The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
September 2008
Will the sun rise for 36 hours on October 17, 2008?
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 29, 2008
A very strange astronomical rumor is circulating: Coming October 17, 2008 the sun will rise continuously for 36 hrs (1.5 days). During this time the US countries will be dark for 1.5 days. It will convert 3 days into 2 big days. It will happen once in 2400 yrs. We're very lucky to see this. Forward it to all your friends. This rumor appears to have come from India, so it means to say that the sun will rise for 36 hours over India, and the Americas will be dark for the same amount of time. Not…
Categories: Email Hoaxes, Science Comments (48)
This rumor is going around: BoA to close credit cards for approximately 60% of customers? "I work in Credit Department at BoA (Senior Level Credit Analysist Boa Bldg 3rd fl, Char, NC). We just received memo indicating that all BoA credit cards are being closed as of 10/1. Credit score and income do not matter, all accounts are closed as of 10/1." Executive VP Bank of America "This is true, but not as bad as he/she says. We are closing accounts, but only ones with credit scores under 750. We will reopen cards…
Categories: Business/Finance Comments (29)
McCain wins debate that hasn’t happened yet
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 26, 2008
Apparently John McCain's campaign has access to the same time machine used by the Chinese journalists at Xinhua News who reported the launch of the Shenzhou VII spacecraft (including the astronaut's dialogue) hours before it happened. (See previous post.) McCain's campaign has been running an ad in the Wall Street Journal's online edition declaring that "McCain Wins Debate," which is a bold assertion considering that the debate will only happen tonight. Link: Washington Post
Fake reporting of Shenzhou VII launch
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 26, 2008
China recently launched its third manned mission to space. Oddly, the Xinhua news agency reported the launch hours before it occurred. This would be understandable -- news agencies routinely prepare copy about major stories in advance of the event itself -- but the article included detailed dialogue between the astronauts: "One minute to go!' 'Changjiang No.1 found the target! ... "The firm voice of the controller broke the silence of the whole ship. Now, the target is captured 12 seconds ahead of the predicted time ... "The air pressure in the cabin is normal! "Ten minutes later, the…
Categories: Future/Time, Journalism Comments (2)
Students told aliens have landed
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 26, 2008
Strange "educational" stunts perpetrated by school authorities appear to be a growing trend. We had: 1) The Fake Attack at an Elementary School. (Students were told there was a gunman loose in the area in order to teach them how to respond in case a gunman ever really was loose in the area.) 2) Your classmate has died -- but not really. (Students were told that one of their classmates had died in a drunk-driving accident in order to teach them about the evils of drunk driving.) But a stunt recently played on kids at Edgware school goes to the top of the list for weirdness.…
Writers are skeptical of $250,000 prize
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 25, 2008
An article in SFGate.com describes how the owners of FieldReport.com devised what they thought was a sure-fire way to generate interest in their literary site. They decided to offer a "$250,000 prize for whichever short nonfiction piece received the highest ranking from the site's users by Jan. 1, 2009. A series of $1,000 qualifying prizes would be awarded in the months leading up to the quarter-million-dollar payout." Problem is, no one believed them. "We got this dead-face, 'My-god-you-guys-must-be-Nigerian-scammers' reaction," he said... In a neat ironic twist, one of their few…
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (1)
Adventures in Astroturf
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 25, 2008
Margriet Oostveen describes in Salon.com how she composed phony letters-to-the-editor on behalf of the McCain campaign: The assignment is simple: We are going to write letters to the editor and we are allowed to make up whatever we want -- as long as it adds to the campaign. After today we are supposed to use our free moments at home to create a flow of fictional fan mail for McCain. "Your letters," says Phil Tuchman, "will be sent to our campaign offices in battle states. Ohio. Pennsylvania. Virginia. New Hampshire. There we'll place them in local newspapers." ...…
Categories: Advertising, Politics Comments (4)
Eye of Sauron Prank
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 24, 2008
Pranksters at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign recently added the Eye of Sauron to the McFarland Memorial Bell Tower. The tower looks like it was designed to host it. The Daily Illini reports that those responsible for placing the Eye on the tower remain unknown.
Categories: Pranks Comments (7)
Phony 9/11 Photos
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 24, 2008
Recently the Delray Beach Public Library arranged an exhibition of photographs taken by 71-year-old Milt Goldstein. The pictures were taken immediately following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and showed rescue workers searching for victims. Goldstein told anyone willing to listen how he had gained access to ground zero by buying an NYPD hat and jacket from a vendor on Canal Street. Goldstein was offering to sell individual pictures for prices ranging from $200 to $350. But it turned out that the pictures hadn't been taken by Goldstein. He had simply collected them together from sources such as the Associated Press, the military, and other government agencies. When Goldstein's
Fake caterpillar fungus
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 24, 2008
Chinese food inspectors have issued a warning to those planning to buy caterpillar fungus: Many samples of caterpillar fungus have been replaced by fakes. These fakes "not only miss their medicinal function, but could even be poisonous." According to Wikipedia, caterpillar fungus is one of the most prized ingredients in traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine: it is used as an aphrodisiac and as a treatment for a variety of ailments from fatigue to cancer. It is regarded as having an excellent balance of yin and yang as it is apparently both animal and…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (1)
McElhone in movie about James Barry
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 23, 2008
The Guardian reports that Natasha McElhone is slated to play Dr. James Barry in an upcoming film to be titled Heaven and Earth. Barry was the nineteenth-century British woman who disguised herself as a man in order to become a doctor. (See my post from earlier this year.) The film is apparently focusing on the rumored romance between Barry and Lord Somerset: James Purefoy, recently seen as Mark Antony in the TV series Rome, will play Lord Somerset, a diplomat who sacrifices his…
Categories: Identity/Imposters Comments (1)
Weird Fragrances
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 23, 2008
I stumbled across this site, weirdfragrances.com (I'm not linking directly to them, so I won't boost their google rank), that promises to send you a free sample of cologne. In return you simply provide them with your email and mailing address, and promise to later answer a few questions about the fragrance. You can choose from a variety of offbeat scents such as Grease Monkey, Burning Rubber, or Ash Tray. Is it a legit offer? I would guess not. First, it strikes me as odd that the site is registered anonymously through domains by proxy. Why would a legitimate company be trying to hide their…
Heart’s Letter to John McCain
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 23, 2008
The following cease-and-desist letter, supposedly written by Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart to John McCain, has started doing the rounds. Warning: NSFW language! Is it real? Well, the Wilsons did email out a statement asking the Republican campaign not to use their music, and in a phone interview, after the Republicans used their music anyway, Nancy Wilson said, "I feel completely f--ed over." However, the article above seems to be satire. It comes from Seattle's The Stranger newspaper and ran as their "New Column" feature, which usually is a spoof piece. (Thanks, Big Gary!)
Categories: Music, Politics Comments (5)
Is Roger Ebert a Creationist?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 23, 2008
Yesterday the film critic Roger Ebert posted an article to his website that reads very much like an endorsement of creationism. It starts: Questions and answers on Creationism, which should be discussed in schools as an alternative to the theory of evolution: Q. When was the earth created? A. Archbishop James Usher, working out a chronology from the Bible, calculated in 1654 that the earth was created on the night of October 23, 4004 B.C. Other timetables reach back as far as 10,000 years. The article contains nothing that would indicate satire, so it…
Categories: Religion Comments (14)
Hoax Photo Database: Recent Additions
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 22, 2008
What I've added during the past week to the Hoax Photo Database: U.S. Army Releases Doctored Photographs Bob Owen of the San Antonio Express-News noticed that these two photos released by the U.S. Army of soldiers recently killed in Iraq were almost identical, except for the soldiers' face, name, and rank. Oswald's Backyard Photo This photo of Lee Harvey Oswald posing with a rifle in his backyard is one of the most hotly debated photos in history. Conspiracy theorists continue to argue that it's fake, though government photo experts…
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (0)
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