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Marc Silver of National Geographic interviewed me about the history and customs of April Fool's Day. The interview is now up on the Nat Geo blog.

And in other news, programmer Mark Greenfield turned the list of the Top 100 April Fool's Day hoaxes into an iPhone app (for those people who want to have the list in an easy-to-read format on their phone). The app is now available at the iPhone store. I don't have an iPhone, so I haven't been able to test the app. I think it costs $1, of which I get about ten cents. Now, if only I could get everyone who reads the list on my site on April 1st to pay me a dollar, I'd be a rich man.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Tue Mar 31, 2009
Comments (1)
Topps has announced it plans to release a set of cards featuring the "world's biggest hoaxes, hoodwinks, & bamboozles." The entire set, according to visualeditors.com, will consist of:
  • Charles Ponzi
  • Bernie Madoff
  • The Runaway Bride
  • Idaho
  • The Turk
  • Enron
  • Anna Anderson
  • Ferdinand Waldo Demara
  • San Serriffe
  • D.B. Cooper
  • Spaghetti Trees
  • Victor Lustig
  • The War of the Worlds
  • George Parker
  • The Bathtub Hoax
  • The Cottingley Fairies
  • James Reavis
  • The Piltdown Man
  • The Cardiff Giant
  • Cold Fusion
Looks good, though I'm not sure why they include Idaho. Probably because of the rumor that Idaho got its name from a hoax. Or maybe they're referring to the theory that Idaho does not exist.

And D.B. Cooper? Is hijacking a plane and parachuting out really a hoax? And I think Cold Fusion was bad science, but it wasn't a deliberate hoax.

Anyway, Topps will also have a set featuring "creatures of legend, myth & terror."

What I'm not sure of is how one goes about buying these sets. I suspect you can't buy them as a stand-alone pack, but rather you'll have to buy the $3 packs of trading cards and hope a) you get a hoax card, and b) that you can eventually build up the entire set. I'll probably be one of the few people throwing out the baseball cards to get the hoax cards.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Mon Mar 30, 2009
Comments (12)
I've had no time to post anything recently, and that'll likely continue until the end of this month. The problem is that a British version of my second book, Hippo Eats Dwarf, will be coming out this year, but it'll be a significantly revised version. I have to get the manuscript to the publisher by February 1, and I still have a lot of work left to do on it. The next two weeks are going to be busy.

When I have to choose between blogging and doing something that actually makes some money, the money, in the short term, usually wins. In the long term, of course, my non-commercial instincts always kick in sooner or later, and I return to my poverty-making pursuits.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Tue Jan 13, 2009
Comments (14)
In the past few days I've had a number of people report that there seems to be a virus on the site. I've also had it happen to me twice that I'll try to load a page of the site and instead be transferred to a spam site.

Could you all let me know if you're having similar problems. The more info I have, the easier it will be to track down the source of the problem.

I suspect the virus is being loaded onto the site via the ads, and I've contacted the ad hosting company. But there's a remote possibility a virus is actually on my server.

Anyway, I'm working on the problem.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Mon Jan 05, 2009
Comments (12)
There's quite a bit of news to report about the activities of MOHers throughout the world.

First, and most amazingly -- belated congratulations to Smerk and Accipiter who got engaged while I was in Germany. The two met in the MOH forum, making this the very first MOH marriage! That's quite a milestone. I can't quite get over the idea that this site, which I created as a way to procrastinate while I was supposed to be working on my dissertation, has played a role in allowing two people to meet, fall in love, and get married. That's incredible. More details about the engagement are posted in the forum.

Second, Scottish MOHers WaveOfMutilation, Boo, and Madmouse recently visited Aussies Nettie and Smerk in Perth. Nettie sent this great picture of the whole gang.



Tah and Oppiejoe met up in Hell, Michigan.



And finally, Nettie (subsequent to the Perth get-together) traveled to North America where she had the chance to meet up with Tah and Transfrmr in Seattle.

Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Sat Nov 08, 2008
Comments (12)
I'm back from my European vacation. Thanks to Cranky Media Guy for minding the madhouse while I was gone.

I spent nine days in Germany and four in England. The purpose of the vacation was to visit relatives, but since I was over there I, of course, had to take the opportunity to drag family members around to visit various hoaxy stuff.

For instance, I found the approximate spot on top of the Reichstag in Berlin from which Yevgeny Khaldei, in 1945, took his famous shot of soldiers raising a Soviet flag. Khaldei's shot (below on the left) was actually posed, and Soviet censors later erased the multiple wristwatches on the soldiers' arms (evidence they had been looting). Khaldei also added smoke into the background. On the right is what the same scene looks like today. (Well, as close as I could approximate it. It's not possible to stand in exactly the same place where Khaldei stood because there's a restaurant there now.)

I next visited the town hall of Köpenick (a suburb of Berlin), in front of which stands a statue of Wilhelm Voigt, the so-called Captain of Köpenick. In 1906 Voigt, who was an out-of-work shoemaker, dressed up in a second-hand German officer's uniform, approached a group of soldiers marching down the street, and assumed control of them. He then led them to Köpenick, where he arrested the mayor, took 4000 marks from the treasury, and disappeared with the money. The incident became famous as a symbol of the blind obedience of German soldiers to authority -- even fake authority. Inside the town hall is also a museum dedicated to Voigt (a Museum of a Hoax, as opposed to a Museum of Hoaxes). On display is a German officer's uniform identical to the one Voigt wore.

Finally, in London I tried to locate 54 Berners Street, site of a famous prank in 1810. Author Theodore Hook had bet a friend that he could make any house the most talked-about address in London in only a week. His friend chose 54 Berners Street as the address. Hook won the bet by sending letters to tradesmen and dignitaries throughout the city, asking them to come to that address... on the same day. This resulted in a massive crowd gathering outside the house. Even the Mayor of London supposedly showed up there, having received one of Hook's letters.

I found Berners Street, but 54 Berners Street no longer exists. On the site now stands the swanky Sanderson Hotel. There's not even a marker to note where the hoax occurred. I was quite disappointed. People nowadays just don't value the history of hoaxes.

Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 04, 2008
Comments (7)
I've barely been able to post anything in the past week. Why? I'm blaming it on my decision to remodel the hallway bathroom in my house... and do all the work myself (because I can't afford to hire a contractor). New drywall, plumbing, electrical wiring, tile floor. I did it all. Problem was, I really wanted to get the bulk of it done before I go on vacation to Germany, which I do today. My flight leaves in about four hours. So that meant I've been scrambling to get it done for the past few days. Here's a picture of the new tile floor I just installed (the first tile floor I've ever installed), which I'm quite proud of. You can see that the sink is not yet installed. That'll have to wait.



Unfortunately I'd never be able to get a job as a contractor because, while I can do all the handyman stuff, I'm painfully slow at it.

So anyway, I'll be gone for two weeks, but I'm leaving everyone in the capable hands of hoax expert Bob Pagani, aka Cranky Media Guy. All the regulars here know him already, of course.

Hopefully I'll be able to post a few times while I'm in Germany visiting relatives. I'll be a week in Berlin, followed by a week in Bremen.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Fri Oct 17, 2008
Comments (12)
I've received a few complaints about one of the ads running on the site, for Dickipedia.org. People are worried it might be a porn ad. It's actually not. According to Federated Media it's "a satirical wikipedia stye guide to celebrities who behave badly."

Most of the ads on the site run through Google, and I have very little control over them. But a few run through Federated Media, and I have slightly more control over these. FM warned me this ad was scheduled to run, and I could have opted out of it, but (except for the name) I didn't think it was very offensive. Even the name -- aren't people allowed to say "dick" on TV? It doesn't seem like it's considered to be a taboo word.

But if enough people have a problem with it, I can certainly have it removed.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Thu Jul 17, 2008
Comments (16)
So here's the big announcement I mentioned in the last post. (No point in keeping the secret until Wednesday because it's already been leaked!)

I'm starting up a new weblog: Weird Universe. Joining me in this questionable endeavor are fellow weird-enthusiasts Chuck Shepherd (well-known for his "News of the Weird" syndicated column) and noted science-fiction author Paul Di Filippo (of the Steampunk Trilogy fame).

For a long time I've wanted a place to blog about weird, but not necessarily hoaxy, stuff, but I didn't want to start a new blog by myself. So Weird Universe seems like the perfect solution.

Of course, this doesn't mean the end of the Museum of Hoaxes. Far from it. I'm hoping it'll bring more readers to MOH. But if you send me a link and it seems more weird than hoaxy, I'll probably post it over at Weird Universe, rather than here.

Anyway, come on over to Weird Universe and check it out. It should be (fingers crossed) all functioning properly now.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Tue Jul 08, 2008
Comments (12)
Years ago I created a Hoax Photo Gallery for the site. But I recently decided that the Gallery was showing its age and needed an update. So I came up with the idea to replace it with a Hoax Photo Database.

I've been working on the Database for the past two months. It's one of those projects that, if I had realized how much work it was going to be, I would have hesitated to start. But I'm too far along to stop now, so I'm going to continue at it until it's done. (Which will be never, since it's designed to be a constantly growing database.)

My idea was to create a database in which I could list every significant (or interesting) example of photo fakery throughout history. Having them in a database would allow them to be categorized and viewed in any number of different ways. For instance, they can be viewed in chronological order, from the beginning of photography to the present. Or, if you're interested in fake war photography select the War category. All kinds of themes are possible, such as Photojournalism, or Doctored Magazine Covers, etc., etc.

I've only got about 90 images in the database so far, and there are hundreds more I plan to put in it. But adding the images will be a months-long effort, so I figured I might as well make the database public now so people can check it out, give feedback, etc.

There's also another project that's been keeping me busy for the past month, which is why I haven't been able to post that often. But I can only reveal what the other project is on Wednesday.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Tue Jul 08, 2008
Comments (6)
I turn forty today. Getting old! Shown are two of my birthday presents: a Feejee mermaid (from my wife) and a replica of the Piltdown Man skull (from my parents). They look kind of creepy together, but I think they're cool. With all these things I'm acquiring, I'll be able to open a real Museum of Hoaxes soon!
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Fri Jun 13, 2008
Comments (26)
I returned last night from Virginia, where I spent Memorial Day Weekend with my parents. Their dog, Falcon, never ceases to amaze me. He's huge. Every picture of him looks surreal, as if it's been photoshopped to increase his size, but he really is that big. At 200 lbs, he's heavier than I am. You don't sit with him on the couch, so much as you try to squeeze in beside him.

Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Wed May 28, 2008
Comments (10)
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