The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
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]
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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…
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Sam Harris Takes a Stance Against the Santa Lie
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 20, 2013
Sam Harris argues that parents should never lie to their own children, even about something as seemingly innocuous as the existence of Santa, because all lies can sow the seeds of distrust between parent and child. I see his point. But if any kid asks me if Jackalopes are real, I'm going to continue to tell them they are, because that's the truth. The High Cost of Tiny Lies Sam Harris I don’t remember whether I ever believed in Santa, but I was never tempted to tell my daughter that he was real. Christmas must be marginally more exciting for children who are duped about Santa—but something similar could be said of many…
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales Comments (1)
From the Archive: The Loch Ness Monster Captured, 1934
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 19, 2013
The "Surgeon's Photo" taken on April 19, 1934 was one of the earliest (and remains the most famous) Nessie photo hoax. But three weeks before the Surgeon's Photo was taken, the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung came out with a photo-feature declaring that Nessie had been captured ("Das Untier vom Loch Ness gefangen!"). It was an April Fool's Day hoax. I recently acquired a copy of the article, so I've added it to the April Fool archive. You can see why this Nessie hoax never became as famous as the Surgeon's Photo, because I doubt it fooled anyone. Still, it's an interesting piece of Nessie history. Read the full thing here.
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Squirrel Rides Fawn
Posted by The Curator on Sat Nov 16, 2013
This unusual photo ran in numerous papers in September 1963. I can't find a linkable example in the Google News Archive, but here it is in the Binghamton Press [PDF]. (A lot of examples of it come up in a search on newspaperarchive.com, but that's a paid archive, so I can't link to any of the results.) The caption read: All the animals are pretty tame at the Percy Pangborn Ranch above Lake Wenatchee in the foothills of Washington State's Cascade Mountains, Sept 14. 1963. A golden mantled ground squirrel chomps away on a nut as it rides around on the neck of a fawn. The photo looks…
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos Comments (0)
Fake Einstein Quotation Paperweight
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 15, 2013
I recently received an "Uncommon Goods" catalog in the mail and noticed an item they call the "Imagination Paperweight." It displays an inspiring Albert Einstein quotation: "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." Knowing how many fake Einstein quotations there are floating around, my suspicion was aroused. So I checked and sure enough, this Einstein quotation has been called into question by the few people who have bothered to investigate it (as opposed to mindlessly parroting it). The Skeptica Esoterica blog notes that it's listed in The Ultimate Quotable Einstein (2010) by Alice Calaprice, but it's in the "Probably Not…
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (1)
‘Help Me, I’m German!’
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 15, 2013
UK police are warning drivers of a new scam in which fraudsters pose as stranded motorists in lay-bys, beseeching the aid of good samaritans with pleas such as, "Help me, I'm German!" The fraudsters claim that they're out of gas and have lost their wallet. But they offer gold jewelry in return for money. The scam is that the gold jewelry is fake. [cambridge-news] When I first saw the headline I thought it was going to be about people who wake up, realize they've become German, and cry out for help. Kind of like a Germanified version of Gregor Samsa. That would have been better.
Categories: Scams Comments (3)
Typing fake profiles causes wrist injury (maybe)
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 13, 2013
Doriana Silva says she was hired by Ashley Madison (that matchmaking service that caters to people who want to have extramarital affairs) in order to type up 1000 fake female profiles for the company's new Portuguese-language website. Doing this, she claims, led to severe wrist and forearm pain, and she now wants compensation, to the tune of $20 million. Ashley Madison admits it hired Silva, but dismisses her claims as frivolous. It points out that one of Silva's recent facebook photos shows her jet skiing during a vacation, apparently unhampered by severe wrist pain. [When will people learn that if it's on facebook, everyone can potentially see it?] As for the idea…
Categories: Sex/Romance Comments (0)
Dave Wilson—Not Black
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 13, 2013
Dave Wilson insists he didn't get elected to the Houston Community College System Board of Trustees by "pretending to be black," though many people are now accusing him of doing exactly that. He says he merely ran a smart campaign and used "targeted marketing" to appeal to voters in the majority black neighborhood where he was running. Yes, he avoided putting a photo of his own white face in his campaign literature, but included lots of stock photos of smiling black people. But there's nothing illegal in that. And yes, he did prominently claim to be endorsed by Ron Wilson. People might have assumed…
In the first months of 1945, the Allied forces began advancing rapidly on Berlin. But to the press correspondents tagging along behind the military, it seemed as if the going was actually quite slow. They had thought they would be in Berlin in a few days, but instead officers kept telling them that Berlin would be reached soon, but there was just one more stream, one more creek, one more canal, one more small river that had to be taken first. So Bill Heinz of the New York Sun joked that the path to Berlin would be clear as soon as Unterstitzen on the Bleiweis was taken — the joke being that there was no…
Categories: Places Comments (0)
Andy Kaufman’s Daughter
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 12, 2013
The surprise guest at this year's Andy Kaufman Awards, which took place in NYC over the long weekend, was Andy Kaufman's 24-year-old daughter. The surprise is that Kaufman died 29 years ago. And Andy didn't store his sperm, or anything like that, in order to facilitate post-mortem conception. Andy's brother Michael explained that Andy faked his death because "Andy wanted to go into hiding and live a normal life, that he'd met and fallen in love with a woman and had a daughter, and that he didn't want Michael or anyone to say anything while their own father was still alive. Andy's and Michael's father died this summer. " [via The Comics Comic]
Categories: Death, Identity/Imposters Comments (2)
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