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May 2004
This particularly nasty virus will infect your computer and not allow you to send out any emails that contain grammatical or spelling mistakes. The scary thing is imagining that someone would receive this and not recognize it as a joke.
Categories: Email Hoaxes
Posted by Alex on Thu May 13, 2004
Comments (2)
image How to look tougher than you really are. Decorate your car with fake bullet holes. They look pretty realistic, at least in the picture. I wonder how good they look close up.
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Thu May 13, 2004
Comments (5)
image Nat wrote to me hoping I could shed some light on the mystery posed by this website, New World Radio, but unfortunately I can't. Some mysteries just run far too deep for me. If you care to check it out, it purports to be the front for the 'New World Order' that is soon going to come into power. The agenda for this New World Order includes making all drugs (including alcohol) absolutely illegal, taking back the right to vote from women, and imposing strict censorship on all websites. So they sound like a real fun bunch. The kind it would be nice to kick back and have a beer with. If you actually take the time to listen to their internet radio broadcast (I admit that, yes, I did this), you'll be treated to muzak interspersed with Orwellian tracts read by a computer-synthesized voice. Why would anyone go to all the trouble of creating such a site? My first thought... maybe it's satire? Or maybe it's a ploy to sell a few cafepress t-shirts? The weird thing, as Nat points out, is that they went to an awful lot of effort to hide their identity by registering the site through an IP-redirector service, sytes.net.
Categories: Conspiracy Theories, Websites
Posted by Alex on Thu May 13, 2004
Comments (7)
image Is this a photo of Britney Spears naked (not safe for work) taken for a top-secret, yet-to-be-announced Playboy feature that she was paid $40 million for? It looks a lot like her. A whole lot like her. But it's not Britney. It's Emmie (also not safe for work). Normally I don't post much, if at all, about fake porn images. After all, there are so many of them (most of them so obviously fake), and the 'fake porn detective' has that area pretty well covered (for bandwidth reasons he requests that people don't link directly to his site, but if you're interested it's http://www.fake-detective.com/). But for Britney, I had to make an exception. Although I suppose this image isn't actually a fake. It's just a case of a remarkable look-alike.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Thu May 13, 2004
Comments (7)
image A remarkable photograph reveals archaeologists unearthing a massive (and when I say massive, I mean massive... we're talking a 50-foot behemoth here) skeleton at a site in Saudi Arabia. Of course, the Saudi military is keeping this all very hush, hush. The public couldn't handle knowing about such a remarkable discovery. If you get your news from The New Nation, 'Bangladesh's Independent News Source,' you might think this was an actual piece of news. But of course, it's totally false. The picture comes from a Worth1000 photoshop contest. The original, undoctored source of the image was a Cornell-sponsored dig of a mastodon in New York. Somehow the picture escaped into the alternative reality of email, accompanied by a bogus caption claiming that the picture was taken in Saudi Arabia, etc., etc. Apparently The New Nation received this email (forwarded to them from an anti-Muslim group that takes it upon itself to hoax Muslim papers) and fell for it hook, line, and sinker. The historically minded will note the long-standing popularity of Giant hoaxes, going all the way back to the 18th century where we find Commodore Byron's tales of Patagonian Giants, or the amazing popularity of giants, such as the Cardiff Giant, in the 19th century. (via Liquito and Apothecary's Drawer)
Categories: History, Photos/Videos, Science
Posted by Alex on Thu May 13, 2004
Comments (0)
image Polybius, if you believe this website, was a video game developed by the CIA (or some other shadowy government organization) back in the early days of video games, 1981. But the game was really a secret experiment in behavior modification. Only a few of the game machines ever saw the light of day. They appeared in a few arcades in a suburb of Portland. Kids who played the game reportedly suffered disturbing side effects. They "woke up at night screaming, having horrible nightmares." Some later developed amnesia. Occasionally black-coat types would come to collect 'records' from the games. So did Polybius really exist, or is it all a hoax? Here is a rare photograph of one of the Polybius machines (or perhaps it's just a modern photoshop). Even if it is just a hoax (which, yeah, it probably is) it still makes a pretty good story. (Thanks, Rob).
Categories: Conspiracy Theories, Technology
Posted by Alex on Wed May 12, 2004
Comments (37)
image According to US News, one day last April the FBI, acting on a tip from an informant, went on alert to track down an evil reclusive millionaire terrorist mastermind named Don Emilio Fulci who was planning chemical attacks against London and Washington DC. FBI Director Mueller was even informed about the threat that Fulci posed. Only later did someone in the White House realize that Don Fulci is the name of the crime boss in a video game named Headhunter. I wonder if that day in April happened to be April 1st? (via BoingBoing)
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Technology
Posted by Alex on Tue May 11, 2004
Comments (2)
The Bush-voters-have-lower-IQs hoax appears to have run its course. The editor at American Assembler who posted the table that got the whole firestorm going has posted an abject apology. Meanwhile I've still been trying to contact Robert Calvert, the guy who originally posted the IQ/election data two years ago on rec.org.mensa, to see if he would admit that he made it up. But no luck. He doesn't reply to email. So the possibility hangs out there that he got the info from some obscure source that no one else has been able to find. But this possibility seems vanishingly small to me, especially when you consider the character of Calvert's other Usenet postings, many of which relate to the topic of IQ (it seems to be a pet subject of his). For instance, in this post he muses on the possibility that blondes really do have lower IQs than brunettes. At the end of this post he makes some offhand remarks suggesting that blacks "are substantially less intelligent than average." And in this post he expresses his belief that multiculturalism is all a Jewish plot to lower the average IQ of Americans. So he seems like a really charming and credible guy (not!... I get a creepy feeling just reading through his rantings). But if you think about it, it's amazing how this (presumably fake) election/IQ data, originating from a wildly eccentric source, managed to lie dormant for a year and a half and then sweep suddenly through the blogosphere.
Categories: Politics
Posted by Alex on Tue May 11, 2004
Comments (6)
image I should create a category for things that sound fake, but are actually real. In that category I would place LifeGem. According to their website, a LifeGem is "a certified, high quality diamond created from the carbon of your loved one as a memorial to their unique and wonderful life." Or, to put it more plainly, it's a diamond made from cremated human (or animal) remains. Actually, I'm just assuming it's real because it seems to have received quite a bit of publicity from places like the BBC and NPR. But the obvious con to watch out for would be that after someone pays all that money they would then receive a diamond that wasn't actually made from the remains of their loved one. How would anyone ever know the difference?
Categories: Death
Posted by Alex on Tue May 11, 2004
Comments (7)
What would you be willing to do for a brief shot at fame? Would you embarrass yourself on national TV? Of course, who wouldn't nowadays. But would you lock yourself in a lab and allow yourself to be exposed to all manner of infectious diseases? That sounds a bit dodgy, but this was the premise of the new reality TV show, Quarantine, recently advertised in the Daily Mirror. Remarkably, hundreds of people applied to be on it, and the applications are still rolling in. Thankfully the whole thing was a hoax, an experiment "to discover just how far people will go in their pursuit of fame." (Thanks, 'Ed the doc').
Categories: Entertainment, Health/Medicine, Journalism
Posted by Alex on Tue May 11, 2004
Comments (1)
image Something like this was inevitable, I suppose. It's the Abu Ghraib Iraqi Prison Fantasy Camp, situated in scenic Mountain Home, Idaho. I'm assuming this was inspired by Rush Limbaugh's recent comments about the torture scandal. According to the website: "Just want to 'blow off some steam' (as Rush Limbaugh so correctly put it)? Abu Ghraib Fantasy Camp is here for you! (actual opening date set for Summer '04). At Abu Ghraib Fantasy Camp... you'll find dozens of 'Iraqi prisoners' you'll be able to 'discipline.' Don't worry, they (and you) will be perfectly safe. Unlike in Iraq, we've taken every precaution to protect your safety."

Update: It turns out, according to Wonkette, that the Abu Ghraib Fantasy Prison Camp is the creation of Bob Pagani, aka Cranky Media Guy. Bob is quite well known to us here at the Museum of Hoaxes. I think you'll find a few of his other creations in the Gallery of Hoax Websites, such as Tom's Girl. Congratulations, Bob. This was a good one. Very weird. But good.
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror, Military, Websites
Posted by Alex on Tue May 11, 2004
Comments (7)
image Greg Atkins (or someone calling themselves Greg Atkins) has created a website, truthaboutlochness.com, in order to expose an incident he claims occurred on the loch during filming of Werner Herzog's upcoming movie, The Enigma of Loch Ness. He says that one of the production company's boats was rammed by something in the water (could it have been Nessie!!!), resulting in the death of two of the crew. All this has been hushed up, of course, which is why there were no news reports of these deaths. He also has video footage on his site of a large creature moving beneath the surface of the loch. Cynics are speculating that his site is simply yet another hoax website created by a movie studio in order to create buzz about Herzog's film, in the same vein as the Blair Witch Project. Probably is. But I have a softspot for Nessie (I'm rooting for her to be real), so in this case I'm happy to play along with the site, even if there are some obviously hoaxy things about it.
Categories: Cryptozoology, Entertainment, Websites
Posted by Alex on Tue May 11, 2004
Comments (0)
image Teresa wrote in to ask about the truth of that email rumor going around alleging that the Swiffer Wet Jet cleaning fluid contains antifreeze and can be fatal to pets (you can read the full text of that email rumor here). Swiffer itself addresses this rumor on its corporate website, so it can be pretty easily debunked. It's totally false. But since I'm on the subject of Swiffers, I've got to note something about them that I find incredibly annoying... how you can only use Swiffer brand cleaning fluid with the Wet Jet. And, of course, the Swiffer brand fluid ain't cheap. Out of frustration, I ended up carving a hole in the top of the Swiffer brand bottle and pouring generic cleaning fluid into it, but that didn't work well at all since the fluid kept splashing up out of the bottle whenever I moved it too vigorously. So yes, Swiffer may be innocent of killing pets, but in my books they're still guilty of selling overpriced cleaning fluid. Yeah, I could stop using the Wet Jet entirely, but I don't want to do that because I like how the Wet Jet works. I just don't like being forced to buy only Swiffer brand fluid to use in it. (Sorry about the rant).
Categories: Animals, Email Hoaxes
Posted by Alex on Mon May 10, 2004
Comments (124)
image She said she was Princess Antoinette Millard from Saudi Arabia. She was actually from Buffalo, New York. But somehow she managed to con her way into millions of dollars. Her cover was blown when she filed fake insurance claims. It's amazing how the old fake princess con never seems to go out of style.
Categories: Con Artists, Identity/Imposters
Posted by Alex on Mon May 10, 2004
Comments (0)
It looks like a real company. It even offers an online job application that you can fill in. But it's not a real company. It's actually part of an Alternative Reality Game called Aware, that you can find at RUAware.org. If I had just stumbled on this without knowing anything about it beforehand, I don't think I would have guessed it wasn't real. Though in hindsight, there are clues that give it away. For instance, most well-established companies don't sell t-shirts from cafeshops on their front page. (Thanks, Sonja).
Categories: Technology, Websites
Posted by Alex on Mon May 10, 2004
Comments (0)
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