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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Places
Welcome to Detroit
Posted by The Curator on Sat Apr 08, 2006
Status: Prank Columnist Tom Greenwood of the Detroit News reports that a sign has been spotted "attached to an authentic Michigan Department of Transportation post on southbound Interstate 75 at the Oakland/Wayne county line." It reads: Welcome to Detroit. We hope you survive. There's no word on how long this has been up, or for how long. Of course, fake road signs have been a popular prank for quite some time. There's the fake road sign project in Lyons, France, in which "105 street signs, realised by 47 worldwide artists, and just similar enough to real traffic signs…
Categories: Places, Pranks Comments (5)
Ballymena Boots Hang From Power Line
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 06, 2006
Status: Prank Power company workers in Ballymena (Northern Ireland) were amazed to discover five pairs of shoes hanging from a power line along the road between Larne and Ballymena. Ballymena Today reports: Electricity engineers could only look skyward in bemusement at the bizarre sight of the shoes and boots hanging from the line, baffled as to who, why and how this was done. The inspiration for the prank may have come from the fantasy film Big Fish. In the film, the most memorable scene occurs when the young Edward Bloom, played by Ewan McGregor, visits the town of Spector, where it…
Categories: Places, Pranks Comments (14)
Leprechaun Loose in Alabama
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 23, 2006
Status: Undetermined Some residents of Mobile, Alabama are claiming that a leprechaun is loose in their neighborhood. It shows up in the branches of a tree at night. Apparently it can't be photographed, but the thumbnail shows an "amateur sketch" of what people say it looks like. The NBC 15 news broadcast that covered this interesting phenomenon reports that: "eyewitnesses say the leprechaun only comes out at night. If you shine a light in its direction, it suddenly disappears." Make sure that you catch the guy who appears towards the end of the report who has "a special leprechaun flute which has been passed…
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales, Places Comments (51)
Fake Irish Pubs
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 17, 2006
Status: Ersatz Irishness Perfectly timed for St. Patrick's Day, Austin Kelley has an interesting article in Slate.com about the faux Irish pub revolution... i.e. how Irish pubs slapped together with off-the-shelf charm and quaintness have been popping up in cities all over the world. The term I've heard to describe this phenomenon (which Kelley doesn't mention) is To Irishise, meaning to transform a bar, with the help of interior design specialists, into a fake Irish pub. Kelley traces the roots of this phenomenon back to 1991, when Dublin-based IPCo started to aggressively export the "Irish Pub Concept" around the world. Nowadays would-be Irish pub owners can choose from a variety of pre-packaged styles: the "Country Cottage," the…
Categories: Food, Places Comments (14)
Philippine Urban Legends (Jose Rizal was Jack the Ripper)
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 22, 2006
Status: urban legends An article from the Philippine Daily Inquirer records some Philippine urban legends: the "White Lady" of Balete Drive, Robina Gokongwei's "snake twin" lurking in department store dressing rooms, the elusive "kapre" that lives in an ancient mango tree near the Emilio Aguinaldo house in Kawit town, and Andres Bonifacio's love child from a place aptly named Libog (now Santo Domingo) in Albay province. None of those mean much to me. But most of the article is devoted to discussing two other Philippine legends that are of more general interest. The first one is that Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines, "was the father of Adolf Hitler, the result of an indiscretion with…
Mexican Row Houses
Posted by The Curator on Mon Feb 13, 2006
Status: Real This looks like a painting, or a picture of toy houses, but apparently it's neither. These are real houses. The picture was taken by a Mexican helicopter pilot. (I can only find his last name, which is Ruiz Oscar Ruiz.) He writes of this picture: "REAL PICTURE! 300+ low income homes in Ixtapaluca, complex has more than 10,000!" The link goes to his gallery of aerial photographs of Mexico City. This photo is nine rows down on the right.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Places Comments (32)
Painted Room Illusions
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 02, 2006
Status: Real These photos show rooms painted in such a way that, if you stand in the correct place, a pattern will appear. Despite looking photoshopped, they are real. The painted rooms are the creations of artist Felice Varini. On his website you can find more examples of his art if you search around long enough (and struggle through the incredibly bad navigation). Varini writes: The painted form achieves its coherence when the viewer stands at the vantage point. When he* moves out of it, the work meets with space generating infinite vantage points on the form. It is not therefore through this original vantage point that I see the work achieved; it takes place…
Categories: Art, Photos/Videos, Places Comments (11)
Flying Car on Google Earth
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 24, 2006
Status: Undetermined The Register has found what appears to be a flying car, captured by the satellite imagery of Google Earth. It's definitely either a flying car, a car parked alongside a dark-looking patch on the ground, a car-shaped object floating in the air... or maybe a UFO! The Register provides some screenshots of the object, but unfortunately no direct link. (Google Maps doesn't cover Australia, so you'll need the Google Earth program to see it). The mysterious object is located at Pt. Walter in Perth, Australia.
Campus Urban Legends
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 19, 2006
Status: urban legends The Auburn Plainsman (student paper of Auburn University) has a short article about campus urban legends. The ones they list are: Endowment from old lady bans sorority houses: This UL seems to exist on every college campus that doesn't have sorority houses. It states that some rich old woman left a large sum of money to the college on the condition that they ban sorority houses, because she considered them to be brothels. The more likely reality, among those schools that have sororities but no sorority houses, is that women used to be required to live on campus. Once that rule was lifted, it was cheaper for sorority members to live…
Categories: Places, Urban Legends Comments (33)
Rogue Paint Line
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 16, 2006
Status: Undetermined What is the meaning of a two-mile line of paint that stretches through central London? No one knows who put it there or why. The BBC reports: It begins on the pavement at a bus stop in Euston and only stops for roads, starting again on the pavement on the other side... Camden Council, Transport for London and electricity suppliers say they did not put it there. Theories include it being a drunken prank or street art. Maybe it's a message from aliens. But seriously, how could someone paint a two-mile line of paint through a…
Categories: Places, Pranks Comments (11)
House For Sale - Princess Caraboo’s Grave Attached
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 06, 2006
Status: A piece of hoax history for sale The Bristol Evening Post reports that the house adjacent to what is believed to be Princess Caraboo's grave in Bristol is up for sale. The asking price is a fairly reasonable £299,950 (about $530,000). (I reported back in 2003 that the gravesite was in danger of being paved over to make a parking lot, but I guess that threat was averted.) I can't find the Bristol Evening Post article online, but here's the property listing. (From the date of the listing, it looks like it's been on the market for a while.)…
The State of Maddocha
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 06, 2006
Status: Fiction Olivia Bruce emailed me to ask: Where is this place...or does it just not exist? I'd be hard-pressed to say where exactly Maddocha is. (Its official website simply says that Maddocha was "a wide-open space that was discovered and then occupied by John Madly and his family.") So I'm going to go with option B. It just doesn't exist. A quick google search reveals that Maddocha seems to be the creation of Deartra D. Boone.
Categories: Places Comments (12)
Cooling Down With David
Posted by The Curator on Thu Dec 01, 2005
Status: Fake Maybe some city really did sponsor the urban art project depicted below. But I doubt it. It definitely looks photoshopped to me. There must be an original David-free version of this picture floating around somewhere. Update: The fountain is real. It's the Crown Fountain designed by artist Jaume Plensa in Chicago's Millennium Park. But the image of David is fake. The Millennium Park website explains: The fountain consists of two 50-foot glass block towers at each end of a shallow reflecting pool. The towers project video images from a broad social spectrum of Chicago citizens, a reference to the traditional use of gargoyles in fountains, where faces of mythological beings…
Categories: Art, Photos/Videos, Places Comments (8)
Big Foot High School
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 28, 2005
Status: Real I know of many high schools named after Washington, Lincoln, or other famous characters from U.S. history, but as far as I'm aware, there's only one Big Foot High School. It's located in Walworth, Wisconsin. However, it's not named after the Bigfoot monster. Instead, it's named after an Indian Chief: Big Foot Union High School is named after the Potawatomi Indian Chief Big Foot who lived along the banks of Geneva Lake until his tribe was relocated by the United States government in 1836. In fact, Geneva Lake was originally known as Big Foot Lake until a New York surveyor, John Brink, renamed it. I can't find any reference…
Categories: Cryptozoology, Places Comments (27)
The Palace of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 15, 2005
Status: Email hoax (real pictures, fake caption)Bad: Falling for an email hoax. Worse: Using the hoax as the basis for your presentation to the local city planning commission, thereby displaying your gullibility to the entire public. As reported by the Muncie Star Press (no link), Don Love gets the award for doing the latter. He received an email containing a series of pictures of an opulent estate (shown below), with the caption: In case you're wondering where this hotel is, it isn't a hotel at all. IT IS A HOUSE! It's owned by the family of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the former president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Abu-Dhabi.
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