The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
 
Boy floats away in balloon, 2009
The worms inside your face
The disumbrationist art hoax, 1924
The Gallery of Fake Viral Images
The Great Space Monkey Hoax, 1953
Van Gogh's ear exhibited, 1935
The Crown Prince Regent of Thulia, 1954
The Case of the Vanishing Belly Button, 1964
Actress who claimed she was kidnapped by puritans, 1950
The boy with the golden tooth, 1593
Manbeef.com, 2001
The website Manbeef.com appeared online in early 2001 and immediately generated controversy. The site claimed to sell human flesh for the "sophisticated human meat consumer." Visitors to the site could read the 'recipe of the day' as they viewed pictures of attractive cuts of homo sapiens. Pictures of meat being squeezed through a grinder underscored exactly what they were selling.

Manbeef promised that, "We have everything from Sausages and Soup Bones to Bouillon, and Stock. All made with the highest quality human meats. Every cut of human meat we sell has been selected for its superb quality and flawless texture. We only offer the choicest cuts of meat."

Word of the site spread largely via email, especially emails urging people to sign petitions to shut down the site.


Attention and Controversy
Manbeef.com attracted so much attention (at one point it was receiving a half-million hits per day) and caused so much controversy, that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration eventually felt compelled to investigate it. They found no evidence that human meat was actually being sold. In other words, the site was a hoax.

This probably came as no surprise to most web surfers, though many people were taken in. Those who had been in doubt might have stopped to consider how it would have been possible for a company to sell human meat. Where would they have obtained the meat without slaughtering people, which would have involved murder?

Skeptics noticed right away that the site offered no way to actually buy the human-meat product. The only thing it was possible to buy from the site were t-shirts and other Manbeef-branded merchandise.

Joseph Christopherson
Viewed charitably, Manbeef.com was an expert spoof of the specialty food sites that had proliferated throughout the internet. Viewed uncharitably, it was just gross.

Just being gross was apparently a primary intention of its creator. In July 2001 a Los Angeles graphic designer using the alias 'Joseph Christopherson' took responsibility for Manbeef.com. When asked what his motive was, he explained, "The subject of human meat was chosen because of its ability to churn the viewer's stomach and help outrage the more 'sensitive' viewers. This includes Bible thumpers."

Manbeef.com went offline by the end of 2001. By 2005 the domain had been acquired by another business. It is now a portal for homosexual pornography.

Links and References
  • Margaret Ellis, "Manbeef.com Creator Says It's a Hoax." The Columbian. July 14, 2001.
If Microsoft really revamped the wingding font so that typing out NYC gives you "eye" "heart" "city skyline" (to mean I love New York) then they are walking right into the conspiracy theorists world, Now anyone can point to that conscious decision to buffer their argument that any crazy relationship among other symbols was intentional.
Posted by Shamus  on  Thu Nov 25, 2004  at  09:58 AM
Does anyone have a copy of the site itself? I'd like to see it.
Posted by Apple  on  Wed Mar 21, 2012  at  01:15 PM
Apple -- Here's an old screenshot I have of the site.

Edit: I added it directly to the blurb above.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Wed Mar 21, 2012  at  07:34 PM
I know that links do not work in comments but would it be possible to post a screenshot or archive of the old site? This would be an interesting one to see..
Posted by PsychoMantis  on  Sat May 26, 2012  at  11:14 PM
I remember this site! I was watching the local news and they mentioned it and how it was still uncertain as to whether or not it was real. They commented "Either way, it's a repulsive sense of humor, or is an operation that should be immediately shut down!"

I went to it and it was SLAMMED for a few days and would hardly load. (keep in mind this was when very few people had broadband)

Once I saw it, I thought it was hysterical. I wish to god I would have downloaded it.
I never thought it would get shut down... Of COURSE they weren't selling human beef.

What's funny is the local belief was that it WAS real when everyone saw that it had gotten shut down.

"If it was a hoax then why isn't it up anymore? They must have been raided"
lol
Posted by Kevin Flynn  in  Middle of Nowhere  on  Thu Sep 26, 2013  at  09:50 PM
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