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November 2006
Adela forwarded me this email, wanting to know if it's real or fake:
image
Need a dog??????????
An actual ad from Colorado!
FREE to an approved home. Excellent guard dog, loves other small-dog breeds. Answers to the name of Dolly.
Will eat anything, owner cannot afford to feed her anymore, as there are no more thieves, murderers, rapists or molesters left in the neighborhood. Your help will be appreciated...


The text, I assume, is fake. But the picture looks real. That's just a big dog. Looks like a mastiff. I've become more familiar with very big dogs ever since my parents got a 180-pound Great Dane named Falcon. He's so big that every picture we take of him looks photoshopped. Here's a picture of me and Falcon (and my wife on the left) taken over Thanksgiving while visiting my parents. Note how Falcon's head appears to be at least twice the size of my head. That's not a trick of the camera. His head really is twice the size of mine, and I don't have a small head.
image

Related Post:
Feb 28, 2005: Big Dog
Categories: Animals, Email Hoaxes
Posted by Alex on Wed Nov 29, 2006
Comments (44)
There's word of a Bruce Lee theme park being built in China. Nothing particularly weird about that, and no reason not to believe it's true. Here's the weird part:
According to local reports, the park will be patrolled by Bruce Lee “mannequin robots”, radio-controlled from within a giant statue of the late star.
Also, there's going to be a rollercoaster "that emits the martial arts actor’s signature grunts and screams on high-speed bends." Sounds kind of cool. I'm guessing that the part about the mannequin robots somehow got lost in translation. In reality, they'll probably have people dressed up as Bruce Lee receiving orders via radio headsets. (Thanks MadCarlotta)
Categories: Entertainment, Places
Posted by Alex on Wed Nov 29, 2006
Comments (9)
Two people contacted the San Diego police department after reading an advertisement offering a free baby on Craigslist, an online classified ad service. The police obtained copies of the advertisement after being alerted to the possible child endangerment matter.

The ad said: “Free baby boy to good home. My ex-girlfriend had him a few weeks ago, but now he just sits in my closet and cries. I'm not too sure how to deal with it, and I'm in a pretty low financial spot. I lost all the baby accessories. Batteries not included. Transaction final. No returns. Guaranteed not DOA.”
There was also a photograph of a baby, and the information that the baby was in San Diego and would be delivered.

The ad had been removed when the police tried to access it at noon on the same day.

Police involved in the investigation are attempting to trace the person who placed the advertisement.

Judging from the language, I'd assume it was a joke, but I understand that the police have to follow it up. Just in case.

(Thanks, Sergio.)
Categories: Advertising, Birth/Babies
Posted by Flora on Sun Nov 26, 2006
Comments (8)
imageJon-Erik Beckjord has taken photographs that show images of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson, as well as OJ Simpson, he claims. The photos were taken at the scene of the murders, and Beckjord believes that the images are an accusation from beyond the grave. He says that the photographs show OJ's face alongside those he was acquitted of murdering, and his theory is that the spirits of Goldman and Simpson are making a statement.

Beckjord is a keen observer of the strange. "He acts as perhaps a psychic “lightening rod” for anomalies, since he has filmed Nessie, filmed UFOs at Area 51, photographed strange beings in crop circles and also has recently photographed a ten foot tall Bigfoot in the Sierras."

UPDATE: Chuck has noted that Beckjord is selling these images on ebay for a minimum bid of $100, 000. I can't see anyone paying that much for fuzzy images that can be barely be interpreted as faces at all, let alone any specific faces.
Categories: Celebrities, Death, Paranormal, Pareidolia, Photos/Videos
Posted by Flora on Sun Nov 26, 2006
Comments (26)
imageGiant Pawprints Puzzle Couple
Mr and Mrs May, of Ipswich, are mystified by a set of large pawprints, seemingly of an animal with claws or toes, which have appeared in their garden.
Maybe it's Bernard.

Drivers Buy Fake Emblems
Increasing numbers of car owners are going to dealers, or to eBay, to buy emblems to make their cars look like more expensive versions.

Fake Breastfeeding Picture of ABC Anchor
Elizabeth Vargas was disappointed that the magazine Marie Claire photoshopped her head onto a picture of a model breastfeeding at the anchor desk. The photograph was to illustrate an article on balancing work and motherhood.
Categories: Animals, Birth/Babies, Celebrities, Entertainment, Identity/Imposters, Technology
Posted by Flora on Mon Nov 20, 2006
Comments (8)
The Des Moines Register reports that a new musical about the Cardiff Giant hoax has debuted in Iowa:
It's an unlikely recipe for a musical: an odd 19th-century hoax set to the music of Iowa composer Karl King. But a group of creative minds in Fort Dodge, led by Deann Haden-Luke, managed to pull it together with a financial boost from the Iowa Arts Council. "Cardiff," presented by Comedia Musica Players, premieres tonight in Fort Dodge and plays through Sunday.
I usually think of the Cardiff Giant as a New York hoax, but it's true that the stone for the giant did come from Iowa. Anyway, I'll need to add this to my list of odd musicals. The Cardiff Giant has already been the subject of a fictional novel, American Goliath by Harvey Jacobs, which was surprisingly raunchy (and funny too). Doesn't look like the play will be raunchy like the book, though you never know. Audiences could be in for a surprise.
Categories: Entertainment, History
Posted by Alex on Fri Nov 17, 2006
Comments (6)
image Download the new Microsoft version of the Firefox browser at msfirefox.com. Features include:
RSS (Real Simple Sex)
RSS is a relatively new algorithmic technology fueled by the continued hot desires of many online web users. Accessed by an illuminating an icon on the toolbar - a single click allows you to view and optionally download anything that resembles a tit, a boob or a breast - rendered directly in the browser with speeds up to 10 times faster than the competition. Real Simple Sex can scan and arrange explicit images/pictures in order of quality and effectively filters out irrelevant content such as balloons or soccer balls.

and

Googling Filter
Proactively warns and helps protect you against potential or known fraudulent sites such as Google.com, blocks the site and shuts down your computer if necessary. The filter is updated several times per hour using the latest security information from Microsoft.
Obviously a parody. An Information Week article notes that, "Neither site's owner could be tracked down. The .com site's domain owner's information was cloaked by a privacy feature of the registrar, while the information for the .net owner was clearly fake."
Categories: Technology, Websites
Posted by Alex on Fri Nov 17, 2006
Comments (17)
imageCassia Aparecida de Souza, a student in the Brazilian city of Passo Fundo, claims that her cat, Mimi, has given birth to three offspring with canine traits, reports say.

Mrs de Souza says that Mimi mated with a neighbour's dog three months ago and, when the cat gave birth, three of the offspring showed canine characteristics and three were normal kittens. The three with cat features died shortly after birth.

A geneticist from the Passo Fundo University will take blood samples to verify that the 'puppies' were part of the litter.

(Thanks, Neo.)

UPDATE: The blood tests show that the cat did not give birth to the 'puppies'.

(Thanks, Cranky Media Guy.)
Categories: Animals, Birth/Babies
Posted by Flora on Thu Nov 16, 2006
Comments (28)
imageThe Beast of Balbirnie is a large creature which is said to roam the country park in Balbirnie, Fife, Scotland. Paw-prints have been found and analysed, and the leading consensus is that they belong to a big cat, such as a lynx or puma. However, one expert believes that the marks were made by a big dog.

Enter Mark Proctor and Bernard the St. Bernard. Mark suggested that the tracks belonged to Bernard, owned by Mark's sister, Lisa, and her husband. He realised that the tracks had been found around the time that they had last been visiting.

He measured Bernard's paws, which seemed to be about the same size as the tracks. He then digitally placed the pawprint on top of the photo of Bernard's paw, and they were a match.

This sparked some interest in the media. First, the story gained column inches in local newspapers, then The Sun, The Daily Mail, and The Daily Express. Full House magazine did a spread on the story. Radio Scotland broadcast an interview with Mark, and both GMTV and BBC News featured the story on television.

The trouble is, Mark had made it all up. He had resized the photograph of Bernard's paw to fit the photo of the cast of the pawprint, and had never planned for his hoax to be spread across the national news. He'd simply started off posting it on his blog forum, and it all sprang from there.

As Mark himself said, if anyone had properly examined his story, they would have found a distinct lack of evidence.

All fees gained from appearances on television and in newspapers have been donated to the shelter at which Lisa found Bernard.

(Thanks, Matt.)
Categories: Animals, Pranks
Posted by Flora on Tue Nov 14, 2006
Comments (9)

The Apostles of O'Neill
A group of college kids living in a Washington DC house were informed that they were violating zoning laws that allowed only six people to live in one house. But they did some homework and discovered that 15 people are allowed per house, if it's a residence for a "religious community." Therefore, they've filed paperwork incorporating themselves as a nonprofit religious organization. They call themselves the Apostles of O'Neill.

Nessie could not have been a plesiosaur
Leslie Noe of the Sedgwick Museum has figured out that Nessie cannot be a plesiosaur. Why? Because plesiosaurs couldn't hold their necks above water: "Calculating the articulation of the neck bones, he concluded the neck was flexible and could move easily when pointing down. He explained how the neck was like a feeding tube, to collect soft-bodied prey: The small skulls of plesiosaurs couldn't cope with hard-shelled prey. However, the osteology of the neck makes it absolutely certain that the plesiosaur could not lift its head out of the water - as most alleged pictures of Nessie show."

Fake John Paul II Cloth Relics
The relic trade is alive and well. Souvenir shops near the Vatican are selling "medallions enclosing a tiny shred of cloth and labelled 'relics of John Paul II.'" No word on if they cure any ailments.

"There's a tick on you" as pick-up line
Here's the latest desperate pick-up strategy some guy has dreamed up. He tells women there's a tick on them and then starts pulling their clothes off. The strategy doesn't seem to be working.

Another Message in a Bottle found
Thirty years ago Marie Myatt threw a message in a bottle into the ocean. Recently it was found, just a few kilometres away from where she threw it. Sounds plausible enough. I'm inclined to think this isn't a hoax. (Thanks, Robert)
Categories: Cryptozoology, Exploration/Travel, Religion, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Mon Nov 13, 2006
Comments (17)
image I received the following email from legendary hoaxer Joey Skaggs:
I am very pleased to announce the launch of my latest endeavor. Unlike many of my previous satirical projects, this one is real, no bull. It's the Universal Bullshit Detector Watch.
Joey sent me a follow-up email to let me know that he'll be sending me a complimentary Bullshit Detector Watch. Yes, sometimes running a website about hoaxes has great benefits. I'm definitely looking forward to getting my hands on one of these. I can think of many uses for it. It also seems like it would make a great Christmas present for a skeptic. They cost $50, which is the same price as the Swatch watch I bought a few months ago.
Categories: Future/Time
Posted by Alex on Sun Nov 12, 2006
Comments (5)
imageA photo taken in February 1965 has sparked debate over a UFO seemingly seen in the background.

The official Defence Force photographer snapped the picture of the navy cruiser Royalist whilst the ship was on its way back from Waitangi celebrations.

The photograph was recently dug out for a new website for Devonport Navy Museum. The staff member who found it checked the negative, then called in a digital imaging expert, who established that the image was in the original.

Opinions on the identity of the 'UFO' differ.

Museum director David Wright said there was nothing to explain what it was.

The object appeared to be some distance in front of the ship and none of the sailors working on the bow was taking any notice, as would be expected if something was going on.

He said it looked to be too distant to be a dinner plate thrown from the bridge and the same would apply to a clay pigeon used as a shooting target. The angle of the object and absence of visible lines suggested it was not a parachute.
...
However, Carter Observatory senior astronomer Brian Carter disagrees.

He said that when the object was enlarged it had a sharp edge to it. Under the same enlargement, the edge of the cliff on the right and the bow of the ship were not that sharp, he said.

That suggested the object was quite close and therefore quite small.

He believed it was something thrown from the bridge or some other part of the ship.
Categories: Extraterrestrial Life, Military, Photos/Videos
Posted by Flora on Fri Nov 10, 2006
Comments (45)

Gnome Liberation Front Strikes Again
On Nov. 1 79 garden gnomes were liberated by the Garden Gnome Liberation Front in France. The gnomes were later found along the bank of a stream "in some underbrush with a banner that read, 'gnome mistreated, gnome liberated.'"

Fake Priests in Japan
The BBC has an article about the growing popularity of using fake priests at Japanese weddings: "The fake Western priests are employed at Western-style weddings to give a performance and add to the atmosphere. These are not legal ceremonies - the couples also have to make a trip to the local registrar." Apparently it's becoming quite a big business. I also wrote about this in Hippo Eats Dwarf, so it's not exactly new news.

New Kidney Turning Man into his Wife
Ian Gammons received a kidney transplant from his wife. Now he claims that the kidney is slowly causing him to adopt her personality traits: "Now the 51-year-old Briton is never happier than when baking scones or "wandering round the shops and looking for bargains", he says. He has even begun to share his wife's love of dogs, an animal he despised before receiving the kidney a year ago."

Uri Geller Claims Remote Viewing Helped US Find Hussein
Of course, we all know how credible Uri Geller is, so when he says something like this it immediately commands our respect. Remember his appearance on the Tonight Show?

New Political Dirty Trick: Robocalls
The GOP is being accused of making robocalls: tape-recorded phone messages that appear to be made by their Democratic rivals. The strategy is to make voters so disgusted by getting all these automated calls, often receiving them late at night, that they'll decide to switch their vote to the candidate not making those calls, i.e. the GOP.
Categories: Gnomes, Military, Paranormal, Politics, Religion
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 07, 2006
Comments (13)
Remember George Bush's Mission Accomplished speech from May 2003 on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln? The one in which he announced the end of major combat operations in Iraq. I wrote about it in Hippo Eats Dwarf as an example of Political Theater, or a "Potemkin Photo Op": a stage-managed event, created solely for media consumption, that offers a misleading picture of reality.

Now it has also become an example of historical revisionism. If you check out the video of the event on the White House's website, you'll notice something strange. The Mission Accomplished banner has vanished from it. Apparently the White House has now embraced the historical policy of the Soviet government, as seen in The Commissar Vanishes. If something or someone becomes politically awkward, simply vanish it. (via BrainShrub.com)



UPDATE: Well, it looks like we got hoaxed. The black strip along the bottom of the screen appears to be a 'scrolling news' banner, as used by TV news sources, and if you compare the angle of the videos, the 'hoax' one is shot from a different angle - one too low to show the mission accomplished banner. This is not a case of historical revisionism.
- Flora
Categories: History, Military, Politics
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 07, 2006
Comments (19)
A few months ago one of the site-related projects I was working on was revising the Tall-Tale Creature Gallery. Before I got totally sidetracked by having to focus on my next book, I managed to add quite a few new creatures to it. I also added a feature allowing people to post haiku about the creatures, thus returning to the theme of hoax haiku first seen here two years ago.

I didn't expect to get many haiku contributions. After all, I hadn't told anyone that I had updated the gallery, and it usually only gets a few visitors. But to my surprise people have found it and have been posting haiku. So I wanted to give a heads up about it here on the front page in case anyone else feels like trying their hand at poetry. Here are a few examples of contributions so far:

The Tree Squeak
Tree hugging tree squeek
why do you squeek so loudly
hush I cannot think.

The Haggis
Shy, furry haggis
lover of the highland glens
stay safe in your den

Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus
Eight armed octopus
Swinging through the trees above
what on earth was that?

Eventually I want to integrate hoax haiku throughout more of the galleries, but that will have to wait until I have more time. Though I definitely plan to add it as a feature to the Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes before next April 1, so if anyone wants to start posting haiku in the comments there, feel free to do so. A few of the hoaxes in the 'Hoaxes Throughout History' Gallery also have haiku in the sidebar: The Shroud of Turin, Pope Joan, The Feejee Mermaid, Cardiff Giant, Piltdown Man, Cottingley Fairies, Loch Ness Monster, War of the Worlds, and Bigfoot.
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales, Literature/Language, Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Sun Nov 05, 2006
Comments (16)
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