The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
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)
The Samsung Pays Apple in Nickels Rumor
Posted by The Curator on Sat Nov 23, 2013
In August 2012, a jury awarded Apple over $1 billion in damages in their patent infringement case against Samsung. This sparked a rumor that Samsung had gotten its own back against Apple by paying the fine entirely in nickels — sending 30 trucks full of nickels over to Apple's headquarters. A video of a bunch of delivery trucks driving down a city street was offered as confirmation of the rumor — although the trucks in the video weren't from Samsung. A picture also circulated showing coins pouring down a ramp in some warehouse setting. The Guardian posted a good…
Categories: Business/Finance Comments (2)
eMeringue
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 22, 2013
If you need a meringue top for a pie, and you need it fast, then look no further than eMeringue.com. They're the "Internet's #1 meringue delivery service." Their fleet of eMeringue trucks are gassed up and ready to hit the highway, to deliver your meringue top directly to your door. eMeringue was an April Fool's Day hoax by the Motley Fool investment people. But it dates back to 1999, so I'm impressed that they've kept the site up all this time. If you look at the eMeringue welcome page, you'll see a photo of "eMeringue chef Serge LeGrenouille." My wife is the food geek in the family,…
Categories: Food, Websites Comments (0)
Rat-Milk Cheese Redux
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 22, 2013
Back in 2005, I posted about the website of The Federation of Rodent Cheesemakers, promoters of rat-milk cheese. That website is suddenly back in the news, thanks to an article in Modern Farmer, "Rat Cheese: Internet Hoax or Future Delicacy?" The author (Sam Brasch) acknowledges that the Rodent Cheesemakers site is a spoof, but then he seriously addresses the question of how to make cheese from rat milk. He notes that you would need a lot of rats: "You’d need an army of 674 rats to produce the 31 kilograms of milk one dairy cow puts out each day." But if you had that many rats, they might produce…
Categories: Food Comments (0)
Clown Crime Spree
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 22, 2013
West Yorkshire police denied reports there was a sinister clown on the prowl in Bradford, "peering in windows, committing robberies and even stabbing people." A police spokesman said, "This seems like it might be a hoax. We haven't had any reports of crimes committed by a clown, I can say that much." During the past week, a photo has been circulating on facebook and twitter showing an evil clown standing outside a Bradford McDonalds. This photo has apparently helped to fuel the rumors of a clown crime spree. The Bradford Telegraph and Argus notes that the most popular search term recently on its website has been "clown".
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (0)
Emus Going Cheap
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 21, 2013
I posted last year about India's Great Emu Scam. Thousands of people, lured in by con artists, invested in emu farms, believing they were a sure-fire way to get rich quick. But demand for emu products never materialized, and so the investors lost their money. The fallout from all this is not only lost money, but also huge herds of homeless emus that no one can figure out what to do with. India's Revenue department is trying to sell them, but isn't finding any buyers, even though the emus are being offered for pennies on the dollar. [thehindu.com]
Categories: Comments (3)
LoveRoom
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 21, 2013
The premise of LoveRoom is that it's an apartment rental service that only rents to attractive people. So if you're an attractive person with an extra bed you're willing to rent out, LoveRoom will match you with another attractive person looking for a bed to rent. Forbes calls it an "Airbnb for Hotties". After the recent debut of the LoveRoom website, quite a few media outlets wrote about the company as if it were a real thing. But Forbes reporter Kashmir Hill didn't have to do much digging before she learned it was only a "thought experiment" — so-called by Josh Bocanegra, who's the guy who put up the…
Categories: Comments (1)
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