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
Military
Status: Real
Add this to the list of strange extreme sports. Crewmen on military helicopters have apparently been engaging in an activity known as Supermanning. This involves "hanging from an open cargo door and letting the rushing wind 'fly' [your] body, attached only by a safety belt." This practice came to light when Petty Officer Brian Joplin recently died as a result of it. (He fell 125 feet from the helicopter into the Persian Gulf after the safety belt slipped over his shoulders.) I imagine this would make Joplin a strong candidate for a Darwin award. The Virginian-Pilot (may require registration to view the article) provides a brief reconstruction of what happened:

“The co-pilot in the left seat noticed in his … mirror, a pair of boots dangling below the back of the aircraft,”... The co-pilot asked the other crew members by radio if everything was OK and was told it was, according to the report. But then crew members saw Joplin’s belt start to slip and still could not get him inside the helicopter. They told the pilot to slow down immediately and lower altitude. “The co-pilot aggressively decelerated and descended,” the report said. But it was too late. Almost immediately, one of the crew members said, Joplin had fallen.

Another stunt crewmen do to pass the time is called the "slide for life." This involves swinging out on a safety line and slingshotting back into the aircraft. Senior military officers claim to be astounded to learn that this kind of activity has been going on behind their backs. However, while supermanning might be real, fire diving remains a hoax.
Categories: Military, Sports
Posted by Alex on Mon Dec 26, 2005
Comments (17)
Status: Hoax (Fake News Story)
image A fake news article ruffled a few feathers over in Asia by reporting that China had invaded the Japanese island of Okinawa. In the context of growing tensions between the two countries, this was apparently believable to some people. Though there's no word on how many people fell for it. The hoaxers disguised their fake story as a Yahoo! News page. Usually fake news stories are easily spotted by examining the URL. If it looks like a Yahoo! News page, but it's not on news.yahoo.com (or whatever the Japanese equivalent is), then it's a good bet the story is fake. I haven't been able to find out what the URL of the hoax article was in this case.
Categories: Military, Websites
Posted by Alex on Fri Oct 21, 2005
Comments (21)
Status: Highly Doubtful
I've received a lot of emails about a story in The Observer a few days ago alleging that thirty-six dolphins "trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater" and "carrying 'toxic dart' guns" were swept out of their tanks by Hurricane Katrina and are now at large in the Gulf of Mexico. This story is very doubtful for a number of reasons.

First, it seems to be a wild rumor inspired by the true report that eight bottlenose dolphins were washed out of their marina by Katrina, but were later recovered. Second, The Observer's story relies entirely upon one source, a "respected accident investigator" named Leo Sheridan. But as The Register points out, Mr. Sheridan has been the source for many dubious conspiracy-style claims in the past.

In 2003 he told The Guardian that he didn't believe the official explanation that the English aviator Amy Johnson's plane crashed in 1941 because it ran out of fuel. He believed she had been shot down.

In 1998 he told the Observer the cause of death of 22 dolphins found washed up on the shore in southern France was that "'these were dolphins trained by the US navy, and that something went badly wrong... They were disposed of to conceal the existence of the American's military dolphin programme.' According to Mr Sheridan, the United States navy launched a classified programme, the Cetacean Intelligence Mission, in San Diego in 1989 with the approval of President George Bush. The dolphins, fitted with harnesses around their necks and with small electrodes planted under their skin, were taught first to patrol and protect Trident submarines in harbour and stationary warships at sea."

And in 1991 The Observer used him as the source for a story about crop circles: "Britain's crop circles are caused by squabbling birds marking out their feeding territory, says environmental investigator Leo Sheridan. 'Each morning birds that feed off the crops, such as starlings and sparrows, squabble over their patch of field,' he says. 'The birds sometimes two or three hundred of them whirl round in circles close to the top of the crops, flattening them with the action of their wings as they fight each other for a patch of field.' Mr Sheridan, who is employed by aviation authorities to investigate atmospheric and environmental influences on air disasters, claims he has witnessed the phenomenon in Devon and Cornwall."

In other words, Leo Sheridan is The Observer's resident crackpot-on-call. They must phone him up whenever they want to add a bit of drama or weirdness to their stories.

Further discrediting the story is the US Navy's insistence that it has never trained dolphins for attack missions. The dolphins are only trained to locate suspicious objects. Not to destroy them.
Categories: Animals, Conspiracy Theories, Military
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 28, 2005
Comments (15)
image Big Gary pointed out this AP photo to me. I don't doubt the photo is real, but the caption explains the irony of the scene:

A car bomb explodes, detonated by U.S. troops after it was discovered at the scene of the double car bombing in Baghdad, Iraq Thursday, April 14, 2005. The initial attack killed 18 and wounded three dozen, but no one was injured in this controlled explosion. The sign at left reads 'Keep Your City Clean' in Arabic.(AP Photo/Samir Mizban)
Categories: Military, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Apr 15, 2005
Comments (4)
This image has been floating around the internet for at least two years. It usually is accompanied by the caption: "In 2003 the US Navy initiates its new 'Terrorist Catch and Release Program.'" Obviously the caption is a joke, and I'm guessing that the car has been photoshopped in. But what would the crowd be standing there for? Would it be safe for them to stand there as a plane was taking off?
image
Categories: Military, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Mar 30, 2005
Comments (49)
image Snopes has a listing about a photo that shows a soldier shaking hands with Hillary Clinton while his fingers are crossed. A caption accompanying the photo explains that the soldier was crossing his fingers to signal that he was coerced to shake hands with her. Today Snopes updated this listing to include a link to a Yahoo Personals Page apparently created by the guy in the picture in which he states that he's no fan of Hillary Clinton. Snopes notes that this confirms what the caption says about why he was crossing his fingers. But my question is about the Yahoo Profile. How are we supposed to know that it's real? It could have been created by anyone. There's no name on it, nor any very specific information. And the picture displayed on the page is the very same picture that's spread all over the internet. Didn't the guy have an original, better-quality version of it? If he had included other photos of himself I would totally believe it's him. But the fact that this is the only photo made available seems a little suspicious. Maybe this really is him, but based on what's there, it's impossible to be sure. After all, it's not like people never fake personals. Or am I missing something?
Categories: Military, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Sat Mar 26, 2005
Comments (26)
A new shock site called Forsake Our Troops is doing the rounds. It purports to be the homepage of an organization "dedicated to the notion that our nation's military is grossly overcompensated, at the expense of the American taxpayers." In actuality, it's just an attempt to be outrageous. Apparently it was created by a White Power activist called Michael Crook (according to the True or Better blog). Crook seems to have a history of doing things like this. Last year he created a fake group called Citizens Against the Troops. Seems like a charming fellow. Of course, this character could insist that he sincerely believes everything he's saying. But I would contend that he only sincerely wants to be obnoxious. (via Malkin Watch)
Update: This is the same Michael Crooks who once claimed to find a soldier's digital camera at a football game and told the media that he would return it for a 'finder's fee' of $1000.
Categories: Military
Posted by Alex on Sun Feb 20, 2005
Comments (99)
Sarah Kenney said that her husband died in Iraq when he dove in front of a bullet that would have hit a child. Her story attracted the sympathy of a group called Homefront Heroes, which then told the media about it. But it turns out that Kenney's husband didn't die in Iraq. He's still alive and well here in America. He isn't even a soldier. Kenney had made the entire thing up. This sounds like a case of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, in which people attract attention by inventing illnesses in others (usually claiming that their children are sick, but claiming that a husband has died would seem to fit the description of the syndrome as well). Kenney later made a statement to the press: "I think I need some serious counseling... This is the most serious lie I've ever told, but I've been caught in many lies." Sounds like she's heading in the right direction, but still seems a little creepy.
Categories: Military, Psychology
Posted by Alex on Fri Feb 11, 2005
Comments (8)
The Islamic Hostage Barbie Hoax as Instapundit has dubbed it (i.e. that hoax photo of a captured U.S. soldier) is now all over the blogosphere. It seems quite clear that it was an action figure in the photo, not an American soldier. But it's not clear to me where this photo originally came from. Where is this mysterious Islamic website that the picture was posted on? If we knew that it would be a lot easier to tell if it was meant as a joke, or as a serious (though absurd) threat.

Anyway, as I've been browsing the web I've already come across a lot of photo parodies of the hoax. Here are a few that I've found so far:

From The Templar Pundit, Hostage Barbie:
image

From EtherHouse, Team America:
image

From Power Line, Elmo Captured:
image

And from Ludicrosity, Rumsfeld Decides:
image
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror, Military, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 02, 2005
Comments (14)
In the wake of yesterday's vote in Iraq, an email has been circulating around containing the text of what is, supposedly, a New York Times article from 1967. Here's a sample of the text:

U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote :
Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror
by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times (9/4/1967: p. 2)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3-- United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.
According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.
The size of the popular vote and the inability of the Vietcong to destroy the election machinery were the two salient facts in a preliminary assessment of the nation election based on the incomplete returns reaching here...
A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam.


Substitute Bush for Johnson and Iraq for Vietnam, and this article could easily be mistaken for any one of the articles written about yesterday's vote in Iraq. So is it real? Apparently it is. Here's a link to the original article, available (for a fee) in the NY Times archive. (via Weird is Relative)
Categories: Military, Politics
Posted by Alex on Mon Jan 31, 2005
Comments (18)
image The Oregon Statesman Journal has an article about that photo of a soldier in Iraq tending a small plot of grass (which I posted here back in October). They identify the soldier as Warrant Officer Brook Turner stationed at Camp Cooke north of Baghdad. They even provide his email address in case you want to send him a happy New Year's message. Plus, they mention the Museum of Hoaxes in the article. The weird date on the photo which had everyone confused was apparently just a result of not resetting the camera's date after the batteries had been changed. So that's one mystery cleared up. Officer Turner, who's preparing to come home from Iraq soon to his home in Hawaii, seems pretty laid back about the whole episode, remarking that "Everyone seems to be a little more excited about it than me... I just planted some grass -- nothing big." (Thanks to Dwight Mears for forwarding me the article)
Categories: Military, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Dec 31, 2004
Comments (10)
Here's another photo that's doing the rounds on the internet. It's captioned 'Tank Silencer'. I have no idea what this device is actually used for, but somehow I don't think it's a tank silencer. So this would be a case of 'real picture, false caption.' Click image for larger version. (via Hell in a Handbasket) image
Categories: Military, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 30, 2004
Comments (26)
Page 4 of 7 pages ‹ First  < 2 3 4 5 6 >  Last ›