The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
December 2005
Happy Monkey Day
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 14, 2005
Happy Monkey Day. I'm eating a banana as I type this. (Imagine monkey sounds.)
Categories: Animals Comments (10)
Supercooled Water
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 13, 2005
Status: Real On December 7th, Matt Sparks went to get some bottled water out of his garage. The temperature in the garage was below the freezing point of water, but he noticed that the water in the bottles was still liquid. However, when he moved the water, it instantly froze. He has some videos on his site showing what happened. They're pretty cool, and if you're not aware of the phenomenon of supercooled water (as I wasn't), you might think there's some kind of trickery involved. But there's not. Matt writes: These videos were recorded with a Canon Powershot S50 digital camera. They have not be altered in any way, other than to reencode…
Categories: Science Comments (34)
Indigo Children See The Future
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 13, 2005
Status: New Age Mumbo Jumbo Indigo Children is a new-age term for children whose aura is indigo colored. These are the kids whom medical science would diagnose as being hyperactive or having ADD (and many lay people might diagnose as spoiled brats). But according to the indigo-child theory, these are actually children with very special powers. Nancy Ann Tappe, the psychic who first described the concept, says that Indigo Children are "souls with an evolved consciousness who have come here to help change the vibrations of our lives and create one land, one globe and one species. They are our bridge to the future." The Skeptic's Dictionary has some good info on the subject. …
Categories: Future/Time, Psychology Comments (141)
The Husband Mannequin
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 13, 2005
Suzy Walker's husband is away from home, serving on the USS West Virginia. But you'd hardly know he was gone, because Suzy carries around a life-size mannequin of him: Walker bought her stand-in man for $200 and she takes him everywhere. He's been to the movie theater, Victoria's Secret, and the gas station to buy lottery tickets. The couple attracts lots of attention. The only thing that could make this creepier would be if it turned out she didn't have a real husband. Didn't William Faulkner write a short story with a premise like that?
John Just Wants To Go Home For Christmas
Posted by The Curator on Sat Dec 10, 2005
Status: Hoax Here's a sob story that was reported by the Brazosport Facts: A boy named John, 10, separated from his mother since the hurricane, was living with other foster children in an emergency shelter, and he had one Christmas wish: to go home. "But there's no way I'll get gifts for Christmas. I don't even believe in Santa anymore," he was quoted as saying. Quite touching, except John doesn't exist. He was invented by a caseworker with state Child Protective Services in Brazoria County near Houston. The caseworker was evidently hoping to use the phony sob story to drum up charitable contributions. The hoax was discovered by…
Categories: Identity/Imposters Comments (7)
School For Pranks
Posted by The Curator on Fri Dec 09, 2005
Status: True (news item) A couple of people emailed me about this. (Thanks to everyone who did!) The artist Ray Beldner has been teaching a class at St. Mary's College titled "Pranks: Culture jamming as social activism." One of the class requirements is to try to hoax the media. One hoax created by the students involved "the distribution of a news release touting a fictional bar to be opened near the Moraga campus." However, the media didn't fall for it. (Evidently it wasn't sensational or salacious enough... make a story sufficiently shocking or weird and the media will usually print it first and ask questions later.) Not everyone is happy with the class. A professor…
Categories: Pranks Comments (5)
Smoot Retires
Posted by The Curator on Thu Dec 08, 2005
Status: Update about a classic college prank NPR reports that Oliver Smoot has retired from the board of the American National Standards Institute. Fans of classic college pranks will recognize Smoot as the official unit of length of the Harvard Bridge. Here's what Neil Steinberg writes (in If At All Possible, Involve A Cow: The Book of College Pranks) about how the Smoot came into being: In the fall of 1958, the pledge masters at MIT's Lambda Chi Alpha house, dreading the approaching freeze, charged their pledges with remedying the bridge situation. They gave them the task of marking off the…
Categories: Pranks Comments (4)
Is Chin-Whiskered Charlie A Fraud?
Posted by The Curator on Thu Dec 08, 2005
Status: Undetermined, but it doesn't look good for Charlie Controversy is swirling in the world of muskie fishing over the status of Chin-Whiskered Charlie, the muskie that currently holds the title of biggest muskie ever caught, weighing in at 69 pounds, 11 ounces. He was reeled in by Louis Spray back in 1949. But now a group calling itself the World Record Muskie Alliance is challenging Charlie's right to the title. Based on an analysis of old photos of Charlie (Charlie himself was destroyed in a fire in 1959), they're claiming Charlie's a fraud. They suspect Spray stuffed him with wet sand…
Categories: Animals, Sports Comments (2)
The Return of the Web-Controlled Christmas Lights
Posted by The Curator on Thu Dec 08, 2005
Status: Real Last year Alek Komarnitsky thrilled internet surfers with his web-controlled christmas lights. Visitors to his site could remotely turn the lights on and off, and view their handiwork via a webcam. Millions of people checked out his site. Then Alek confessed to the Wall Street Journal that the entire thing was a gigantic hoax. His christmas lights weren't controllable via the web. He had simply rigged up some software to make it look that way. Well, Alek's back, and this year he says his christmas lights REALLY ARE controllable via the web. The Washington Post reports:
Categories: Technology Comments (8)
Xenacate
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 07, 2005
This is a request for help. The proofreader has been going through the manuscript of Hippo Eats Dwarf looking for errors. This is the final check that the book receives before it goes to print. After this, nothing can be changed. Anyway, in the final chapter of the book (about death), I include the following definition: Xenacate, v.: To kill a TV or movie character off so completely that no chance remains of bringing her back from the dead. Inspired by the TV show Xena: Warrior Princess. Its occurrence usually indicates that the actor playing the character has lost her job under unpleasant circumstances and has no hope of being rehired. The…
Categories: Death, Entertainment Comments (88)
Brazilian Sand Girl
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 07, 2005
Status: Real picture (fake girl) Check out this picture. Is it a real girl lying in the sand? Or is it a sand sculpture? Hard to tell. The photographer, Jair Ribbeiro, says that it's a sand sculpture: I was walkin' in the Farol da Barra Beach (Bahia Brazil) last august '04 when i saw this sculpture in the sand.. It was really unbelieveble.. The guy that made this is a genius.. Leonardo!!!! It actually looks faker in the thumbnail than it does in the larger version. (via Optical Illusions Etc.)
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (22)
Birthplace of George W. Bush
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 07, 2005
Status: Hoax The picture of this Connecticut highway sign has been circulating for quite a while, and it's obviously photoshopped (Snopes has a picture of the non-photoshopped version, which lacks the phrases "Birthplace of George W. Bush" and "We apologize"... though their non-photoshopped version actually kind of looks like it's been photoshopped). But apparently there really are signs outside of New Haven, Connecticut welcoming people to New Haven "The birthplace of President George W. Bush '68." George W was born there in 1946, while his father was attending graduate school there. I'm surprised no one has edited these…
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics Comments (27)
Baby Bush Toys
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 07, 2005
Status: Hoax Website (political satire) We've already seen W Ketchup, so why not Baby Bush Toys? Their website states: Sure, we all want what's best for our kids, but let's face the truth: not every child can grow up to be Einstein! At The Baby Bush Toy Company, we offer an exciting range of products for the resoundingly average child. Products include a "Twisty Thing, That is Red" (shown in the thumbnail), and a "Terror Alert Xylophone." Unfortunately, none of these products seem to actually be for sale.
Head-Lice Lotion Scam
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 06, 2005
Status: Medical Scam Dr. Dale Pearlman has admitted that the head-lice treatment he was selling for $285 is really a commercial skin cleanser, Cetaphil, that could be bought over-the-counter for $10: Dr. Dale Pearlman got widespread media attention and skepticism from some head-lice specialists last year when the journal Pediatrics published his study detailing results with a product he called Nuvo lotion. He described it as a "dry-on suffocation-based pediculicide" and the first in a new class of nontoxic lotions for head lice. And as of yesterday, his Web site still said the costly treatment was available only at his Menlo Park, Calif., office. But now, in a letter to the…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (8)
Sony’s Fake Graffiti
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 06, 2005
Status: Faux-rilla marketing campaign In order to promote its new handheld game player, Sony is paying artists to spray paint fake graffiti on buildings in major cities. (They're also paying the building owners for the right to spray paint the graffiti, which consists of images of spaced-out kids playing with the new handheld device.) But according to an article in Wired, the fake graffiti has provoked the anger of some city residents, who have spray painted over the images messages such as "Get out of my city," and "Fony." The Wired article points out that this isn't the first time advertisers have created fake…
Categories: Advertising Comments (8)
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