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August 2004
Here's an interesting comment that was just added to my entry posted back in June about Eric Bruderton (that guerrilla marketing campaign involving mysterious video footage of a group of armed men being attacked by unseen assailants in a country like Afghanistan):

I'm a reporter for the business radio show Marketplace, heard around the
country on NPR. I'm working on a story about the advertizing campaign for
The September Tapes. If you have strong opinions about the ad campaign, I'd
like to chat. And perhaps do a short telephone interview. I can be reached
at [see the comment for the email].
Thanks
Jeff Tyler


Being the suspicious sort that I am, I immediately checked out the IP address on the comment, and it did indeed come from someone at Minnesota Public Radio, so it appears to be legitimate. So if you have strong opinions about The September Tapes, by all means send Jeff an email.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 23, 2004
Comments (3)
image From the Hoax Forum: Ever heard of Life With Skippy? It was an American television show that aired briefly in 1969 that featured "the misadventures of two small-town boys, the trouble-making Skippy and his sidekick Gummy." Unfortunately it got cancelled after only six episodes. Still don't remember it? Well, if you look around the internet you can find a surprising number of references to this hard-to-remember show. It's mentioned on message boards, there's a Yahoo Group devoted to its young star (who was later found dead in a brothel), there's a Life With Skippy website, and a website maintained by the actor Adam Felber who played Gummy. Plus, you can buy the hat worn by Skippy on eBay. Well, if you still can't remember the show the reason is that it never existed. It's the creation of a New York-based production company, Metropolis Entertainment, who are trying to promote a new sitcom they've developed called Life After Skippy, which is about the career of a down-on-his-luck former child actor (who once supposedly worked on Life With Skippy). Quite an elaborate guerrilla marketing campaign they've put together for this. You can view clips from the real show, Life After Skippy, on their site. Some of them are pretty funny.
Categories: Advertising, Entertainment, Websites
Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 23, 2004
Comments (15)
image Here's something that brings back memories of the Nostradamus predictions that swirled around in the weeks after 9/11. Some guy is claiming that comic book artist Simon Furman predicted 9/11 in a Transformers comic book published on Sep. 14, 1991. His main proof: a picture of a transformer (rodimus prime) hanging between the destroyed towers of the World Trade Center. He's selling the comic book that contains this picture (as well as some other stuff) on eBay UK. He launches into some convoluted explanation of other ways in which his Transformers comic book predicted 9/11, and then he winds up his sales pitch with this startling, though rather garbled, claim:

wouldn't you like some glimpse into future events, these comics if used to predict events from week to week, they are currently around issue 230, this is august 1989 (2004), and they run until 18th feb 1992 (2007), that means there are over 100 more issues to go, thats almost three years of predictions, i can send you information of exactly what to look for in them, how to make sense of the vague and cryptic predictions, and will allways answer emails from anyone who wants to help understand these better.


In other words, he's saying that these old Transformers comics are like windows onto the future. But the question you have to ask is why, if this guy can see into the future via his comic books, isn't he taking advantage of that ability? Why wouldn't he use this power to enrich himself (or at least warn the world about upcoming disasters) instead of giving it away for a pittance on eBay? (via Metaphorge)
Categories: eBay, Future/Time, Hate Crimes/Terror
Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 23, 2004
Comments (15)
image In just a few weeks, on the night of September 6th and 7th, a white-magic ritual will be performed on the banks of Loch Ness to call up Nessie. Performing the ritual will be Kevin Carlyon, High Priest of British White Witches. Now here's the interesting part. Should the ritual fail to achieve anything, Carlyon will then bait Nessie with an irresistible lure: a virgin adorned with vegetables and tied to a stake in the waters of Loch Ness. I certainly don't see how that could fail to get Nessie's attention.

Carlyon is currently accepting applications for the role of the virgin bait. He specifies that whoever it is must be female (so I guess Marc can't apply), aged between 18-25, pretty, petite, a non-smoker, a non-drug-user, and in good shape. Carlyon reports that he's already received quite a few applications, including ones from a transvestite and a woman who wanted to know if she could bring her kid along (she must not have understood the 'virgin' part of the job requirement).

I personally find the timing of this event extremely frustrating. In September, as part of my long-planned European vacation, I'm going to be visiting Loch Ness, but I'll be arriving on the 10th... THREE DAYS after the virgin sacrifice. So it looks like I'll miss it. And it's too late to change the dates of my flight. The one time in my life I visit Loch Ness and I miss getting to see a virgin sacrifice by a few days. That's just my luck.
Categories: Cryptozoology, Paranormal
Posted by Alex on Sat Aug 21, 2004
Comments (11)
I just received this rather non-humorous letter from the folks over at the Time Travel Mutual Fund:

Hello Alex,
I see you have our site, The Time Travel Fund, listed in your museum
of hoaxes.(www.TimeTravelFund.com)
I am writing you to ask that you remove us from your site. We are not
a hoax; we are serious in what we are attempting to do. Your site
lists us as being a hoax as if it were a fact, not as simply being
your personal opinion.
While you are certainly entitled to your opinion, presenting it as a
fact and not an opinion is slander.



This raises a dilemma for me. I do, in fact, list the Time Travel Fund in my gallery of hoax websites, having assumed that the site was a kind of cute, tongue-in-cheek idea whose main purpose was to sell $10 certificates that people could hang on their wall as a joke, rather than really being in the business of fund management. But if they're perfectly serious about their time travel fund, then that makes it a kooky site, rather than a hoax site. Should I keep the site on the list? I'm not sure.

I'm inclined to keep it on there just to annoy them because I don't like their legalistic threat about me slandering them. But I think the best thing to do would be to keep their site in the list, but add a disclaimer noting that while I thought the Fund was a joke, the fund managers themselves seem to take their task very seriously.
Categories: Future/Time, Websites
Posted by Alex on Fri Aug 20, 2004
Comments (95)
I've now enabled the Hoax Forum message board with an RSS Feed. It'll send every new topic posted there straight to your RSS reader. Enjoy.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Thu Aug 19, 2004
Comments (1)
There's a LiveJournal community devoted to exposing fake LiveJournal deaths. I love it. You find cynical observations such as this: "you'll notice when visiting luna's journal that her dad died on August 8. He was immediately buried the next afternoon. In the meantime however, luna spent the hours posting bad poetry and stupid surveys." The Museum of Hoaxes also gets mentioned. Unfortunately it looks like they're configuring the community so that you'll now have to join it in order to see any future posts.
Categories: Death
Posted by Alex on Thu Aug 19, 2004
Comments (0)
image I never realized that the pet psychic industry had grown so large. Should you have a need for someone to peer into your pet's thoughts, you now have a wide range services to choose from. There's Animalstalk.com, run by Barbara Morrison (her company motto is 'I talk to the animals!'). Then, of course, there's tv personality Sonya Fitzpatrick. But my favorite is Terri Diener, owner of Petspeak.com. She tells us that communicating telepathically with animals is "similar to turning on a radio and tuning into the station you want." To get her to read your pet's thoughts all you have to do is phone her up. Everything can be done long distance (how convenient!). Personally I don't often have much trouble figuring out what my cat is thinking (it's usually either 'feed me' or 'pay attention to me') , though I would be curious to know what's going through her mind when she has her 'mad half hours' which involve tearing through the house at breakneck speed, bouncing off furniture, and squawking insanely.
Categories: Animals, Psychology
Posted by Alex on Thu Aug 19, 2004
Comments (9)
image Aylar's career as a finalist for Miss Norway was about to come to a crashing end when her secret past in the adult film industry was revealed. The rules of the Miss Norway competition clearly forbid contestants from having posed nude for money. But luckily Aylar had an explanation ready at hand. That woman doing all those things in those movies wasn't her, even though it looked exactly like her. It was her twin sister. (Wasn't there an episode of Friends where this happened to Phoebe?). Unfortunately for Aylar, a quick investigation revealed that she had no twin sister. She's now the ex- an ex-finalist for Miss Norway.
Categories: Identity/Imposters, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Thu Aug 19, 2004
Comments (7)
Not being very mathematically inclined, these had me puzzled for a while. The first proof shows that 64=65. It's quite convincing, until you actually get graph paper out (like I did) and try to do it yourself. Then you'll discover that the parts don't match up as nicely as they do in the animation.

A more complicated fake proof can be found here, where 1 is shown to equal 2. I started to go glassy-eyed when I began to analyze the equation, so I quickly broke down and peeked at the answer explaining why the proof is wrong. (via Metafilter)
Categories: Science
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 18, 2004
Comments (6)
Here's an interesting picture that's going around via email. I can't tell if it's real or photoshopped, but I'm inclined to say that it's real. I can't see any obvious signs of photoshopping, and dolphins do like to surf waves. However, I wouldn't like to be those guys staring down a school of dolphins about to crash down on top of them (though the perspective probably makes the people appear closer to the dolphins than they actually were). It reminds me of this other (real) picture of a dolphin in a wave. Click on the image for a slightly larger version. image
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Tue Aug 17, 2004
Comments (29)
A collection of Irish personal ads, supposedly culled from the Dublin News, is doing the email rounds. They're in the genre of Brutally Honest Personal Ads (I've reported on examples of this genre before). In this case, I'm guessing that the ads, if they really did appear in the Dublin News, were meant to be tongue-in-cheek (though I haven't seen the paper, so I can't really tell). But whatever the case may be, they're definitely quite funny. Here they are:

Heavy drinker, 35, Cork area. Seeks gorgeous sex addict
interested in a man who loves his pints, cigarettes,
Glasgow Celtic Football Club and starting fights on Patrick
Street at three o'clock in the morning.

Bitter, disillusioned Dublin man, lately rejected by longtime
fiancee, seeks decent, honest, reliable woman, if such a
thing still exists in this cruel world of hatchet-faced bitches.

Ginger haired Galway man, a trouble-maker, gets slit-eyed
and shirty after a few scoops, seeks attractive, wealthy lady
for bail purposes, maybe more.

Bad tempered, foul-mouthed old bastard, living in a damp
cottage in the arse end of Roscommon, seeks attractive 21
year old blonde lady, with a lovely chest.

Devil-worshipper, Offaly area, seeks like-minded lady, for
wining and dining, good conversation, dancing, romantic
walks, and slaughtering cats in cemeteries at midnight
under the flinty light of a pale moon.

Limerick man, 27, medium build, brown hair, blue eyes, seeks
alibi for the night of February 27 between 8 PM and 11:30 PM.

Optimistic Mayo man, 35, seeks a blonde 20 year old
double-jointed supermodel, who owns her own brewery, and has an open-
minded twin sister.

(via Sore Eyes)
Categories: Email Hoaxes, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Tue Aug 17, 2004
Comments (5)
A week or so ago reports that trace amounts of Prozac had been found in the UK's drinking water got a lot of coverage in the blogosphere. No wonder. The idea that Prozac poppers were excreting the drug into the sewers and thereby contributing to the mass medication of the entire population was creepy, to say the least. But it turns out the reports aren't quite true. It's more a case of something that theoretically could happen, rather than something that actually is happening. In a follow-up report the Guardian notes that the Environment Agency, to which the prozac-in-the-water report was originally attributed, now says that it never studied the issue, and the Drinking Water Inspectorate insists that "There is no research that shows Prozac is in water. There's no analytical data at all." (via Apothecary's Drawer)
Categories: Food, Health/Medicine
Posted by Alex on Tue Aug 17, 2004
Comments (6)
image Malaysian farmer Tan Kok Thai claims that he's a human magnet. Anything will stick to him including plastic bottles, bananas, biscuits, books, remote controls, knives, tubes of toothpaste, and rocks. The pictures of him showing off of his ability are quite amusing, especially this one of him with a giant boulder stuck to his chest. It looks to me as if he's leaning quite far back, which alone could explain why the objects aren't falling to the ground. Friction could explain the rest of this mysterious phenomenon. But those are the boring explanations. I'm sure Tan Kok Thai is having far more fun by chalking it up to his inner magnetism. (via The Anomalist)
Categories: Body Manipulation, Health/Medicine
Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 16, 2004
Comments (11)
Someone dressed in a gorilla suit has been jumping out from behind bushes and terrifying pensioners in Austria. At least, police assume it's someone in a gorilla suit, though I'm sure some would speculate that it could be a real creature. Commenting on the prank, one pensioner said, "It's really horrifying when a gorilla suddenly jumps out in front of you." Truer words were never spoken.

Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 16, 2004
Comments (2)
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