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November 2004
image I believe that this picture might give me nightmares. Is it fake? Apparently not. It was taken by Dale Guldan, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel photographer. It ran in the Journal Sentinel on Sept. 11, accompanying this article. The editors claim that they never noticed that strange bulge in Cheney's pants... until readers began pointing it out. So if the picture isn't fake, what could that bulge be? I refuse to believe, as many have jokingly suggested, that Dick is 'superendowed'. So if it's not that, could it be something in his pocket or attached to his leg? My theory is that it's either a security device, or an incontinence device. Whatever it is, I don't think they can blame this on poor tailoring. For more info see here. (click on the image for a larger version) (via blue lemur)
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 18, 2004
Comments (18)
Lucina Sine Concubitu translates roughly to 'pregnancy without intercourse.' Here's a site that uses a 'strange book' by this title published in 1772 as a launching-off point to explore the history of the subject. It's full of fascinating and odd details such as medieval church debates about exactly how the Virgin Mary was impregnated by the Holy Ghost: was it "by way of the ear, the gullet, the nose, by way of breathing into her God's breathe, hearing God's word, being Overshadowed by a Divine cloud, etc." Or the old Roman belief that mares can be made pregnant simply by "turning east and inhaling the wind from that direction." Or whether sperm can be carried on the wind. Some of the most amusing details are the excuses that women throughout history have come up with to explain to their husbands how they managed to get pregnant even though the two haven't been together recently, such as the excuse of this somewhat naive girl: "It's true that my husband has gone a long time ago, but we write each other..."
Categories: Birth/Babies, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 18, 2004
Comments (3)
Here's a TV show I'd be interested in seeing: Hometown Tales. It's all about various hoaxy/folklore-type things that happen in communities throughout America. The show also has a blog. Unfortunately, I probably won't be able to ever see the program because it's only on public access channels in New Jersey. Well, if they ever make it to the San Diego area I could definitely find some hoaxy things to share with them, such as the landing spot on Mt. Palomar where George Adamski first made contact with the Venusian Scoutcraft (I think I'm one of the few people ever to check it out... It's now a baseball field). Or the Monster of Deadman's Hole.
Categories: Entertainment, Folklore/Tall Tales
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 18, 2004
Comments (1)
image This doesn't appear to be a church for those that worship Tom Jones. Instead, it's just a church for those who enjoy listening to Tom Jones music (I think the former would have been slightly more interesting). Also, I don't think it's a joke. Or maybe it is, and I don't get it. Pastor Jack, the guy who runs the church, seems to have been spooking around for quite a while. He boasts that in 1997 he was voted Strangest Person in America. That would be something to put on a resume. (via Holy Weblog)
Categories: Celebrities, Religion
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 18, 2004
Comments (10)
This is probably not a hoax. Just a really bad idea. Croatia is hoping to strike it rich by luring in tourists curious to see what it would be like to spend a couple of days in a hard-labor camp. So they're considering reopening a communist-era prison on a barren island in the Adriatic Sea, and offering it as a tourist destination. They envision "tourists being issued convict uniforms, pounding large stones with a sledgehammer and hauling the pieces on their backs to quarries around the prison." Sounds like fun.
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Places
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 18, 2004
Comments (8)
A couple of days ago someone mentioned that the comments would be easier to read if they were in chronological order, so that you wouldn't need to go to the bottom of the page to view the start of a discussion. I hadn't thought much about it before, but this seemed logical to me, so I reconfigured the comments to appear in chronological order.

But now Razela has noted that the old way, when they were in reverse chronological order, it was easier to see the newest comments. Which is also true.

Each way of doing it has pluses and minuses. Unfortunately it has to be either/or. The software doesn't allow individual users to set their own preferences. So, because I can't see which way is obviously better, I've decided to let everyone vote, and then whichever way the vote turns out (after a few days), that's the way the comments are going to be configured. Permanently.

Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Wed Nov 17, 2004
Comments (14)
If this story was in some other paper, like the Weekly World News, I'd dismiss it as a tall tale, but the material on is usually fairly reliable. They report about a (human) mother who has taken to breastfeeding her puppy. What I find interesting is that the reporter took the initiative to interview an anthropology professor about what this woman is doing (or claiming to be doing), and got this interesting nugget of information: "Victoria University associate professor of anthropology Jeff Sissons said he was familiar with a practice among women from Papua New Guinea hill tribes who breastfed pigs, but he had not heard of any other instance of a human breastfeeding another species." Next time I'm at a cocktail party I'm going to try casually mentioning that little gem of trivia.
Categories: Animals, Birth/Babies
Posted by Alex on Wed Nov 17, 2004
Comments (25)
image The auction of a ten-year-old grilled cheese sandwich bearing the image of the Virgin Mary has been pulled from eBay. The sandwich was put up for sale by Diana Duyser who claims that in the ten years since she made the sandwich and took one bite out of it (before noticing the face of the Virgin), it has miraculously never grown any mold. eBay pulled the auction because it claims that it doesn't allow joke listings (that's news to me). Looking at the sandwich, I can definitely see a face, but it doesn't look like the Virgin Mary. To me it looks more like a movie star from the 30s or 40s. Myrna Loy, perhaps. She should have said it was haunted. Would have been no problems then, because eBay definitely allows haunted stuff.
Update: Here's another virgin mary sandwich on eBay.
Update 2: And here's the original Virgin Mary Sandwich, back up for sale. Most of the bidding must still be a hoax, because who's really going to pay $69,000 for an old cheese sandwich?
Categories: eBay, Food, Religion
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 16, 2004
Comments (33)
Is Indiana Congressman John Hostettler really introducing legislation to change the name of Interstate 69 to Interstate 63, because religious groups feel that I-69 is too risque whereas I-63 is more 'moral sounding'? Of course not. But the story has spread pretty far by now. When I first saw the headline linked to on Blogdex, I assumed it was real after glancing at it quickly. I should have known better. After all, the story comes from the Hoosier Gazette, which is becoming well known as a source of news hoaxes. Check out this article at about Josh Whicker, the creator of the Hoosier Gazette. He's already scored three successful hoaxes before this one. There was the one claiming that a five-year study at Indiana University had discovered that new parents often experience a sudden loss in IQ (that fooled MSNBC). There was the one claiming that Purdue University had given a basketball scholarship to the wrong Jason Smith (to a 5'6" Jason Smith computer geek, not 6'6" Jason Smith point guard). And then there was one about a guy who won the lottery two days after his divorce was final. As for the I-69 name change thing, it's already been picked up as real news by the Sierra Times, and reportedly, according to the Courier Press (requires registration), Hostettler's congressional office has been fielding outraged calls about the issue all day from people who don't realize the story was a joke.
Categories: Journalism, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 16, 2004
Comments (14)
image The Times reports on a group of European researchers who are developing a robotic cockroach. This tiny robot, dubbed InsBot, will infiltrate cockroach communities, assume a leadership role, and then lead the insects out into the light (and to their doom). The researchers hope that someday people will use these robo-roaches as a way of controlling roach infestations. This all sounds so bizarre that I'd assume it was a hoax if it wasn't reported in The Times. But I've got to assume they've done their homework and aren't trying to pull our leg. The researchers are also looking into robotic chickens, sheep, and guinea fowl. (via We Make Money Not Art)
Categories: Animals, Technology
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 16, 2004
Comments (7)
image At first I thought these were real dogs... like some kind of mutant copy-cat version of Bonsai Kitten. But no, the dogs appear to be models. Still, it's a rather odd idea. I can understand buying a model of a dog (I've bought a few myself). But why stick it in a Philippine Tonna shell? On the other hand, if you're looking for a unique gift, this has unique written all over it. Could make a good wedding gift. (via Sect of Rama)
Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 16, 2004
Comments (29)
image Genetiate is a biotech company working on that one thing the world has been crying out for: glow-in-the-dark deer. It's such a bizarre project, that it screams hoax. The amateur quality of its website reinforces this impression. But I think it's real. Genetiate is a division of Geneticas Life Sciences. Those are the same people who, through yet another division, are creating the hypoallergenic cats. But why create a glow-in-the-dark deer? So that it will more easily be seen by motorists. The site gives this explanation:
"By implanting the gene of a special jellyfish into deer, the transgenic NIGHTSAVE deer produced by GENETIATE (patent pending) have fluorescing hair and skin when illuminated by car headlights. The implanted gene has no other effect on the deer, who appear normal in daylight." The illogical thing about this is that even if they create a couple of these special deer (or even if they create thousands of them), that's hardly going to have an effect on the wild deer population as a whole, who will still be just as invisible to motorists.
Categories: Animals, Science
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 16, 2004
Comments (20)
Normally whenever characters on TV shows or in movies give out phone numbers, they're fake. One of those '555' numbers. But the new trend seems to be to give out real numbers that people can actually dial up. For instance, on Scrubs the surgeon Chris Turk recently gave out his phone number: 916-CALL-TURK. If you call the number, you'll hear a message from one of the characters. Apparently a real number has also been given out on an episode of the Gilmore Girls.
Categories: Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Mon Nov 15, 2004
Comments (24)
I came across the LiveJournal page of Chris (corourke), on which he ponders the reality of the Santa Rosa Institute of Advanced Genetics. Upon checking it out, the site had me confused for a while also. At first glance it appears to be a legitimate biotech company with two products in development: Genuflex (an anti-aging drug), and Envigor (a drug that decreases the need for sleep). So far, so good. I know there really are companies developing products like this. But then if you do a google search for the 'Santa Rosa Institute' links to the Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency start coming up. The FVZA rails against the Santa Rosa Institute, denouncing it as a front for vampire research. For instance, here's the FVZA's take on Envigor:

Recently, the Santa Rosa Institute has been pushing Envigor, a drug designed to help people stay alert when working overnight shifts. Study results trumpeted in an Institute press release suggest that Envigor helps people stay awake and alert all night, with no apparent side effects. Of course, the Institute left out one minor detail: ENVIGOR IS MADE FROM VAMPIRE BLOOD.

Obviously the FVZA is a joke, but the question is: is the Santa Rosa Institute also a joke? Is it a fake site created by the FVZA, or is it a real company that just happens to have become a target for the FVZA's satire? For a moment I was inclined to think the SRI might be real, because a further search uncovered real-looking press releases from the SRI on other sites. But then I noticed something: a hidden vampire reference on the SRI site. If you click on the 'Home' link, a link to the FVZA Museum surreptitiously appears in the right-hand corner. It's easy to miss. So it appears that the Santa Rosa Institute is a fake site created by the FVZA. Though it's definitely a fairly elaborate fake.
Categories: Paranormal, Websites
Posted by Alex on Mon Nov 15, 2004
Comments (27)
image Here's an ingenious office prank. Kevin Kelm's coworkers were wondering all day about that guy who had been in the bathroom for hours. You could hear him groaning away on the toilet. Was it the CFO? No, it was RoboDump. As Kevin explains: "RoboDump is a robot. Sort of. And it poops. Sort of. Forever. A horrible, never-ending bowel movement complete with straining grunts, horrific gas, splashes, and pee sounds." (via Boing Boing)
Categories: Gross, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Mon Nov 15, 2004
Comments (4)
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