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
Religion
According to the website dnaindia.com, 50 people in the Kottayam district of India have lost their vision after gazing into the sun for hours trying to see an image of the Virgin Mary:
Though alarmed health authorities have installed a signboard to counter the rumour that a solar image of Virgin Mary appeared to the believers, curious onlookers, including foreign travellers, have been thronging the venue of the ‘miracle’. St Joseph’s ENT and Eye Hospital in Kanjirappally alone has recorded 48 cases of vision loss due to photochemical burns on the retina...
There are quite a few people still seeking the miracle, despite the experiences of their unfortunate predecessors and strict health warnings against gazing at the sun with the naked eye. “The patients show varying degrees of severity. They are mostly girls in 12-26 age group. Our youngest patient is 12 and the oldest 60. Most of them were looking at the sun between 2 and 4 pm, when UV1 and UV2 rays are harshest,” Dr James Isaac said.

If people feel compelled to see an image of the Virgin Mary in something, it seems much safer to stick with things like grilled cheese sandwiches or tree stumps.
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Tue Mar 11, 2008
Comments (1)
Angela emailed me to ask if it's true that St. Patrick's Day has been moved this year, from March 17 to March 15. Yes, it's true. At least for the Irish.

The problem is that Easter falls unusually early this year, which means that the traditional date for St. Patrick's Day, March 17, is going to land in the middle of Holy Week (the week immediately preceding Easter). To avoid this, Church authorities have ordered that religious celebrations for St. Patrick's Day occur instead on March 15th in Ireland.

Similarly, in Chicago organizers have moved the annual parade an entire week earlier, to avoid conflicting with Palm Sunday.

I assume that non-Catholics who celebrate St. Patrick's Day can continue to do so on the traditional date. I look forward to St. Paddy's Day as an excuse to have corned beef with cabbage, washed down with a pint of Guinness. Maybe I'll celebrate it on the 15th and the 17th this year.
Categories: Religion
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 25, 2008
Comments (8)
Here's another "Jesus Image in a Tree" for my collection. This one was found by Pennsylvania resident Craig O'Connor. MyFoxColorado.com reports:
By counting the tree rings, O'Connor believes the tree was at least 40-50 years old. As a furniture maker of 25 years, O'Connor has worked with wood and seen plenty of different stains and marks. He says this one is radically different from all the others. O'Connor is a Catholic and believes it's a sign from God. When asked what the message is, he replied that it's like Jesus saying, "Believe in me. I'm still here.  Have faith in me."

This image is a lot easier to see than many of the Jesus-in-a-tree images. But it looks like Jesus has lobster claws.
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 12, 2008
Comments (10)
Renee Brewster of Florida found Jesus while preparing potato salad. His image was clearly visible in the moldy rot that had formed in the center of the first potato she split open. She put aside the holy potato and finished making the potato salad, which reportedly tasted excellent.

According to MyFoxOrlando, Renee and her husband feel that "the site of their savior in a potato has reinvigorated their faith."

But Cranky Media Guy wonders if this is manufactured pareidolia, noting that, "For the first time in memory, I can actually make out the figure they think they see."

If one Jesus-in-a-potato isn't enough for you, then you're in luck, because the MyFoxOrlando article links to a second story, from just a few weeks ago, about a Houston woman who also discovered Jesus inside a potato. But I think the Florida Jesus-Potato is better.
Categories: Food, Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 25, 2008
Comments (7)
Canadian police are searching for two men who "falsely represented themselves as a spiritual healer and his assistant." Which raises the question: what counts as a real spiritual healer?

The healer guy advertised himself on the radio as Brother Roshan. He used a magic trick to con his victims out of money. CTV.CA reports:
Roshan wrote the names of each of his client's family members on each egg. He then placed the eggs in a covered pot of boiling water. Once they were cooked, he took out each egg and broke them open.
When he opened the egg with the client's name on it, there was a lottery ticket inside with a note saying they will win the lottery.
Clients were then told they must do the good deed of donating money if they hoped to claim their lottery prize. They were told the money was for expensive "prayer powder" from India that would help him rid people of curses.

Some people "donated" over $100,000 to Roshan.

This gives me an idea. Instead of a Museum of Hoaxes, I should open a "Museum of Good Luck and Prosperity." I'll tell people that if they make a donation to the museum it'll guarantee them good luck. I'd make a fortune.
Categories: Con Artists, Religion
Posted by Alex on Thu Jan 24, 2008
Comments (2)
Here's a Bigfoot theory I haven't heard before. Apparently there are some in the Mormon church who hypothesize that Bigfoot may actually be Cain, condemned to walk the earth forever. Matt Bowman provides some scholarly elaboration on this theory on the Mormon Mentality blog.

Apparently the Bigfoot-Cain connection traces back to a story told by an early leader of the Mormon church, David W. Patten. Patten claimed that in 1835 he encountered Cain walking along the side of the road. He wrote: "He walked along beside me for about two miles. His head was about even with my shoulders as I sat in my saddle. He wore no clothing, but was covered with hair. His skin was very dark."

Hmm. That sounds kind of like Bigfoot. At least, that's what some Mormons have apparently concluded in recent decades. Bowman writes: "Cain’s identification as Bigfoot has provided Mormons with a way to assimilate the claims of folktale with new conceptions of what Cain, the embodiment of evil, should be like."

So if Bigfoot is Cain, maybe Nessie is really the snake from the Garden of Eden. wink
Categories: Cryptozoology, Religion
Posted by Alex on Tue Jan 15, 2008
Comments (27)
A New Mexico family reports that an image of the Virgin Mary has appeared in the pattern of the texture of their wall. Their granddaughter says, "I think God is trying to tell us something, like a message from heaven." Maybe that message is, "Don't get a job applying wall texture."

Is it just me, or are these Virgin Mary sightings getting harder and harder to see? I can barely make this one out at all.

Bob forwarded me the link with the comment, "How ridiculous would a 'sighting' of the Virgin Mary have to be before the news would refuse to report it?" I assume, Bob, that this is a rhetorical question.
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Thu Jan 03, 2008
Comments (21)
A Florida man who recently had a chest X-ray says that he can see Jesus in it. Which raises the question, just what HAS that guy been smoking?

Personally, I can't see it at all. (Thanks Joe and Bob)
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Thu Dec 13, 2007
Comments (21)
We've got a pareidolia double feature. First up is an image of the Virgin Mary that some claim to see in a sycamore tree that was burned in the recent Southern California fires. The tree is located off the Sierra Highway in Los Angeles County. KNBC reports:

Believers have left flowers and other offerings in front of the tree, turning it into a makeshift altar. Some also have left notes, hoping to be blessed after seeing the vision.


Second up is a Jesus and Mary Pancake (which sounds kind of like a rock group) which Marilyn Smith recently sold on eBay for $338. In her description of the item, Smith writes:

This is a spiritual, unusual and unique pancake that we believe to be holy and depicts what looks to be Jesus and Mary. My brother said it looks more like Moses and Elijah. What is your guess?? It was created on November 5th by accident along with a batch of pancakes for breakfast. With no suspicions of any figures being in it, my mother flipped it over to do the other side and discovered that these are obviously religious figures dressed in the early desert garb that would have been worn at that time in Jeruselem.


(Thanks, Cranky Media Guy)
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Fri Nov 16, 2007
Comments (16)
During the 20th century, Padre Pio was one of the most famous and popular Catholic monks. He died in 1968 and was made a saint by Pope John Paul II in 2002. He was recently declared the Patron Saint of New Year Blues.

Pio was particularly famous for the supernatural phenomena associated with him. In particular, stigmata were said to have mysteriously appeared on his hands and feet. But a new book argues that Pio faked his stigmata:
a book called Padre Pio and the Italy of the 19th Century, by historian Sergio Luzzatto says the wounds were self-created using carbolic acid and he claims to have found documentary evidence to prove it in the Vatican's secret archives.

According to Wikipedia, this is hardly the first time charges of fakery have been leveled against Pio:
His accusers included high-ranking archbishops, bishops, theologians and physicians.
They brought several accusations against him, including insanity, immoral attitude towards women - claims that he had intercourse with women in the confessional (However, the same priest who accused Pio of these sexual acts later recanted his story and repented on his death bed.), misuse of funds and deception - claims that the stigmata were induced with acid in order to gain fame—and that the reported odor of sanctity around him being the result of self-administered eau-de-cologne.
The founder of Rome's Catholic university hospital concluded Padre Pio was "an ignorant and self-mutilating psychopath who exploited people's credulity." In short, he was accused of infractions against all three of his monastic vows: poverty, chastity and obedience.
In 1923, he was forbidden to teach teenage boys in the school attached to the monastery because he was considered "a noxious Socrates, capable of perverting the fragile lives and souls of boys."
Categories: Body Manipulation, Religion
Posted by Alex on Fri Oct 26, 2007
Comments (72)
From Cranky Media Guy, with the comment, "New horizons in pareidolia":
A Houston woman says the face of Jesus is a message sent straight from God and left on a bathroom towel...

She says she used the towel to clean an air conditioner.
"I guess it just got stained," she said.
So Lucille washed it. And bleached it. Twice. And then her granddaughter used the towel.
"It kind of scared me, because I was going to dry my hair," Desiree Ramos recalled. "But then I just threw it. And then I went to go tell my grandma."...

You might not see the face in the towel. If you do, you might not believe it resembles Jesus. Lucille Lopez doesn't care. She does. And she's thankful for the gift she got from God.
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Mon Oct 22, 2007
Comments (12)
Health officers in Britain have issued a warning to consumers to be on the lookout for fake holy water. From the BBC:
The water is advertised as coming from the sacred well of Zam Zam in Mecca, the most holy city in Islam, and demand increases during Ramadan. The warning does not cover genuine Zam Zam, which is sourced from the Well of Zam Zam, located within the Masjid al Haram in Mecca. Councillor Audrey Lewis was concerned Muslims may be exploited into buying counterfeit Zam Zam during the holy month of Ramadan. She said: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia forbids the commercial export of genuine Zam Zam, so we have no idea of the true source of the water which ends up on the streets of the UK.

Zam Zam holy water? I immediately thought it sounded like a good name for a kid's soft drink. Turns out it is. You can buy Zam Zam Cola in Iran.

I think they should issue a general consumer advisory about all holy waters -- that tap water shares all their special powers, for a fraction of the price.
Categories: Health/Medicine, Religion
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 12, 2007
Comments (7)
Page 5 of 17 pages ‹ First  < 3 4 5 6 7 >  Last ›