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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
March 2005
The John Rhys-Davies Internet Rumor Experiment
Posted by The Curator on Sun Mar 27, 2005
Rubber Chicken has posted an interesting account of their experiment in spreading rumors and misinformation via their internet. What they wanted to do was plant one seed of misinformation, and see how far it would spread. As it turned out, it spread quite far. Their seed of misinformation was this: they made up a rumor that actor John Rhys-Davies, of Sliders fame, was going to provide the voice for General Grievous, the new CGI villain in Star Wars Episode III. They emailed this rumor to Ain't It Cool News, where it was promptly posted as a hot new piece of movie gossip.…
Categories: Entertainment, Pranks Comments (9)
Easter Legend is a Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Sun Mar 27, 2005
It's long been thought that the word Easter and the traditions we associate with it (the Easter Bunny and hiding eggs) stem from an old Germanic Saxon belief about the goddess Ostara. The Saxons believed that Ostara was sent by the Sun King during the spring to bring an end to winter. She bore a basket of colored eggs, and with the help of a magical rabbit would hide these eggs under plants and flowers to bring them new life. The name Ostara evolved into Oestre, or Easter. Turns out this legend is a hoax, at least according to University of Tasmania researcher Elizabeth Freeman. Her research indicates that the Saxons never worshipped a goddess named Ostara. Ostara…
Categories: History, Religion Comments (19)
Google and Terri Schiavo
Posted by The Curator on Sat Mar 26, 2005
On March 22 Google altered their graphic (as they often do) to show water dripping out of the word 'Google' into a bowl. The rumor immediately started racing around that this was some kind of reference to the Terri Schiavo case. I don't quite follow the logic of the rumor. Did people think that Google was showing how water is dripping out of Schiavo as she dehydrates? I'm not sure. Anyway, it wasn't any kind of reference to Terri Schiavo. Google used the graphic to note that it was World Water Day.
Categories: Death Comments (22)
Soldier With Fingers Crossed
Posted by The Curator on Sat Mar 26, 2005
Snopes has a listing about a photo that shows a soldier shaking hands with Hillary Clinton while his fingers are crossed. A caption accompanying the photo explains that the soldier was crossing his fingers to signal that he was coerced to shake hands with her. Today Snopes updated this listing to include a link to a Yahoo Personals Page apparently created by the guy in the picture in which he states that he's no fan of Hillary Clinton. Snopes notes that this confirms what the caption says about why he was crossing his fingers. But my question is about…
Categories: Military, Photos/Videos Comments (26)
Earth Dog Tags
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 25, 2005
This is a cute idea: earth dog tags. "In case of alien abduction these dog tags may save your life. The crucial data an alien will need to get you back to Earth is die stamped into these dog tags." Plus, they come with a money back guarantee: "should you ever be abducted by aliens while wearing Location Earth Dog Tags and not returned safely to Earth you will be entitled to a full refund of the purchase price." But I think they should also sell non-Earth dog tags. You could give them to friends as a prank. Imagine the look on their faces when…
Categories: Extraterrestrial Life Comments (31)
Bombing
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 24, 2005
I've heard that there's a new internet fad called 'Bombing' which involves internet users getting together to phone in fake emergencies to the police. I have no idea whether or not this is really happening (though it did immediately make me think of the Not-So-Great Internet UFO Hoax, which involved an internet community trying to coordinate calling up authorities with a phony UFO sighting). Has anyone ever heard of this new fad? Is it real? Update: This question arises because a Texas woman who phoned in a fake emergency call is using 'bombing' as her excuse. She claims it's an internet game, in which the winner is the person who can get…
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (24)
The Old Negro Space Program
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 24, 2005
Conspiracy theorists say that man never landed on the moon, but the truth is even more shocking. As this short documentary film about the Old Negro Space Program reveals, the Blackstronauts of Black 'NASSA' landed on the moon a full three years before White NASA managed to get there. However, this achievement has been covered up by an elaborate 'Black Blackout' in the media. The film manages to capture exactly the right 'Ken Burnsesque' tone. Watch for how they keep repeating 'It was a different time back then, 1957 or 58', and how a fiddle starts playing whenever the narration shifts to a more reflective…
20th Annual April Fool’s Day Parade
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 24, 2005
Joey Skaggs has announced details of NEW YORK CITY'S 20th ANNUAL APRIL FOOLS' DAY PARADE (he's got that page very oddly formatted in a single long column, but you can also read the news release in pdf format). A few details: This year's parade, "Divided We Stand", will memorialize the efforts made by people around the world to maintain their power, whether political, religious or personal, at the cost of the greater common good. The Parade Grand Marshall will be Ex CBS Anchor, Dan Rather. The theme song "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" will be sung by President George W. Bush. The public is encouraged to participate, in or out of…
Categories: April Fools Day Comments (3)
Social Security for Sale
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 24, 2005
'Billionaires for Bush' placed the American Social Security System up for sale on eBay. Apparently it was quickly pulled, but Billionaires for Bush has archived the auction on their own site: Due to the surprising failure of carefully staged "conversations" across America to convince the American Public that Privatizing Social Security is a good thing, we have decided to take matters into our own hands. As a favor to President Bush and offered exclusively here to the winning bidder who meets our reserve, (must be a private Brokerage Firm, see details below) Billionaires For Bush can't wait to pull the switch on retirement security by circumventing Congress, the Will of the People, and good sense.…
Categories: Business/Finance, eBay, Pranks Comments (3)
Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 23, 2005
I received the following email from Joe Mason. Instead of summarizing it, I'll just cut-and-paste the whole thing: Amazon has a listing for "Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie". The book also has a homepage at http://www.hamsterhueypress.com/, and it's listed as being written by "renowned story teller" Mabel S. Barr. Hamster Huey is, of course, the fictional book written by "Mabel Syrup" in Calvin and Hobbes. It looks like somebody with a vanity press has ripped off the title (I don't think titles are copyrightable, so this may even be legal). This version of "Hamster Huey" certainly…
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (37)
Pony Express Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 23, 2005
According to legend, the Pony Express mail service (which operated from 1860 to 1861) advertised for riders as follows: "Wanted. Young, skinny, wiry fellows. Not over 18. Must be expert riders. Willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred." But historian Joseph Nardone has determined that the ad is a hoax. It never ran. Or rather, it never ran during the operation of the Pony Express. He scoured hundreds of papers, but couldn't find it listed anywhere. The first time he found it mentioned was in 1902. A real ad for the Pony Express, from 1860, read as follows: "Men Wanted! The undersigned wishes to hire ten or a dozen…
Categories: History Comments (6)
Authentic Alien Mummy Corpse
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 23, 2005
A guy on eBay is selling what he speculates to be an authentic alien mummy corpse. He claims that he found it lying on the ground near his home in Tampa a few days after hearing loud booms (which he assumed to be a UFO crashing). He writes: "I hestitated about taking it home with me ...could it be radio active? could it have deadly alien pathogens?  After putting on rubber gloves I felt safer, so I took it home with me. There seems to be no animal or insect damage." The thing that potential buyers on eBay seem more worried about is…
Categories: eBay, Extraterrestrial Life Comments (35)
Doll Mistaken For Alien
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 23, 2005
More news from Ananova, though there's nothing inherently unbelievable in this story: A burnt rubber doll was mistaken for a badly injured alien and taken to a hospital in Brazil. It happened after people in Aracruz found a burnt 'body' on the ground after seeing a fireball fall from the sky. A police spokesman told Terra Noticias Populares: "Many people were terrified thinking that an alien invasion was taking place. "They thought the doll was a burnt ET and more than 50 people called the station." The 'alien' was taken to the local hospital where doctors soon confirmed it was a burnt rubber doll. A hospital spokesman said: "It was obviously a practical…
Steve Wynn Hotel Ad
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 22, 2005
If you've seen those commercials with Steve Wynn standing on top of his hotel in Las Vegas you might find this interesting. I had assumed the shot was fake, but apparently it's not. Stuart Elliott has provided some info about this in his NY Times advertising column (I get the column sent to me by email, and I don't think it appears on the Times website, so I've pasted it below): A Reader Asks: In the new commercial for his eponymous hotel, Steve Wynn is shown atop it. Was he really up there, or is it just computer-generated? Stuart Elliott: That is indeed Mr. Wynn atop the tower of the Wynn…
Categories: Advertising Comments (2)
Trampoline Baby
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 22, 2005
I just received an email from Dave Simpson with the attached image. Dave says: Here is a photo of my son, Connor, on our backyard trampoline in Alabama. He was four months old at the time. Feel free to post it on your site. So I'm stumped. Obviously a 4-month-old infant couldn't bounce themselves up and down on a trampoline. So how was the picture taken? I have no idea.
Categories: Birth/Babies, Photos/Videos Comments (87)
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