The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
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The Great Electric Sugar Swindle, 1884
Stotham, Massachusetts: the town that didn't exist, 1920
The Man-Eating Tree of Madagascar Hoax, 1874

The worms inside your face
Actress who claimed she was kidnapped by puritans, 1950
Dead Body of Loch Ness Monster Found, 1972
The Sandpaper Test, 1960
Burger King's Left-Handed Whopper Hoax, 1998
Sober Sue, the woman who never smiled, 1907
Iceberg floats into Sydney Harbor, 1978
Miracle Machine wine maker
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 13, 2014
Several weeks ago, some wine-industry veterans (Kevin Boyer and Philip James) announced the invention of a gadget that would allow people to make wine at home in only 3 days. They called it the "miracle machine." The gadget seemed somewhat plausible, given the existence of home-brewing kits for beer. Plus it was promoted by a slick video and accompanying website. So over 600 media outlets took the bait and reported it as news. But yesterday, the "inventors" issued a press release revealing that the 'miracle machine' was just a hoax. But it was a hoax for a good cause. The idea was to promote a non-profit organization called "Wine to Water," which is trying to provide global...
Categories: Food, Websites Comments (0)
Celebrity Salami
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 27, 2014
A new website has many people slightly puzzled. It claims to be producing artisanal salamis made from lab-grown meat from celebrity tissue samples. So it's kind of like a celebrity version of Manbeef.com (from way back in 2001) — except that it's celebrity beef and the human meat is grown using in-vitro meat production. Salon.com got a response from "Kevin" on the BiteLabs team who explains that "the site is partly a commentary on food culture, the ethics of meat, and 'the...
Categories: Celebrities, Food, Websites Comments (1)
Bottled Fresh Air
Posted by The Curator on Sun Dec 15, 2013
DUPÉ sells bottled fresh air, as well as other products such as bottled moon light, positive thoughts, and "eco-friendly little rays of sunshine." The site (and storefront) were part of a spoof campaign launched a few months ago by Yarra Valley Water, providers of tap water to the Melbourne area. If you try to buy any of DUPÉ's fresh air, you get a message telling you: "Buying bottled air doesn't make sense. It's just like buying bottled water." (Thanks to Patty...
Categories: Websites Comments (2)
eMeringue
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 22, 2013
If you need a meringue top for a pie, and you need it fast, then look no further than eMeringue.com. They're the "Internet's #1 meringue delivery service." Their fleet of eMeringue trucks are gassed up and ready to hit the highway, to deliver your meringue top directly to your door. eMeringue was an April Fool's Day hoax by the Motley Fool investment people. But it dates back to 1999, so I'm impressed that they've kept the site up all this time. If you look at the eMeringue welcome page, you'll see a photo of "eMeringue chef Serge LeGrenouille." My wife is the food geek in the family, but she's...
Categories: Food, Websites Comments (0)
Lamppost Windmills
Posted by The Curator on Thu Oct 10, 2013
I haven't seen anything on English-language sites about this, but according to dichtbij.nl (with a little help from Google translate), a site calling itself "Green Light District" appeared online several months ago. It claimed that the municipality of Haarlemmermeer in North Holland was going to put small green windmills on top of 30,000 lampposts in order to generate power for the lights, thereby creating a "green light district". Any excess power would be routed to the electrical grid. But it turns out that Haarlemmermeer didn't actually have any plans to put up these lamppost windmills. The site was a publicity stunt designed to promote the "Greenest Idea of 2013"...
Categories: Places, Websites Comments (1)
Animal Instincts Pet Condoms
Posted by The Curator on Thu Oct 10, 2013
"Is Sparky a sex addict?" the website petcondoms.org asks visitors. "Spot the signs!" The site also offers advice on "how to put on a pet condom". A few clicks on some of the links soon reveals that, no, this site isn't really selling pet condoms. It was recently launched by the San Francisco SPCA as a way to educate the public about the importance of spaying and neutering your pet. The point being that trying to put a condom on your pet is an ineffective way of preventing unwanted births. It's actually not the first time the internet has seen a website about condoms for pet. Back in 2005 the site dogcondoms.com launched, followed in 2008 by doggycondoms...
Categories: Sex/Romance, Websites Comments (0)
Remember the 13th - the big reveal
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 07, 2013
Yesterday, rememberthe13th.com revealed the "big discovery" it had promised. It turned out to be some guy rapping "I'm a purple ninja and I'm so cool." I wasted a minute of my life watching it.
Categories: Websites Comments (3)
Remember the 13th
Posted by The Curator on Fri Oct 04, 2013
According to the website rememberthe13th.com, NASA is going to announce something BIG on the 13th of November: NASA has made a historic discovery that will shake the entire planet. This announcement will be released to the media on November 13th, 2013. It will be a day to remember and One for the history books. Spread the word to your family & friends and sign up to stay updated. However, a recent update to the site now says that the date of the big reveal has been moved forward to October 6th "Due to change in plans." A post on abovetopsecret.com gives some of the (alleged) backstory about this site: So this...
Categories: Websites Comments (4)
Black Friend Connect
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 21, 2013
"Every white person needs a black friend," blackfriendconnect.com tells us. And if you don't have a black friend already, they've got you covered. For a reasonable fee, they'll provide a black friend who's willing to "give you a hug, fist bump, high-five or whichever you prefer," and will also attend "your favorite white concert" with you. The joke here seems obvious enough that there's no need to prove the site is a hoax. But if you really want to prove it to yourself, try placing an order for one of these black friends. There's a phone number listed on the site, in the top left corner. I googled it, and found a page (scroll...
Categories: Websites Comments (0)
The Malfunctioning Oil Rig Drink Dispenser Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jun 12, 2012
On June 7, an Occupy Seattle activist, Logan Price, posted a video online that appeared to show an embarrassing scene from a private party of Shell Oil executives. Price explained, on his twitter page, that he had managed to infiltrate the party, which was intended to celebrate the launch of Shell's Arctic drilling program, and which was hosted at the top of the Seattle Space Needle. The centerpiece of the party was a sculpture shaped like an iceberg, topped by a miniature oil rig that dispensed drinks for the guests. In the video, an elderly lady could be seen approaching the model rig, cup in hand, ready to be served the first drink. However, the drink dispenser malfunctioned and began squirting a brown liquid...
Categories: Videos, Websites Comments (0)
Earn Money Working at Home—Become an Envelope Elf!
Posted by The Curator on Fri May 18, 2012
The consumer affairs office of the state of Massachusetts has created a series of phony websites designed to teach people how to avoid online scams. The sites advertise products such as work-at-home deals, weight-loss products, and free trips. If anyone tries to order something from these sites, they're directed to a page identifying it as a scam and telling them how they could have spotted the scam. My favorite one is the "Envelope Elf" site. The SEC did something similar back in 2002. It created a hoax site for McWhortle Enterprises, Inc. The idea was to teach investors that just because a...
Categories: Scams, Websites Comments (1)
Post-Rapture Pet Adoption
Posted by The Curator on Sat Mar 17, 2012
For over three years, Eternal Earth-Bound Pets has been offering peace of mind to Rapture believers. Should the Rapture come, and the devout are whisked away up to Heaven, this service will take care of their pets that are left behind — for a small fee of $135 per pet. But now Bloomberg News is reporting that the business was all just a hoax concocted by Bart Centre, a retired retail executive in New Hampshire, in order to promote his book, The Atheist Camel Chronicles. Bloomberg quotes him as saying: The entire thing was a hoax. What we call on the Internet a poe, a spoof, a parody, a complete fiction. It was all...
Categories: Animals, Religion, Websites Comments (2)
Ghetto Hikes
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 24, 2012
The author of "Ghetto Hikes," which is a twitter feed and accompanying website, offers this description of it: I'm 28. I have a full time job leading urban kids (of all races) on nature hikes. I simply write down shit they say. It's kind of obvious that it's a parody in the style of "Shit My Dad Says," but the Village Voice confirms it isn't real: Looks like Ghetto Hikes is a parody account -- and an unfunny one at that. According to a just-released tweet, Men's Humor and Ghetto Hikes were registered by the same person. ...
Clayton Sotos, Fartographer
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 23, 2012
Someone has gone to a bunch of trouble to make it seem as if Dell produced an ad featuring "Visual Innovator" Clayton Sotos. The ad has high production values, and there's an accompanying website showcasing some of Sotos's work. The joke is that Sotos photographs people farting. Dell insists they're not responsible for the ad. They posted this statement on their twitter page: "This video is in no way affiliated with Dell, but it's great to see creative professionals get inspiration from using our products. Our dell.com/takeyourownpath program is all about celebrating people who take their own professional path. Regarding this parody,...
Categories: Gross, Photos/Videos, Websites Comments (0)
Sea Captain Date—real or fake?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Feb 21, 2012
As far as niche dating sites go, you can't get much more niche than SeaCaptainDate.com. It describes itself as "the only place for Sea Captains to connect with men and women who share a love of the ocean." Now I'm willing to believe that there are niche dating sites out there, but SeaCaptainDate.com seems a little too weird to be real. Is it really just an elaborate joke? I'm not the first to ponder this question. The site first attracted attention back in Jan 2011, when articles about it appeared on nerve.com, time.com, and
Categories: Sex/Romance, Websites Comments (3)
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.