writes: "One of the most common tropes in the history of forgery is that of a rare book dealer 'discovering' previously unknown manuscripts."
But even if you don't accept his theory, the article is worth a look because it has some nice photos of the manuscript itself. BBC News
HerCampus, a news site for women in college, recently posted that Beyoncé was looking for interns to help organize the "official Beyoncé archive." She wasn't offering any financial compensation, but she did promise "the opportunity to take three selfies with Beyoncé over the course of the internship."
Quite a few media outlets picked up on the story and reported it as news. It's also circulated widely on social media. But prospective applicants should note that HerCampus posted the announcement on April Fool's Day. In other words, it was a hoax.
It's definitely one of the more successful April Fool pranks this year, because it's completely believable not only that...
Every few years I decide the site needs a makeover. And recently I felt that feeling growing within me, so that's what I've been doing for the past few days.
The primary change has been to provide only summaries of the blog posts on the front page, rather than the posts in their entirety. This makes it easier to see what's been posted recently. I decided this was the way to go after realizing that a lot of visitors to the site would look only at the top post and miss all the posts below it.
I also centered the entire site in the browser window, rather than having it hug the left-hand side.
Hopefully none of these changes will prove disruptive in any way!
This e-junkie author complains that April Fool's Day marketing has gotten out of hand. There definitely was a huge amount of it this year. But I don't see the trend going away anytime soon, since marketers aren't exactly known for restraint. And to be honest, I'm not really bothered by it like this author is.
Perhaps I'm just easily amused, but I kind of enjoy looking through all the weird stuff advertisers come up with every April 1. Though it is true that the advertisers don't make much of an effort to actually fool anyone. They're primarily aiming for being funny/cute/quirky.
Manchester artist John Hyatt took some photographs of the landscape around Rossendale in Lancashire. But when he later enlarged those he images he noticed they showed tiny winged creatures that looked like fairies.
Hyatt told the Manchester Evening News:
"It was a bit of a shock when I blew them up, I did a double take.
"I went out afterwards and took pictures of flies and gnats and they just don't look the same.
"People can decide for themselves what they are.
"The message to people is to approach them with an open mind.
"I think it's one of those situations where you need to believe to see.
"A lot of people who have seen them say they have brought a little bit of magic into their...
NPR succeeded in pulling off one of the most successful April 1 pranks this year, in terms of number of people fooled.
It posted the article below to Facebook that asked in the headline, "Why Doesn't America Read Anymore?"
The provocative question quickly generated hundreds of responses. Some people bemoaned falling standards of education. Others disagreed with the premise, insisting that people do read nowadays.
But what all the responses shared in common was that the people who posted them apparently hadn't bothered to click through and READ THE ARTICLE ITSELF!
If they had, they would have discovered this text:
Congratulations, genuine readers, and happy April Fools' Day!
Found in Mermaids with Other Tales (1882) by Charles Henry Ross : a discussion of broiled mermaids.
Apparently they taste like pork, which isn't surprising since (so it's said) human flesh tastes like pork also.
But I wonder what wine pairs best with mermaid?
In the "Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences," John Jablousky says the skin of meer men and mermaids is of a brownish-grey colour, and their intestines are like those of a hog; their flesh as fat as pork, particularly the upper part of their bodies; and this is a favourite dish with the Indians, broiled upon a gridiron.
Again, Edward Draper elsewhere says, "Mermaids are frequently catched which resemble the...
All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.