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
Places
Back in December I posted a list of some of the places where Atlantis has been found: off the coasts of Spain, Cyprus, and Tampa, Florida. Add Cuba to this list. Sonar images taken off the coast of Cuba show "massive stones in oddly symmetrical square and pyramid shapes in the deep-sea darkness." And as we all know, anything mysterious on the ocean floor must be Atlantis.
Categories: Places
Posted by Alex on Wed Mar 09, 2005
Comments (13)
Before you move out of a home in Switzerland do you have to have it examined by a hygiene inspector who makes sure everything has been dusted, vacuumed, scrubbed, and polished? According to this BBC article, that's true, though it sounds a bit bizarre. Here in America people can, and do, leave their houses in any condition they want. So maybe we should have hygiene inspectors. But making sure that people dust inside the fuse box before they move out sounds a little extreme. (thanks to Susanne for the link)
Categories: Places
Posted by Alex on Mon Mar 07, 2005
Comments (14)
In past entries I've written about gnomes that have mysteriously disappeared from gardens and peepshows. Now I think I know where the gnomes have gone. They've travelled to the secret gnome garden that lurks beneath the waters of Wastwater in the Lake District. Authorities report that a gnome garden (which even had a tiny picket fence) was removed from the bottom of the lake a few years ago after some divers died while spending too long searching for it. Now the gnome garden has reappeared, but even deeper beneath the lake, beyond the reach of police divers. Obviously the police are worried that once again divers will be unable to resist the siren call of the gnome garden and perish in the search for it. I think this must be the underwater version of Midgetville. (via The Anomalist)
Update: I managed to find a picture of the underwater gnome garden in this recent article from Cumbria Online.
image
Categories: Gnomes, Places, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 15, 2005
Comments (18)
image Has the city of Paris really copyrighted the Eiffel Tower as it looks lit up at night, meaning that anyone (including a tourist) who takes a picture of the Eiffel Tower at night has to get permission and pay a fee before publishing that picture? As bizarre as it sounds, apparently this is true. Even if you wanted to post your holiday photos of the 'Eiffel Tower by night' on the web, you would technically have to get permission first. The Eiffel Tower itself was built in 1889, and therefore its likeness entered the public domain long ago, but the Parisian authorities sneaked around this fact by copyrighting the lights on the Tower. They did this in 2003. That's why the copyright issue only applies to the Eiffel Tower at night. So technically it's not the tower itself that is copyrighted. It's the lights on the tower. But you can hardly photograph the tower without getting the lights. This is the kind of thing that sounds so stupid you suspect it has to be false, but David-Michel Davies who's written about this over at FastCompany appears to have done his homework, so I'm inclined to believe him. (via J-Walk)
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Places
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 03, 2005
Comments (14)
Here's a strange article about a town in Africa full of people who love to perpetrate hoaxes. Sounds like a charming, quirky place, until you learn that almost all the hoaxes involve accusing people of being spawns of Satan. Such as the time last week when a large crowd turned out to hunt down a 15-year-old girl they thought had turned into a satanic pig. The author of the article argues that all these hoaxes actually serve a serious purpose: "to bring people together to appreciate the seriousness of a particular problem". But I'm really not following his logic.
Categories: Places
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 02, 2005
Comments (10)
image A curious bug in Microsoft's MapPoint site has been getting a lot of attention. If you ask for driving directions from Haugesund, Norway to Trondheim, Norway it will send you on a very strange route. Instead of going the direct route between the two cities, it will tell you to first cross the North Sea, drive down through England, cross the Channel, go east across Europe, and up through Sweden and Norway, until you finally arrive at your destination. Playing around with this a bit, I discovered that this weirdness doesn't apply only for directions from Haugesund to Trondheim. If you want to go almost anywhere from Haugesund (such as to Oslo or Copenhagen), MapPoint will send you via the North Sea route. However, it has no similar difficulty getting you TO Haugesund. Ask for directions from Trondheim to Haugesund and it'll send you right there. Also, if you ask for directions from Kopervik (which is right down the road from Haugesund) to Trondheim, it will send you on the correct (non-North Sea) route. Try this all out for yourself. Maybe there's some secret meaning here. Maybe Haugesund is one of those places that you can get to, but you're never supposed to leave (only by sea, and once you're there you'll discover that no ships are ever scheduled for departure). I mean, has anyone actually been to Haugesund and returned to tell about it? No one that I know of.
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Places
Posted by Alex on Thu Jan 27, 2005
Comments (12)
image For Christmas I received a great book, Weird U.S.: Your Travel Guide to America's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets by Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman. Immediately I flipped through it to find anything about San Diego, and soon came across the legend of Midgetville.

Midgetville refers to the legend of a town consisting of scaled-down houses built for little people. Midgetville is said to exist in various places throughout America. As Moran and Sceurman note, the most credible rumor locates such a town in Jefferson Township, New Jersey, on the former estate of circus mogul Alfred T. Ringling. There really is a collection of small-sized houses there that could conceivably have once been home to a colony of midgets. However, another very persistent legend locates a Midgetville in San Diego.

Moran and Sceurman don't go into much detail about the San Diego Midgetville, but I realized that I had heard this legend before (my wife had also heard it). This is how it goes: back in the 1930s a group of little people who had made a lot of money in Hollywood appearing in movies such as The Wizard of Oz supposedly came down to San Diego and built a collection of miniature houses on Mt. Soledad where they could live in comfort together. But of course, nobody seems to know exactly where on Mt. Soledad this group of small houses was or is, though everybody has heard of a "friend of a friend" who once accidentally found the houses (though this FOAF can never remember how to get back there).

Determined to find the houses, I did a google search and came across an article from 2003 written by Kenneth Smith for the Daily Aztec detailing his own efforts to track down San Diego's fabled 'Munchkin Houses'. After many false starts, he finally discovered that they were most probably "a group of four cottages on Hillside Drive in La Jolla... built by famed architect Cliff May." Although no midgets or little people were ever known to live in these houses, Smith says that, "The houses do indeed have smallish features, accentuated by an optical illusion. The steep road that passes them makes them seem even smaller than they actually are." Unfortunately only one of the four cottages remains standing, but Smith provides directions to find it: "take Hillside Drive from Torrey Pines Road. The house will be on your left-hand side. Look for the crazy midget handwriting." He also mentions that if you peek through the window (the house is unoccupied) you'll see "cobblestone-like tiled floors and a little round fireplace."

Of course, I had to see this for myself, even if no colony of Wizard-of-Oz midgets had ever lived there. So on New Year's Day I convinced my wife to accompany me on a search for the Munchkin House. The results were mixed. It was no problem finding Hillside Drive, but as it turns out Hillside Drive is fairly long. We were driving up and down it (as a line of cars formed behind us) wondering 'exactly which house on the left did he mean.' None of the houses leaps out at you and screams 'Munchkin House.' But finally we settled on one house that we figured must be it: Seventy-Four Seventy-Seven Hillside Drive. It had small windows and a small door. Plus, the address written beside the door looked a bit like 'crazy midget handwriting' (though I think Smith was joking about this). Ignoring the 'No Trespassing' sign (even though part of the legend of Midgetville is that the midgets who live there fiercely defend their land from the Bigs), I peeked through the window and saw the cobblestone-like tiled floors and a little round fireplace. So I think I found the Munchkin House, though I'm not 100% sure. It's certainly not anything that would catch your attention if you weren't specifically looking for it since it's really not that small, which made the trip a bit disappointing. But the weird thing is, I've already forgotten how to get back there.
Categories: Places
Posted by Alex on Sun Jan 02, 2005
Comments (276)
image Alek Komarnitsky claimed that his christmas lights were web-controlled. Visitors to his site could turn them on and off, and view their work via a webcam. So people with visions of inducing epileptic seizures in his neighbors were busy clicking away. Alek even took a helicopter ride with a local TV station and showed them the lights on his house madly flashing as thousands of visitors to his site supposedly turned the lights on and off. But an article in today's issue of the Wall Street Journal reveals that the web-controlled christmas lights were just a hoax. The mad flashing seen from the helicopter was caused by his wife operating a remote control in the house, and the webcam images were generated by a computer program, though as Gene points out in the hoax forum, the guy's story about how he rigged up the webcam to simulate activity is so convoluted that one suspects the revelation of a hoax is itself a hoax. I guess that in this case we'll just have to trust the WSJ. This all reminds me of that web-controlled toilet that was popular a few years ago (you could remotely flush it). I can't remember whether or not that too was a hoax and sadly I can't find any links about it either.
Categories: Places, Technology, Websites
Posted by Alex on Tue Dec 28, 2004
Comments (16)
Last week 100 million paper birds were airdropped in southern Thailand. The airdrop was supposed to be the Thai government's symbolic peace gesture towards the Muslim separatists who live there. Billionaire Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra personally signed one of the paper birds, promising that whoever found this autographed bird would win a university scholarship (sounds like he has ambitions to be a modern-day Willy Wonka). A few days later a young girl came forward saying that she had found the bird. Provincial authorities checked it out and said that it looked genuine. But alas, it now appears the bird was a hoax. Shinawatra has indicated that he might give her a free scholarship anyway. But nobody knows how many more hoax paper birds are floating around out there.
Categories: Con Artists, Places
Posted by Alex on Wed Dec 15, 2004
Comments (9)
image According to the San Francisco Chronicle there's serious consideration of renaming the Bay Bridge after Emperor Norton I, the self-proclaimed Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico who lived in San Francisco during the 19th Century. The Board of Supervisors approved the idea yesterday. Now it just has to be approved by the Mayor, the Oakland City Council, and the California Legislature. Personally, I think it's a great idea. But will this inspire Los Angeles to follow suit and name something after HRM Caesar St. Augustine de Buonaparte, the present-day Emperor of the United States?
Categories: Places
Posted by Alex on Wed Dec 15, 2004
Comments (11)
A lot of people lately seem to be finding the lost city of Atlantis. Back in June a researcher said he located it off the southern coast of Spain by studying satellite images. Then last month US researchers said they found the city off the coast of Cyprus by using sonar technology. But my favorite is the discovery of Atlantis announced yesterday by the Hawaiian Phonics tutor Dennis Brooks. He's studied the issue deeply and has concluded that Atlantis is, in fact, Tampa, Florida. He points out that the dimensions of Atlantis as described by Plato pretty much match up with the dimensions of Tampa and Harbor Island (in Tampa Bay). So there you go. Mystery solved.
Categories: Exploration/Travel, History, Places
Posted by Alex on Fri Dec 10, 2004
Comments (9)
EU bureaucrats are a perpetual target for humor. Here's the latest one. Supposedly they decided to remove the word 'pertannually' from the EU constitution, having decided that it was incomprehensible and meaningless. And what did they replace it with? The much clearer term 'insubdurience'. One source for this story is John Humphrys, a political journalist who's just written a book Lost for Words, about "the demise of the language." The tale also pops up in this Guardian article. The story could very well be true, but it also sounds suspiciously like one of those Euromyths that have become so popular. For instance, there's the Euromyth about the supposed new EU law that forbids bananas from being "too excessively curved." Or the one about how the EU has classified kilts as 'womenswear'. To fact check the 'pertannually insubdurient' story I tried to check the EU constitution itself. It's available online, but having looked at it, I'm now not sure how to find "clause 82, paragraph 17, subsection (b)".
Categories: Literature/Language, Places, Politics
Posted by Alex on Wed Dec 01, 2004
Comments (10)
Page 10 of 14 pages ‹ First  < 8 9 10 11 12 >  Last ›