The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
Waterstones Introduces Owl Delivery
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 04, 2013
This is their response to Amazon's recent announcement that by 2015 it hopes to be using drones to deliver packages within 30 minutes of being ordered. Drone-delivery seems to be the hot new thing. Less than two months ago, I posted about an Australian textbook rental service that hopes to soon be using drones to deliver books. But as I pointed out then, drones have also been a popular theme in the world of hoaxes. For instance, there was TacoCopter (drones delivering tacos) as well as Parrot Air Drone Postal from the French postal service. I'm among the drone skeptics. Having thousands…
Categories: Technology Comments (0)
Hyperrealistic iPad portrait of Morgan Freeman
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 04, 2013
This isn't a photo. It's a painting. Or so claims UK artist Kyle Lambert who says he made it using a fingerpainting iPad app called Procreate. He's posted a video showing the creation of the painting from start to finish. Lambert based the painting on an existing photo (below) of Morgan Freeman. This has led skeptics (of which there are many) to suggest that Lambert simply traced over the photo, which doesn't take a lot of skill. But Lambert denies this. He sent an email to Gizmodo stating: at no stage was the original photograph on my iPad or…
Categories: Art Comments (2)
Cat Drinks From Bottle
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 03, 2013
There's not a lot of info on where this photo comes from. It's listed on the website of the French National Library as having been created in 1911 by the "Agence Rol." photo agency. For 1911, it's a pretty good example of photo fakery. Also included in the same series is "Cat peers through binoculars" and "cat looks through a telescope." Found these over at retronaut.com.
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos Comments (0)
Soviet Pilot Flies Under Bridge, 1965
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 03, 2013
This image shows Soviet pilot Valentin Privalov flying a MiG-17 under the central span of the Communal Bridge over the River Ob in Novosibirsk on June 4, 1965. The story goes (as much as I can piece it together) that Privalov did this on his own initiative, as a stunt. The shore of the river was filled with vacationers, among whom were officers from the district headquarters, when suddenly the MiG came roaring out of the sky. Afterwards the crowd spontaneously started to applaud, but Privalov's superiors weren't happy, and they suspended him. He was threatened with disciplinary action, but Secretary of Defense Marshal Malinovsky (perhaps swayed by positive public reaction to…
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (1)
The Paul Walker Reverse Death Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 02, 2013
Celebrity death hoaxes have become such a pervasive part of the internet that when a celebrity really dies, particularly a young celebrity, people legitimately wonder if the news is real or fake. And that's exactly what happened after actor Paul Walker died in a car crash on Nov. 30. Adding to the uncertainty was the manner of his death. A lot of death hoaxes feature death-by-car-crash (that's the way Paul McCartney supposedly died back in 1966), so when the news came in that Walker (star of the Fast and Furious car-racing film franchise) had met his end in a crash, it did sound a bit hoax-like. But that's the way it actually happened.
Categories: Death Comments (0)
Help Save the Blondes
Posted by The Curator on Sun Dec 01, 2013
Assuming this story is true, it sounds like this woman has fallen for that urban legend about the gene for blonde hair being driven out of existence due to the greater percentage of dark-haired people in the world. According to the legend, the World Health Organization has predicted that in 200 years there will be no blondes left. THIS ANGOLAN LADY WALKS AROUND LONDON CAMPAIGNING TO SAVE BLONDE PEOPLE vice.com Say hello to Maria de Jesus-Lucungo... Maria has made it her life goal to campaign for the protection of the UK's blonde population. She believes that England's flaxen-haired brothers and sisters are under threat of extinction and that, if they disappear, "the…
Categories: Urban Legends Comments (2)
Starting Gate for Sprinters?
Posted by The Curator on Sun Dec 01, 2013
I'm not sure whether or not this was an April Fool's Day joke. I found it in the Mar 31, 1934 issue of the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, which contained quite a few April Fool spoof articles, such as the "Loch Ness Monster Captured" article that I posted about recently. But this feature about a new starting gate for sprinters... I just don't know. I've never heard of such a thing before. But on the other hand, it sounds kinda plausible. In fact, some googling revealed that the Ancient Greeks used a starting gate for sprinters, which they called a husplex. However, I can't find any references…
Categories: April Fools Day, Sports Comments (3)
News anchors brave the elements, indoors
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 28, 2013
Everyone assumed that the Duluth Northland News Center team was outside during the coverage of the "Christmas City of the North" Parade on Nov 22. After all, they were wearing heavy jackets. But it turns out they were inside, in front of a green screen. But the News Director insists there was no deception because, if you want to get technical about it, they never actually said they were outside. [jimromenesko, mix108.com]
Categories: Journalism Comments (0)
The Nantucket Sea Serpent Hoax of 1937
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 28, 2013
There's a long history of sea-serpent sightings off the coast of New England. A flurry of sightings occurred in August 1817, when fishermen in Gloucester, Massachusetts witnessed a giant sea creature with a horned head ("much like the head of a turtle... and larger than the head on any dog") swimming in the ocean. A local scientific society launched an investigation and concluded that the creature might be a previously unknown species, Scoliophis atlanticus (Atlantic humped snake). However, skeptics denounced the sightings as a hoax. Broadsheet sold by Henry Bowen of Boston - Aug 22, 1817 As the years passed, reports of a sea serpent continued to trickle in.…
Categories: Cryptozoology Comments (1)
Shanty Town—The Unique Accommodation Experience
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 27, 2013
If you're curious about what it would be like to live in a shanty town, but you don't actually want to set foot in a real shanty town, then perhaps the Emoya Luxury Hotel & Spa's "Shanty Town" might be for you. It's a "unique accommodation experience" located near Bloemfontein, South Africa. The Emoya website says: Experience an unique stay at our Shanty Town (Mkukhu Villlage / Shack Village) where you have to use the famous "long-drop" outside toilet and make your own fire for hot water in the traditional "donkey". This is the first ever shanty town in the world equipped with under-floor heating and wireless internet access. …
Categories: Places Comments (0)
Invisible Girlfriend
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 27, 2013
The premise of Invisible Girlfriend is that if you need to pretend that you have a girlfriend (for instance, if a guy is trying to hide the fact that he's gay) this company will provide you with convincing proof to back up your story. Matt Homann, its founder, says, "This is the business of helping [clients] tell a lie — we’re thinking of it more as a shield — to have the excuse ready in hand and not have to be uncomfortable." [BuzzFeed] Fake girlfriend services are not new. I've posted about quite a few of them here, including FakeGirlfriend.co, Cloud Girlfriend, Girlfriend Hire,…
Categories: Sex/Romance Comments (2)
Kazimir Malevich Rejected
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 27, 2013
Someone calling himself Michael Mikrivaz (his YouTube username) made charcoal reproductions of works by the early-20th-century Russian abstract artist Kazimir Malevich (whose art now regularly sells for millions of dollars). He then took these sketches to several art academies, claiming they were his own works, and asked for an opinion on his chances of getting in. Two academies told him that, based on these works, he wouldn't get accepted. This is an example of what I call the "Spurious Submission" type of hoax. (I've been trying to think of a better term for it for a long time, but nothing has occurred to me.)
Categories: Art Comments (0)
World’s Largest Tortoise
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 26, 2013
The International Business Times reports that a "fake image" purporting to show the "world's largest tortoise" being transported on a flatbed truck has recently been circulating online. I think it's been circulating for at least half a year, but it's not correct to call it a fake image. It's a still from Gamera The Brave (a 2006 Japanese monster movie) that has been falsely captioned. Here's another picture of the "world's largest tortoise" in action: The question that popped into my head is whether the creature in the image is a tortoise or a turtle. The distinction between the two has…
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos Comments (1)
Another case of a note on a restaurant receipt
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 26, 2013
Dayna Morales, a server at the Gallop Asian Bistro in New Jersey, says that a couple she recently waited on not only didn't tip her, but also left a note on the receipt criticizing her lifestyle. So Morales took a photo of the receipt and uploaded it to the facebook page of the "Have A Gay Day" organization. The photo attracted a lot of publicity and sympathetic supporters soon sent Morales almost $3000, which she says she's donating to charity. But the twist in the story: a couple has contacted a local news station claiming they were the ones whom Morales served and a) they did tip her…
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror Comments (4)
Tornado Photo Fakery
Posted by The Curator on Sun Nov 24, 2013
When tornadoes struck the Midwest last week, some unusual photo fakes managed to get past the media fact-checkers who try to catch these things before publishing or broadcasting them. The WTHR website posted a photo (submitted by an "iwitness contributor") that showed downtown Lafayette being threatened by both a fake tornado and a UFO. [jimromenesko.com] The fake — with red arrow added by reporter Eric Weddle to show the UFO The original And Chicago CBS affiliate WBBM ran a tornado photo that included a small man-cow love sign photoshopped into the bottom-left corner. The photo itself actually showed a tornado…
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (0)
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