The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
 
Vilcabamba, the town of very old people, 1978
The Diaphote, a television hoax, 1880
Jernegan's Gold Accumulator Scam, 1898
The Nobody For President Campaign, 1940 to Present
Fake Photos of Very Large Animals
Jennifer Love Hewitt's Disappearing Breasts
The damp spot that hoaxed a city, 1912
September Morn, the painting that shocked the censor, 1913
Snowball the Monster Cat, 2000
Monkeys pick cotton, a 19th-century urban legend
Home Computer of the Future
The top photo was one of the most forwarded e-mail attachments of 2004. It purported to show a picture published in Popular Science magazine in 1954, imagining what a home computer might look like fifty years in the future. The caption read:
Scientists from the RAND Corporation have created this model to illustrate how a "home computer" could look like in the year 2004. However the needed technology will not be economically feasible for the average home. Also the scientists readily admit that the computer will require not yet invented technology to actually work, but 50 years from now scientific progress is expected to solve these problems. With teletype interface and the Fortran language, the computer will be easy to use and only...

The photograph was actually created in 2004 by Danish software sales and support technician Troels Eklund Andersen as an entry in a Fark Photoshop contest. (Fark regularly challenges its readers to digitally alter images in amusing ways.)

Andersen took a photo of a submarine's maneuvering room on exhibit at the Smithsonian (bottom), made it black-and-white, then pasted in the teletype printer, the old-style television, and the man. Then he added the text at the bottom. He never imagined the image would generate the response it did, nor that it would start circulating by email and fool so many people. It even fooled Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems, who displayed it at a computer conference as proof of the impossibility of predicting future technology.


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