The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
August 2004
Fake Onsen Scandal
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 11, 2004
The Japanese love to soak in Onsen... hot springs that bubble up from the ground, often milky white or green in color, tinted by minerals in the earth. But now many have been dismayed to discover that some of the springs don't owe their color to natural minerals, but instead to far more mundane ingredients. Namely, bath salts. Japan Today notes, "In Kagoshima Prefecture, a hot spring famous for its unusual green color was revealed to be the result of dissolving household "Bath-Clean" bath salts into the water. Further claims of "fake onsens" have been surfacing continuously over the country."
Categories: Places Comments (0)
The Secret History of the Flying Carpet
Posted by The Curator on Tue Aug 10, 2004
In late July an essay appeared in the Australian literary journal Meanjin written by Azhar Abidi. It was titled 'The Secret History of the Flying Carpet'. The essay described the discovery of 13th-century Persian scrolls that suggested there was some truth to the old legends of flying carpets. Ancient Persian artisans had apparently discovered a process of boiling fibers in a magnetic clay before weaving them into a carpet. These magnetized fibers then floated above the ground, repelled by the Earth's own magnetism. According to the scrolls, the fledgling flying carpet industry was driven out of existence by horse and camel breeders worried about future competition. This all sounds pretty fantastic, and it obviously is. But nevertheless, Abidi's…
Devirginize Marc
Posted by The Curator on Tue Aug 10, 2004
This falls under the category of 'could easily be true, but seriously, you've got to be kidding.' It's DeVirginizeMarc.com. Marc (if that's his real name) is 26 years old and a virgin. Or, as he puts it, "My name is Marc, and I'm a virgin... and I'm okay with it." But he's obviously not that okay with it, because he's soliciting applications from the public to help him change his situation. Maybe it's just me, but Marc looks like he's closer to his late 30s than his mid 20s. Could he be lying about his age? I immediately checked to see who the website was registered to, but it's registered…
Categories: Sex/Romance, Websites Comments (5)
Hoax Execution and ABC News
Posted by The Curator on Sat Aug 07, 2004
Today ABC News sent a camerateam around to my house to interview me about the hoax execution of Benjamin Vanderford. Vanderford used special-effects to stage his own execution by Islamic militants, then uploaded footage of the scene onto file-sharing networks, and waited for the media to bite. It took three months, but the media finally did bite, reporting it as an actual execution yesterday. At which point, Vanderford confessed to the hoax. I got a call from ABC this morning asking if I'd be willing to do an interview. I had only just read about Vanderford's hoax a few minutes before they called, but I said sure, why not. About an hour later the camerateam was there. I…
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror Comments (11)
Advanced Rutabaga Studies Institute
Posted by The Curator on Fri Aug 06, 2004
It's common knowledge that Rutabaga Studies is one of the most exciting fields of inquiry in the world today, and at the Advanced Rutabaga Studies Institute they're on the cutting edge of it. For instance, you can peek in on their live Rutacam and witness a thrilling Rutabaga experiment in action. Also, keep up with recent developments in Rutabaga Studies, such as the anticipated launching of a giant rutabaga into geostationary orbit. And did you know that September is National Rutabaga Month? All this fascinating information about rutabagas, and I honestly don't think I've ever eaten one in my life.
Categories: Food, Websites Comments (8)
Saddles for REAL MEN!
Posted by The Curator on Fri Aug 06, 2004
Wimpy men ride on soft, padded bicycle seats. Real men ride on rock-hard seats. Literally. Sheldon Brown is selling Real MAN © Saddles made out of solid granite from Canada's rugged Gaspé peninsula. In order to qualify for purchase of this product, a chemical analysis of your blood will be performed to determine that your testosterone level is high enough to ride the Real MAN © saddle. (via Red Ferret)
Categories: Sports, Websites Comments (2)
Escape-a-Date
Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 05, 2004
The Arizona Daily Star reports that Cingular Wireless is preparing to debut an Escape-a-Date feature on its phones. It will allow you to prearrange a phone call to interrupt you during a date, providing you with a convenient out, should it be necessary. Excuse messages offered up will include "my friend is having some trouble with superglue and needs some help" and "my friend was looking in his fridge and found some pudding that's shaped like Elvis." That second thing about Elvis really happened to me, except it wasn't pudding. It was a potato chip. (via BoingBoing)
Categories: Sex/Romance, Technology Comments (3)
Boyfriend Arm Pillow
Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 05, 2004
For those women who don't want to sleep with a real man, but like to have an arm wrapped around them at night, Japanese manufacturer Kameo has come out with the Boyfriend Arm Pillow. A Kameo spokesman says that, "It has been so successful we have had to draw up a waiting list. Women of all ages have been queueing round the block to take one home." Kameo also plans to introduce a Girlfriend Arm Pillow later. But this is my question: If you're married would it be considered cheating to sleep with a boyfriend/girlfriend arm pillow?
Categories: Sex/Romance Comments (13)
Fake Terrorism Drill
Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 05, 2004
This should win some kind of award for stupidity. Government officials in Carter County, Tenn. were settling down to their meeting about property taxes when armed intruders burst into the room, fired shots into the air, and proceeded to take hostages. "There will be no new taxes, everyone here is going to vote no," one intruder shouted. People panicked and rushed for cover. But no need. Turns out it was just a "drill" orchestrated by the local Emergency Management Director. Problem is, while the Director had told a few people there was going to be some kind of exercise, he hadn't warned anyone about the nature of it. Maybe it's just me, but I can't imagine that the…
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror Comments (2)
Miss Plastic Surgery
Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 05, 2004
The BBC reports that a "Miss Plastic Surgery" beauty contest will be held in China in October. All the contestants must have enhanced their appearance via cosmetic surgery. The inspiration for the event came after a woman was barred from a beauty contest on account of her surgical enhancements. What surprises me here is that China has beaten America to the punch on this one. Where is our Miss Plastic Surgery contest? I thought Fox would have dreamed up something like this ages ago.
Categories: Body Manipulation Comments (6)
Thatcher Isn’t Dead
Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 05, 2004
Margaret Thatcher isn't dead, despite what this elaborate mock-up of The Guardian claims. Nor is Stephen Hawking now going to speak in her voice.
Categories: Death, Politics Comments (6)
Longshot Presidential Candidates
Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 05, 2004
If you choose not to vote for Emperor Buonaparte in November (God knows why not), here are some other alternative-reality-type candidates you can cast your ballot for. I found the info about these candidates on the Politics1.com website (you need to scroll about 2/3 of the way down the page before you start getting to the really interesting candidates). First there's Albert 'Al' Hamburg. "Perennial candidate Al Hamburg, 72, had lost 14 consecutive bids for President and for Governor, US Senate and Congress before the 2004 race. He proudly described himself as the "Very Independent UNPOPULAR Candidate... Hamburg also made news in the 1980s when…
Categories: Politics Comments (2)
HRM Caesar St. Augustine de Buonaparte
Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 05, 2004
On September 17, 1859 Joshua Norton delivered a proclamation to the San Francisco Bulletin declaring himself Emperor of the United States. From that point on, Joshua Norton was forever known as Emperor Norton I, a role which he dutifully performed for the rest of his life, proudly walking around the streets of San Francisco dressed in his emperor's uniform, complete with plumed hat, gold epaulets, and a sword at his side. When he died in 1880, 10,000 people showed up at his funeral. It now looks like America has a new Emperor. Or rather, has had one for about eight years, ever since HRM…
Categories: Politics Comments (29)
California As An Island
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 04, 2004
The Philadelphia Print Shop has a great online collection of ancient maps that contain mythical geography. Mythical geography describes "geographic features that appear on the map but not on the earth; cities where none ever were, islands where there are but waves, lakes and rivers where there is dry land, and kingdoms of non-existent kings." (I have some more information about this topic in my Medieval Travel Lies Gallery). My favorite ancient maps in the Print Shop's collection are the ones of California as an island. Of course, it remains to be seen whether these were actually geographic myths, or astute predictions of the future. Being in…
Categories: History, Places Comments (4)
Phony Sold Signs
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 04, 2004
A British Real Estate Agency has been fined for placing phony 'sold' signs up outside the houses of its own employees. It's not quite clear to me what they gained by doing this. I assume it made them look like they were doing more business than they actually were. Still, it's odd to think that as you drive around a neighborhood and see all those 'for sale' and 'sold' signs, that the signs might bear no relationship to reality at all.
Categories: Business/Finance, Places Comments (3)
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