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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
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'Solar Armor' freezes man in Nevada Desert, 1874
Eccentric's last prank, 66 years after his death, 1900
Tube of liquor hidden in prohibition-era boot, 1920s

A black lion: real or fake?
Old-Time Photo Fakery, 1900 to 1919
Fake Photos of Very Large Animals
The Cottingley Fairies, 1917
Brief History of Triple-Decker Buses
Boy floats away in balloon, 2009
The Lovely Feejee Mermaid, 1842
The Pirate Bay isn’t moving to North Korea
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 06, 2013
On Monday, The Pirate Bay issued a press release on its blog announcing that it was moving to North Korea: PRESS RELEASE, NEW PROVIDER FOR TPB FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 3 MARCH 102, 평양 (PYONGYANG). The Pirate Bay has been hunted in many countries around the world. Not for illegal activities but being persecuted for beliefs of freedom of information. Today, a new chapter is written in the history of the movement, as well as the history of the internets... Today we can reveal that we have been invited by the leader of the republic of Korea, to fight our battles from their network. This is truly an ironic situation. We have been fighting for a free world, and our opponents are mostly huge...
No meat in Nautabökunni?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 05, 2013
In response to the widening horse-meat scandal in Europe, Icelandic food authorities decided to conduct tests on some of their country's own food products. They didn't find any horse meat, but to their surprise they discovered that one brand of beef pie, Nautabökunni, contained no meat at all. Or, at least, the pies had "no mammalian DNA." Instead, the pies contained some kind of vegetable matter masquerading as beef. The company that makes the pies says it's dumbfounded by the results, and has asked for more tests, questioning the accuracy of the initial ones. The co-owner of the company is quoted as saying, "I'm not saying that this is chock-full with mincemeat, but we use soya meat to...
Categories: Food Comments (4)
Man fakes his own abduction to avoid girlfriend’s wrath
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 05, 2013
Not exactly a criminal mastermind. Rahmell Pettway needed a good excuse to explain his two-week absence from his Bedford-Stuyvesant home to his girlfriend. So he faked his own abduction, tying himself up with duct tape on the side of a street. When found, he told police that two men in a light-blue minivan had first abducted him and then dumped him there. The problem? The roll of duct tape was still dangling from his wrists. This made the police suspicious, and soon Pettway confessed the whole scheme. They arrested him for filing a false report. Brooklyn man fakes his own kidnapping to explain two-week absence to girlfriend nypost.com authorities grew suspicious of his account, and Pettway...
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (0)
Belly Ballot Baby Name Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 05, 2013
Belly Ballot is an internet site that helps parents name their baby by "crowdsourcing" the process. That is, it allows parents to create a shortlist of names that their friends and family can vote on. Back in January, the site announced a "Belly Branding" contest: "One lucky pregnant couple may win $5000 in exchange for letting the entire world decide their baby's name." And in mid-February it declared a winner, LA-based art teacher Natasha Hill. It posted some photos of Natasha as well as a screenshot of her facebook page. Belly Ballot told the Huffington Post that Hill was chosen from a pool of nearly 80 applicants because of "her honesty and enthusiasm." The unusual contest received...
Categories: Birth/Babies Comments (1)
The Ref Vanishes
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 01, 2013
Washington Post photographer Tracy Woodward won an Award of Excellence for his image "State Champion" that he entered in the 2013 White House News Photographers Association ‘Eyes of History’ stills photo contest in the Sports Feature/Reaction category. But Woodward's editors at the Post noticed that the image had been altered since the time when it had first appeared in the paper. Specifically, Woodward had deleted the referee standing in the background. (Although you can still faintly see the outline of his pants.) It is a better picture without the ref, but such a major alteration violated the rules of the contest. So Woodward's award was rescinded. [deadspin] Check out the Hoax...
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (3)
Bird Poo Jesus
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 27, 2013
Thanks to LaMa for bringing this recent Jesus sighting to our attention. A bird pooped on the windshield of Jim Lawry's car, while the car was parked in his parents' driveway outside their Brooklyn, Ohio home. When he got into his car, Lawry could clearly see the face of Jesus looking at him from within the poop. Lawry says it's "some sort of sign." [newsnet5.com]
Categories: Pareidolia Comments (6)
Dog Fight Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 27, 2013
Over in Perth (home to a couple of MOHers!) there's a rumor going around about an organized dog fighting ring that's stealing pets and using them in fights. The larger dogs are supposedly starved and turned into fighters, while smaller animals are used as "bait." A flier (below), posted on Facebook, is helping to spread the warning. People are also being warned that the pet thieves are tagging the homes of potential victims with red dots, as shown in this picture: However, the police and animal welfare authorities insist there's simply no evidence that any of this is happening. Social media expert Tama Leaver is quoted as saying, "To go from dog missing to dog fight is a long bow."...
Categories: Animals Comments (0)
Pig Rescues Baby Goat Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 27, 2013
Back in September 2012, a video was uploaded to youtube showing a pig rescuing a baby goat that was supposedly stuck in a pond at a petting zoo. The video got millions of views on youtube and was widely aired in the media (including being shown on Good Morning America, the NBC Nightly News, and Fox News). Yesterday, it was revealed to be entirely staged. It was created for a Comedy Central series, "Nathan For You," which is debuting this week (thus the timing of the reveal). The pig was directed toward the goat by means of an underwater plexiglass ramp. The New York Times has a fairly long article about the video hoax, including comments from some media critics who take the news...
Categories: Videos Comments (1)
Did Gerard de Nerval walk his pet lobster through Paris?
Posted by The Curator on Mon Feb 25, 2013
Legend has it that the 19th-century French Romantic poet Gérard de Nerval (1808-1855) had a pet lobster named Thibault that he took on walks in the Palais Royal gardens of Paris, using a blue silk ribbon as a leash. When asked why he did this, he replied Why should a lobster be any more ridiculous than a dog? Or a cat, or a gazelle, or a lion, or any other animal that one chooses to take for a walk? I have a liking for lobsters. They are peaceful, serious creatures. They know the secrets of the sea, they don't bark, and they don't gobble up your monadic privacy like dogs do. And Goethe had an aversion to dogs, and he wasn't mad! It's an amusing story, but is it true? Did Nerval...
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (1)
104-year-old woman forced to lie about age on Facebook
Posted by The Curator on Mon Feb 25, 2013
On the internet nobody knows if you're a dog. And on Facebook, nobody knows if you're really a 104-year-old woman... because Facebook won't accept 104 as a valid age! Woman, 104, forced to lie about age on Facebook dailyherald.com Marguerite Joseph can be forgiven for lying about her age on Facebook. The 104-year-old Michigan woman's granddaughter says Joseph is unable to list her real age on the social media site. Gail Marlow says when she tries inputting her grandmother's birth year as 1908, Facebook changes it to 1928. So for the past two years, the Grosse Pointe Shores centenarian has remained 99 — online, anyway.
Wedding Hoaxer
Posted by The Curator on Sat Feb 23, 2013
Pinder Sondhi's wife was upset to find out that all of her husband's guests at their wedding were actors. He had invited fake friends, relatives, and even parents. His parents were played by an elderly couple who had agreed to do the job on the condition that "they would keep whatever gifts they received in the wedding." Plus, Sondhi had told his wife that he was a banker. That wasn't true. And he was simultaneously married to another woman. He lived with wife #2 during the week, and wife #1 on weekends. [Times of India]
Categories: Sex/Romance Comments (0)
Banksy Arrest Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Sat Feb 23, 2013
A press release posted yesterday on PRLog.com announced that not only had Banksy been arrested (on charges of vandalism, conspiracy, racketeering and counterfeiting), but that his identity had been revealed—his real name supposedly being "Paul William Horner." The press release was a hoax, but a number of media outlets ran with the story before cottoning on to the deception. A humor site, IYWIB.com, appears to be behind the hoax. How a Fake Press Release Convinced the Internet Banksy Had Been Arrested betabeat.com The release stated that Banksy is a 39-year-old Bristol man named Paul William Horner, and he’d been arrested during a police sting. But the document is riddled with...
Categories: Art, Journalism Comments (3)
Chili Finger Lady back in the news
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 22, 2013
Remember Anna Ayala? She was the woman who, back in 2005, concocted the story about finding a human finger in a bowl of Wendy's chili. That story got her 4 years in prison. Looks like she's back in the news, and again for lying to the police. This time she came up with a story about how her son was shot in the foot by an assailant. The truth, however, was that her son shot himself in the foot, but he wasn't allowed to possess a gun because of a burglary conviction, so she was trying to cover for him. If Ayala and her son had told the truth, the son would have been in trouble for illegal gun possession. Now he's still in trouble for having the gun, but the pair are also both facing charges...
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (0)
Horse milk taking the gourmet scene by storm!
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 22, 2013
Horses, of course, do produce milk. And horse milk is considered a delicacy in some cultures. However, this site extolling the virtues of horse milk seems pretty clearly to be tongue-in-cheek: taste test show that consumers clearly prefer horse milk to dog and cat milk, and we know that consumers are tiring of ordinary bovine lactation.  Clearly, horse milk is no flash in the pan. As a gourmet food, horse milk is very expensive but worth the extra cost. Unlike cows, horses have only two teats and a 1,400 lb. mare will produce less than a quart of the precious liquid each day... In the dairy industry it has long been observed that there is a correlation between the number of mammary glands...
Categories: Animals, Food Comments (1)
For Sale: The Minnesota Iceman
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 21, 2013
In an obscure corner of the site, I have a brief blurb about a hoax from the 1960s — the Minnesota Iceman. It was "a strange creature frozen in ice... exhibited at carnivals throughout the Midwest. It appeared to be some kind of neanderthal man." My blurb ends by noting, "Its current whereabouts are not known." But this is no longer true! A few days ago it popped up for sale on eBay. The seller wanted $20,000 for it. And apparently the seller got that much, because it's already sold. I have no idea who bought it, but if they were willing to pay that much, they must have felt pretty sure that it was the original Minnesota Iceman. (via Doubtful News)
Categories: Cryptozoology Comments (1)
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