The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
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The Great New York Zoo Escape Hoax, 1874
The Crown Prince Regent of Thulia, 1954
September Morn, the painting that shocked the censor, 1913

Life discovered on the moon, 1835
Jean Gauntt, the Immortal Baby, 1939
Tube of liquor hidden in prohibition-era boot, 1920s
Dead Body of Loch Ness Monster Found, 1972
war of the worlds
The night Martians invaded New Jersey, 1938
The Olympic Underwear Relay, 1956
Adolf Hitler Baby Photo Hoax, 1933
iPhones are not waterproof.
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 24, 2013
Apple released the iOS 7 update for iPhones last week, and pranksters (allegedly from 4chan) set to work creating a series of spoof ads claiming the update made iPhones waterproof. Update to iOS 7 and become waterproof. In an emergency, a smart-switch will shut off the phone's power supply and corresponding components to prevent any damage to your iPhone's delicate circuitry. Needless to say, the iOS 7 update does not make the iPhone waterproof. It's not clear if anyone fell for the joke and tried dunking their iPhone in water. But a few people have been tweeting angry remarks about the hoax, such as, "Ok whoever said IOS7 is waterproof GO F*** YOURSELF". But it's hard to know if these...
Categories: Technology Comments (0)
Hermeneutic Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 24, 2013
The most recent issue of the Romanian journal Metalurgia International contains an unusual article titled "Evaluation of Transformative Hermeneutic Heuristics for Processing Random Data." If that title doesn't make much sense to you, neither will the rest of the article. But that's intentional on the part of the authors, who submitted a nonsense article to the journal, which obligingly published it — apparently without bothering to read it first. The intent of the hoaxers (three professors at the University of Belgrade) was to "draw attention to the hyperproduction of quasi-scientific works by Serbian professors that are published in the magazines of dubious quality" as the website In...
Categories: Education, Science Comments (1)
Hoax Caller Imitates Sonia Gandhi
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 24, 2013
Indian papers are reporting that the attorney general of India, Goolam Vahanvati, recently received a series of calls from someone claiming to be Sonia Gandhi (President of the Congress), urging him to resign. But it wasn't actually Gandhi on the phone. It was a woman imitating her voice. Usually it's radio stations that are behind this kind of prank. But in this case, a senior member of the Indian congress is suspected to be the mastermind behind it. Hoax caller imitates Sonia Gandhi, government in a tizzy Times of India A hoax call from a PSU woman officer who convincingly sounded like Sonia Gandhi, an agitated attorney general of India who received that call and was convinced that a...
Categories: Politics Comments (0)
Snipe Hunting Kit
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 23, 2013
Star Bound magazine sells a Snipe Hunting Kit. For only $12.95 you get a Snipe Hunting Guide, a Snipe burlap bag, a Snipe permit (to be filled out by the catcher), and a flashlight for the catcher. It says that the guidebook includes a "harvest report." And, "If the harvest report is sent back to the Star Bound Magazine's office (called the Snipe Hunting Association in the guidebook) with the proper fee, we will send back a certificate that will certify the name on the report as having had their first Snipe hunt and was the one left holding the bag."
Categories: Animals Comments (0)
Cow Tipping Debunked Once Again
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 23, 2013
Cow tipping has been thoroughly debunked before, but Modern Farmer's recent article on the subject is interesting nevertheless. It emphasizes that cows are not easy animals to tip over because they've got a lot of mass, they're very stable on their feet, and they're difficult to sneak up on. To underscore how difficult it is to tip a cow, the author, Jake Swearingen, notes that farm vets often need to get a cow down on its side to perform a medical exam, and it's not easy to do. The process is called "cow casting." The vets use ropes and teams of highly-trained individuals, and often things still go badly wrong, as the video below shows.
Categories: Animals, Pranks Comments (0)
Zimbabwe Witch Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 23, 2013
New Zimbabwe reports that two witches who crash-landed in a suburb of Harare — after flying around in their winnowing baskets, which is the preferred method of transportation of Zimbabwe witches — were not actually witches. It was all an "elaborate hoax." As part of their witch disguise, one of the women had an owl with her — apparently having an owl is a sure sign of being a witch in Zimbabwe — but this owl had been bought "from a man who captured it in a grinding mill building." The witch hoax was dreamed up by several "self-styled prophets" who talked the women into playing the part. The idea was that the prophets, having shown that they could bring witches out of...
Categories: Paranormal Comments (0)
Found on eBay: Genuine Leprechaun Hair
Posted by The Curator on Sat Sep 21, 2013
Said to have magical powers. Yours for $35.00. "This is 100% real hair."
Categories: eBay Comments (2)
Map of Bigfoot Sightings
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 20, 2013
Josh Stevens, a grad student at Pennsylvania State University, took 92 years of bigfoot sighting data, gathered by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, and put it on a map. That's 3313 sightings in all. It's an interesting visual, but even he's not sure what the map tells us, except that Bigfoot seems to be "thriving out west." It reminds me of a similar map that showed the "distribution of drop bears in Australia" that appeared in a Dec 2012 article in Australian Geographer. Is there a map of Elvis sightings? There is an Elvis Sighting Society, but no map that I'm aware of. Though in a post back in 2006 I noted that "LaMa has been lobbying for quite some time to add an Elvis...
Categories: Cryptozoology Comments (2)
The Bunny Ears Prank Revisited
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 20, 2013
Rugby player Manu Tuilagi recently apologized for making bunny ears behind David Cameron's head during a photo shoot outside of 10 Downing Street. Cameron replied, "No need to apologise, I know it was just a bit of fun." [espn scrum] This got me thinking again about the history of the Bunny Ears prank, a topic I last posted about back in 2006. How old is the Bunny Ears prank? Does it predate photography? Nobody knows. After a bit of searching online, the oldest example of making bunny ears that I could find is this 1944 World War II photo in which a French woman (apparently a prostitute) is jokingly making bunny ears behind the head of an American soldier. Her hand isn't fully in the...
Categories: Pranks Comments (1)
It’s all about the magnets!
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 19, 2013
Sixty-two-year-old Andrew Abolafia claims to have built a "Static Field Converter" that extracts hidden energy from magnets — thereby staying true to the general rule that free-energy inventions almost always involve magnets in some way. Abolafia feels sure his invention will provide the solution to the world's need for energy, replacing our reliance on fossil fuels. But for some reason, the scientific community hasn't shown much interest. So Abolafia has been reduced to demonstrating his gizmo to local news reporters, hoping this will get the device the attention he believes it deserves. [wnyt.com]
Categories: Free Energy Comments (3)
A Brief History of Triple-Decker Buses
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 18, 2013
The first motorized double-decker buses were introduced in 1923, and it was only three years later, in 1926, that the first triple-decker bus went into operation, providing transportation to Berlin's Stettiner railway station. The next significant date in multi-level buses came in 1954, with the introduction of the double-decker Routemaster bus, which, painted red, became an iconic sight in London. And, inevitably, triple-decker versions soon followed. Nowadays triple-decker buses are becoming an increasingly common sight on highways and city streets, because they offer an efficient way to transport large numbers of people. And sightseers love them! For instance, in 2012, Intercity...
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (0)
Real Simple Magazine
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 18, 2013
The Museum of Hoaxes got a nice little write-up in this month's issue of Real Simple magazine. I think they mentioned the "paranormal stuff" on the site (which, honestly, there isn't a huge amount of) because it's the October issue, and they were trying to tie it in with Halloween.
Categories: Miscellaneous Comments (1)
DeQuincy, Louisiana—the town of hoaxes
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 18, 2013
The journalist-hoaxer Lou Stone always set his hoaxes in the small town of Winsted, Connecticut, where he lived. His most famous hoax was the time in 1895 when he sent out a report over the news wire claiming that a naked, hairy, wild man was loose in the town, causing reporters from New York City to descend upon Winsted, en masse. There now appears to be a hoaxer (identity unknown) who draws similar inspiration from the town of DeQuincy, Louisiana (population 4000), because he or she keeps issuing fake press releases, detailing bizarre events in that town. It began in April with a press release claiming that DeQuincy mayor "Maynard Wilkens" (who doesn't exist) had decided to remove all...
Categories: Places Comments (0)
The “Fake Dominatrix” Scam
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 18, 2013
A 35-year-old Austrian woman advertised herself as a dominatrix, promising strict discipline to clients willing to pay. It took the men who responded to her ad a week to realize that instead of getting sexy punishment, they were being made to do work around her farm (chopping wood, mowing the lawn) while dressed in black fetish gear. They were paying for the privilege of doing farm labor. [spiegel]
Categories: Scams, Sex/Romance Comments (2)
The Royalton’s Special Tea Blend
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 17, 2013
George Jean NathanOrson Welles was fond of telling the following story about drama critic George Jean Nathan (1882-1958) — a story which is repeated in the recently published My Lunches with Orson, Peter Biskind (ed.). [via the Legends & Rumors Blog] Orson Welles: Let me tell you a story about George Jean Nathan, America's greatest drama critic. George Jean Nathan was the tightest man who ever lived, even tighter than Charles Chaplin. And he lived for forty years in the Hotel Royalton, which is across from the Algonquin. […] He never tipped anybody in the Royalton, not even when they brought the breakfast, and not at Christmastime. After about ten years of never getting tipped,...
Categories: Pranks Comments (0)
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.