The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
December 2007
Two Lists of Hoaxes
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 12, 2007
Blogissues.com has posted a list of the Top 15 Hoax Websites. And guess which site comes in at #11? Cranky Media Guy's Tom's Girl hoax! Congratulations, Bob! One of these days I need to post my own list of the top hoax websites. It's one of those things I've been meaning to do for ages, but haven't gotten around to it. Also, virtualhosting.com has a list of the Top 20 Hilarious and Creative Internet Scams. Some of their choices seem highly debatable. For instance, they include the question of whether, during the final episode of The Sopranos, "the man standing at the counter was Nikki Leotardo,…
Categories: Websites Comments (6)
Three Art Fakes
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 12, 2007
There seems to be a flurry of art hoaxes in the news recently. Here's three of them: Fake Faun The Art Institute of Chicago has admitted that a half-man, half-goat ceramic figure, once believed to have been sculpted by Paul Gauguin, is probably a fake. Instead, it was probably made by the Greenhalgh family who made the work in their garden shed. Fake Warhol Brillo Boxes Stockholm's National Museum of Art has stated that 105 "Brillo Boxes" attributed to Andy Warhol were actually created after his death. Fake Terracotta Soldiers A German museum has been hosting an exhibit of China's "Terracotta Army,"…
Categories: Art Comments (0)
Lost Postcard Rescue Department
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 10, 2007
Recently Doris Alman received a postcard inside a plain white envelope. The postcard was sent from her mother and father, vacationing in Flagstaff, Arizona, to her grandmother in Audobon, Iowa. It had been mailed on Sept. 24, 1968. The envelope that held the postcard had a one-line return address: Lost Postcard Rescue Department. It had been mailed recently from Brooklyn, New York. Doris Alman says she has no idea who could have mailed the old postcard to her. Whoever it was did some good research, because Alman no longer has the last name as her parents. The U.S. Post Office says that there is no such thing as a "Lost Postcard Rescue Department"…
Categories: Pranks Comments (7)
Has Ho, Ho, Ho Been Banned?
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 10, 2007
Last month a rumor began to circulate alleging that Santas were being banned from saying "Ho, Ho, Ho" because "Ho" is a slang term for a prostitute. As is often the case with such rumors, there was an event that triggered the rumor, but that event had been twisted and blown out of proportion in the course of being repeated. What really happened was that Westaff, a firm in Australia that trains Santas for appearances in shopping malls, had cautioned its trainees that many small children are initially scared by Santa. So they told the Santas-in-training "to try techniques such as lowering their tone of voice and using 'ha, ha, ha' to encourage the children to come…
Categories: Urban Legends Comments (6)
Spammed by the Disinformation Company
Posted by The Curator on Fri Dec 07, 2007
Authors love to read reviews of their books, especially positive ones. So, as an author, it's difficult to resist the temptation to periodically check out the Amazon page for your book, to see if readers have posted any new reviews of it. However, in Hippo Eats Dwarf I pointed out the danger of taking such reviews too seriously because so many of them are posted either by friends of the author -- or by rivals. In fact, I actually invited people to post fake reviews of Hippo Eats Dwarf. (You need to go to the early reviews to find the fake ones -- they're obvious when you see them.) Inviting people to post fake reviews…
Operation Lucky Bag
Posted by The Curator on Thu Dec 06, 2007
If you saw a wallet lying on the ground, what would you do? A lot of people might, out of curiosity, pick it up to examine it. They might even walk away with it. But if they did, they could find themselves surrounded by police and facing arrest. This happened to Carlos Alayo who picked up a wallet he saw laying on a New York City subway platform. When he went to get on the train, police stopped him. WNBC.com explains: The 32-year-old had been ensnared in Operation Lucky Bag, an initiative from the New York City Police…
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (13)
Phallus in Football Field
Posted by The Curator on Thu Dec 06, 2007
In the summer of 2004 pranksters used herbicide to trace the outline of a giant phallus in the football field located inside Harman-Geist Stadium in Northeastern Pennsylvania. When the grass died, the phallus became visible. Maintenance crews did their best to hide the phallus by painting it green, but eventually the paint wore away. And now the prank has succeeded in reaching an even wider audience, thanks to satellite technology. Overhead satellite imagery of the stadium -- and giant phallus -- has shown up on google maps. You can see it for yourself by searching for the address "300 N. Cedar St., Hazleton, Pa." and then zooming in to…
Categories: Places, Pranks, Sports Comments (2)
Still No Sex In Space
Posted by The Curator on Thu Dec 06, 2007
Ever since humans first made it into space, there have been rumors of sex-in-space experiments. Such rumors are doing the rounds again, and this time it's the Russians who are the focus of them. Russian officials decided they should go on record to deny them: "There is no proof ... that on any mission cosmonauts had sex," the deputy head of the Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Valery Bogomolov, told a news conference in Moscow. "Cosmonauts, too, are regular people, but ... I have not heard about any sex in orbit," he said. The Russian scientist referred to…
Categories: Science, Sex/Romance Comments (7)
Web-Controlled Christmas Lights Are Back for 2007
Posted by The Curator on Thu Dec 06, 2007
Alek Komarnitsky is back with his web-controlled Christmas lights. These are the lights that started out as a hoax, but have transformed, by popular demand, into something real. Alek writes: There are three live webcams and X10 powerline control technology system so web surfers can not only view the action, but also *control* the 17,000 lights. Heck, you can even inflate/deflate the giant Elmo, Frosty, Santa, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Homer Simpson – D’OH! While people around the world (157 countries last year) enjoy seeing the…
Categories: Technology Comments (1)
Sell My Dna
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 05, 2007
SellMyDna.com offers to help you sell a sample of your DNA to a research company, New Line Genetics, who will then obtain a patent for it. They pay $5000! Better yet, you can even sell your friend's DNA, because once a cell leaves their body, it no longer belongs to them. From their website: SellMyDNA.com does not condone the patenting of other’s DNA without their permission. However, what better way to surprise your loved ones for a birthday or holiday event than giving the gift of $5,000 and the knowledge that their…
Categories: Science, Websites Comments (0)
Photoshopped Kitten in Defamation Suit
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 05, 2007
Stewart Bright lived with Marjorie Hervey, founder of the Hervey Foundation for Cats, a charity for injured cats. But when Bright and Hervey had a falling out, "Bright accused Ms Hervey of needlessly killing kittens and emailed about 600 supporters of the charity with an attached picture showing a hand with a gun pointing at a kitten with its front paws up as if surrendering." That's pretty damning evidence, though not in the way Bright hoped. The picture was recently entered into evidence in court to prove that Bright was guilty of sending phoney emails, and also needed a psychiatric assessment.
Categories: Animals, Law/Police/Crime Comments (6)
Quick Links: Dec. 4, 2007
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 04, 2007
Tickle Me Counterfeit Authorities are warning consumers to be on the lookout for fake Tickle Me Elmos showing up on store shelves this Christmas. How can you tell the difference between the real and the fake? For a start, the fake Elmo is called "The Laughing Doll." Also, oddly enough, the fakes are more expensive than the real thing. Phony Doo-Wops Doo-wop groups from the 1950s and '60s, such as the Drifters, Coasters and Platters, are complaining that they're going broke. They can't compete against all the phony groups pretending to be them who perform for less. Underwater Scottish Gnomes At the bottom of Loch…
China Moon Controversy
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 03, 2007
Last week Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao released the first photograph taken by the Chang-e 1 lunar probe. The picture showed the surface of the moon. Wen declared, "Chinese people's dream of flying to the moon for more than 1,000 years has started to materialize." But then people on the internet started to point out that the picture looked an awful lot like a NASA picture from 2005. In fact, the two photos looked almost identical. So now the Chinese lunar probe programme is defending itself against charges of fakery. To be fair to the Chinese, the two photos aren't entirely alike. The shadows are different, and the Chinese photo shows an extra crater.…
Categories: Photos/Videos, Science Comments (14)
Quick Links: Dec. 3, 2007
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 03, 2007
Pie in Santa's Face "A 22-year-old University of Montana student was charged with assault Friday for shoving a pumpkin pie into Santa Claus’ face at a shopping mall while a teen sat on his lap." Save the Park Four students in the UK created a hoax website as a social experiment to test the influence of the media. Their website, savethepark.co.uk, claimed there were plans to build a 220,000 tonne waste incineration plant in a South London park. Within a few weeks their site had received thousands of hits, and they had been contacted by a newspaper. They claim that their experiment, "showed how rumours can spread and how…
Deceptive Ad
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 03, 2007
Here's another example of a retailer creating a misleading display for their product. It's not technically a lie, but it certainly could confuse a shopper who didn't pay close attention. The image has been circulating around the internet recently. Unfortunately, I can't remember where I first saw it. Related Post: Deceptive Sign. Update: The image was first posted on Consumerist.com, emailed to them by "William" who saw it at a Toys R Us. (Though I figured out that I first saw it via this reddit link, which didn't offer any explanatory details.)
Categories: Advertising Comments (11)
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