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
Old-Time Photo Fakery, 1900 to 1919
Did Paul McCartney die on Nov. 9, 1966?

Boy floats away in balloon, 2009
The Sandpaper Test, 1960
The worms inside your face
The Stone-Age Tasaday Hoax, 1971
Lord Gordon-Gordon, robber of the robber barons, 1871
The Man-Eating Tree of Madagascar Hoax, 1874
The damp spot that hoaxed a city, 1912
Bricked-in Car Prank, 1964
Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 29, 2013
October 1964: The work of pranksters. A car boxed in by brick walls on a foot bridge of the North Branch of the Chicago River in the 5000 block of North Spaulding. Source: Chicago Daily News.
Categories: Pranks Comments (2)
If you say gullible slowly, it sounds like oranges
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 28, 2013
A fairly old meme, but it was new to me. Image via theburlapbag.com.
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (3)
Mammoth Hailstone Hoax, 1911
Posted by The Curator on Tue Aug 27, 2013
I found this photo in the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society. It shows a Mr. O'Mahony (of Pipestone, Minnesota) proudly showing off a "mammoth hail stone" — size: 6" x 6" x 8" and weighing 5½ lbs. A note attached to the photo reveals that the hailstone was a fake: Mr. O'Mahony was the victim of a hoax. This large chunk of clear icebox ice was dropped through a skylight in a public building where it was found and assumed was fell from the sky during as a huge hail stone. The instigator of the creative prank confessed many years later - after he grew up and became a prominent citizen in Pipestone…
Categories: Science Comments (0)
Hello, Nessie!
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 26, 2013
Well, this is one of the lamer Nessie photos I've ever seen. Not even a head poking above the water! The video is even worse than the photo. Hello Nessie, it must be that time of year... Daily Mail An amateur photographer has captured an eerie photo from the shore of Loch Ness which could encourage those who believe in tales of a monster living beneath the surface of the lake. The image was taken by David Elder at Fort Augustus, at the south-west end of the 23-mile-long body of water in northern Scotland. It shows a long bow wave apparently caused by some sort of disturbance on the surface of the loch.
Categories: Nessie Comments (1)
Paul Krassner’s Stereophonic Hoax, 1960
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 26, 2013
Back in 1960, a story got around about a TV viewer in the South who thought he saw a black man kissing a white woman on a popular TV show. So he wrote to the sponsor of the show to complain. The sponsor acted quickly to calm the man and assure him that they would never sponsor a show on which such an act occurred. They flew an account executive down to see the man and held a private screening for him, to demonstrate to him that the actor in question was actually white. His local station had accidentally broadcast the show at a high contrast ratio, making the actor appear darker than he really was. When Paul Krassner, editor of the counterculture publication The Realist,…
Categories: April Fools Day Comments (2)
Maleek Seeks Help
Posted by The Curator on Fri Aug 23, 2013
Nairobi singer Moses Kamunya (aka Maleek) posted on facebook that his daughter had died. Sympathetic friends then sent him money to help with the funeral costs. But when people showed up at the mother's house for the funeral, (the mother being the Maleek's former girlfriend), she hit the roof because her daughter was still very much alive. Maleek now explains that "the devil had misled him." However, he doesn't seem quite ready to return the money. Apparently Maleek is fairly well known in Nairobi for a song titled "Who's Gonna Help." City singer 'kills' his child on Facebook standardmedia.co.ke A city singer has admitted he collected Sh300,000 by claiming on Facebook that his daughter had died. Furious friends told The…
Categories: Scams Comments (0)
Failed Marriage Proposal
Posted by The Curator on Fri Aug 23, 2013
Cadbury only made a half-hearted attempt to disguise that this clip is really an ad for their "Bournville" chocolates, which they're promoting with the tagline "Not So Sweet." Halfway through the clip, a small train chugs through the scene, and painted on its side is, "Bournville -- Not So Sweet."
Categories: Videos Comments (0)
Fifty Shades of Grey not a Guantanamo favorite
Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 22, 2013
Strange thing for a US congressman to have been claiming. Especially since, according to reports, Fifty Shades of Grey isn't even in the prison library at Guantanamo. Guantanamo Fifty Shades of Grey claim denied by lawyer BBC News A lawyer for a detainee at Guantanamo Bay's highest-security section has rubbished reports that Fifty Shades of Grey is a favourite read among inmates. A US congressman made the claim last month after visiting Camp 7, saying it showed the inmates were "not exactly holy warriors". Lawyer James Connell says guards this week gave a copy of the erotic novel to his client, possibly as a joke. But 9/11 accused Ammar al-Baluchi had no interest in the book, he said.
Categories: Books, Sex/Romance Comments (0)
No pony-killing satanists in Devon
Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 22, 2013
Glad they got this cleared up. Satanists on the loose might have scared away the tourists. Pony 'killed by Satanists' died of natural causes Plymouth Herald A pony found mutilated on Dartmoor in what was claimed could be a Pagan ritual died of natural causes, according to Devon and Cornwall police. A pony was found near Plymouth with organs and features missing or placed outside its body in July this year - leading to fears it could have been deliberately killed and arranged as part of a ritual. Police say their investigation has concluded, and that the animal died of natural causes. They say the mutilation was down to wild animals.
Categories: Religion Comments (0)
The Virgin Mary Stump
Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 22, 2013
It can be found in Harlingen, Texas. A mesquite tree was recently struck by lightning, and now some people are saying the resulting stump looks like the silhouette of the Virgin Mary. But others say it looks like "a gnome with a peak hat." [The Monitor]
Categories: Pareidolia Comments (2)
No Monkey
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 21, 2013
Call this the Cameroon Monkey Scam. The scammers bait victims online with the promise of a budget-priced monkey. Only $50. So you send in your money. But then, oh, by the way, you also need to pay for a cage, as well as a monkey license, and shots. By the time it's all over you've spent hundreds of dollars. A Battle Creek, Michigan woman fell for the scam. Finally she went to the police who told her, sorry, you've lost your money and you're not getting a monkey. [wzzm13]
Categories: Scams Comments (1)
Black Friend Connect
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 21, 2013
"Every white person needs a black friend," blackfriendconnect.com tells us. And if you don't have a black friend already, they've got you covered. For a reasonable fee, they'll provide a black friend who's willing to "give you a hug, fist bump, high-five or whichever you prefer," and will also attend "your favorite white concert" with you. The joke here seems obvious enough that there's no need to prove the site is a hoax. But if you really want to prove it to yourself, try placing an order for one of these black friends. There's a phone number listed on the site, in the top left corner. I googled it, and found a page (scroll down to the bottom…
Categories: Websites Comments (0)
The Beast of Trowbridge
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 21, 2013
A 71-year-old pensioner recently claimed to have caught a photo of the "Beast of Trowbridge" — a large black panther that supposedly roams wild in Wiltshire. The photo was genuine, but it wasn't taken in Wiltshire. Nor was the pensioner the photographer. Turns out it was actually taken in Lapeer County, Michigan and posted online six years ago. [mirror.co.uk]
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos Comments (1)
Oops! We forgot the elevators
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 21, 2013
From Europe comes a good example of the absent-minded engineer urban legend. The most common variant of this legend, which seems to be repeated on almost every university campus, is that the library is sinking, because the engineers forgot to include the weight of the books when designing the building. The version that recently reared its head in the European press is that the Edificio Intempo skyscrapers currently under construction in Spain, which will be Europe's tallest residential towers when completed, won't have elevators on the top 27 storeys because the engineers forgot to design them in. The story, as repeated in newspapers such as El Pais, is that the buildings were originally going to be 20 storeys high, but developers later decided to…
Categories: Urban Legends Comments (1)
The Substitute Zoo
Posted by The Curator on Tue Aug 20, 2013
Back in April 2012 I posted about the Dream Park El Janoob Zoo in the Gaza Strip, which was displaying taxidermied animals, because it couldn't afford living ones. Now we have the People's Park of Luohe in Henan, which has been thinking along similar creative lines. Instead of a lion in the African Lion cage, they've got a Tibetan mastiff dog in there. It does look vaguely similar to a lion, if you squint. However, it barks. Other substitutes include two rodents in the snake's cage, a white fox in the leopard's den, and a common dog in the wolf's pen. But this isn't being done because of a lack of funds. The zoo explains that the actual animals have been sent…
Categories: Animals Comments (1)
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.