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|•||Pretend chef on five morning TV shows 03/04/2014|
|•||Image of "Aurora from Space" going viral is a hoax 02/28/2014|
|•||Supposed Ghost Caught on Securtiy Cam at Britain Pub 02/22/2014|
|•||Anyone up for a challenge? 02/20/2014|
|•||Bruno Gröning Documentary Film 02/15/2014|
|•||Science, Pseudoscience, and Crap 02/04/2014|
|•||Fake Snow 02/03/2014|
|•||Tapeworms ≠ Weight Loss 02/01/2014|
|•||NASA sued for failing to investigate Martian Fungus 01/30/2014|
|•||Jan. 25th--A Room of Ones Own Day 01/25/2014|
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Status: New BookKurt Kortenhof has sent word that his new book, LONG LIVE THE HODAG — The Life and Legacy of Eugene Simeon Shepard is now in print. For anyone interested in hoaxes, tall tales, and folklore, I figure it should be interesting. I've already ordered a copy.
For those who don't know what the Hodag is, it's a creature native to Wisconsin. It's said to have the head of a bull, the back of a dinosaur, and the leering features of a giant man. You can still find it featured on many Wisconsin postcards. Here's the book description:
Status: Tall-tale creatureI've found another beer to add to my list of hoax-themed beers: Boonville Beer. Its label shows a picture of a bear with antlers. I was having a bottle of this beer (the outmeal stout) out on the patio this afternoon, saw the antlered bear, and got curious. A quick internet search revealed that the creature isn't actually a bear. The Anderson Valley Brewing Company website explains:
It's not a bear. Bears don't have antlers. Of course not. Who ever heard of such a thing? It is, however, a BEER. The Legendary Boonville Beer to be exact. Barkley, by name, who could be considered a cross between a bear and a deer (thus a beer). Barkley and his brethren are often seen about Anderson Valley by lovers of truly fine beers (especially if they've had a few).
The beer itself was pretty good, though I usually prefer stouts that have more of a chocolate flavor.
Status: UndeterminedSome 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 down from thousands of years ago from my great, great grandfather who is Irish."
Status: RealScience has long recognized the existence of the fur-bearing trout, which lives in the rivers and lakes of North America. Now its Pacific cousin has been found: the fur-bearing lobster (scientific name Kiwa hirsuta). According to the BBC, "A US-led team found the animal last year in waters 2,300m (7,540ft) deep at a site 1,500km (900 miles) south of Easter Island, an expert has claimed. Details appear in the journal of Paris' National Museum of Natural History."
So what is the purpose of the fur? Scientists speculate that "the 'hairy' pincers contained lots of filamentous bacteria... The bacteria detoxify poisonous minerals from the water, allowing K. hirsuta to survive around the vents."
An interesting theory, but it seems to me more logical to assume that its luxuriant coat developed to protect it from the cold waters of the depths, as is the case with the fur-bearing trout.
[Note: Despite what the above text might imply, fur-bearing trout are a tall-tale. Furry lobsters are real.]
(Thanks to Kathy for the link)
Status: Tall-Tale PhotoIt's good to see that people are still making whopper hopper photos. (via Daily Owned)
Status: Tall TalesI don't know when the Chuck Norris facts first appeared on the internet. Many of you might already be aware of them. But just in case you're not, they're worth a look. Here's a few of the facts:
• Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.
• The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.
• If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you can't see Chuck Norris, you may be only seconds away from death.
Chuck Norris is aware of these "facts" being spread about him. So far, he has generously allowed their authors to live.
Status: Probably a hoaxAndy Park claims that he celebrates Christmas every day:
Since "becoming Mr Christmas" in 1993, the 45-year-old electrician has eaten 109,500 sprouts. He devours 25 of them with a full roast-turkey dinner daily before watching a recording of the Queen's speech, sherry in hand... So deep is his love for Christmas that, over 12 years, he reckons he has consumed 4,380 turkeys (one a day), 87,600 mince pies (20 a day), 2,190 pints of gravy (half a pint a day), 26,280 roast potatoes (six a day), 30,660 stuffing balls, 219,000 mushy peas, 4,380 bottles of champagne, 4,380 bottles of sherry and 5,000 bottles of wine. He has given 21,900 presents, mainly to himself, and spent £12,000 on lights and effects. "I've spent about £250,000 celebrating Christmas for the past 12 years," he said. "I've also got through 36 ovens and 42 video recorders by watching the Queen's speech as well as Christmas films." His daily routine consists of breakfast - six mince pies and a turkey sandwich - then doing his work as an electrician until about 11.30am when he returns home to cook his roast.
However, MSNBC smells a rat, suspecting that Park is lying about his daily Christmas celebration in order to help sell a single he's just released, titled "It's Christmas Every Day." Keith Olbermann reports (the relevant section is about halfway down on the linked page):
Certain things didn‘t seem to add up. How could he afford all this? How come he wasn‘t morbidly obese from all those Mince pies? How come we only heard about him during the holiday season? This demanded a “Countdown” investigation... Our suspicions began when the German TV network ZA DA F (ph) went to visit him celebrating Christmas. And its people came back with a distinctly punked feeling. First off, the man asked for 200 pounds for the interview. That‘d be about $350. Then he asked for more money. Then he screwed up his own shtick about his supposedly endless Christmas...
His local newspaper, “The Wiltshire Times” tell us it has given up trying to do any stories on this man. Apparently, their photographer has shown up at his house several times, unannounced, in hopes of catching him celebrating. Yet, Mr. Christmas has not even let him in the door. So what exactly is going on here? This might shed some light. His latest video for his latest Christmas single. And it is just about as bad as his Christmas sweater. So there it is Andy Park, media hustler. We‘re obviously outraged on behalf of ourselves and all other media giants who got even slightly taken in by this clown.
(Thanks to Joe Littrell for the link.)
Status: RealIn June 2004 the New York Times published an article about alibi networks, which are informal networks of people who will provide excuses for each other:
Cellphone-based alibi clubs, which have sprung up in the United States, Europe and Asia, allow people to send out mass text messages to thousands of potential collaborators asking for help. When a willing helper responds, the sender and the helper devise a lie, and the helper then calls the victim with the excuse -- not unlike having a friend forge a doctor's note for a teacher in the pre-digital age.
Apparently someone thought this would be a great basis for a business and launched AlibiNetwork.com, which describes its mission as being: "To invent, create and provide personalized virtual alibis for people wishing to anticipate and justify absences." As far as I can tell, this company is absolutely for real. Their most frequently requested alibi is "a phone number in any area or country code staffed by an operator trained in accents pretending to be a hotel receptionist." This will set you back $275. I assume that someone who really doesn't want to get caught during a weekend tryst, might consider this worth the price. Of course, the question lingering in the back of the mind of its customers must be: could an alibi service ever transform into a blackmail service?
In Jackalope news: a Minnesota woman found in her yard a dead rabbit with horns growing out of its head, exactly like a jackalope. A veterinarian declared that it had been infected by Shope papilloma virus, "a highly contagious disease that causes rabbits to grow things on their head and face that look like horns." The veterinarian's explanation is, of course, part of the continuing conspiracy to conceal the existence of jackalopes from the general public.
Here's an unusual urban legend that I haven't heard before. It involves a group of students at Texas A&M University who are sharing a house together. It's in the genre of 'roommate horror stories'. According to the story, one of the students is an entomology major and keeps a collection of giant Africanized cockroaches in a terrarium. But during a party the terrarium breaks and the roaches escape, only to start breeding like crazy in the house. To solve this roach problem the students set loose some baby armadillos (since armadillos eat roaches). But soon the armadillos start breeding, without making much of a dent in the roach population, until eventually the house is full of a lot of roaches and a lot of armadillos. At this point the roommates decide to get some shotguns and shoot all the roaches and armadillos, but only succeed in busting up the house. And to make a long story short, the armadillos eventually start tunneling beneath the house, creating a sink hole that causes the entire building to collapse and fall into the ground. So in other words, the animals win in the end. The students are left with a bill for $25,000 in damages, courtesy of the landlord.
A Japanese artist, whose name (I think) is Takiwa, has an amazing collection of photographs of Snouters up on his website. Snouters, of course, is the popular term for Rhinogrades. If you have no idea what these creatures are, you can read more about them on the page I have devoted to them here. (via Liquito)
Ananova comes through with another incredibly believable story, this time about a Slovak man who claims that he freed himself from being trapped under an avalanche by peeing his way out. Thankfully he had 60 bottles of beer with him to help him in this endeavor. He was sitting there, trapped in his car beneath the snow, so he cracked open a beer, and then the brilliant idea came to him: I can pee my way out! They quote this guy as saying: "I was scooping the snow from above me and packing it down below the window, and then I peed on it to melt it. It was hard and now my kidneys and liver hurt. But I'm glad the beer I took on holiday turned out to be useful and I managed to get out of there." I would classify this as nothing more than 'pub talk', the kind of tall-tale that pub patrons make up to amuse each other. But for some reason it's being reported as news. (thanks to 'dvidiod' for sending me the story)