The Museum of Hoaxes
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Mencken's fake history of the bathtub, 1917
The Great Electric Sugar Swindle, 1884
Stotham, Massachusetts: the town that didn't exist, 1920
Pierre Brassau, Monkey Artist, 1964
The Cottingley Fairies, 1917
Cursed by Allah
Taco Bells buys the Liberty Bell, 1996
Snowball the Monster Cat, 2000
Mule elected G.O.P. committeeman, 1938
BMW's April Fool's Day Hoaxes
Myth: Pearls are made from a grain of sand
Came across this in a Guardian article about a new exhibit opening at the Victoria & Albert Museum:

V&A dissolves myths around pearls in major new show
The Guardian

[Marilyn] Monroe and [Elizabeth] Taylor are represented in a show devoted to pearls, opening at the V&A on Saturday.

Neither probably knew the grimmer truth of what they were wearing. "The pearls are formed around the larvae from a tapeworm coming from the excrement of other animals," said the show's co-curator, Hubert Bari. "The people marketing them prefer to say 'it is so fantastic: your necklace was made from a grain of sand'. It is better to speak about a grain of sand than to speak about a piece of shit from a stingray."

The grain of sand myth is so entrenched that the V&A has included a video showing precisely how pearls are formed – how tiny tapeworm larvae that live in the digestive systems of animals such as sharks and stingrays are excreted and then, very rarely, manage to get into water-filtering shellfish. Some get trapped between the shell and the outer epithelial tissue, and it is from this that the pearl emerges and the larvae dissolves.
Categories: Science
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 17, 2013
Comments (2)
Alex, you aren't taking that story seriously?

Parasites can result in pearl formation but so can almost any insult to the mantle tissue.
Posted by Carl  in  Long Island, Ny  on  Tue Sep 17, 2013  at  11:07 PM
Carl -- I have to admit I have basically no clue how pearls are formed, but I was quite taken with the thought of pearls forming from little nuggets of poop.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Wed Sep 18, 2013  at  05:56 PM
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