The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
May 2012
Are 10 percent of wall street workers psychopaths?
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 30, 2012
We recently got to see an example of how a bogus fact takes root and spreads — that fact being that 10 percent of wall street workers are clinical psychopaths. It started with a study titled "Corporate Psychopathy: Talking the Walk" published in the April 2010 issue of the journal Behavioral Sciences and the Law. Its lead author was Robert Hare, a specialist in the study of psychopathy. Hare had the opportunity to study 203 corporate professionals participating in a management development program. As part of this study, he conducted psychopathy assessments on the individuals, thus producing some of the first scientific data on psychopathy in the business world.
Categories: Business/Finance Comments (3)
Was John Travolta replaced by a double in 1991?
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 23, 2012
According to this theory John Travolta died in 1991 and was replaced by a look-alike, German singer Roy Black. John Travolta (left) -- Roy Black (right) The corollary to this theory would be that Roy Black didn't die of heart failure in 1991, but actually survived and, for some inexplicable reason, took over Travolta's career. The theory doesn't explain how Travolta died. This is a very minor conspiracy theory. I'm guessing it was inspired by someone noticing that Roy Black and John Travolta look somewhat similar. But it made me curious about how many celebrities have…
An Exhibition of Invisible Art
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 23, 2012
London's Hayward Gallery will soon be hosting an exhibition of invisible art. It's the kind of art where you basically have to take the artist's word for it that there's something there. Included will be works such as Warhol's Invisible Sculpture, "which consists of an empty plinth, on which he had once briefly stepped." Also, 1000 Hours of Staring, which is "a blank piece of paper at which artist Tom Friedman has stared repeatedly over the space of five years." I wonder how copyright pertains to invisible art. Can you sue someone for copying your blank canvas? Link: telegraph.co.uk. Below are some examples of invisible art.…
Categories: Art Comments (4)
Watch out for fake pig ears
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 23, 2012
Pig ears are a popular snack in China. So unscrupulous food sellers have figured out a way to make fake pig ears out of gelatin. Given that the real pig ears aren't expensive to begin with, what's being put into the fake ones is dirt cheap and potentially harmful, consumers are being warned. See below for advice about how to know if you've been served a fake pig ear. Fake stewed pig ears pose health risks chinadaily.com Some stewed pig ears have been made from chemicals that could cause blood and heart problems in East China, sounding a fresh alarm on food safety. The popular Chinese snacks sold at a market…
Categories: Food Comments (2)
Glued Meat
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 23, 2012
Another restaurant scam to watch out for: That expensive steak you ordered may really be pieces of scrap meat glued together. I'd never heard of this 'meat glue' before. Apparently there's very little way to tell if it's being served to you... if the meat is glued together by someone who knows what they're doing. But if an amateur did the gluing, the meat will fall apart as you slice it. Steak Or Fake? How To Spot 'Glued' Meat denverchannel.com It's white, powdery and can turn chucks of beef into a single piece of steak. Most diners probably are not aware that some chefs can use a substance called…
Categories: Food Comments (1)
A Global Warming Hoax from 1874
Posted by The Curator on Mon May 21, 2012
I periodically receive emails from people who insist I need to add global warming to the site because it's the "biggest hoax in human history." I don't agree with that. Actually, I think global warming is something that definitely merits being worried about. However, I did just add a global warming hoax to the hoax archive, which might make the global-warming-is-a-hoax crowd happy. Except that this hoax occurred in 1874. It's a story that appeared in U.S. newspapers in February 1874. The premise was that scientists had discovered the earth was getting hotter and hotter. Europe was predicted to be tropical in 12 years, and soon after that the planet would become too hot to support life.…
Categories: Death, Journalism, Science Comments (0)
The Angel in the Shopping Mall
Posted by The Curator on Fri May 18, 2012
Over at livescience.com, Ben Radford analyzes a video that supposedly shows an angel falling to the floor of an Indonesian shopping mall. The video is said to have been taken on Sep 11, 2011. Radford concludes that whoever created the video (and he's sure it's a fake) got the lighting all wrong when they inserted the animated angel. Light sources near the top of the frame are clearly reflected in the polished, semi-glossy floor (which appears to be painted and sealed concrete), though when the brightly luminous figure falls to the floor, its light does not appear in the foreground on the…
Categories: Paranormal, Videos Comments (2)
Death by Gatorade Shower
Posted by The Curator on Fri May 18, 2012
In his column on latimes.com, Brian Cronin examines the legend that Hall of Fame football coach George Allen got sick and died after being doused in gatorade by his team following a winning season. Did a Gatorade shower kill George Allen? latimes.com After three straight losing seasons, Allen led the Long Beach 49ers to a season-ending victory over the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on November 17, 1990 that secured them a winning season. Allen's team gave him a Gatorade shower (Allen noted that due to the budget issues, the team could not afford actual Gatorade, so it was just ice water). Six weeks later, Allen died. The story is most…
Categories: Death, Sports, Urban Legends Comments (0)
Earn Money Working at Home—Become an Envelope Elf!
Posted by The Curator on Fri May 18, 2012
The consumer affairs office of the state of Massachusetts has created a series of phony websites designed to teach people how to avoid online scams. The sites advertise products such as work-at-home deals, weight-loss products, and free trips. If anyone tries to order something from these sites, they're directed to a page identifying it as a scam and telling them how they could have spotted the scam. My favorite one is the "Envelope Elf" site. The SEC did something similar back in 2002. It created a hoax site for McWhortle Enterprises, Inc. The idea was to teach investors that just because a company has a website, that doesn't mean…
Categories: Scams, Websites Comments (1)
Naked Came the Stranger: the x-rated movie
Posted by The Curator on Thu May 17, 2012
As I noted in my previous post, Mike McGrady, creator of the 1969 "Naked Came the Stranger" literary hoax, died recently. A little-known footnote to this hoax is that it inspired an x-rated movie in 1975. Here's the trailer for that movie. (It's pretty much safe for work.)
RIP Mike McGrady
Posted by The Curator on Thu May 17, 2012
Mike McGrady was the mastermind behind the Naked Came the Stranger hoax of 1969. His aim was to show that any book with enough sex scenes, even if lacking in any other merit, could sell well. And the book he created to prove this point did sell well. Although its sales had a lot to do with the fact that McGrady's sister-in-law, the attractive Penelope Ashe, posed as its author. Which shows that the good looks of an author can definitely sell books. And, of course, the book sold even better once it was exposed as a hoax, demonstrating that there's no such thing as bad publicity. Mike McGrady Mike…
Prof. T. Mills Kelly teaches a class on hoaxes at George Mason University titled, "Lying About the Past." It's a study of hoaxes throughout history (the Museum of Hoaxes is on his syllabus!), but also uses hoaxes to teach critical thinking and historical analysis. As part of the class, the students have to create a historical hoax of their own and launch it on the web. I could have sworn that I'd posted previously about Kelly's class, but couldn't find where I did so. Back in 2008, his students crafted a successful hoax about Edward Owens, a supposed Chesapeake pirate. This year they tried to create a tale about a possible 19th-century New York serial…
Categories: Education, History Comments (0)
Tom Woottwell, Mock Strong Man
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 16, 2012
Tom Woottwell had an interesting career. He was a "mock strong man," performing to crowds during the late nineteenth century. From The Strand magazine, July 1897: The show indicated in the photo here reproduced was screamingly comic. First, as to the costume of the mock "strong man." he is dressed in dilapidated old tights, which are supposed to be strained almost to bursting point at the arms and calves, owing solely to the abnormal muscular development of those parts. The calves are particularly funny — far less sinew than sawdust, however. And observe the showman's leer as he strikes an attitude for the great feat of breaking a…
Categories: Entertainment, Sports Comments (0)
The Old Potato/Laptop Switcheroo Scam
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 16, 2012
I'm assuming the scammers must stuff the potatoes inside a laptop box. Otherwise I'm not sure how they convince their victims to walk away with a bag of potatoes instead of a laptop. Manchester police appeal over potato laptop fraud bbc.co.uk Police say at least four people have been approached by two men offering to sell them a laptop or iPhone. One man paid up to £1,400 and walked away with a rucksack full of potatoes. Other victims received bottles of soft drinks. Police said the conmen spoke with an Eastern European accent.
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Scams Comments (0)
Rick Padden of Loveland, Colorado has written a play about a famous hoax from his own town: The Great Loveland Potato Hoax. It'll be on stage at Loveland's Rialto Theater. The Loveland Potato Hoax took place in 1895. It involved a potato farmer who created a fake photo of himself holding a giant potato. The photo started circulating around the country, passing from one person to another, until it eventually came to the attention of Scientific American, which published it, mistakenly presenting it to readers as a real photo. The farmer was subsequently flooded with inquiries from people who wanted pieces of the potato so they could grow their own giant spud.
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (0)
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