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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
November 2009
Misdiagnosed coma patient—is he really that coherent?
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 25, 2009
The Belgian man believed to be in a coma for 23 years, but recently found to be conscious, has been big news for the past few days. But now problems are emerging with the story. No one doubts that he's sentient, since MRI scans have confirmed this. But his ability to communicate is being questioned. Skeptics are questioning whether the statements attributed to him really are his, or do they come from his "facilitator" (a woman who holds his hand to help him type on a keyboard)? Doctors are also questioning how someone could be so profoundly isolated for so long, and yet still be so sane and coherent. From Wired.com:
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (17)
Beware Fake Eggs From China!
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 25, 2009
Greg writes: Found this online - warning about fake chicken eggs, but it seems that eggs are too inexpensive to generate a profit by faking. Absolutely right. This email hoax about Chinese food counterfeiters mass producing fake eggs has been circulating for a number of years. There are posts debunking it on Boing Boing (2006), Consumerist (2007), and Hoax-Slayer (2007). What I find to be the most illogical part of the fake egg story is the claim that the counterfeiters are going…
Categories: Food Comments (14)
The Snail in the Ginger Beer
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 20, 2009
Two weeks ago I linked to a BBC article by Clive Coleman about the case of the carbolic smoke ball. He must be doing a series on interesting legal cases, because he's back with a great article about the legal case of the snail found in ginger beer. Quick summary — In 1928 May Donoghue claimed to find a snail in her bottle of ginger beer. Her complaint eventually helped bring about modern consumer protection laws in the UK. The catch: "to this day, no-one knows for sure if there ever really was a snail in May Donoghue's bottle of ginger beer." I should add this case to my list of
Categories: Food, Law/Police/Crime Comments (2)
Shroud of Turin back in the news
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 20, 2009
Earlier this year Barbara Frale made headlines by arguing that the Shroud of Turin was hidden for over 100 years by the Knights Templar. Now she's back, claiming to have found writing on the Shroud that identifies the figure as Jesus Christ. From startribune.com: Frale, a researcher at the Vatican archives, said Friday that she used computers to enhance images of faintly written words in Greek, Latin and Aramaic scattered across the shroud. She asserts the words include the name "Jesus Nazarene" in Greek, proving the text could not be of medieval origin because…
Categories: Religion Comments (6)
Mass: We Pray
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 19, 2009
Mass: We Pray claims to be a new video game that allows you to simulate going to church, without ever leaving home. Shacknews.com reports receiving a press release from Prayer Works Interactive, the maker of this purported product. An excerpt follows: Mass: We Pray is the first of many worship-themed games in development for Prayer Works Interactive. Just like with any videogame, families can use a television as a monitor to play. Then, they can use the CROSS, a proprietary, wireless, cross-shaped controller to participate in 24 unique…
From the Salt Lake Tribune: According to charging documents, the couple agreed to sell another man six Andy Warhol art pieces for $100,000 in February 2008. The man was told that the subject of the art was Mathew Baldwin, purportedly one of the brothers in the family of actors. The pieces were signed and dated 1996. After giving the couple a down payment of $25,000, the man took the art to an appraiser in California. The appraiser informed the man the art was fake because there was no Mathew in the famous Baldwin family. He also pointed out…
Categories: Art Comments (6)
Swami Sleeps on Fire
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 19, 2009
Maybe this guy is wearing an asbestos robe. From the Times of India: When even a match stick singes the skin, is it possible for a human being to lie on fire for four hours, fully clothed and emerge unscathed, body and robe? Even fall asleep in the process? Ramababu Swamiji, 80, from Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu,ostensibly did precisely that on Sunday morning when he slept on a homa fire and prayed for the well-being of the society, say his devotees at the Ghanagapur village in northern Karnataka. And here's some video of the guy. It looks like…
Categories: Paranormal Comments (5)
Elmer de Hory Movie
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 19, 2009
Another film about a famous hoaxer is in the works. Julian Temple plans to make a movie about the art forger Elmyr de Hory. From reuters: The British filmmaker will take on the story of art faker Elmyr de Hory, who created and sold forgeries of paintings by the likes of Picasso and Matisse to collectors around the world between the 1940s and 1960s. De Hory, a Hungarian native, told his story to the equally notorious hoax biographer Clifford Irving (played by Richard Gere in "The Hoax" in 2007) for the book "Fake!" Additionally, Orson Welles made a…
Categories: Art Comments (3)
Martin Smid; he’s still not dead!
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 19, 2009
November 17 was the 20th anniversary of the Czech "velvet revolution." One of the events that triggered it was the spread of a rumor alleging that mathematics student Martin Smid had been beaten to death by police. Smid, however, was very much alive, and he still is. To this day, he has no idea how his name got attached to the rumor. From agonist.org: After a bloody crackdown on a non-violent student march in Prague on November 17, 1989, a woman falsely claimed that the riot police had beaten to death her…
Categories: Death Comments (5)
Polar Bear Simulacra
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 18, 2009
The St. Louis Zoo hasn't had much luck keeping its polar bears alive. From riverfronttimes.com: The zoo's last polar bear, Hope, was euthanized in April when veterinarians found it had cancer. In May 2005 another polar bear, named Churchill, ate a fatal helping of cloth and plastic inside its bin and died while undergoing stomach surgery. Five weeks later, a polar bear named Penny died at the zoo from infection. Turns out, she had two dead fetuses inside her uterus, though zoo officials didn't know she was pregnant. Their solution has…
Categories: Animals, Technology Comments (8)
Airbrushed Babies
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 17, 2009
According to The Telegraph, politicians and industry experts have been shocked (shocked!) to learn that magazines occasionally photoshop pictures of babies: The practice came to light in a BBC documentary, My Supermodel Baby. In footage of a photo shoot for the magazine, the casting director explained how the photograph of baby model Hadley Corbett, five months, was airbrushed: "We lightened his eyes and his general skin tone, smoothed out any blotches and the creases on his arms," he said. "But we want it to look natural." Honestly, this seems like a…
CNET lists top 8 brainless tech rumors
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 17, 2009
CNET UK has come up with a list of "the eight most brainless tech rumours ever." They are: Hoverboards are real The large hadron collider will kill us all X-ray is a hoax Home taping to kill music Apple will buy Nintendo Google to buy CNET Y2K Bug will kill us all Bill Gates is the antichrist An odd list. They've omitted classics such as killer cell phone calls, cell phones explode gas stations, sunlamps cook internal organs, the Nokia speed trap detector, and (of course) penis-melting zionist robot combs.
Categories: Technology, Urban Legends Comments (3)
Billboards for Submarines, part 2
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 13, 2009
I posted two months ago about underwater billboards that Ivar Haglund supposedly placed at the bottom of Puget Sound back in the 1950s in order to advertise his restaurant to submarines. Some suspected a hoax, and it turns out they were right. From the Seattle Times: That story about those Ivar's underwater billboards at the bottom of Puget Sound, supposedly anchored in the mid-1950s?... Fake, fake, fake. The documents were faked on a computer. The billboard was a wooden prop, says Bob Donegan, president of Ivar's Inc. The…
Categories: Advertising Comments (4)
Should privacy laws protect murderers?
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 13, 2009
From wired.com: Wikipedia is under a censorship attack by a convicted murderer who is invoking Germany’s privacy laws in a bid to remove references to his killing of a Bavarian actor in 1990. Lawyers for Wolfgang Werle, of Erding, Germany, sent a cease-and-desist letter demanding removal of Werle’s name from the Wikipedia entry on actor Walter Sedlmayr. The lawyers cite German court rulings that “have held that our client’s name and likeness cannot be used anymore in publication regarding Mr. Sedlmayr’s death.” Occasionally I receive requests from people I've posted about, in regard to some hoax or…
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (11)
Man propositions girl online; discovers its his wife
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 13, 2009
There's an urban legend about an unfaithful husband who strikes up an online relationship with a woman. He finally arranges to meet her, only to discover that his online lover is his wife. The BBC reports a story that's similar to this, but much seedier: A suspicious wife posed as a teenager online to catch her husband propositioning girls in a chatroom, Cardiff Crown Court has heard... The court heard that mother-of-two Mrs Roberts became suspicious about the amount of time her husband was spending in his study and of a message which popped up on their computer…
Categories: Sex/Romance Comments (11)
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