The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
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The Cottingley Fairies, 1917
The damp spot that hoaxed a city, 1912
Jennifer Love Hewitt's Disappearing Breasts

Prankster causes volcano to erupt, 1974
Bizarre pictographs of Emmanuel Domenech, 1860
The Nazi Air Marker Hoax, 1942
The Cottingley Fairies, 1917
Use your left ear to detect lies
The Instant Color TV Hoax, 1962
Tourist Guy 9/11 Hoax, Sep 2001
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)
Red Rocks Amphitheatre Is Not Flooded
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 17, 2013
The flooding in Colorado has caused a lot of damage. However, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver is not one of the things underwater, despite what a picture that's been circulating online appears to show. [reverb.com] This is just another example of how if a suitably dramatic picture of a natural disaster doesn't exist, people will invent one. Here's what Red Rocks looks like in its normal, unflooded condition:

Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (0)
Myth: Pearls are made from a grain of sand
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 17, 2013
Came across this in a Guardian article about a new exhibit opening at the Victoria & Albert Museum: V&A dissolves myths around pearls in major new show The Guardian [Marilyn] Monroe and [Elizabeth] Taylor are represented in a show devoted to pearls, opening at the V&A on Saturday. Neither probably knew the grimmer truth of what they were wearing. "The pearls are formed around the larvae from a tapeworm coming from the excrement of other animals," said the show's co-curator, Hubert Bari. "The people marketing them prefer to say 'it is so fantastic: your necklace was made from a grain of sand'. It is better to speak about a grain of sand than to speak about a piece of shit from a...

Categories: Science Comments (2)
Bucky Badger Imposter
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 16, 2013
The University of Wisconsin-Madison has issued a press release warning the public that an imposter Bucky Badger is at large. (Bucky Badger being the university's mascot.) This imposter has been showing up at political rallies, waving protest signs. UW-Madison says that the imposter can be spotted by its "puffy features, odd coloring and sloppy sweater." But the "imposter" is fighting back, noting that Bucky costumes can be bought at the campus book store. So who has the right to say which is the real Bucky and which is the fake one?

Categories: Identity/Imposters Comments (0)
Money From the Sky Scam
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 16, 2013
Two men in Dubai were offering to share a sure-fire way to get rich quick. All one had to do was buy a special juice from them and offer it to a jinn (a ghost). The juice wasn't cheap. It cost $30,000. But the jinn liked it so much, that upon receiving it he would return the favor by making $200 million rain down from the sky. However, these men made the mistake of selling their jinn-juice to an undercover police officer, who promptly arrested them. The Dubai authorities had harsh words for the victims of these con artists, as well as for the con artists themselves, saying that only greediness could have led the victims to believe that money actually would rain down from the sky....

Categories: Scams Comments (1)
Miss Uzbekistan
Posted by The Curator on Sun Sep 15, 2013
The Miss World Competition (set to begin Sep 28 in Indonesia) seemed quite pleased to have its first-ever representative from Uzbekistan. But perhaps not anymore, because the young woman, 18-year-old Rakhima Ganieva, is attracting more attention than any of the other contestants, and not for the right reasons. The problem is that no one can figure out how she earned the title Miss Uzbekistan. No one in Uzbekistan remembers a selection process. In fact, in her home country they're calling her an imposter. It looks like she simply showed up in Indonesia and declared herself to be Miss Uzbekistan. Miss World officials are, so far, remaining silent about the rapidly growing controversy....

Categories: Identity/Imposters Comments (0)
Dead Dog Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Sat Sep 14, 2013
One of the easiest ways to attract attention online is to claim to have done something shocking or disturbing. It's also known as trolling. A case in point is a young woman (using the twitter account @illumivato) who recently claimed that she killed her dog because the British pop group One Direction wouldn't follow her on Twitter. She first sent them a tweet asking them to follow her "or I'll break my dog's neck." Then, when they inevitably ignored her, she followed this up with a tweet showing herself cradling her dead dog. [nydailynews.com] But as David Emery points out, the picture of her and her dog dates back a couple of months. Plus, she's been making similar threats via tweet for...

Massive Louvre Ticket Scam
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 13, 2013
Parisian authorities are now warily considering the possibility that thousands of Chinese tourists might be getting into the Louvre for free, after Belgian customs officials discovered fake Louvre tickets that were "perfect clones" of genuine tickets in a package sent from China. Though I assume the tourists paid someone for the tickets. They just paid the wrong person. [BBC News]

Categories: Scams Comments (0)
Trout-Pig
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 13, 2013
A trout-pig hybrid, discovered in the Tet river in southeastern France. As reported by L'Indépendant, April 1, 2013. I imagine that, when cooked, this would taste like trout wrapped in bacon.

Categories: Animals, April Fools Day Comments (2)
Collage Poetry
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 13, 2013
Prize-winning Australian poet Andrew Slattery (winner, most recently, of the Cardiff International Poetry Competition, that came with a jackpot of £5000) is being stripped of many of his prizes after judges discovered that most of his poetry consists of lines lifted from the works of other poets. For instance, his poem Ransom, which won him the Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize (and potentially $10,000 — he hadn't received the money yet) was a stitched-together version of "50-odd poets' work, some of them famous, such as Americans Charles Simic and Robert Bly, and one Australian, Chris Andrews." Slattery now explains that he intended his poems to be a form of "collage poetry" written in...

Categories: Literature/Language Comments (1)
Sloth Family Portrait
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 12, 2013
Gapers Block offers the full story behind the famous "Sloth Family Portrait" revealing that yes, of course, the photo was intentionally staged. And no, it wasn't photoshopped in any way. And the sloth in the foreground was stuffed, not alive. The story, summarized, is that the couple in the photo are Jim and Debbie Gallo, owners of Shangri-La Vintage, a Chicago vintage clothes store. They found the stuffed sloth at an estate sale in the early 1990s, bought it, and then thought it would be funny to dress up in tacky clothes and wigs and get their picture taken with it at the local K-Mart. The Sloth Family Portrait, and later internet fame, was the result.

Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (0)
Questions about the Milgram experiment
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 12, 2013
Gina Perry has authored a new book about Stanley Milgram's famous obedience experiment (Behind the Shock Machine: The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments) in which she argues that Milgram fudged his data and conclusions. Boing Boing reviews it. Perry suggests the fudging happened in several ways: First, although Milgram claimed his experiment always followed a set script, Perry reviewed the original audio tapes and found this wasn't the case. Instead, Milgram's experimenter "wheedled and nagged the subjects into turning up the shock dial."Second, she argues that a substantial portion of the experimental subjects saw through Milgram's ruse and realized that they...

Categories: Psychology, Science Comments (0)
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.