The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
 
Rare planetary alignment decreases gravity, 1976
Baby Yoga, aka Swinging Your Kid Around Your Head
Mencken's fake history of the bathtub, 1917
Burger King's Left-Handed Whopper Hoax, 1998
Jennifer Love Hewitt's Disappearing Breasts
The Lovely Feejee Mermaid, 1842
Bizarre pictographs of Emmanuel Domenech, 1860
Dead Body of Loch Ness Monster Found, 1972
The Hitler Diary Hoax, 1983
The Instant Color TV Hoax, 1962
Brunus edwardii
I recently received a nice letter from a reader in England:

Dear Mr. Boese,
I have enjoyed the Museum of Hoaxes greatly. I do not know if you want any more examples, but if not just throw this away.
The Veterinary Record is the weekly journal of the Veterinary Profession, and I did the index for 36 years. So on 1st April 1972 I met some observations on the diseases of Brunus edwardii (Species Nova), Vet. Rec. (1972) 90, 382-395. It reads like a perfectly authentic scientific paper though the illustrations give the game away. So I suppose it does not really qualify as a hoax. I understand that the British Library had some difficulty with the classification! But the authors had great fun doing it. If you would be interested to see the text I will send you a photocopy. I am not a vet but a librarian, understandably retired at 92! With all good wishes for 2008.
Yours sincerely,
M.M. Raymer

After debating whether or not to throw away her letter (of course not!), I decided to drive up to UCSD, where I hunted down the Veterinary Record (UCSD has a complete run of it), and made a copy of the article.

The article does describe, in a dry, scientific fashion, the diseases of Brunus edwardii, which is described as a species "commonly kept in homes in the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe and North America." The article warns that: "Pet ownership surveys have shown that 63.8 percent of households are inhabited by one or more of these animals, and there is a statistically significant relationship between their population and the number of children in a household. The public health implications of this fact are obvious, and it is imperative that more be known about their diseases, particularly zoonoses or other conditions which might be associated with their close contact with man."

The pictures do give the joke away:



For months afterwards the correspondence section of the Veterinary Record was dominated by letters about Brunus edwardii. A few readers were outraged by it, such as A. Noel Smith who wrote:

I have been practising veterinary medicine for the past 12 years or more "across the pond" and my Veterinary Records arrive a month or more late. However, I still open them with interest and read what is going on "at home". April 1st's edition thoroughly soured my interest. How three members holding sets of impressive degrees can waste their time writing such garbage in a journal that is the official publication of the B.V.A. is beyond my comprehension, as is your effrontery to publish it under "Clinical Papers".

But most of the correspondents loved it. It proved so popular that it was eventually published in a special edition by Whittington Press.

Anyway, thanks to M.M. Raymer for the reference.
Categories: Animals, Science
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 30, 2008
Comments (14)
Just a note, and I'm making an educated guess here.
"Brunus edwardii" seems to be a Latin version of "Edward Bear", which is the "proper" name of Winnie-the-Pooh. I found elsewhere that this paper did indeed make references to A. A. Milne's works.
(Brunus is Medieval Latin for "brown", akin to the name "bruin" for a bear.)
Posted by Kevin  on  Wed Apr 30, 2008  at  12:04 PM
I assumed it was the 'proper' name for a teddy bear in general, and not specifically Pooh.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Wed Apr 30, 2008  at  12:23 PM
I hope Mr. Smith has found a sense of humor in the intervening years. He must have been real fun at parties.
Posted by KDP  in  Madill, OK  on  Wed Apr 30, 2008  at  01:53 PM
Edward Bear was a Toronto rock band formed in the late 1960s as the Edward Bear Revue. It played at first in Yorkville coffeehouses and as a trio began recording for Capitol in 1969. Members 1969-74 were the singer-songwriter-drummer Larry Evoy, the guitarist Danny Marks until 1971, replaced by Roger Ellis, and the organist Paul Weldon until 1972, replaced by Bob Kendal.Three of the band's singles were popular internationally: 'You, Me and Mexico' (1970), the million-seller 'The Last Song' (1972), and 'Close Your Eyes' (1973).
Posted by Canadarm  in  Toronto  on  Wed Apr 30, 2008  at  01:53 PM
This reminds me a little of the whole Di-Hydrogen Mono-Oxygen prank that prominently catches a new victim every couple of years. Take a common item, twist it's name to a scientific sounding version, then write it up with true details, but in such a way that it is not particularly obvious what the true subject of the article is.
Posted by TexasAndroid  on  Wed Apr 30, 2008  at  03:24 PM
Fun!
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Wed Apr 30, 2008  at  05:55 PM
I think that's lovely! smile
Posted by Madmouse  in  Edinburgh  on  Wed Apr 30, 2008  at  08:24 PM
I think poor Dr. Smith is suffering from culivirga condosis.
Posted by Crazy Ivan  on  Fri May 02, 2008  at  12:22 PM
noise from stuffed bear nose: ursinus sinus whinus, first discovered by Dr. Rufus Leeking, of Bent Noodle, Ohio.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Fri May 02, 2008  at  04:09 PM
Applications of ultrasonography in the reproductive management of Dux magnus gentis venteris saginati, is a paper published in
The Veterinary Record 160:94-96 (2007), the journal of the British Veterinary Association. It was published to coincide with Burns' Night 2007. You may be able to guess the chieftain subject.
Posted by Scott Keir  in  London, UK  on  Sat May 03, 2008  at  05:27 PM
Since "Teddy" is a nickname for "Edward," "Brunus Edwardii" is plausible dog Latin for "Teddy Bear."
Posted by Big Gary  in  Buffalo Bayou, Texas  on  Mon May 05, 2008  at  05:04 PM
Isn't that what I said? wink
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Tue May 06, 2008  at  11:12 AM
Yes, Charybdis, I was seconding and amplifying your comment.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Buffalo Bayou  on  Wed May 07, 2008  at  05:41 PM
I think poor Dr. Smith is suffering from culivirga condosis
Posted by giysi giydirme oyunları  on  Sun Nov 01, 2009  at  12:11 AM
Commenting is no longer available for this post.
All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.