Hoax Archive: Categories
The website of Colin Mayhew offered details on how this eccentric, but apparently brilliant, engineer had built an "autonomous crash-preventing robot" from the body of a BMW Mini Cooper r50. Video showed the humanoid robot in action, stopping a car from crashing into a wall. The Mini Cooper Autonomous Robot was eventually revealed to be an elaborate viral marketing campaign designed to promote the new Mini Cooper. More→
Lcpl. Boudreaux’s Sign (March 2004)
In March 2004, a photo circulated online showing an American soldier posing with two Iraqi boys. One of the boys was holding a sign that read, "Lcpl Boudreaux killed my Dad, then he knocked up my sister!" The Council on American-Islamic Relations saw the picture and complained to the Pentagon about it. The photo also received coverage in publications such as Islam Online. But it turned out that there were multiple versions of the photo in circulation. In another version the sign read "Lcpl Boudreaux saved my dad then he rescued my sister," and in yet another version the sign read "Lcpl Boudreaux killed my Dad, then all your Base are Belong to us." Obviously the sign was being digitally manipulated, but which was the real version? Eventually the Marine Corps opened an investigation to answer this question. The results of this investigation were not publicly released. Lance Corporal Boudreaux himself insisted that the sign originally read 'Welcome Marines'.
Bush Voters have lower IQs, 2004 (circa April 2004)
A chart that circulated online during the first months of 2004 purported to show that American states whose populations possess higher average incomes and higher average IQs voted for Gore in the 2000 Presidential elections. Their poorer, lower-IQ counterparts voted for Bush. The implication was that smart people vote Democratic, and stupid people vote Republican. Major newspapers and magazines, including the St. Petersburg Times and the Economist, printed the chart before it was exposed as a hoax. More→
Andy Kaufman Returns (May 16, 2004)
The comedian Andy Kaufman died of lung cancer on May 16, 1984. But twenty years later, on May 16, 2004, a press release announced that he was still alive and living in New York City on the Upper West Side. Simultaneously, a blog authored by Kaufman appeared online. The press release explained that Kaufman had merely faked his death twenty years ago. But now he was back! During his life Kaufman had been fascinated with the idea of faking his death, and had even promised that if he did 'pull an Elvis' he would return 20 years later to tell everyone about it. Consequently there was a flurry of speculation on the internet about whether Kaufman really had returned from the dead. There is no evidence he had. After several weeks, the joke got old for whoever was behind it, and new posts stopped appearing on Kaufman's blog.
Marry Our Daughter, 2007 (September 2007)
The website MarryOurDaughter.com appeared online in September 2007. It claimed to be "an introduction service assisting those following the Biblical tradition of arranging marriages for their Daughters." In plainer language, it purported to be a service that would arrange marriages between underage girls and older husbands. More→
I Buy Strays (December 2007)
The website IBuyStrays.com appeared online in late December 2007 and quickly achieved notoriety. The site purported to represent a business that bought unwanted pets and stray animals and resold them to research labs for animal experimentation. More→
The Maurice Jarre Wikipedia Hoax (March 2009)
When composer Maurice Jarre died on March 28, 2009, many of the journalists given the job of writing an obituary for him turned to Wikipedia for information about his life. There they found the following quotation attributed to him: "One could say my life itself has been one long soundtrack. Music was my life, music brought me to life, and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life. When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head, that only I can hear." More→