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image Last week British journalists were all abuzz about the 'surf rage' phenomenon: vigilante Cornish surfers waging a kind of guerrilla war against out-of-town surfers. One group calling itself Locals Only! had a website in which it proclaimed it would use harassment and force to defend its surfing spots. But now a bunch of marketing and journalism students have declared that they invented the whole 'surf rage' concept to hoax the media (which, of course, willingly took the bait). The media is now backpedaling, admitting that the Locals Only! group may have been a hoax, but insisting that the surf rage phenomenon itself is real.
Categories: Places, Sports
Posted by Alex on Wed Nov 24, 2004
Comments (2)
This is probably not a hoax. Just a really bad idea. Croatia is hoping to strike it rich by luring in tourists curious to see what it would be like to spend a couple of days in a hard-labor camp. So they're considering reopening a communist-era prison on a barren island in the Adriatic Sea, and offering it as a tourist destination. They envision "tourists being issued convict uniforms, pounding large stones with a sledgehammer and hauling the pieces on their backs to quarries around the prison." Sounds like fun.
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Places
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 18, 2004
Comments (8)
Here's an amusing list of weird city and town names. Of course, I immediately wondered if all these names were real, so I checked a random sample in Mapquest. Nothing came up for Hornytown, North Carolina (a google search didn't turn up any offical website for it either, though there is a widespread report, probably false, that Hornytown has banned massage parlors). Nor was there a Love Ladies, New Jersey in Mapquest. That doesn't mean Hornytown and Love Ladies don't exist. It's just that I can't find them. However, according to Mapquest it would be possible to take a road trip from Intercourse, Pennsylvania to Hooker, Arkansas, with a quick stop in Hot Coffee, Mississippi, and finishing up in Climax, North Carolina.
Update: Apparently there is a 'Love Ladies' in New Jersey, but it's spelled all as one word: Loveladies, NJ. However, I've still found no evidence that there's a Hornytown in North Carolina, although there is a Hornyhead Mountain.
Update 2: By randomly typing words into Mapquest it turns out to be quite easy to come up with weird place names. In just a few minutes I came up with these: Shite Creek, Idaho; Trash Branch, Alabama; Weird Lake, Minnesota; and Dork Canal, Oregon.
Categories: Places
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 04, 2004
Comments (88)
image From the Flickr Photo Sharing site: "On a road in the middle of nowhere there are signs posted every few hundred yards warning that you are being recorded on CCTV. This is apparently an effort to stop illegal fly tippers from dumping their rubbish along the road. I had a look around for some cameras, but couldn't see any. I think it's a hoax." Although maybe there really are cameras hidden in the trees. There are speakers hidden in the trees at UC San Diego. You'll be walking along through the forest and suddenly, as if out of nowhere, music will start playing.
Categories: Places
Posted by Alex on Mon Nov 01, 2004
Comments (8)
The Tacoma Washington News Tribune reports on a Vanishing Hitchhiker legend local to Mount St. Helens. (in case you're not familiar with it, the Vanishing Hitchhiker urban legend goes like this: a guy picks up a hitchhiker who then mysteriously vanishes from inside the moving car. He realizes that the hitchhiker was a ghost.) Following the eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980, many drivers in the area swore they saw a woman dressed in white thumbing a ride by the side of the road. She would get in the car and eventually say "The volcano is going to erupt again between Oct. 12 and 14." Then she would disappear. Sure enough, lava did emerge from the volcano on Oct. 12 of this month. Spooky!
Categories: Paranormal, Places, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Fri Oct 29, 2004
Comments (3)
According to the Guardian, RTL2 TV in Germany is constructing an entire fake town outside of Hamburg which will provide the setting for their version of the Big Brother Reality TV show. It'll be just like a real-life version of The Truman Show. Residents of the artificial town will be filmed 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In addition, fans of the show will be able to visit the town "to see the residents just as if they were visiting a zoo." The German broadcasters say that the only difference between the premise of The Truman Show and their planned show, is that in their show "contestants will be willing participants in this next-generation leap into voyeurism." Then, in the next breath, they say, "We hope couples will get pregnant and family groups will interact with all the usual family frictions." So if a couple gets pregnant, will the child be given any choice about whether it wants to grow up monitored by TV viewers 24 hours a day?
Categories: Entertainment, Places
Posted by Alex on Tue Oct 26, 2004
Comments (10)
image Is there really a building in New York City that has an airplane runway on its roof, with a biplane sitting at the end of the runway? Yup. It's the 77 Water Street Building. Here's a fuzzy satellite image. However, the biplane isn't real. It's just a mock-up. Metafilter has a thread on this unusual landmark. (via Things Magazine)
Categories: Places
Posted by Alex on Fri Oct 22, 2004
Comments (5)
This should be filed under perfect timing: yesterday California State University, Monterey Bay had organized an earthquake drill complete with police, rescue workers, and actors to play victims. Five minutes into the drill a real earthquake hit. Reportedly "it didn't appear that anybody who took part in the drill was noticeably frightened by the real quake." Probably because they figured it was all part of the simulation.
Categories: Places
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 29, 2004
Comments (6)
The Japanese love to soak in Onsen... hot springs that bubble up from the ground, often milky white or green in color, tinted by minerals in the earth. But now many have been dismayed to discover that some of the springs don't owe their color to natural minerals, but instead to far more mundane ingredients. Namely, bath salts. Japan Today notes, "In Kagoshima Prefecture, a hot spring famous for its unusual green color was revealed to be the result of dissolving household "Bath-Clean" bath salts into the water. Further claims of "fake onsens" have been surfacing continuously over the country."

Categories: Places
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 11, 2004
Comments (0)
image The Philadelphia Print Shop has a great online collection of ancient maps that contain mythical geography. Mythical geography describes "geographic features that appear on the map but not on the earth; cities where none ever were, islands where there are but waves, lakes and rivers where there is dry land, and kingdoms of non-existent kings." (I have some more information about this topic in my Medieval Travel Lies Gallery). My favorite ancient maps in the Print Shop's collection are the ones of California as an island. Of course, it remains to be seen whether these were actually geographic myths, or astute predictions of the future. Being in San Diego, I'd love to be able to hang a map of California as an island in my living room, but since their prices range from $500 all the way up to $7000, that's not going to happen anytime soon. (via J-Walk)
Categories: History, Places
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 04, 2004
Comments (4)
A British Real Estate Agency has been fined for placing phony 'sold' signs up outside the houses of its own employees. It's not quite clear to me what they gained by doing this. I assume it made them look like they were doing more business than they actually were. Still, it's odd to think that as you drive around a neighborhood and see all those 'for sale' and 'sold' signs, that the signs might bear no relationship to reality at all.
Categories: Business/Finance, Places
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 04, 2004
Comments (3)
According to reliable information that can be found on the internet, Idaho doesn't exist. Nor does Wyoming, Wisconsin, Vermont, North Dakota, France, and England. Oh, and the Moon doesn't exist either.
Categories: Places
Posted by Alex on Mon May 24, 2004
Comments (7)
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