The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
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The Gallery of Fake Viral Images
Rare planetary alignment decreases gravity, 1976
A black lion: real or fake?

war of the worlds
The night Martians invaded New Jersey, 1938
Baby Yoga, aka Swinging Your Kid Around Your Head
Actress who claimed she was kidnapped by puritans, 1950
The Nazi Air Marker Hoax, 1942
Taco Bells buys the Liberty Bell, 1996
September Morn, the painting that shocked the censor, 1913
Adolf Hitler Baby Photo Hoax, 1933
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. Although I think it's strange that the Miss...
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...
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 the "cento format." Apparently this is a kind of poetry that's a patchwork of lines from other poems. He just...
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...
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 weren't actually shocking someone. I'll have to...
Categories: Psychology, Science Comments (0)
Abominable Science
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 11, 2013
Looks interesting. I'll add it to my reading list. An interview with the authors: The Science Behind Bigfoot and Other Monsters National Geographic There's ample circumstantial evidence for all these creatures: eyewitness accounts, blurry photographs, mysterious footprints. For many cryptozoologists—the people who search for legendary animals—that evidence is enough to confirm a monster's existence. But it will take more than shadowy sightings to convince Daniel Loxton and Donald R. Prothero that Bigfoot or any of the other monsters are real. What Loxton and Prothero want is scientific evidence. In their new book, Abominable Science! Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids, they analyze the history of mythic beasts...
Categories: Books, Cryptozoology Comments (1)
Mystery Letterbox
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 11, 2013
A red letterbox has appeared on the side of a bridge crossing the Thames in the village of Sonning-on-Thames. It's accessible only from the river. The Royal Mail says it's "a mystery to us." What makes this story doubly strange is that spoon-bender Uri Geller happens to live in this town and was interviewed about it by the BBC. He speculates that "the ghost of a mischievous little girl" might have put the letterbox there. Uri Geller mystified by letterbox on Thames Sonning Bridge BBC News Entertainer Uri Geller and other villagers say they are mystified by the appearance of a red letterbox in the middle of a bridge. The box has been placed on a buttress on the downstream...
Categories: Pranks Comments (3)
Daniel Engber doesn't think Jimmy Kimmel's "Twerking Girl on Fire" hoax was very funny. He wrote in Slate: I think it illustrates everything that's wrong with viral marketing. Kimmel's prank is not a biting satire, nor is it a mirror to our stupid culture. It's a hostile, self-promoting act—a covert ad for Jimmy Kimmel Live—rendered as ironic acid that corrodes our sense of wonder. At times Engber's critique became so over-the-top that I wasn't sure if he was being entirely serious, or if he was deliberately trolling....
Categories: History Comments (1)
Vancouver UFO Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 11, 2013
On September 3, a small "UFO" was seen hovering outside a Vancouver Canadians baseball game at Nat Bailey Stadium. Turns out it was a fake UFO that was part of a viral marketing scheme to promote Vancouver's H.R. MacMillan Space Centre. Footage of the UFO was circulated online by an ad agency. The Space Centre has seen attendance rise by 65 percent in the last week. So apparently the viral campaign worked. [CTV News] It certainly isn't the first time a planetarium has used a hoax to drum up business. The example that comes to mind is the time back in 1940 when
Twerking Girl Catches Fire Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 10, 2013
On Sep 3, Caitlin Heller posted a video on youtube that she titled, "Worst Twerk Fail EVER - Girl Catches Fire!" She further explained: "I tried making a sexy twerk video for my boyfriend and things got a little too hot " The video quickly went viral, accumulating 9 million views in less than a week, and getting airtime on numerous media outlets. But last night, "Caitlin Heller" appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and the hoax was revealed. Her real name was Daphne Avalon. She was a stunt woman, and the entire video had been staged for Jimmy Kimmel Live. Kimmel claims that his team didn't send it to TV stations or tweet it. He says, "we just put it on youtube and let the magic happen." I'm skeptical that they didn't do...
Categories: Videos Comments (0)
Soccer without a ball?
Posted by The Curator on Sat Sep 07, 2013
The latest episode of CBC Radio's This is That show discussed how the Midlake Youth Athletic Association in Midlake, Ontario has decided to eliminate the ball from its soccer program, in order to "further address some of the negative side of competition." Keith Schultz, head coach (aka "Imagination Captain") of the Thundercats, the Midlake ball-less soccer team, is interviewed, and he explains that the course of the game is determined by "the kids' interpretation of what went down." Schultz admits that he occasionally misses coaching traditional soccer (with a ball), but because "injuries are down and self-esteem is up," the Youth Association has judged its experiment with ball-less soccer to be a success — so much so that it's decided...
Categories: Sports Comments (1)
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