The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
February 2013
Lawyer who lied about her age
Posted by The Curator on Mon Feb 18, 2013
Soma Sengupta has recently been convicted of lying extensively about her past work experience in order to advance her legal career. She claimed that she had previously been an accomplished trial lawyer, although she hadn't been. She also forged reference letters and school transcripts. But what tripped her up was a much simpler lie. She stated on an application that she was 29, but a clerk who was reviewing the form took one look at her and couldn't believe it. Turned out she was actually in her late 40s, and let's just say that she hasn't aged particularly well. (She's now 52.) Once that lie was exposed, all the others were soon found out.
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (4)
The Proposal Rejection Prank
Posted by The Curator on Mon Feb 18, 2013
The Proposal Rejection Prank is a perennial favorite. Back in 2005 I posted about how a couple had developed a routine they were performing at basketball game halftime shows, in which the guy would propose to the girl in front of the entire crowd. But instead of saying yes, the girl would break into tears and run away. It never failed to get a reaction from the crowds. The PrankvsPrank duo recently performed the identical stunt at various locations outdoors. Their resulting youtube video currently has over 4 million views.
Categories: Pranks, Sex/Romance Comments (0)
Watch For Falling Rocks!
Posted by The Curator on Mon Feb 18, 2013
Found on Facebook (via Not An Exact Science Show). The fact that there wouldn't be an English-language sign in a Russian-speaking area gives it away that it's fake, but it's a clever idea!
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (2)
Attention NYC Residents—Something to do on Feb. 23
Posted by The Curator on Sun Feb 17, 2013
I'm passing along a message from longtime friend of the Museum, Bob Pagani: A few weeks ago, I was invited by the Maccarone Gallery in NYC to come and talk about my friendship with Andy Kaufman as part of a celebration of Andy's life and work. I invited Alan Abel to stop by. He did and the two of us spent several hours talking to gallery visitors about Andy (I am the one who introduced Alan to Andy) and our experiences in the Wonderful World of Media Hoaxing. Here's a link to a NY Times story about the exhibit: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/09/arts/design/creating-reality-by-andy-kaufman-at-maccarone.html?_r=0 The curator of the exhibit liked us so…
Categories: Miscellaneous Comments (4)
The Science of Jackalopes
Posted by The Curator on Sat Feb 16, 2013
As part of its coverage of the debate in Wyoming over whether to make the jackalope the state's official mythological critter, the Casper Star-Tribune profiles Prof. James Holliday, emeritus professor of biology at Lafayette College, who's perhaps the foremost expert on the biology of jackalopes. Scientific basis for the myth of the jackalope trib.com "There is a virus that causes growths on the jack rabbit," Holliday said. The virus is called Shope papillomavirus. Growths can come out of rabbits' bottoms and heads. When they grow from the head, they can look like horns. Holliday described a rabbit that had a growth on its mouth. "The poor thing starved to death,"…
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales Comments (1)
Bill Gates Money Giveaway
Posted by The Curator on Sat Feb 16, 2013
Below is a picture of Bill Gates that's been circulating on Facebook. Can anyone really believe they'll get $5000 if they share the photo? Or is it being shared as a joke? Since I'm feeling charitable, I'll believe the latter. The picture is a doctored version of a picture posted by Gates during a recent AMA on reddit. Note that in addition to changing the sign he's holding, the reddit toy on the desk behind him has been replaced by what looks like a sex toy. (via David Emery)
New article about I, Libertine hoax
Posted by The Curator on Sat Feb 16, 2013
Matthew Callan has written a great account of Jean Shepherd's 1956 I, Libertine hoax: The Man Behind The Brilliant Media Hoax Of "I, Libertine" theawl.com Shepherd inspired fierce loyalty in his listeners who would tune in to listen to him in the middle of the night. These listeners embraced his term for them, "night people," and under his direction they would execute one of the biggest and most bizarre media hoaxes of the 20th century. The hoax was meant as a strike against their opposite: "day people," that is, against phoniness and squareness—all those 50s words—as well as a joke on New York pretension. In our time of memes, virality, and…
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (0)
The Frank Zappa Frieze Prank, 1975
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 15, 2013
Bridges Auditorium stands on the campus of Pomona College in Southern California. A frieze on the front of the building displays the names of five great composers: Wagner, Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, and Schubert. But for a few days in April 1975, Chopin's name disappeared and was replaced by that of another iconic, but more modern composer — Frank Zappa. For years, no one knew who put Zappa's name up there. But in 2012, the pranksters finally revealed themselves, submitting a dossier about their prank to Pomona College Magazine, which published the details in its Nov. 2012 issue. The pranksters were Pomona math majors John…
Categories: Pranks Comments (3)
Man fakes black mamba bite
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 15, 2013
Prosecutors say John Rosenbaum wanted to become famous as the man who was bitten by a black mamba snake and survived. Instead, he'll be famous as the guy who pretended to be bitten by a black mamba. But he really was bitten by a deadly snake (a cobra), so you have to give him credit for that! Man accused of faking bite by deadly black mamba news4jax.com John K. Rosenbaum Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., is accused of touching off a desperate search for the snake in south Georgia after telling authorities he was bitten in November 2011... Rosenbaum was hospitalized after a bite from his pet Egyptian banded cobra, prosecutors say,…
Categories: Animals Comments (2)
Woody Hayes and the turtle
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 14, 2013
Woody HayesAt a recent Ohio Coaches' Convention, Urban Meyer told an interesting story about legendary Ohio State University coach Woody Hayes. The story involved an interaction between Hayes's genitals and a turtle. Here's the story, as Meyer told it: "So I guess Ohio State had lost the bowl game, so Earl Bruce brings in Woody Hayes. I had been there just a week and I'm thinking, 'Holy, this is Coach Hayes.' I'm sitting in the back. Coach Hayes was not healthy at the time, but stands up and starts laying into the coaching staff about toughness. That we have no toughness in the program. That's why we lost the game. On and on…
Categories: Sex/Romance, Sports Comments (1)
If you kiss someone at Chipotle do you get a free burrito?
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 14, 2013
The rumor going around is that if you kiss someone while standing in line at Chipotle this Valentine's Day, you'll be rewarded with a free burrito. But on their facebook page, a Chipotle rep refers to this as a "a bad Internet rumor." Someone else wanted to know if they kissed the burrito itself would it be free. Chipotle says you're free to kiss the burrito, but you're still going to have to pay.
Categories: Food, Urban Legends Comments (1)
Are the Bush bathroom paintings a hoax?
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 14, 2013
A week ago, news broke that a hacker (calling himself 'Guccifer') had broken into George W. Bush's email account. The hacker sent some of the emails and photos he found there to the Smoking Gun, which promptly published them. Three of the leaked photos showed works of art, apparently by Bush. Two of the works were self-portraits in the bathroom — Bush taking a shower and a bath. The third showed Bush working on a more traditional scene of a seaside chapel. It's the bathroom self-portraits that attracted all the attention. Understandably, since they were so odd. Art…
Categories: Art, Politics Comments (0)
Fake news already spreading about Dorner shootout
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 13, 2013
Hey, did you hear that Christopher Dorner somehow survived yesterday's shootout? Yeah, apparently the charred remains inside the cabin have been identified as female, not male! No credible news sources are reporting this, but there's a blurry TV screenshot of a CNN newscast circulating on twitter & facebook that says it, so it must be true!
Iran’s new stealth fighter flies (with help from photoshop)
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 13, 2013
The Iranian news website Khouz News recently posted a picture of Iran's new stealth fighter, the Qaher F313. But The Atlantic Wire points out that the photo is actually a composite. The background is a photo of Mount Damavand from a stock-image site. The jet fighter was cut-and-pasted from a photo of what is apparently a plastic jet fighter (because it seems to lack exterior bolts or rivets) on display indoors. In Iran's defense, the photo could have been intended as a kind of mock-up of what the plane would look like while flying. But given the Iranian military's past history of…
Categories: Military, Photos/Videos Comments (1)
Johan Lehrer tries to understand himself
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 13, 2013
In July 2012, science writer Jonah Lehrer resigned from The New Yorker under a cloud of shame, after it was revealed that his latest book, Imagine, was full of fabricated quotations. Yesterday, he took what he may have been hoping was a first step toward rehabilitating his public image by giving a confessional talk at a Knight Foundation seminar in Miami. If image-rehabilitation was his goal, it probably didn't work, because most of the coverage of his talk was snarky and cynical about his intents, especially after poynter.org reported that he was paid $20,000 for speaking. As Lehrer spoke, a giant screen behind him showed real-time tweets about the talk,…
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