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Cryptozoology
Found in Mermaids with Other Tales (1882) by Charles Henry Ross : a discussion of broiled mermaids.

Apparently they taste like pork, which isn't surprising since (so it's said) human flesh tastes like pork also.

But I wonder what wine pairs best with mermaid?


BROILED MERMAID
In the "Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences," John Jablousky says the skin of meer men and mermaids is of a brownish-grey colour, and their intestines are like those of a hog; their flesh as fat as pork, particularly the upper part of their bodies; and this is a favourite dish with the Indians, broiled upon a gridiron.

Again, Edward Draper elsewhere says, "Mermaids are frequently catched which resemble the human species. They are taken in nets and killed, and are heard to shriek and cry like women. The flesh is much like pork in taste, and the ribs are reckoned a good astringent."

Categories: Cryptozoology, Food
Posted by Alex on Thu Apr 03, 2014
Comments (0)
In June 1959, reports surfaced of a monster seen in the woodlands of Central Florida, near Brooksville, about forty miles north of Tampa.

Witnesses described seeing a giant creature with glowing eyes that towered over 9-feet-tall and moved rapidly through the trees with massive strides. The creature was active at night.

Monster hunters went out to search for it. Some of them were armed with guns, and a few claimed to have spotted it and took a shot at it, but no creature was bagged.

The reports aroused the curiosity of two Tampa Tribune reporters, Harry Robarts and Bob Fellows, who decided to track down the monster. They camped out for a few nights in the woods around Brooksville, but never saw anything.

Then they started interviewing locals. Finally, they got a good lead when one of these locals suggested they might want to talk to Mrs. Peggy Thomas, a young housewife who lived in the area.

The reporters found Mrs. Thomas, and when they confronted her she quickly confessed that, yes, the "monster" was her creation.


Mrs. Peggy Thomas showing off her "homemade spook".

She explained that she had created it by tying one small pinetree across another to form its body, which she had covered in a sheet. She used a cow's skull lit from the inside with a flashlight for its head. And she draped some moss over the creature for added effect.

In order to make her "monster" appear to be walking through the woods, she had tied it to a 100-foot rope between two trees and pulled it from side to side with a fishing line.

She made the creature as a joke during a camping trip with her family and was rather pleased that she had fooled not only her relatives but also many members of the general public.

The woods and swamps of Florida would eventually become known as the reputed home of the "Skunk Ape" — a large, foul-smelling, ape-like creature. However, Skunk Ape sightings only began to become common and attract the attention of the press in the late 1960s. So Mrs. Thomas's monster would not have been a reference to that creature.

Incidentally, the city of Brooksville has a curious history (in addition to its monster hoaxes), having been named in honor of Preston Brooks, a congressman infamous for having nearly caned abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner to death in 1856 on the floor of the Senate. In 2010, there was some debate over whether the city's name should be changed, but the suggestion was overwhelmingly opposed by locals.

References
Categories: Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Sun Mar 02, 2014
Comments (0)
Michigan resident Anthony Padilla thinks that Bigfoot has been wandering around his property and eating his food. Specifically, his pizza. And after Bigfoot eats the pizza, he poops. Padilla has collected the scat and he wants the police to test it for DNA. The police have demurred.

Padilla is apparently staking his claim to a $10 million prize being offered by Spike TV for coming up with "irrefutable proof" of the existence of Bigfoot. Actually, it's not clear to me whether Spike TV is offering the prize to anyone, or only to the group of competitors on its forthcoming "10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty" TV show. If it's the latter, Padilla is wasting his time.
Categories: Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 10, 2014
Comments (2)

Source: "All My Friends are Dead" 2014 Wall Calendar,
by Avery Monsen and Jory John.
Categories: Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Thu Dec 26, 2013
Comments (3)
For the Bigfoot collector who already has everything... but this. Or for someone who has a Bigfoot-themed bathroom. Available on etsy. It comes as a print of an "original oil and digital painting." Though it would be better if it were a velvet painting.

Categories: Art, Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Fri Dec 20, 2013
Comments (0)
There's a long history of sea-serpent sightings off the coast of New England.

A flurry of sightings occurred in August 1817, when fishermen in Gloucester, Massachusetts witnessed a giant sea creature with a horned head ("much like the head of a turtle... and larger than the head on any dog") swimming in the ocean. A local scientific society launched an investigation and concluded that the creature might be a previously unknown species, Scoliophis atlanticus (Atlantic humped snake). However, skeptics denounced the sightings as a hoax.


Broadsheet sold by Henry Bowen of Boston - Aug 22, 1817

As the years passed, reports of a sea serpent continued to trickle in. But it was in 1937 that the New England Sea Monster returned to the nation's headlines in spectacular fashion.

The excitement started in early August of that year when fisherman Bill Manville rushed in to the office of the Nantucket Inquirer & Mirror claiming he had seen a "green sea monster — which reared its head several times off his starboard bow before turning seaward." He elaborated that the creature was about one hundred feet long with a head like a barrel and red-rimmed glaring eyes the size of dinner plates.

The report of Manville's sighting got picked up by the news wires and ran in papers throughout the country.


Charleston Daily Mail - Aug 8, 1937

Some in Nantucket suggested that Manville might have been "seeing things," but his sighting was seconded a day later by amateur fisherman (and teetotaler — as the local paper was quick to point out) Gilbert Manter, who saw the creature while he was fishing for bluefish off Smith's point.

Manter said that the creature "looked like a combination snake and whale, with a head much bigger than the neck." He added that it was grayish green with "sort of a horned head" and was "something like 120 feet long and stood up at least a dozen feet out of the water."

Manter walked down to Madaket Beach the following morning with a friend, Ed Crocker, in the hope of seeing the creature again. They didn't see the monster, but they did find "giant web-footed tracks" in the sand. The prints measured 66-inches long and 45-inches wide.




Photos of the tracks appeared in papers, and copies were sent to scientists in New York City for analysis. However, the scientists proved to be skeptical. Dr. W. Reid Blair, director of the New York Zoological Society, said:

"No marine mammal could have left the tracks as they do not move so much on their flippers as they do on their second joint and on their bellies. Evidence of their passage would be seen on the beach only in a slight indentation. As for a land mammal, there is nothing on Nantucket Island that could leave such large tracks."

But Blair's skepticism proved to be unfounded when, a few days later, the sea serpent itself, in its entirety, washed ashore. It was indeed about 120 feet long, with large teeth. However, it had no horn on its head.

It was also a giant, inflatable balloon.









The Nantucket Sea Serpent was revealed to have been an elaborate publicity stunt designed to get Nantucket in the news. The "monster" had been designed by Tony Sarg, the puppeteer in charge of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

After stirring up interest with the initial "sightings" (done with the collusion of the local paper), Sarg and his crew put the monster balloon in the water at Coatue beach, hoping to land it at the Jetties. But the balloon veered off course, landing instead at South Beach on Washington Street.


Tony Sarg poses with the monster

Large crowds turned out to see the unusual sight, which remained in place for several weeks. Numerous photographs of the sea serpent on the beach have been preserved by the Nantucket Historical Association.

The Nantucket promoters reportedly felt that the stunt was a resounding success and congratulated each other for the "cash value of the space" obtained in the press for Nantucket.

The monster made another appearance a few months later, floating above the streets of Manhattan, when it participated in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.




References
  • "Tony Sarg's Sea Serpent in Nantucket 1937," Nantucket Historical Association, Flickr photo set.
  • Holidays on Display: Building the modern parade. National Museum of American History.
  • Grieder, JE & Charnes G. (2012). Nantucket. p.92.
  • MacDougall, C.D. (1940). Hoaxes. The Macmillan Company. p. 256.
  • "Seein' things at Nantucket, Mass., Again," (Aug 11, 1937). The Hammond Times.
  • "Nantucket Monster Sighted By Two Men," (Aug 11, 1937). Logansport Pharos-Tribune.
  • "The Nantucket Sea Serpent Exposes and Derided," (Oct 31, 1937). The Helena Daily Independent.
Categories: Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 28, 2013
Comments (1)
Josh Stevens, a grad student at Pennsylvania State University, took 92 years of bigfoot sighting data, gathered by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, and put it on a map. That's 3313 sightings in all.


It's an interesting visual, but even he's not sure what the map tells us, except that Bigfoot seems to be "thriving out west."

It reminds me of a similar map that showed the "distribution of drop bears in Australia" that appeared in a Dec 2012 article in Australian Geographer.


Is there a map of Elvis sightings? There is an Elvis Sighting Society, but no map that I'm aware of. Though in a post back in 2006 I noted that "LaMa has been lobbying for quite some time to add an Elvis Sighting Report Page, interfaced with a Google earth map, to the Museum of Hoaxes." We need to get on that project before Elvis gets too old and stops being seen. He's 78 this year!
Categories: Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Fri Sep 20, 2013
Comments (2)
Looks interesting. I'll add it to my reading list.


An interview with the authors:

The Science Behind Bigfoot and Other Monsters
National Geographic

There's ample circumstantial evidence for all these creatures: eyewitness accounts, blurry photographs, mysterious footprints. For many cryptozoologists—the people who search for legendary animals—that evidence is enough to confirm a monster's existence. But it will take more than shadowy sightings to convince Daniel Loxton and Donald R. Prothero that Bigfoot or any of the other monsters are real. What Loxton and Prothero want is scientific evidence. In their new book, Abominable Science! Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids, they analyze the history of mythic beasts and the clues to their existence.
Categories: Books, Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 11, 2013
Comments (1)
In an obscure corner of the site, I have a brief blurb about a hoax from the 1960s — the Minnesota Iceman. It was "a strange creature frozen in ice... exhibited at carnivals throughout the Midwest. It appeared to be some kind of neanderthal man."

My blurb ends by noting, "Its current whereabouts are not known." But this is no longer true! A few days ago it popped up for sale on eBay. The seller wanted $20,000 for it. And apparently the seller got that much, because it's already sold.

I have no idea who bought it, but if they were willing to pay that much, they must have felt pretty sure that it was the original Minnesota Iceman. (via Doubtful News)

Categories: Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 21, 2013
Comments (1)
Good grief! This is kinda sad. Melba Ketchum fancies herself a bona fide scientist. But her subject-of-choice is Bigfoot, which immediately exiles her to the crackpot fringe of science. For which reason, she found that she couldn't get her paper on her "Sasquatch genome study" published anywhere. So what did she do? She created her own journal, the DeNovo Journal of Science. But instead of admitting she created it, she's pretending that it's some kind of independent journal. The problem: her Bigfoot-DNA paper is the one and only article this "journal" has ever published.

A Texas Geneticist Apparently Invented a Science Journal to Publish Her DNA Proof of Bigfoot
dallasobserver.com

On Wednesday, Ketchum announced that she had finally found a publication with the courage to go against the ivory tower establishment and that her research was finally being published by the DeNovo Journal of Science. She immediately took to Twitter, directing the attention of popular science gatekeepers like National Geographic, the BBC, Jane Goodall, and, um, Rob Lowe, to a 19-second video clip, supposedly showing the sleeping female Sasquatch whose DNA was sequenced for the study. But Ketchum's victory celebration might be a bit premature. The Huffington Post and others did a modicum of digging and found that, not only is DeNovo's website shoddy and amateurish, the domain was registered all of nine days before it published Ketchum's study, which, by the way, is its only article. To read it, you have to shell out $30.
Categories: Cryptozoology, Pseudoscience
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 20, 2013
Comments (3)
Here's another item that would make a great addition to a real-life Museum of Hoaxes. It's a life-sized replica of Bigfoot. It was up for sale on eBay. The sellers wanted $80,000 for it, and no one came up with that much money, so the auction ended without it being sold.

It's a nice piece. Would have looked great in my living room. But I have no idea how they came up with a value of $80,000 for it. Seems a bit like wishful thinking. From the auction description:

In 1976, after years of study and research, a young man named Clifford LaBrecque undertook a challenge that stunned the Bigfoot world. Mr. LaBrecque built one of the best detailed "museum quality" models of Bigfoot. How he did it is a mystery that will probably never be known. One look and it shouts this is the "real thing"--eyes that follow you, and hands, fingers, and toes, are all in great detail. This fantastic piece of work has been stored for over 30 years. This is the first opportunity you have to own Bigfoot. It can be a tremendous attraction for showing this part of American folklore. 

Categories: Cryptozoology, eBay
Posted by Alex on Thu Jul 26, 2012
Comments (0)
I've previously noted a connection between Mormon folklore and Bigfoot — namely that some Mormons believe Bigfoot to be the Biblical figure Cain, condemned to walk the earth forever (and apparently grown big and hairy).

But I recently came across another Mormon/Bigfoot connection. Back around 1870, there was a Mormon settler named Ithamar Sprague who lived in the town of Washington, Utah. He terrified his fellow town's folk by creating giant wooden feet, three-feet long, that he used to place monster footprints all over town during the night. Rumors began to spread about a terrifying creature loose in the region. A posse was organized to hunt the beast down, but Sprague confessed before the situation got completely out-of-hand.

So Sprague anticipated Jerry Crew (the guy whose 1958 prank led to the popularization of the name 'Bigfoot') by almost 90 years.

The legend of Sprague and his "big shoes" has been kept alive over the years by Mormon storytellers. The most complete examination of the legend can be found in Andrew Karl Larson's essay, "Ithamar Sprague and His Big Shoes," in Lore of Faith and Folly (edited by Thomas Cheney).

You can also find Sprague's prank summarized on the Utah State History blog:

[Sprague] built a pair of huge "clodhoppers" and one night he put them on and left gigantic human footprints on the dusty village streets.
News of the mysterious prints spread quickly through town. Some residents laughed and dismissed them as the work of a prankster. Others believed a huge creature was actually stalking the village.
Sprague left tracks again on following nights. More and more townsfolk became convinced that a mysterious, ferocious being had begun to plague the town. Local Paiutes only added to the unrest when they told stories of a legendary giant who had once prowled that region, killing and plundering the countryside.
Sprague laughingly continued his prank. Residents began blaming mishaps on the mysterious beast: the hens were too frightened to lay, the milk soured too soon, and one lady had a miscarriage due to her fright. Search parties tried to capture the monster, but the tracks always either disappeared abruptly or led to rocks where they were no longer traceable.
One night, Ithamar snuck out of a dance, put on his huge shoes, stalked through the village, then returned to the dance. At intermission, Ithamar and friends went outside for a drink, and Ithamar spotted the fresh tracks.
A crowd gathered. People grabbed their weapons and set out to capture the giant--which they were sure was close by. But again the shoe prints disappeared in some rocks.
Several versions of how the town learned of Sprague's hoax evolved over the years. According to one version, the town met together and discussed deserting the village or sending a messenger to Brigham Young to ask for advice.
During the meeting a girl whom Sprague had been courting noticed his smug attitude and told him to confess. He asked her what she would do if he did admit to being the prankster. She replied that she would finally consent to marrying him. According to this story, Sprague excitedly jumped to his feet and confessed, and the couple got married shortly thereafter.
In another version, Sprague and another man were going to cut wood in the mountains. But the man’s wife refused to let him go, fearing the giant. In order not to have to cut the wood alone, Sprague confessed his prank.
However the truth came out, the townsfolk told the story so often that Ithamar Sprague became something of a legend—and the area’s most beloved prankster.
Categories: Cryptozoology, Folklore/Tall Tales
Posted by Alex on Wed Jun 06, 2012
Comments (1)
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