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Every few years I decide the site needs a makeover. And recently I felt that feeling growing within me, so that's what I've been doing for the past few days.

The primary change has been to provide only summaries of the blog posts on the front page, rather than the posts in their entirety. This makes it easier to see what's been posted recently. I decided this was the way to go after realizing that a lot of visitors to the site would look only at the top post and miss all the posts below it.

I also centered the entire site in the browser window, rather than having it hug the left-hand side.

Hopefully none of these changes will prove disruptive in any way!
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Wed Apr 09, 2014
Comments (6)
The Museum of Hoaxes got a nice little write-up in this month's issue of Real Simple magazine. I think they mentioned the "paranormal stuff" on the site (which, honestly, there isn't a huge amount of) because it's the October issue, and they were trying to tie it in with Halloween.

Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 18, 2013
Comments (1)
Hello, this is KBS 2TV (Sunday 08:10) quizshow program in South Korea named ' 퀴즈쇼 사총사'.
We have made a couple of questions about the world's hoaxes and before we use this questions on the real show, we'd like to check whether this information is correct or not. We hope this page 'museum of hoaxes' can help us.

We've made two questions below.

<1> Every November, there is a unique contest named 'Biggest Liar in the World Competition' in England. This competition picks a man who lies best in limited 5 minutes. Except, they keep people who have 'this job' from participating this competition. What is this job?
(1) Lawyer (2) Doctor

<2> In 1962, It has been issue for a while that a Swede engineer in broadcasting company said every people in ordinary home could turn their monochrome television into color television by this way. What's the way that the Swede said?
(1) Paint their TV (2) Cover their TV with a stocking

We want to verify these questions are correct and have any errors.
We are wondering if the 'Museum of hoaxes' could answer our questions.

I checked with a Korean-speaking friend who tells me 퀴즈쇼 사총사' is a well-known quiz show in S. Korea. So I'm flattered they contacted the Museum.

I answered their questions. Would you be able to?
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Fri Aug 09, 2013
Comments (3)
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 much that he invited us to come back for the second part of the celebration on the 23rd of this month, at the Participant, Inc. Gallery on E. Houston St. in NYC. Again we're going to talk about our experiences with Andy and all the things we've done to fool the media. It's going to be moderated by Cory Arcangel, a very interesting artist I'm looking forward to meeting.

The show will start at 8:30 PM on the 23rd and admission is free. I'm hoping that some of your readers from the NYC area will stop by. I think it's going to be a very fun show.

I live in San Diego, so I can't attend. But if you live in NYC, check it out!
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Sun Feb 17, 2013
Comments (4)
I assume this email was sent to me because buried in the Museum's blog there's a post about eye squirting. So I'm passing it along to you all, in case anyone is interested:

Hi! I'm the Casting Producer for a new television show with Talpa Media, the creators of "The Voice." We're bringing our Dutch hit, "Challenge Me" to the states and we’re looking for people who have the ability to squirt milk from their eye.

If chosen to be on the show, you'll have the opportunity win thousands of dollars AND gain national exposure for using the talents you already have!

Please contact me ASAP for more details.

If you want to squirt milk from your eye on TV, contact me and I'll give you the casting producer's email address.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Fri Feb 08, 2013
Comments (0)
My New Years' resolution was to start posting regularly again here, since it makes me feel sad and guilty when I neglect the hoax museum. It's just too easy, when other things demand my attention, to fail to look after the site, given that there's no boss (except my conscience) to tell me to get back to work.

Now I didn't post any updates for the first 24 days of the year, so it may seem like I already broke my resolution. But not quite. I took the time to give the Hoax Archive a big makeover, which was sorely needed, though it turned out to be a lot more work than I had anticipated. Since the Hoax Archive was the original core of the site... how this all got started and out of which emerged the book version of the Museum of Hoaxes... I have a strong, sentimental attraction to it and hated seeing it grow increasingly disorganized. Also, since I recently reacquired the full rights to the Museum of Hoaxes book, I can now legally have everything in the book up on the site.

My goal was to make the Archive look more like galleries that could easily be browsed, and less like a blog. So people can now click through the time periods, from the middle ages to the present, and get a quick visual sense of the character of each period. It's also now much easier to quickly find a hoax, if you know roughly when it occurred. Check it out and let me know what you think.

And now (hopefully) back to regular blogging! (Yeah, I say this every time I resume blogging after a long break, and each time I mean it. With any luck, this'll be the time I stick to my commitment.)
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 25, 2013
Comments (5)
Back in June 2011, Richard Heene, of Balloon Boy fame, tried to sell the balloon he had used in his hoax. He hoped to get $1 million for it, but ultimately had to settle for $2500.

But the guy who bought it from Heene resold part of the balloon to the Topps trading card company, which has cut up the balloon into small pieces and glued them on to Balloon Boy trading cards. (link: Yahoo! Sports) It's part of a "used memorabilia" line of cards, but would also make a nice addition to their line of Great Hoaxes Trading Cards, released in 2009.

Since I'm a sucker for any (affordable) hoax-related memorabilia, I'll probably end up buying one of these cards.

Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Thu Jul 26, 2012
Comments (0)
Apparently it's true that the internet never forgets. Seven years ago I posted about a company claiming to rent midgets for parties. In that post I didn't say I was renting midgets. I simply said there was a business claiming to rent them. In fact, I thought the idea sounded so odd that I had some doubts about whether the business was real. (And I probably shouldn't use the term 'midget.' I think 'little person' is now the preferred term.)

Anyway, soon after making that post, I started getting email queries from people interested in renting little people. In 2008 I first noted I was getting these strange emails, and I'm still getting them today, at the rate of about one every two months. Here's the latest I received, from a dental office in Atlanta:

Alex,
 
Would you have a leprechaun available for Friday morning, March 16 for about 10 minutes in Atlanta? I’d like a little person dressed as a leprechaun to do a little walk through to kick off our meeting on Friday – it starts at 8:30am.

I don't know what there is in that seven-year-old post that makes people think I'm running a little-person rental service. Check back in another seven years to find out if I'm still getting the emails.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Mon Mar 12, 2012
Comments (4)
The Irish Times describes a real-life Museum of Hoaxes -- the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris:

As chief curator Claude d'Anthenaise explains, it's an experimental museum that likes to baffle the visitor. "I wanted to create a museum where the visitor would feel constantly disconcerted and lose his bearings – just like someone walking in nature," he says. "In a wild setting, you're confronted with all sorts of things you don't understand. You're not on your own territory."

So "totally insignificant, even repulsive" objects have been deliberately placed alongside art of the highest quality. Visitors often have to search out explanations for displays. There are hoaxes, traps and false leads. For example, a fake appeau – a device used to imitate the sounds of animals – is presented in what looks like a serious, scientific collection.

"In the hunting trophy collection, there's an animal that is actually an artistic creation. It's like a wild boar's head, which is completely imagined but plausible, all white, and it follows the visitors with its eyes. We can even make it talk as they pass. Sometimes the security guard will turn it on.

"Suddenly the visitor is confronted by this animal which is not fully dead. It invites him to challenge the entirety of the collection. He says to himself, 'if this is an invention, maybe other things are too'. So he observes them differently.

It sounds a lot like the Museum of Jurassic Technology in LA.
Categories: Education, Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Wed Jan 18, 2012
Comments (0)
There are some odd things about the Old Fulton NY Post Cards site. First of all, despite the name, it has nothing to do with old postcards. Second, it's full of strange animations. A goldfish floats around the screen, and there's a head with spider legs that crawls about. There are sounds (such as a cannon and fireworks) that play at random moments, and you can't turn them off.

But these odd things are just the wrapping around the true content of the site, which is 17 million pages of scanned, fully searchable pages of old New York state newspapers. All completely free. There aren't even any ads. If you like doing historical research, it's a goldmine. The site has been around for a while, but I just discovered it last month, and it's now become one of my favorite sites.

fulton

The really strange thing about the site is that it's been put together by one guy, Tom Tryniski, who runs the site off of servers in his home. To put this in perspective, Tryniski has managed to put together an online newspaper archive that's larger than the Library of Congress's newspaper archive. Much larger. And far more comprehensive.

Anyway, I've been finding all kinds of old hoax-related material on it, which is why I'm so excited about it. For instance, I found the original text (warning: pdf) of the man-eating tree of Madagascar hoax, published in the NY World on April 28, 1874, which I posted about last month.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. I've been finding the original texts of lots of old newspaper hoaxes -- stuff that I don't think anyone has seen for over 100 years. I'll be posting some of my finds in the next few weeks.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Mon Dec 19, 2011
Comments (5)
Here are some pictures, courtesy of Nettie and Smerk, of the Cardiff Giant enjoying the sights in Perth. (Nettie sent me the pictures about three weeks ago, but Thanksgiving and the moon hoax distracted me. At least, that's the excuse for my slowness that I'm going with.)



So where should the Cardiff Giant go next? Any volunteers to host him? I'm hoping it might be possible to send him somewhere in the general neighborhood of Australia. Japan, maybe? I'll wait a week for responses, and in the meantime I'll also see if I can find any volunteers through non-MoH channels.
Categories: Art, Exploration/Travel, Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Fri Dec 16, 2011
Comments (6)
It's official. American Express's Travel and Leisure Magazine has chosen the Museum of Hoaxes as one of America's Kitschiest Roadside Attractions. We're honored to be recognized in this way!

kitschy attraction


Categories: Exploration/Travel, Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 01, 2011
Comments (9)
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