The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
February 2012
Mitt Romney and False Memory Syndrome
Posted by The Curator on Tue Feb 28, 2012
Mitt Romney recently displayed an example of what I termed "false memory syndrome" in Hippo Eats Dwarf. It's the tendency of politicians to have memories of events that never happened to them. In Romney's case, he recently told an audience how he remembered being at Detroit's Automotive Golden Jubilee, in which his dad served as grandmaster. The problem is, the Golden Jubilee took place on June 1, 1946, nine months before Mitt was born. (link: thestar.com) Other examples of the phenomenon include French president Nicolas Sarkozy claiming he was present in Berlin in November 1989 and helped knock down the Berlin Wall; Ronald Reagan claiming he witnessed the liberation of the…
Categories: Politics Comments (4)
Icelandic Worm Monster
Posted by The Curator on Sat Feb 25, 2012
Earlier this month, Icelandic resident Hjörtur E. Kjerúlf was having coffee in his house near Lake Lagarfljót, when he spotted something moving in the water. He immediately picked up his camera and started recording (link: Iceland Review). Below is the video he took. Is it evidence of the existence of the Lagarfljót Worm -- the giant worm monster said to live in Lake Lagarfljót? Or is it just a piece of fishing net floating in the water? The worm monster, or Lagarfljótsormur, is Iceland's equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster. The legend of it is centuries old. Wikipedia offers this account of…
Categories: Cryptozoology Comments (5)
Ghetto Hikes
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 24, 2012
The author of "Ghetto Hikes," which is a twitter feed and accompanying website, offers this description of it: I'm 28. I have a full time job leading urban kids (of all races) on nature hikes. I simply write down shit they say. It's kind of obvious that it's a parody in the style of "Shit My Dad Says," but the Village Voice confirms it isn't real: Looks like Ghetto Hikes is a parody account -- and an unfunny one at that. According to a just-released tweet, Men's Humor and Ghetto Hikes were registered by the same person. The most surprising thing about Ghetto Hikes is…
The Owlman of Mawnan
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 24, 2012
This Is Cornwall has a brief article about the "Owlman of Mawnan." They write: The first sighting occurred in April of that year. Don Melling, who was holidaying in the area, said that on April 17 his young daughters, June and Vicky, were walking through woods near Mawnan church when they saw a "half-man half-owl" hovering above the church. The incident is suspected to be a hoax because Tony "Doc" Shiels became involved. He was the first person Melling told about the sighting, and then became the source for various illustrations of the Owlman. Shiels already has a place in the Hoax Museum because he was the source of the "Loch Ness Muppet"
Categories: Cryptozoology, Paranormal Comments (1)
The Great Banana Smoking Hoax of 1967
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 23, 2012
Brooke Kroeger and Cary Abrams have an article in the Local East Village analyzing the Great Banana-Smoking Hoax of 1967 -- in which a rumor spread alleging that you could get high by smoking bananas. Or rather, get high by smoking "bananadine," created by scraping the inside of a banana peel, boiling the residue, then drying out the residue and rolling it into a joint. They try to get to the bottom of who started the rumor. One contender is the staff of the East Village Other magazine. Another theory has the singer Donovan as the instigator, through his song Mellow Yellow. Or perhaps it was the singer Country Joe.
Clayton Sotos, Fartographer
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 23, 2012
Someone has gone to a bunch of trouble to make it seem as if Dell produced an ad featuring "Visual Innovator" Clayton Sotos. The ad has high production values, and there's an accompanying website showcasing some of Sotos's work. The joke is that Sotos photographs people farting. Dell insists they're not responsible for the ad. They posted this statement on their twitter page: "This video is in no way affiliated with Dell, but it's great to see creative professionals get inspiration from using our products. Our dell.com/takeyourownpath program is all about celebrating people who take their own professional path. Regarding this parody, we consider imitation to be the sincerest form of flattery."
Categories: Gross, Photos/Videos, Websites Comments (0)
Strange Metal Boxes Washing Up On Beaches
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 22, 2012
In the past two weeks, various blogs have been reporting that "strange metal boxes" have been washing up on beaches in Oregon, Washington, and northern California. In some versions of the reports, these boxes make humming and screeching noises, are seamless, and can't be moved, even by trucks. The boxes are said to have appeared after UFO sightings. Theories about what these boxes may be (besides the theory that they're the lost luggage of UFOs) include the speculation that they're the floats that were once used to support docks, or that they're left by drug runners. However, reports are now coming in that people have gone searching for…
Woman-Turns-Into-Snake Rumor
Posted by The Curator on Tue Feb 21, 2012
Social networking sites in Nigeria have been ablaze with the rumor that a woman turned into a snake at the Hotel Excel in Warri. The proprietor of the hotel, Chief Moses Odeh, has been doing everything he can to put out the rumor, but once these stories get started, they acquire a life of their own. (informationnigeria.org) African rumors still have true strangeness to them. Here in America, the majority of twitter and facebook rumors are fake reports of celebrity deaths... which get boring after a while. It'd be kind of refreshing to see a rumor claim that Madonna or Lady Gaga didn't die, but instead turned into a snake.
Sea Captain Date—real or fake?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Feb 21, 2012
As far as niche dating sites go, you can't get much more niche than SeaCaptainDate.com. It describes itself as "the only place for Sea Captains to connect with men and women who share a love of the ocean." Now I'm willing to believe that there are niche dating sites out there, but SeaCaptainDate.com seems a little too weird to be real. Is it really just an elaborate joke? I'm not the first to ponder this question. The site first attracted attention back in Jan 2011, when articles about it appeared on nerve.com, time.com, and howaboutwe.com (among others). These sites expressed some doubts, but…
Categories: Sex/Romance, Websites Comments (3)
The Buxton Mermaid
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 16, 2012
An old mermaid was recently found, stored in the archives of the Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, and a research team from the University of Lincoln decided to examine it. So far they've discovered that its hair is human, its upper body is constructed of wood and wire, its teeth are carved bone, and its eyes are mollusc shell. Future tests will determine what fish its tail came from. (link: BBC News) At first I thought it looked like the Bloomsbury Mermaid (pictured below). But no, they're definitely different mermaids. Though similar in design. (Thanks, Hudson!)
Categories: Animals, Cryptozoology Comments (6)
Should disclaimers be required for photoshopped ads?
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 16, 2012
Rep. Katie Hobbs has introduced a bill into the Arizona state legislature that would require advertisers to put the following disclaimer on advertisements if the image in the ad was "photoshopped" (link: zacentral.com): "Postproduction techniques were made to alter the appearance in this advertisement. When using this product, similar results may not be achieved." Similar legislation has been introduced in the UK and France, its purpose being to try to counteract the social pressure on people, particularly young girls, to feel the need to look perfect -- to remind them that the way models look in ads isn't reality. The problem, of course, is that every ad nowadays uses digital…
Categories: Fashion, Photos/Videos Comments (3)
The Society for Insulting Women and Frightening Children
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 15, 2012
The Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1873 includes an article about the mathematician/inventor Charles Babbage. In this article, there's a page-long footnote discussing some hoaxes, and at the end of this footnote, there's a brief reference to the existence of a curious group that called itself the "Society for Insulting Women and Frightening Children": What is this Society? I haven't been able to find it mentioned anywhere except in this Smithsonian Report. But it sounds like a clandestine group of 19th-century pranksters. The footnote is signed "J.H.", which I assume stands for Joseph Henry, the Secretary of the Smithsonian…
Categories: Pranks Comments (2)
The Hoaxing Hitchhiker, 1941
Posted by The Curator on Mon Feb 13, 2012
Source: eBay In 1941, Tommy Graham employed a clever, but slightly duplicitous, technique to get rides as he hitchhiked from Maryland to California. He used an oil can as a suitcase, so that drivers thought his car had broken down and stopped to help him out. I wonder if this technique would work today. Do people even pick up hitchhikers anymore? from The Bradford Era, Nov. 4, 1941
Categories: eBay, Exploration/Travel Comments (4)
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