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January 2005
Back in November I posted something about a guy who claimed to have a 'hand of corn' (i.e. an ear of corn shaped like a hand). This struck a chord with Mr. Starbucks (that's his screen name) who remembered that his Grandmother claimed to have once found a piece of wood naturally shaped like a hand. He's now found his Grandma's wooden hand and sent me some pictures of it. He says that, "In my opinion, I think it's a hoax. How would a piece of wood form into that shape?" But, come on, Mr. Starbucks! It's your Grandma. If she says that's how she found it, then as her grandson it's your duty to believe her. Anyway, it'll sell better on eBay if you describe it as the demonic wooden hand of an evil tree spirit that's cursed your family for three generations.
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales
Posted by Alex on Thu Jan 27, 2005
Comments (5)
image For almost twenty years Glaswegians have enthusiastically upheld a tradition of placing traffic cones on top of a statue of the Duke of Wellington that stands in the city center. You can even buy postcards and t-shirts displaying a cone-wearing Wellington. But now the fun might come to an end on account of art historian Gary Nisbet who claims that the cone prank threatens to seriously damage the 160-year-old statue. He's campaigning to get people who climb up on the statue charged with vandalism. Unfortunately this would make a number of the city councillors vandals. Nisbet's proposal doesn't seem to be going over well at all with the residents of Glasgow, most of whom seem to think the cone is the best thing about the statue.
Categories: Art, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Thu Jan 27, 2005
Comments (11)
Here's another example of why Ananova is so widely known as a credible source for news. The title of this latest journalistic gem: Ukrainian hasn't slept in 20 years. The article describes Fyodor Nesterchuk who just stays up reading while everybody else sleeps. The local doctor claims he has "examined Nesterchuk extensively" and can't find anything wrong with him, except for the fact that the guy never sleeps. Although I don't believe for a second that this guy has really gone for twenty years without even taking a nap, I have read articles speculating that in the future scientists might be able to eliminate, at a genetic level, our need for sleep. There's an interesting science-fiction novel, Beggars in Spain, that explores this concept.
Categories: Science
Posted by Alex on Thu Jan 27, 2005
Comments (29)
The Sun reports that British rowdies have embraced a new hobby: happy slapping. Here's what the Sun says:

A VIOLENT craze in which thugs slap strangers across the face and record it on video phone is sweeping Britain. The so-called "happy slappers" attack while an accomplice captures it to post on the internet or send to another mobile. But what started as a schoolkids' prank has escalated into more serious assaults - including fly-kicking strangers' spines - and robberies.

This sounds suspiciously like an urban legend. I can definitely believe the part about random street attacks, but the part about recording it all on video and posting it on the internet sounds dubious. If this is really the latest craze then where, as the Inquirer asks, are all these 'happy slapper' videos? They can't be found. Has anyone ever seen one? Of course, I imagine that some idiot will probably be inspired to go out and create one, now that everybody is talking about the phenomenon. If they do, then the video will serve as perfect evidence for prosecuting them.
Categories: Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Wed Jan 26, 2005
Comments (29)
Dan Taylor of South Carolina has built a submarine which he plans to launch in Loch Ness this spring, hoping to find Nessie and collect tissue samples from her, for scientific analysis. The media, of course, are loving this, first playing up the eccentric enthusiast angle, and now playing up the Nessie-fans-outraged-by-the-thought-of-someone-harpooning-the-monster angle. But if you watch the video broadcast that accompanies this article, you realize that it's not so much the idea of somebody harpooning poor Nessie that worries local residents of Loch Ness. It's the idea of some guy at large in the Loch with a harpoon-equipped submarine that concerns them. What if he harpoons a swimming tourist by accident, they point out. The media also love pointing out, with a sly wink, that hunting Nessie is illegal because she's protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, which is true enough. If someone ever does find her, they can't kill her.
Categories: Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Wed Jan 26, 2005
Comments (28)
image Here's a video going around showing what has to be, quite easily, the worst weather broadcast ever. It's so bad you begin to suspect that it was staged. But I don't think so. It seems to be a student-run news show broadcast by Ohio University Public Television. Not to be harsh, but this guy should really think about pursuing a different career. Reporting the weather doesn't seem to be his thing.
Update: Apparently there's a few more weird weathermen videos going around (weird weathermen must be the internet meme of the moment). One shows a weatherman in North Carolina who thinks he's way funnier than he actually is. And another one shows a Fox news weatherman who breaks out in an inexplicable bout of swearing on-air while the camera is rolling (not safe for work because of language).
Categories: Journalism
Posted by Alex on Wed Jan 26, 2005
Comments (19)
image Kentaro Mori of Liquito sent me this picture (click thumbnail to enlarge) of a very fat dog. He says that he found it on a Japanese website. My hunch would be that there's no photo trickery involved here. It really is a very fat dog. Probably comes from the same household as Munchkin the Monster Cat.
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Mon Jan 24, 2005
Comments (54)
Looks like the site is back... at last. I'm definitely not going to change servers again in a hurry. Uploading files, checking folder permissions, and trying to understand how to get a mysql database to do what I want it to do is not my idea of fun. Anyway, everything on the site seems to be functioning, except for the forum. Go figure. Something had to break during the move. The pages for each individual topic in the forum are working, but the main page for the forum itself won't load. I have no idea why not, and I'm too tired to worry about it right now.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Mon Jan 24, 2005
Comments (9)
The Museum of Hoaxes will soon be moving to a new home at a different web hosting company (pMachine hosting). This may cause a slight disruption in service (fewer posts) over the following week as I make the switch. At the very least it might mean that the site will temporarily be at a new url (one of those urls that are just a string of numbers) until the internet domain name servers reassign to the new web host.

The reason for the move is that over the past few days all of the server-intensive functions of the site (such as being able to post and edit entries) froze up, apparently because of increased traffic. I'm not sure what the cause of the traffic spike was. Looking at my referrer logs it seems that the vast majority of the traffic is coming from the google and yahoo search engines.

Anyway, the server couldn't handle the load... or rather my web host restricted the amount of server queries my site could make, so that my site wouldn't hog the server's cpu... which meant I suddenly was having trouble posting entries. It all gets a bit technical. The long and short of it is that the site has evidently outgrown the server it was on, so it's time to move to something a bit more robust.

I'll keep everyone posted about how the move is going.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Sun Jan 23, 2005
Comments (10)
image Even though I'm not very proficient in Spanish, I'm pretty sure that the Emancipator Bubble is a hoax. According to the machine translation, the Emancipator Bubble "is an inflatable cockpit, with bubble form, that allows you independent living without leaving the familiarity of your house." In other words, it's a large inflatable bubble that you live in, instead of just living in your room. It comes in various models, such as the Sexmancipator. This racy model is "Made with a plastic similar to the latex and with an interior permanently lubricated. It incorporates a small vibrating motor. It is totally soundproof towards the outside." I think the concept of the Emancipator Bubble is a marketing concept dreamed up by a bubble gum company. (via We Make Money Not Art)
Categories: Advertising, Websites
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 21, 2005
Comments (7)
image The Tailspinning into Tomorrow Livejournal has posted a picture of a flyer put up by someone searching for their missing monkey. Here's the text of the flyer:

Missing Monkey
Last seen in diaper carrying blue 'blankie'
looks like Olsen twin (circa 1985 Full House baby)
Responds to nickname 'F123'
If found call: *******
Monkey is NOT trustworthy

I like how they specify that the monkey isn't trustworthy. But I'm wondering if the flyer might be an example of the classic weird-missing-pet phone prank. An earlier example of this I recorded was A Cat Named Killer. Here's the prank: put out an ad or flyer listing a weird pet as missing; include your friend's phone number as the contact; wait for your friend to gets hundreds of bizarre phone calls.
Categories: Animals, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 21, 2005
Comments (30)
A fake news story about the death of actor John Goodman raced around the internet today. It's hard to understand why people believed this for a second, since the story was filled with spelling mistakes and bad grammar. Here's a sample:

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) - Actor John Goodman, star of such hits as Monsters Inc and Beyond the Sea, found dead today in his home. Cause of death is not known. Recently seen in the Kevin Spacey epik Beyond the Sea, Goodman was deemed in fine health by his doctor just three days ago. Cause of death is not yet known, but it is suspected natural causes. Goodman was most notably known as the blue-collar patriarch Dan Conner on the hit TV show Roseanne. Goodman also lent his vocal talents to such films as The Emperor's New Groove and Mosnters Inc, as well as being a semi-regular guest on Saturday Night Live.

Defamer debunked this pretty quickly, even managing to grab a screen shot of the original fake news story before it disappeared. I'll add this to my growing list of celebrity death hoaxes.
Categories: Celebrities, Death
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 21, 2005
Comments (12)
image A guy from Texas is selling his left nut on eBay so that he can buy a tractor. Ha Ha. It's a peanut. But I think I see the face of Jesus on it.
Categories: eBay, Folklore/Tall Tales, Food
Posted by Alex on Thu Jan 20, 2005
Comments (13)
Here's a news story that bears an eerie resemblance to the urban legend about the guy who shares a drink with a stranger in a bar and wakes up to find his kidney gone. This news report involves a German professor who goes on holiday to Costa Rica and visits a hospital to have them check out his swollen left foot:

When I got to the hospital they put me on a bed and I heard the word amputate. I tried to protest, but before I knew it they had given me drugs to black me out, and when I woke up I was at the departure lounge. My suitcases were by my side - and then I realised my leg was missing. I couldn't move, and when I checked my wallet I found that £200 had been taken out and replaced with a receipt for the amputation.

Wow! Talk about bad luck. Of course, this story appears on Ananova, so it's anyone's guess whether it's actually true.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Thu Jan 20, 2005
Comments (13)
image If this story wasn't in the NY Times, I wouldn't believe that it was true (though I do see that it's actually an AP story picked up by the Times). Patrick Lawler went to the dentist about a toothache and found out he had a four-inch nail lodged inside his head. It came from a nail gun he had been using a few days before. He hadn't realized that the gun had shot a nail inside his head! The x-ray of the nail inside his head (see thumbnail to right) reminds me of the x-ray picture (below) that I have on my Hoax Photo Test showing a fork inside a woman's stomach. In her case she swallowed the fork while inserting it down her throat in order to remove a cockroach that had somehow got lodged down there. True story.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Thu Jan 20, 2005
Comments (18)
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