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October 2008
Iranian Interior Minister Ali Kordan has announced that he is shocked, shocked to learn that his honorary degree from Oxford University is fake. The dodgy circumstances by which he obtained it eight years ago (via "an agency in Tehran for English-language affairs that represents Oxford University") never raised any red flags with him. Nor did any of the spelling and grammatical mistakes in the document (misplaced commas, the word "entitle" is misspelled, etc.)

Kordan is, appropriately, in charge of guarding against fraud and forgery in Iran's upcoming election. Link: LA Times

Coincidentally, the United Arab Emirates announced today that it will "impose a life ban on the employment of those found to be using fake certificates in order to secure jobs in the country."
Categories: Politics
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 02, 2008
Comments (9)
The BBC reports that a 60-year-old Korean man has been arrested for running "a private museum stuffed with fakes." He bought cheap artifacts from flea markets and then displayed them as ancient treasures. He claimed one of his fakes was a "Koryo Dynasty celadon." All in all, he managed to earn $443,000 from this scam through ticket sales.

Two things occur to me:

1) So people are assuming that most museums aren't full of fakes? The dirty little secret of the worlds of art and archaeology is that they're awash in fakes. And even when a museum owns the genuine artifact, it might not display the real thing for security reasons.

2) To play devil's advocate, what difference does it make if people see the real thing or a fake? The vast majority of audience members are unable to tell the difference. My theory is that when people visit museums to gawk at artifacts they don't understand, they're actually engaging in a form relic worship. And the power of the relic lies not in its authenticity, but in the belief in its authenticity.
Categories: History, Scams
Posted by Alex on Wed Oct 01, 2008
Comments (16)
Coffee Stain Christ
Four years ago Sam Marinos had a cup of coffee with his wife. When he was done he turned the cup upside down to allow the grounds to run down the side of the cup -- which is some kind of tradition in his family. He was then "stunned" to see that the grounds had formed what looked to him like the face of Jesus. He's now considering selling the Jesus cup on eBay.

Drywall Jesus
Omar Craddock was doing some work in a client's kitchen when he spotted the image of a face in the drywall mud on an unfinished wall. He immediately thought: Jesus! His brother-in-law, who was with him, is remaining more skeptical, refusing to put a name to the image. But both agree that "For drywall finishing this was a pretty exciting day."

Virgin Mary Grape
Becky Ginn was about to throw away some rotten grapes, but before she did she turned one over and thought, "oh that looks like the Virgin Mary." The grape is now preserved in her freezer. She insists that she has no intention of trivializing the experience. I assume this means she won't be selling it on eBay.

Oyster Shell Jesus
An Orlando woman, while walking down the beach, found an oyster shell that appears to show the face of Jesus. She also found a shell showing the Virgin Mary. "The woman claimed she has had nothing but good luck since finding the shells." I'm not sure if the thumbnail shows the Jesus or Virgin Mary shell, because I can't make out anything in it.

Water Stain Jesus
Seen at a One Stop Body Shoppe in Arkansas City, Kansas. According to the manager: "A client was laying here looking up and told me, Michelle, you have Jesus on your ceiling. I just kind of looked at her, and she said you do, Jesus on the ceiling." The water-stained ceiling tile may soon be headed to eBay.

Thanks to Cranky Media Guy and Stannous Flouride!
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Wed Oct 01, 2008
Comments (29)
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