The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
HOME   |   ABOUT   |   FORUM   |   CONTACT   |   FACEBOOK   |   RSS
The Top 100
April Fool Hoaxes
Of All Time
April Fool Archive
April fools throughout history
Hoax Photo
Archive

Weblog Category
Exploration/Travel
Doing some catchup here on hoaxes I've missed: Wade Whitcomb claimed he squeezed himself into a cramped wooden crate and mailed himself via UPS from New York to Las Vegas. Because this would violate a number of laws, it attracted the attention of the FBI, who interviewed Whitcomb, who then promptly admitted he had made the entire thing up. "We have no further interest in this," said the FBI spokesman. And nor, frankly, do I. (Thanks, Bob!)
Categories: Exploration/Travel
Posted by Alex on Fri Mar 13, 2009
Comments (0)
Time magazine listed the Where The Hell Is Matt? video (which shows Matt Harding doing an odd little dance in various locations around the world) as the #1 viral video of 2008. But at a conference on December 11, Harding confessed that the video was just a hoax. He said the whole thing had been shot in front of a green screen, and that animatronic mannequins had been used to make it look like people were dancing with him. Check out the full video of his confession:



Now, when I watch this, I think it's obvious he's being sarcastic. He's making fun of people who are so paranoid they think everything is fake.

However, not everyone seems to recognize the sarcasm. I've run across some websites in the past few days that are reporting Harding's "confession" as a straight story, with no mention of sarcasm. For instance, check out this Associated Content article, which doesn't seem to be just playing along with the gag.

As the saying goes, "we are at our most gullible, when we are most skeptical."
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Jan 07, 2009
Comments (13)
Posted recently by Tobester in the Hoax Forum:



I couldn't resist doing some research on this. Here's what I found.

a) It's definitely an urban legend.

b) I can't find any record of it ever appearing in the New York Times.

c) The earliest mention of it I can find in print dates back to July 10, 2000, when it was discussed in the Sydney Morning Herald. Apparently, in a version circulating back then, they were identified as the source of the tale. They denied this, pointed out the tale was an urban legend, and noted that in earlier versions of the story American Airlines was referred to as the carrier.

d) Despite being an urban legend, it has occasionally been reported in papers as real news. For instance, the Belfast News Letter reported it on April 19, 2003. The Scotsman reported it on February 2, 2001. And The Gleaner reported it on March 13, 2004.
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Literature/Language, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Tue Jul 29, 2008
Comments (6)
Derrie-Air claims to be the world's only carbon-neutral luxury airline. From its website:

Welcome to Derrie-Air, the world's only carbon-neutral luxury airline, where you don't have to choose between living the high life and saving the planet. Nine out of ten scientists agree—we need to reduce our carbon emissions or perish from the face of the earth. Air travel is one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions and global warming. Derrie-Air will be the only airline that plants trees to offset every pound of carbon that our planes release into the atmosphere.
But not only will we do our part to protect the environment, we will expect you, our passengers, to do your part as well. The magic comes from our one of a kind "Sliding Scale"—the more you weigh, the more you'll pay. After all, it takes more fuel—more energy—to get more weight from point A to point B. So we will charge passengers based on how much mass they add to the plane. The heavier you and your luggage are, the more trees we'll plant to make up for the trouble of flying you from place to place.

The reality is that Derrie-Air doesn't exist. It's a fake company dreamed up by Philadelphia Media Holdings, owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News. In addition to creating the Derrie-Air site, they also ran Derrie-Air ads in their papers as a marketing test "to demonstrate the power of our brands, in print and online, to drive traffic awareness -- in this case for a brand that doesn’t exist and is fictitious." More details in Editor & Publisher, and on MSNBC.

I predict this will become a case of satirical prophecy, in that it won't be long before airlines actually are implementing measures such as charging by the pound. (Thanks, Rebecca)
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Journalism, Websites
Posted by Alex on Fri Jun 06, 2008
Comments (7)
With the price of gas going through the roof, there's been a lot of interest in alternative fuel supplies. For instance, various schemes to use water as a fuel have been getting renewed interest. But a new idea (at least, new to me) is the Diesel Tree. This is a tree that directly produces diesel fuel. All you have to do is tap the tree (just as you would tap a maple tree for its syrup), then fill up your tank with the oil, and you're good to go. From treehugger.com:

the Brazilian Copaifera langsdorfii, to use its botanical name, can be tapped not unlike a rubber tree, but instead of yielding rubbery latex it gives up a natural diesel. According to the nurseryman selling the trees, one hectare will yield about 12,000 litres annually.
Once filtered—-no complex refining required, apparently—-it can be placed straight into a diesel tractor or truck. We read that a single Copaifera langsdorfii will continue to produce fuel oil for an impressive 70 years, with the only negative being that its particular form of diesel needs to be used within three months of extraction.

You can also check out this video on YouTube in which an Australian farmer who's growing Diesel Trees is interviewed. He admits it "sounds like a fanciful concept," but insists it's real. There are also articles in the Sydney Morning Herald and ABC.net.au.

As odd as the idea sounds, Diesel Trees do appear to be real. Here's the wikipedia article about them. They simply produce a plant oil pure enough that diesel engines can run on it. The Alaska Science Forum notes:
Though not likely to become a significant source of diesel fuel in temperate climates, in the tropics Cobaifera plantations might produce as much as 25 barrels of fuel per year. Still, Cobaifera relatives in the same genus, Euphorbia, are producing 10 barrels per acre in northern California.

It would be pretty cool to be able to fill up your car directly from a tree in your backyard.(via geoisla)
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Free Energy, Science
Posted by Alex on Fri Jun 06, 2008
Comments (4)
This is a little sad, but odd. There's a bus stop located outside the Benrath Senior Centre in Dusseldorf. People occasionally walk up to the stop and stand there, waiting for a bus, but a bus never comes. In fact, the stop is on no bus route. It's a faux bus stop, purposefully created by the local department of transportation as a lure designed to deceive Alzheimer's patients from the senior centre. From telegraph.co.uk:

“It sounds funny,” said Old Lions Chairman Franz-Josef Goebel, “but it helps. Our members are 84 years-old on average. Their short-term memory hardly works at all, but the long-term memory is still active. They know the green and yellow bus sign and remember that waiting there means they will go home.” The result is that errant patients now wait for their trip home at the bus stop, before quickly forgetting why they were there in the first place.
“We will approach them and say that the bus is coming later today and invite them in to the home for a coffee,” said Mr Neureither. “Five minutes later they have completely forgotten they wanted to leave.” The idea has proved so successful that it has now been adopted by several other homes across Germany.

Update: I added an image of the fake bus stop. Thanks to Mikkel for finding it.
Categories: Exploration/Travel
Posted by Alex on Wed Jun 04, 2008
Comments (11)
The Brazilian government released some dramatic pictures of one of South America's last remaining uncontacted indigenous tribes. It says it took the pictures to prove that the tribe existed, because there apparently were some people who doubted this.

When I saw the pictures, I couldn't help but be reminded of the Stone Age Tasaday from the Philippines. The Tasaday were a tribe that was discovered in 1971. Unlike the Brazilian tribe (who are seen shooting arrows at the helicopter taking their picture), the Tasaday were entirely non-violent. They were often called the "Gentle Tasaday." In fact, it was said that they didn't even have a word in their language for "enemy" or "conflict".

But the Tasaday were outed as a hoax in 1986. It was alleged they were actually local farmers who had been paid by the Marcos government to dress up as a Stone Age tribe. Recently, however, the tribe's reputation has been rehabilitated. The consensus among academics now seems to be that the Tasaday were, in most respects, a "real" tribe living in Stone-Age-like conditions.

The problem with calling any tribe "uncontacted" is how you define contact. I doubt there's any tribe in the world that is truly isolated. There's usually some kind of contact (trade, intermarriage, etc.) with neighboring tribes, and so bits and pieces of the modern world find their way to the tribe.
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Places
Posted by Alex on Fri May 30, 2008
Comments (14)
Dr. James L. Carter has a weird job. He manufactures fake moon dirt. His company, ETSimulants, produces tons of it every year. His primary customer is NASA, who needs fake moon dirt to test machines that might need to operate on the moon. In an interview with Pegasus News Dr. Carter explains:

"When you land on the moon, all this dry, dry dust blows into the space craft’s engines. The astronauts’ safety rests on this substance being correct. There can be no mechanical failures once you’re parked on the moon’s surface.”

I'm sure he could make some good money if he put his product in little glass bottles and sold it on eBay. After all, if eBay shoppers will buy genuine air from Loch Ness, they'll also buy fake dirt from the moon.
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Science
Posted by Alex on Mon Jan 28, 2008
Comments (5)
Down in the Antarctic researchers are building an "ice cube telescope" to detect neutrinos. It's one of the stranger telescopes ever built. Popular Science provides this description of it:

Using a five-megawatt jet of hot water, technicians are melting two-foot-wide holes 1.5 miles into the Antarctic ice near the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Before the water refreezes, they insert a cable strung like a set of Christmas-tree lights with globular camera housings. By the time the technicians are done in 2010, Ice Cube’s 80 vertical strings will adorn a cubic kilometer of ice from a depth of 1.4 kilometers down to 2.4 kilometers. In other words, it’s an instrument of 4,800 cameras looking at solid black ice...
One in a million neutrinos passing near Ice Cube’s photomultiplier cameras will—just by chance—smash head-on into an atomic nucleus within the ice and produce a muon particle that will give off a blue glow called Cherenkov light. Unlike the ice in your freezer, Antarctic ice is stunningly clear, and the blue light travels more than 100 meters in the dark ice. Each muon’s glow will be picked up by several cameras, and its position and direction triangulated.


But, of course, the conspiracy theorists have some different ideas about what is really being built down there in the South Pole. One such theory has been posted in an unlikely place, explorersweb.com -- a site that's usually devoted to news about the exploration community, not woolly conspiracy theories.

The theory was posted by Irish South Pole skier Kevin Dempsey. Here's the gist of it:

the so called Ice-Cube project is in fact the first of a new generation of ARC, as we believe it is now as internally. Think ARC, think Noah. But not in the same way. Noah used his arc to save all life forms from extinction. This new ARC is in a way a reversal of that process."
"ARC stands for..... ALIEN RECEPTOR CENTRE."

"They are bringing aliens in from outer space & other galaxies, processing & programming them for eventual release into countries, societies, cultures all over the planet, that they ultimately want to control. This is not a simple war on the battle for control of oil. This is total & ultimate control of the planet.


I'm not sure whether or not Dempsey's article is meant to be a joke. Supporting the joke theory is the unusual note that Explorerweb appended to the article: "Dempsey is not a scientist; his emails carry advertisements for stylish blinds and rugs."

(Thanks to CuChullaine O'Reilly of the Long Riders Guild for the link.)
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Extraterrestrial Life, Science
Posted by Alex on Tue Jan 22, 2008
Comments (7)
Jerome Angus Graham III, a 25-centimeter-tall garden gnome, has been all around the world. But he hasn't been to Antarctica. Nor apparently, has any other gnome. But that's about to change. Jerome is heading to Antarctica, thanks to an invitation from Belgian travel firm Asteria Expeditions. Jerome will become "the first gnome to set foot on the frozen continent." The adventures of Jerome can be followed at travellinggnome.net.

Earthtimes.org also reports that last year Jerome become politically active when he launched a petition against a Belgian brand of pate called "Gnome Pate": "However, he closed the petition once the pate's producers - a firm called "The Hobbit" - provided proof that the pate was vegetarian and contained no gnome parts, his website explained."
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Gnomes
Posted by Alex on Wed Jan 09, 2008
Comments (3)
Cranky Media Guy forwarded me this fascinating article about a new concept in travel. You pay your money, get on a plane, and then go nowhere. You just pretend that you're going somewhere. Meanwhile a stewardess serves you drinks and the "pilot" makes announcements such as "We will soon be passing through a zone of turbulence," and "We are about to begin our descent into Delhi."

This concept is the idea of Indian entrepreneur Bahadur Chand Gupta, and it's proving quite popular. His customers are people who have never flown on a plane before, because they're too poor to afford it, but they're curious to experience what it might be like. I suppose it's no different than the simulators you can find at amusement parks here in America.
Categories: Exploration/Travel
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 04, 2007
Comments (8)
image An email correspondent asked me if the following story could be true:
Paolina and Ake Viking were married in Sicily in the autumn of 1958, thanks to a far-traveling bottle. Two years earlier Ake, a bored young Swedish sailor on a ship far out at sea, had dropped a bottle overboard with a message asking any pretty girl who found it to write. Paolina's father, a Sicilian fisherman, picked it up and passed it to his daughter for a joke. Continuing the joke, Paolina sent off a note to the young sailor. The correspondence quickly grew warmer. Ake visited Sicily, and the marriage soon followed their first meeting.
Initially, I was skeptical, because of the large number of hoaxes involving messages-in-bottles (See here and here). But it turns out that the story of Ake and Paolina is true.

The tale was widely reported in the news back in the late 1950s. A 1959 article in The American Weekly titled "Love in a Bottle" told the story in more detail and actually included a few pictures of the happy couple, in one of which (shown above) they were posing at the spot where she found the bottle. Here's the text of the American Weekly article:
Ake, a Swedish sailor, relieved his tedium at sea one day in 1955 by writing a letter. "To Someone'Beautiful and Far Away," he poetically inscribed it. After giving his home address and a brief description of himself, he added, "Write to me, whoever you are," and signed his name. With that, he tucked the paper into an empty bottle of aqua vitae, replaced its cork and tossed it overboard. Two years went by. Then, on his return from another voyage, he found a letter, postmarked Syracuse, Sicily. The message was in Italian, which one of his shipmates obligingly translated. It was from a 17-year-old girl, who wrote: "Last Tuesday, I found a bottle on the shore. Inside was a piece of paper, bearing writing in a strange language. I took it to our priest, who is a great scholar. He said the language was Swedish and, with the help of a dictionary, he read me your charming letter. I am not beautiful, but it seems so miraculous that this little bottle should have traveled so far and long to reach me that I must send you an answer ..." Other letters, consigned to ordinary post, followed the first two. Photographs were exchanged and, finally, vows. Ake set sail for Syracuse and now, together, he and his pretty, if not beautiful, correspondent, who has just turned 18, are embarked on the sea of matrimony.
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Sat Aug 18, 2007
Comments (10)
Page 2 of 7 pages  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›