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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
June 2009
Tattoo Horror Story
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jun 17, 2009
Something seems wrong with this girls' story. Eighteen-year-old Kimberley Vlaminck says she asked the tattoo artist for three small star tattoos on her face, but he evidently misunderstood her, and then she fell asleep while he was tattooing her. When she woke up, there were 56 stars on her face. The tattoo artist says she definitely asked for 56 stars, and that it's simply a case of tattoo regret. The Daily Mail, among others, has the story. I imagine it would be hard to sleep while someone is tattooing 56 stars on your face, so I'm more inclined to believe the tattoo artist. Though he…
Categories: Body Manipulation Comments (29)
China’s Fountain of Youth
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jun 15, 2009
ABC News has a report on the village of Bama, "China's Fountain of youth." People there are said to live unusually long lives. Out of the population of 500, six people are over 100 years old. The locals attribute this longevity to pure water (which is "a striking blue because of low alkilinity"), simple home-grown food, and a special magnetic field. Bama has become a big tourist destination in China. Billboards promote its special powers. New hotels are being constructed there. And you can shop at a store that sells products labeled "The 100-year-old Man." But the key phrase in the report is that "there are no birth…
Categories: Death, Health/Medicine Comments (9)
The Barrel Monster
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 12, 2009
Proof that the art of the student prank hasn't quite died. N.C. State University student Joseph Carnevale has been arrested and is facing misdemeanor charges for damage to property after creating a "barrel monster" that menacingly pointed its finger at motorists on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh. The creation of the monster is documented at nopromiseofsafety.com. I couldn’t get it out of my head. Its that itch, that need to make real an idea that has rolled around in one’s head for days, snowballed itself into a temporary obsession that just…
Categories: Pranks Comments (8)
Sprinkler System Activated
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 12, 2009
A telephone caller, posing as a representative of a fire alarm company, convinced employees of a Comfort Suites Hotel to activate the sprinkler system, which resulted in thousands of dollars worth of damage. (tricities.com) This type of prank is definitely a recurring theme (see the rectal exam prank call, strip-search prank call, and satellite medical exam call), but I'm not sure what to call it. Maybe the "manipulative phone call prank," though that's not very catchy.
Categories: Pranks Comments (5)
Little April Rose
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 12, 2009
Recently a woman who identified herself only as "April's Mom" started blogging about how her unborn child had been diagnosed as terminally ill. And yet she had decided to go through with the pregnancy anyway. Her blog quickly became popular with the anti-abortion crowd. On Sunday "Little April Rose" was born, but died soon after. But skeptics noticed something strange about the picture of Little April that April's Mom posted on her site. Little April looked exactly like a reborn doll called Avery manufactured by Bountiful Baby. Soon after, April's Mom was unmasked as Beccah Beushausen of Mokena, Illinois. Her entire blog had been fiction.…
Categories: Birth/Babies, Websites Comments (8)
Diversity, Toronto Style
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 12, 2009
Another case of cut-and-paste diversity. The city of Toronto wanted to feature a racially diverse assortment of people on the cover of its summer Fun Guide. Unable to find a photo that met that criteria, it created one via photoshop. The original is on the left, the altered cover on the right. (That's a really bad photoshop job.) The alteration was noticed by a graphics editor at the National Post. The most famous case of cut-and-paste diversity was the cover of the 2001-2002 University of Wisconsin-Madison undergraduate application, mailed out to 50,000 prospective students, in which they inserted the head of a black guy into an all-white crowd…
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (8)
Richard Strandlof, phony veteran
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 12, 2009
Another case of a phony veteran. Rick Duncan claimed he survived the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon, that he survived a roadside bomb in Iraq, and that he had a metal plate in his head. None of it was true. Not even his name, which was really Richard Strandlof. He also says that he's not a pathological liar. But then, what else would a pathological liar say? link: CNN
Categories: Military Comments (2)
Journal Accepts CRAP
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jun 11, 2009
Cornell grad student Philip Davis describes on Scholarly Kitchen an experiment he designed to test the peer-review process at Bentham Science, a publisher of "open-access" journals. (Open-access journals charge authors for publication, but make the articles available for free.) He used software to create an article full of computer-generated nonsense, such as, "we discuss existing research into red-black trees, vacuum tubes, and courseware [10]. On a similar note, recent work by Takahashi suggests a methodology for providing robust modalities, but does not offer an implementation [9]." He told Bentham the manuscript had two co-authors from the Center for Research in Applied Phrenology (CRAP). Four months after submitting it, a Bentham…
Categories: Science Comments (5)
Frivolous (fake) lawsuits
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jun 11, 2009
The Lebanon Daily News confesses to coming down with a bad case of the Gullibility Virus. In a recent article they whipped themselves into a state of righteous indignation about a series of frivolous lawsuits. They had read about the lawsuits in an email. (Best part: they titled the article "Sad but true"). A reader later wrote to them: Austin woman awarded $80,000 for tripping over her own son in store? Fabricated. Los Angeles man trying to steal hubcap gets $74,000 when target vehicle runs over his hand. Never happened. Pennsylvania man gets half a million for…
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (14)
The South American Reetsa Expedition
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jun 10, 2009
If you're well-versed in hoax lore, you might have heard the story of the South American Reetsa Expedition. It's a hoax attributed to the New York City prankster Brian G. Hughes, who was active as a hoaxer from around 1895 to 1910. (He died in 1924.) He pulled off quite a few hoaxes. Around 1895 he submitted a cat to the New York cat show, claiming it was a rare breed known as the Dublin Brindle. After it won a prize, he revealed it was just an alley cat. A few years later he tried a similar stunt at a horse show, submitting a horse named Puldeca Orphan. It was really a street-car horse from the railway…
Categories: Animals, Pranks Comments (6)
Pareidolia Roundup (June 2009)
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jun 09, 2009
Virgin Mary Air Conditioner Antonia Ruiz of Texas noticed a stain on her air conditioner that looked to her like the Virgin Mary. Therefore, she built a shrine around the air conditioner. Cheeto Jesus A bag of Cheetos bought by Dan Bell at a North Texas gas station yielded this "praying Jesus". The couple have nicknamed it "Cheesus." (Note: there was a similar Cheesus in the news last year.) Tortilla Jesus Lloyd Osborne's wife had thrown away the packet of tortillas,…
Categories: Pareidolia Comments (13)
Online Pseuicides
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jun 09, 2009
Howard Swains recently reported in Wired on the phenomenon of fake online deaths. He writes: Many online tales of death and suffering are works of complete fiction, "pseuicides" dressed up as real-life catastrophes. Some are contrived to titillate or garner attention, some result from something more serious, and some are the result of a uniquely modern psychiatric disorder known as Munchausen by internet. And: In two investigations between 2007 and 2009, I encountered countless examples of fake deaths in…
Categories: Death, Identity/Imposters Comments (7)
Fooled by Crunchberries
Posted by The Curator on Sat Jun 06, 2009
This case sounded so stupid to me that at first I thought it had to be a joke, but here's the actual ruling, Sugawara v. PepsiCo, Inc., so apparently it's true. Janine Sugawara filed suit against PepsiCo, maker of Cap'n Crunch's CrunchBerries, alleging she had been deceived by their marketing into believing that crunchberries were real fruit, only to learn, to her dismay, that the product contained "no berries of any kind." The judge threw the case out, noting, "The survival of the instant claim would require this Court to ignore all concepts of personal responsibility and common sense." Sugawara is a…
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (10)
Are senior pranks a disappearing tradition?
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 05, 2009
The Dallas Morning News worries that in many Texas schools the senior prank is a fast disappearing tradition. The reasons for its departure: high-tech security and stricter discipline standards. One senior is quoted as saying, "Maybe we'd do something if there weren't cameras everywhere and punishments weren't so crazy." Well, it's not disappearing everywhere. This year students at Fort Walton Beach High School slipped the "F word" into the yearbook by spelling it out in red letters spread across several pages. Students at Christian Community School ordered 5100 free priority mail boxes from the post office and stacked them floor to ceiling in the school hallway. And some students at
Categories: Pranks Comments (7)
The Next Mr. Rogers?
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 05, 2009
18-year-old Michael Kinsell has a dream of being the next Mr. Rogers. Last year he started telling people at his school that he was filming a show called Michael's Enchanted Neighborhood, and that it was going to be aired on PBS. The show was modeled closely on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. From pointweekly.com: Each show will begin much as Mr. Rogers' did, with Kinsell singing a song, "It's a Lovely Day Today to Play," as he puts on a sweater and sneakers. Then a "neighbor," such as an artist or plumber, will drop…
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