The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
November 2005
The Palace of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 15, 2005
Status: Email hoax (real pictures, fake caption)Bad: Falling for an email hoax. Worse: Using the hoax as the basis for your presentation to the local city planning commission, thereby displaying your gullibility to the entire public. As reported by the Muncie Star Press (no link), Don Love gets the award for doing the latter. He received an email containing a series of pictures of an opulent estate (shown below), with the caption: In case you're wondering where this hotel is, it isn't a hotel at all. IT IS A HOUSE! It's owned by the family of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the former president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Abu-Dhabi.
The Power of Makeup
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 14, 2005
Status: Viral email Pasted below is the content of an email that's going around. It's not a hoax, but it deals with issues of camouflage and deception. (It also reminds me of some Before and After pictures that I posted over a year ago.) The subject line of the email is: Never underestimate the power of makeup.
By-Accident.com
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 14, 2005
Status: Hoax Website By-Accident.com claims to be a company that will "deliver customized accidents such as rape, assault and past traumatic experiences. All personally tailored to suit your special needs." The idea is that you can fake a traumatic experience in your past, and thereby get all kinds of attention as a victim. The company will even provide (optional) Aesthetic Scar Surgery to make your past "accident" more believable: "You can have any physical damage you want, our trained surgeons promise it won't hurt and the result will be exactly as you wish." By-Accident.com is a hoax. Satirical elements such as the…
Categories: Psychology, Websites Comments (3)
Fake Family Software
Posted by The Curator on Sun Nov 13, 2005
Status: Hoax-facilitating software Genealogists are in an uproar about new software that allows people to create fake (but real looking) online family trees. The program is called Fake Family. (Because of the controversy, the website of the software maker is now given over to an Open Letter to Genealogists.) Genealogists argue that the fake information created by this program could easily find its way into real family history databases. They also charge that the only purpose of the software is to create webpages that will lure people with false information, and then profit from advertising links. The maker of the software, Don Harrold, defends his creation by insisting it's…
Categories: History, Identity/Imposters Comments (56)
The Bear on the California Flag Should Have Been a Pear
Posted by The Curator on Sun Nov 13, 2005
Status: Hoax A reporter for Inside Bay Area (I don't know his name... it's not given with the article) recently recounted how his granddaughter told him that the bear on the California flag was originally supposed to be a pear. Back in 1846, Capt. Jedediah Bartlett, leader of a band of rebels fighting against the Mexican authorities in California, supposedly drew up a flag for the future state. He thought a pear, as a symbol of the region's agriculture, would be a fitting symbol. But his instructions were misread and the flagmaker inserted a bear on the flag instead of a pear. The error…
Categories: History, Journalism Comments (15)
Police Officer Declares Himself Hindu Deity
Posted by The Curator on Sun Nov 13, 2005
Status: Impersonating a deity A male police officer in India has declared himself to be the reincarnation of Radha, the female consort of the Hindu god Krishna. Naturally, he dresses the part: Devendra Kumar Panda, a 1971 batch officer of the Indian Police Service (IPS), presents an odd sight draped in female attire - complete with nose ring, lipstick, finger and toe nails painted red - and singing hymns in praise of Lord Krishna and dancing. "Lord Krishna has himself assigned me the role of Radha and whatever I am doing is in pursuance of his wishes," 57-year-old Panda told IANS. However, his wife isn't buying any of it:
Human Upgrades
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 11, 2005
Status: Hoax (probably an art project) I've received a couple of emails calling my attention to the Human Upgrades website. This group claims to be some kind of futuristic outfit offering bizarre DNA modification procedures such as Simplenose (giving people one large nostril instead of two), Simpletooth (fusing all the teeth into one long, continuous row), and other more sexually explicit modifications (some of the images are not safe for work). The site states that: Human Upgrades was founded in 2001 by Doc. MUDr. FaVU. Petr Skala CSc. and his team from Institute of DNA Modification in Brno in Czech Republic. Since…
Categories: Body Manipulation, Websites Comments (35)
Dog Gives Birth to Green Puppy
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 10, 2005
Status: Seems to be real A golden retriever has given birth to a green puppy, appropriately named Wasabi. Local 6 News reports: The dog is healthy and green, according to the report. Local 6 News showed video of the puppy rolling around with its normal-looking newborn brothers and sisters. Skeptics said the dog had to be dyed green but the owner said the puppy was born green. Veterinarians said it is possible for a newborn puppy's fur to be green because the placenta, which is green, rubs off at birth. This reminds me of the guy whose
Categories: Animals Comments (41)
Gene Guess
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 10, 2005
Status: Hoax (supposedly a magic trick, but it doesn't work) I received this polite request this morning: Dear web master , Please review this website that is able to determine a persons sex just by four visual questions. Name : Gene Guess .com Link : http://www.geneguess.com Thank you , Pras Til So here goes: it worked for me, correctly guessing my gender. I suppose it was an interesting ten-second time waster. I don't know why it worked. Obviously it has a 50/50 chance of getting the answer right (unless you're a hermaphrodite, which might trip it up a bit). My theory is that the color…
Categories: Psychology, Websites Comments (37)
Fake Cavities
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 10, 2005
Status: Scary scam An Indiana dentist has been charged with diagnosing patients with cavities that didn't exist. This is the kind of thing that feeds the popular paranoia about dentists: The attorney general's office said Dunlap diagnosed three patients with cavities, but the patients sought second opinions and were found to be cavity-free. State officials said Dunlap diagnosed a child with 10 cavities in June, but another dentist found that the child did not have any cavities. A similar complaint was filed by a patient in May 2004, said Staci Schneider, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office. Personally, I've never had a cavity. But one time a dental assistant cleaning…
Japanese Urban Legends
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 09, 2005
Status: Urban legends The blog of Mari Kanazawa has an interesting post about Japanese urban legends. Here are some of the highlights: Turbo Gramma: When you drive on the highway at a blistering speed gramma knocks on the car window. If you see her, you will have a car accident. Someone made a turbo gramma game. Touch the Red G-String: The delivery company trade mark of Sagawa is "Hikyaku", a traditional Japanese postman. Hikyaku wore a traditional red Japanese g-string Fundoshi! The legend was 'if you touch a red g-string on a sagawa truck, you will have good fortune, if you could touch it on a moving…
Categories: Places, Urban Legends Comments (7)
Hippo With Tortoise
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 09, 2005
Status: True This is a slightly old story, but very heartwarming. A baby hippo in Nairobi that survived the tsunami has apparently adopted a tortoise as its surrogate mother: "It is incredible. A-less-than-a-year-old hippo has adopted a male tortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems to be very happy with being a 'mother'," ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge of Lafarge Park, told AFP. "After it was swept and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized. It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother. Fortunately, it landed on the tortoise and established a strong bond.…
Categories: Animals Comments (8)
Upside-Down Christmas Trees
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 09, 2005
Status: Real Target.com is was selling an upside-down Christmas tree for $499.99. (Thanks to Travis for the link--which has now gone dead, therefore I removed it) I'm not religious, but my first thought when seeing it was that it would be a perfect holiday decoration for a family of Satanists, to accompany their upside-down crosses and crucified Santa. I know it's not a joke, or some mistake on Target's part, because Hammacher Schlemmer is selling the same thing for $100 more. I understand these things are supposed to be space-savers, but why not save space by buying a smaller tree? I guess I just don't see the…
Categories: Religion Comments (84)
Amazon Mechanical Turk
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 09, 2005
Status: Real service named after a hoax Amazon.com has unveiled a new web service called Amazon Mechanical Turk. I'm making note of it here because they've named it after a famous hoax: the Great Chess Automaton (aka the Mechanical Turk) of Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen. The Mechanical Turk, which wowed audiences during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, was supposedly a mechanical device that could play chess against human players (and win!). In reality, there was a man hidden inside the device who was doing the chess playing. Amazon's service similarly uses real humans to do tasks for computers. They describe it as Artificial Artificial Intelligence. Their site states: Complete simple tasks that people do better…
Categories: Technology Comments (12)
Road Rage Video
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 08, 2005
Status: Commercial Someone emailed me a videoclip titled "Road Rage". It shows an old woman slowly crossing a road, as a guy in a sports car lays on the horn, trying to get her to hurry up. I won't ruin the ending, but it's pretty amusing. However, the video (in the version I received) appears to be an unscripted scene accidentally caught on video by an amateur. There's no identifying information to suggest otherwise. But since I was curious about whether the scene really was unstaged, I managed to find it on Google Video. Their version was a few seconds longer, preserving the…
Categories: Advertising, Photos/Videos Comments (16)
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