The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
 
Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
May 2004
Emily Chesley Reading Circle
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 25, 2004
Emily Chesley was a "speculative fiction writer of the late Victorian period (who lived for some time in the London, Ontario region), who has been long-overlooked by Canadian literature." She was also a "poet, social activist, explorer, aviatrix, and 92-year-old pole vaulter." The Emily Chesley Reading Circle is a "group of 'scholars' and bon-vivants" who get together to study and help promote her work. So far, they've been quite successful. They've even managed to get an abridged collection of some of her writings published. However, I think the key word in all these descriptions of her was that she was a very 'speculative' writer... i.e. speculative as in…
A Few Nonexistent Places
Posted by The Curator on Mon May 24, 2004
According to reliable information that can be found on the internet, Idaho doesn't exist. Nor does Wyoming, Wisconsin, Vermont, North Dakota, France, and England. Oh, and the Moon doesn't exist either.
Categories: Places Comments (7)
Clueless Childless Couple
Posted by The Curator on Sun May 23, 2004
Last week the British Daily Mirror printed a story about a particularly clueless German couple. As the article put it: "Fertility doctors were baffled when a perfectly-healthy couple claimed they couldn't have children - until they confessed they had never made love. The husband, 36, and his 32-year-old wife thought that all they had to do to make a baby was to lie next to each other and let nature take its course." This story got picked up by wire services, and soon was being linked to all over the internet. But was there actually any truth to the story? The snopes website, skeptical of the story, pointed out that…
Categories: Birth/Babies, Sex/Romance Comments (1)
Ian Hislop Mania
Posted by The Curator on Sun May 23, 2004
Got this contribution from Chris 'Crispy' Philpot in the UK: BBC Television in the UK showed an episode of topical news quiz 'Have I Got News For You' that picked up on the ex-wife's knickers on eBay story. It said how useless tat could reach an astonishing price - going on to show the auction... for a signed photograph of Ian Hislop, a team captain on the show. At the time it had no bids and 6 hits.... Bidding went crazy - it started off quite sensibly and climbed to £5,000 without trouble. Then the silly bids flew in, and eventually the price reached £10,000,000 before bids were…
Categories: Celebrities, eBay Comments (1)
Boycott Gillette
Posted by The Curator on Sat May 22, 2004
I've received quite a few emails with questions like this: Is Gillette really putting spy chips inside of their products that allow them to spy on consumers at a distance? Is the company surreptitiously snapping photographs of people who pick up their products from store shelves? Are these and other claims being made at the Boycott Gillette website really true? Well, the strange thing is, as wild as these claims sound, they're actually true. Or rather, they used to be true... and could be true again in the future. Gillette did experiment with putting 'spy chips' (wireless transmitting devices, also known as RFID tags, or Radio Frequency Identification Tags) inside…
Motorcycle Trip Through Chernobyl
Posted by The Curator on Fri May 21, 2004
A month or two ago a woman named Elena posted a travelogue on the web about her solitary motorcycle ride through the deserted area around Chernobyl. With all the eerie pictures she took of the abandoned, irradiated 'ghost town,' her travelogue quickly became one of the most linked-to sites on the net. Now there are accusations that her travelogue wasn't completely honest. Apparently she didn't go around alone on a motorcycle. She went in a car with her husband and a friend. Elena defends herself, admitting that much of her story was 'more poetry' than reality, but noting that most of it was still reality. I'm…
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Places Comments (43)
UPS Uniform Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Thu May 20, 2004
Mark wrote to let me know that the UPS Uniform Email Hoax is making the rounds again (the corporate security at his office thoughtfully forwarded it to everyone he works with). This hoax is an old one, going back almost two years. Basically the email claims that terrorists managed to purchase $32,000 worth of UPS uniforms on eBay, so everyone should have their eyes out for phony UPS employees delivering packages. The latest version of the message has the fake signature of a Homeland Security Official appended to the bottom of it, making it seem even more authentic. The reality is that no such huge sale of UPS uniforms ever took place,…
Categories: eBay, Email Hoaxes Comments (3)
Computer Grading?
Posted by The Curator on Thu May 20, 2004
Robert Yagelowich pointed this article out to me, and like him what I read initially made me pretty skeptical. The article describes a computer program that's being used to grade student essays. Not just grade the spelling and punctuation, but the content itself. Since computers can't even be relied on to spellcheck very well, I couldn't imagine how they would grade content. I had suspicions of another ChatNannies type of hoax. But apparently computer-grading is real. The software, called E-Rater, has been developed by Educational Testing Services, and they provide an online demo of how it works. I used to be a teaching assistant at UC San Diego, and I graded thousands of student…
Categories: Technology Comments (4)
Unfortunate Last Names
Posted by The Curator on Thu May 20, 2004
I've always thought my last name was pretty bad. And I mean that in the literal sense. 'Boese' means 'bad' (or angry) in German. But its meaning wouldn't matter much if only English-speaking people could pronounce it (it's 'burr-za', as if it had an 'r' in it... not 'boose'). But I shouldn't feel too sorry for myself, because this guy in Brazil, Mr. Reinhardt Adolfo Fuck, has me beat hands down. As far as I can tell, that really is his name. He must get endless jokes about it.
Categories: Identity/Imposters Comments (693)
Ex-Wife’s Knickers
Posted by The Curator on Thu May 20, 2004
Supposedly to get even with his soon-to-be-ex wife, who's been cheating on him, a man is selling her knickers on eBay. Except it's not eBay. Just a mock-up of it. Now if the (fake) seller had taken pictures of himself wearing her underwear (taking a page from Wedding Dress Guy), it might have been funnier. (via Adrants)
Categories: eBay, Sex/Romance Comments (0)
Cicada Facts
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 19, 2004
Cicadaville reveals the dangerous truth about cicadas. For instance, did you know that cicadas are vicious killers that prey on children and pets? You do now. I was also surprised to learn that there are many cases of cicadas being successfully altered, with minor surgery, to look like Ryan Seacrest.
Categories: Animals, Websites Comments (2)
Horse and Hound Humor
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 19, 2004
According to Horse & Hound magazine, British health authorities have decided to make it the law that all children must wear face masks and rubber gloves while doing yard work or grooming horses. Health and Safety spokeswoman Lirap Ducek is quoted as saying, "Childhood asthma has increased three-fold in the last 10 years, and we want to ensure that children are protected against picking up bugs which can have long-term health implications." But before you send your kid out in a rubber mask, you might want to check the release date on that story: April 1. That's right, it was an April Fool's Day joke. But apparently hundreds of people in England fell for it.
BirdTyping
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 19, 2004
Roman Kingsley is an Australian man who has trained geese to do skywriting, or 'birdtyping' as he calls it. Impossible, you say? Not at all, according to Kingsley. As he says in this interview, "It normally takes about three months to train the birds to spell out a word. Once each bird knows the letter, they have to know where in the word that letter occurs. But I’m hoping to speed it up more in the future. The curved letters, you know, like o, c, and b take the birds a bit longer. But it’s early days." His plan is to have his birds spell out various corporate logos. Volvo…
Recreated Ark of the Covenant
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 18, 2004
Since April, at least, a seller has been trying to auction off a recreated Ark of the Covenant on eBay. Apparently no one is willing to take it off his hands because bidding keeps ending without a winner, and he just keeps relisting the thing. This, despite the fact that the recreated Ark possesses some remarkable powers. It gives its owner the power to heal by placing on of hands. It allows the owner to converse directly with God. Oh, and it explodes cameras! (that last feature alone is worth the $99,999,999.00 price). Unfortunately, the Ark may soon be called upon to 'obliterate mankind,' so if you do buy it, you probably won't have long to play with…
Categories: eBay, Religion Comments (10)
Cicada Cash
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 18, 2004
The cicadas have returned, and with them the rumor that researchers at Johns Hopkins University will pay up to $1000 for specimens of rare blue-eyed cicadas. Unfortunately, the rumor simply isn't true. In fact, no researcher at Johns Hopkins even studies cicadas, let alone insects, though back in 1947 the university did employ a Biologist, William D. McElroy (who later moved out to UC San Diego), who announced that he would pay kids twenty-five cents for every 100 fireflies they could catch. McElroy was always criticized for this by people who said that he was somehow contributing to the depletion of the firefly population, though I doubt the kids ever…
Categories: Animals, Science Comments (0)
Page 2 of 6 pages  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›
All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.