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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Health/Medicine
Cure The Catch
Posted by The Curator on Mon Feb 28, 2005
I received this email from 'Kurto': i have been a frequent visitor of your site for some time now. Recently this bombardment of advertisements about "The Catch" has been bothering me. The ad's contain figures stating million of Canadians have the Catch, and there's no cure. I'm curious to what exactly they're referring to. The website they encourage people to visit is http://curethecatch.com i have doubts to the validity of this so called disease. See if you can dig up any dirt on this. A little googling reveals that 'The Catch' is a new viral ad campaign dreamed up to promote Virgin Mobile pre-paid phones: Virgin has started…
Magnehance
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 17, 2005
Dakota Therapeutics has issued a press release announcing their exciting new product: the Magnehance. It's "a new magnetic device for erectile enhancement." The mind boggles. I don't quite understand how this thing is supposed to be worn, and (perhaps thankfully) they don't offer any illustrations on their website. But the amount of pseudo-scientific jargon they deploy is quite remarkable: the Magnehance™ is constructed of a super-flexible form of the high-energy, rare earth magnet known as neodymium iron boron, which is used extensively in magnetic therapy. Wow. The only thing that would top that is if it were made of 'patented IonXR nanoceramics technology' (but no, that's a different…
Carrot Fungus: It’ll Either Kill You or Cure Cancer
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 11, 2005
Andy sent me an email pointing out this curious article about an anti-cancer compound found in carrots. It's probably some kind of typo or poor choice of words, but if you read the first and last sentences together it sure sounds like this carrot cure is going to kill you before it has a chance to kill the cancer: Eating 400kg of carrot every day can help ward off cancer, scientists say. The recent study carried out by scientists at the University of Newcastle said a compound called Falcarinol found in carrot reduced the risk of cancer developing in rats by a third.... Falcarinol protects carrots from fungal diseases, such as liquorice rot that…
Categories: Food, Health/Medicine Comments (10)
Morgellons Disease: Is It Real?
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 11, 2005
Sufferers of Morgellons disease complain of invisible parasites biting their skin. And they get skin lesions from which sprout strange fibers. And mysterious black spore-like specks appear on their skin. Cases of this strange disease seem to be spreading, especially in the Bay area. One theory is that it has something to do with Lyme disease. Or it may be a case of mass delusion. The medical community seems to think it's mass delusion. Most people who show up complaining of these symptoms get diagnosed with 'delusional parasitosis', which is a psychological problem in which people imagine that they're infested by…
Categories: Health/Medicine, Psychology Comments (607)
Knuckle Cracking
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 02, 2005
I'm not a knuckle cracker myself. In fact, I hate it when people crack their knuckles. And I've frequently told people that cracking their knuckles would cause arthritis. After all, that's what everyone says. But according to this NY Times article (republished in the Arizona Republic) it's not true. It's an urban legend. Just reading this description of what causes knuckles to crack makes me cringe: The loud pop of a cracked knuckle is caused by synovial fluid, the thick lubricant that surrounds every joint. When the fingers are stretched or bent backward, the bones of the joint pull apart. This creates bubbles of air in the fluid, which subsequently burst. But as for…
Auto-Urine Therapy
Posted by The Curator on Sat Dec 18, 2004
The About.com urban legends forum has a thread going about auto-urine therapy, which translates into 'drinking your own urine'. Is there really a thriving urine-drinking subculture? Well, yes. As the poster points out, all you have to do is google 'drinking your own urine' and you get all kinds of hits. The reason urine-drinking has so many fans is that it's supposed to offer numerous health benefits, including improving the immune system, giving you nice skin, acting great as a gargle if you have gum disease, and having very powerful anti-aging properties. I think I've mentioned before somewhere on my site that I have personal experience with this urine-drinking subculture. NOT that I've ever drunk the stuff myself…
Categories: Food, Health/Medicine Comments (72)
Top 15 Most Bizarre Reasons for Calling in Sick
Posted by The Curator on Wed Oct 20, 2004
According to this press release from Career Builder, over one-third of U.S. workers take fake sickies (sick days when they're not really sick). Personally I think that number is too low. The real number should be closer to 90 or 100 percent, because I don't know anyone who hasn't taken a fake sick day at some point. But then again, maybe all my friends and family members are slackers. The same press release also offers the 15 most bizarre reasons that people have offered for taking a sick day: "I was sprayed by a skunk." "I tripped over my dog and was knocked unconscious." "My bus broke down and was held…
Prozac in the Water?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Aug 17, 2004
A week or so ago reports that trace amounts of Prozac had been found in the UK's drinking water got a lot of coverage in the blogosphere. No wonder. The idea that Prozac poppers were excreting the drug into the sewers and thereby contributing to the mass medication of the entire population was creepy, to say the least. But it turns out the reports aren't quite true. It's more a case of something that theoretically could happen, rather than something that actually is happening. In a follow-up report the Guardian notes that the Environment Agency, to which the prozac-in-the-water report was originally attributed, now says that it never studied the issue, and the Drinking Water Inspectorate…
Categories: Food, Health/Medicine Comments (6)
The Human Magnet
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 16, 2004
Malaysian farmer Tan Kok Thai claims that he's a human magnet. Anything will stick to him including plastic bottles, bananas, biscuits, books, remote controls, knives, tubes of toothpaste, and rocks. The pictures of him showing off of his ability are quite amusing, especially this one of him with a giant boulder stuck to his chest. It looks to me as if he's leaning quite far back, which alone could explain why the objects aren't falling to the ground. Friction could explain the rest of this mysterious phenomenon. But those are the boring explanations. I'm sure Tan Kok Thai is having far more fun by chalking it up to…
Butt Candles
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 28, 2004
Ear Candling is an ancient home remedy in which wax and other impurities are supposedly drawn out of a person's ear canal by sticking a burning hollow candle in their ear. The theory is that the hollow candle creates a vacuum that sucks everything out. Butt Candling, by extension, is the same procedure, only with the candle placed... well, you can guess where it's placed. As the ButtCandle site (which is safe for work) puts it: "In length and diameter, [the butt candle is] similiar to common candles. However, a hollow channel is cut from bottom to top which causes air to be drawn from the base…
Categories: Health/Medicine, Websites Comments (19)
Faking AIDS
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jul 22, 2004
Perhaps the worst possible pick-up line has to be 'I've got AIDS!' Especially if you don't actually have AIDS. Yet apparently many young men in Malawi are boasting that they have the disease, even though they're uninfected. They think having AIDS is a sign of sexual prowess. Kind of sad, really. I was especially interested in this story because my sister has been living in Malawi for the past year, helping design an AIDS education program there. I'm planning to visit her there next year, if I can scrape together the money for the outrageously expensive airfare. This year I chose Loch Ness over Malawi (I'll be searching for Nessie in September).
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (4)
Green Sweat
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jun 30, 2004
Here's a strange medical case from China. It seems a bit odd, but it's in the Shenzhen Daily, so I guess it must be true. Why make something like this up? Doctors treated a man whose sweat had turned green. As the article describes: "On the evening of May 28, he noticed green stains on his shirt. At first he thought the stains had probably come from some dye he had accidentally touched. However, when he was helping a friend move furniture Sunday morning, he was shocked to see green sweat streaming down his arms and soaking his shirt." Thankfully the patient's name is Zhou. If it was Bruce Banner the doctors would have had legitimate cause for…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (23)
Jesus Christ Online Pharmacy
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jun 07, 2004
Karl Marx did say that religion is the opium of the masses. Well, now it's also a direct supplier of Prozac, Wellbutrin, and Zoloft. Yes, you can get all this and more over at JesusChristRx.com. You can even order up a whole bunch of cheap Viagra from the Son of God himself, if that's your thing. I really don't know what to make of the site. It appears to be a genuine online pharmacy. The Presurfer (whose site I found the link at) notes that it's some kind of knock-off of ChicagoRx.biz. If you click on the About Us link, it even describes itself as Chicago…
Categories: Health/Medicine, Religion Comments (2)
Quarantine
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 11, 2004
What would you be willing to do for a brief shot at fame? Would you embarrass yourself on national TV? Of course, who wouldn't nowadays. But would you lock yourself in a lab and allow yourself to be exposed to all manner of infectious diseases? That sounds a bit dodgy, but this was the premise of the new reality TV show, Quarantine, recently advertised in the Daily Mirror. Remarkably, hundreds of people applied to be on it, and the applications are still rolling in. Thankfully the whole thing was a hoax, an experiment "to discover just how far people will go in their pursuit of fame." (Thanks, 'Ed the doc').
The Girl With X-Ray Eyes
Posted by The Curator on Tue Feb 03, 2004
Natasha Demkina, a young girl living in Saransk, Russia, began to receive a lot of media attention around the middle of last month. It started with an article in Pravda, which hailed her as the 'Girl with X-ray vision'. You see, Natasha possesses the unusual ability to peer through human flesh and spot diseases and injuries that are lurking unseen within people's bodies. Or, at least, this is what Pravda claimed. It didn't take long for more newspapers to catch onto the story. The British Sun has been the most relentless about pursuing it. They've actually flown Natasha to London and are now parading her around like some kind of…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (710)
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