The Museum of Hoaxes
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Stotham, Massachusetts: the town that didn't exist, 1920
Tube of liquor hidden in prohibition-era boot, 1920s
The Stone-Age Tasaday Hoax, 1971
Jean Gauntt, the Immortal Baby, 1939
Prof. Wingard's Death Ray Hoax, 1876
war of the worlds
The night Martians invaded New Jersey, 1938
Dog wins art contest, 1974
Can a bar of soap between your sheets ease muscle cramps?
The Lovely Feejee Mermaid, 1842
Mencken's fake history of the bathtub, 1917
Shroud of Turin
image BBC News has a good summary of the Shroud of Turin controversy, in light of the second face that was discovered on the backside of it. "Does this mean it is real after all? Or does it mean it's an even better hoax than was previously thought?" The answer: no one really knows. I noted in my book that the debate about the shroud rages on and likely will for the foreseeable future. The emergence of new evidence has simply made that more true than ever.
Categories: History, Religion
Posted by The Curator on Sun Apr 18, 2004
Comments (24)
The thing that always got me is something you can do yourself:
First, cover your face with cold cream, face powder, body paint, mud...anything that will show up on cloth.
Next, take a cloth...any cloth that is lighter than what ever you put over your face...and press it onto your face. Be sure to cover your face fully, to get your cheeks, chin, forhead right up to and including your hairline, like it is in the shroud.
Last, peel the cloth off you face and look at it.
It will be a "double-wide" of your face...a "pressing" of a face doesn't come out like a snap shot...it's more like a panorama.
Posted by Gee  in  Boise  on  Tue Apr 20, 2004  at  02:21 PM
Gee, you got a good point. I have thought about that too. But I don't hear anyone talk about it in the documentaries etc..

Anyone else has any input on this??
Posted by td  on  Tue Apr 20, 2004  at  06:47 PM
Take a look at

http://www.shroudstory.com/natural.htm
Posted by wfa  on  Tue Apr 20, 2004  at  06:56 PM
This "shroud" is complete nonsense, and I'm so sick of people writing and talking about it. Numerous reputable scientists have wasted their time and talents testing this idiotic piece of pro-Biblical propaganda, and each has come away with the same conclusion: this thing is not old enough to have even been around during the supposed time of Jesus (at best, it's around 700 hundred years old), and nothing about its creation is unusual or "otherworldly."

There will always be crackpots who write books and make claims about things of this nature (including some people with an impressive string of letters after their names), but the evidence tells a different story than the filtered version they'll give you. For instance, the best evidence for its being a hoax is that radiocarbon dating puts its origins from between 1260 and 1390 A.D., a full 1300 after Jesus' supposed time. I'll step down off my soap box now, though and invite you all read more here: http://www.uiowa.edu/~anthro/webcourse/lost/shroudpage.htm )
Posted by Sheldon  in  San Ramon, CA  on  Sun Apr 25, 2004  at  07:12 PM
Sheldon...
I'm with you, dude! But, to risk still harping on the stupid thing...I would like to know how much public money (time is money too) has been wasted on this.
Posted by Gee  in  Boise  on  Mon Apr 26, 2004  at  06:09 PM
It's funny how christians like to go prey at water marks on bank buildings, funny faces on tortilla chips, and shrouds of Turin.

They are always wanting to stuff thier religion down your throat, but they can't seem to follow it themselves:

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth."
Posted by Sunday Chritiansan  in  I'm right here  on  Thu Jun 03, 2004  at  03:27 PM
Best explanation:

http://shroudstory.com/faq-burial-of-caiaphas.htm
Posted by Jake  in  New York  on  Wed Sep 08, 2004  at  04:26 AM
DO NOT take the web site below (posted by Jake) as a scientific examination. It is designed to appear as though it summarizes all of the "mysterious" findings regarding the Shroud of Turin (even referring to it by a different, and supposed more accurate, name), but it's actually Christian propaganda and "woo-woo" childishness.

The author (a self-professed believer in the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin) presents "evidence" from other biased "researchers," cherry-picks the findings from such reputable publications as National Geographic, and otherwise blurs the distinctions between what we know (the facts against the Shroud's authenticity) and what we don't know (which the author conveniently displays as if it is evidence for the Shroud's authenticity).

Once again, the best site in my opinion is: http://www.uiowa.edu/~anthro/webcourse/lost/shroudpage.htm

You can also visit James Randi's JREF web site to get answers to questions and "mysteries" that are just as ridiculous and persistent ( http://www.Randi.org )
Posted by Sheldon  on  Wed Sep 08, 2004  at  01:13 PM
A quick note to those of you who claim (or believe) that the Shroud of Turin is nothing more than "Christian prpaganda."

I am a pastor and I have been a Christian for more than half of my life. I also believe that the Shroud of Turin is a hoax.

You will find that most Christians believe exactly the same thing.

If what you are after is truth, start by accepting the fact that if the Shroud of Turin is to be viewed as "propaganda," it is not "Christian propaganda" but rather "Catholic propaganda."

BIG difference!

Sincerely,
Rev. R. Erin Lenth
Posted by Rev. R. Erin Lenth  on  Tue Sep 14, 2004  at  01:15 PM
Christian propaganda, Catholic propaganda. Tom-AY-to, tom-AH-to.

I just love how the "believers" engage in all this in-fighting. The fact is, this all feeds into the one BIG lie..."There IS a god." Religion is nothing more than one big hoax.

I like Michael Shermer's (Author of "Why People Believe in Weird Things") comment at a recent debate on the existence of god. He asked the room full of Christians whether they believed in Zeus, Isis, and a number of other gods. No one raised their hands. He then explained that, according to historians, humans have believed in approximately 2500 gods and goddesses over the course of recorded history. "The only difference between you and me is that you're all considered Atheists in 2499 of them, and I'm considered an Atheist in all 2500."

Gotta love it!
Posted by Sheldon  on  Tue Sep 14, 2004  at  03:45 PM
QUOTING SHELDON--- "The only difference between you and me is that you're all considered Atheists in 2499 of them, and I'm considered an Atheist in all 2500." ---END QUOTE

You have neglected to mention one other very BIG difference:

I believe in a "religion" that has been objectively proven by "secular" science to be as close to 100% reliable as you can get.

Secular science proved in 1958 that the trustworthiness and reliability of the Bible in its original maunscripts exceeds a 1 in 10 unquinquagintillion (that's a 1 with 157 zeros behind it) chance of being a fraud by almost 7 times.

This same science also concludes that there are a mere 100 quinvigintillion electrons in the entire universe. That's a 1 with 79 zeros behind it.

The same science came to these conclusions and the same group verified the results (The American Scientific Affiliation - http://www.asa3.org/) yet I don't hear any atheists, moral reletivists, or other group trying to debunk the number of electrons in the universe.

Math... it's pretty hard to argue with it... but you can try.

I guess when it boils down to it... you have the right to be wrong if you want to be.


Rev. R. Erin Lenth
Posted by R. Erin Lenth  on  Tue Sep 14, 2004  at  04:36 PM
QUOTING THE RIGHT REV ERIN:

You have neglected to mention one other very BIG difference:

I believe in a "religion" that has been objectively proven by "secular" science to be as close to 100% reliable as you can get.

WELL, IF THAT'S TRUE THEN I HAVE A GREAT WEB SIT FOR YOU! VISIT http://www.randi.org AND T,AKE THE "JREF $1 MILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE." IF YOU CAN REALLY PROVE THAT YOUR RELIGION HAS VALIDITY, YOU'LL BE A MILLIONAIRE! OF COURSE, THE BIG PROBLEM IS THAT THE EXISTENCE OF GOD CAN'T BE TESTED SCIENTIFICALLY, SO YOU'RE KINDA SCREWED THERE.

Secular science proved in 1958 that the trustworthiness and reliability of the Bible in its original maunscripts exceeds a 1 in 10 unquinquagintillion (that's a 1 with 157 zeros behind it) chance of being a fraud by almost 7 times.

I FIND IT INTERESTING THAT YOU HAD THE TIME TO MEMORIZE ALL THEM FANCY WORDS FOR EXPONENTIALS, BUT DIDN'T BOTHER TO GIVE US THE REFERENCE INFO SO WE CAN LOOK UP THIS OBSCURE 44-YEAR OLD RESEARCH. AFRAID SOMEONE WILL GET A COPY AND REVEAL HOW FLAWED IT IS...OR PERHAPS IT DOESN'T EVEN EXIST?

This same science also concludes that there are a mere 100 quinvigintillion electrons in the entire universe. That's a 1 with 79 zeros behind it. The same science came to these conclusions and the same group verified the results (The American Scientific Affiliation - http://www.asa3.org/) yet I don't hear any atheists, moral reletivists, or other group trying to debunk the number of electrons in the universe.

FIRST OF ALL, THE WORD IS "RELATIVIST." YOU CAN SPELL QUINVIGINTILLION, BUT NOT RELATIVIST? ALSO, I WONDER IF YOU'VE EVER HEARD OF A "NONSEQUITOR"? LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE: "SCIENCE HAS PREDICTED THAT THERE ARE LOTS OF ELECTRONS IN THE UNIVERSE, SO THAT PROVES THAT MY RELIGION IS VALID." SEE HOW SILLY THAT IS?

Math... it's pretty hard to argue with it... but you can try.

WHO'S TRYING TO ARGUE WITH MATH?

I guess when it boils down to it... you have the right to be wrong if you want to be.

YEP! AND YOU HAVE THE VERY SAME RIGHT...AND IT LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE TAKING FULL ADVANTAGE OF IT, BUDDY.
Posted by Sheldon  on  Tue Sep 14, 2004  at  10:30 PM
Sheldon,

I'm sorry that you have become so upset about this. That was not my intent. My intent was nothing more than to share some information with you, which is very precious to me.

As for the source I neglected to mention, you can find it in several very popular books:

"Science Speaks" by Peter Stoner, Professor Emeritus of Science at Westmont College - Published by Moody Press; June 1, 1958.

You can find a good layman's version of that research here: http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/radio034.htm

"The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict" by Josh McDowell - Published by Nelson Reference; October 22, 1999.

"The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity" by Lee Strobel - Published by Zondervan Publishing Company; October 1, 2000.

"More Than a Carpenter" by Josh McDowell - Published by Tyndale House Publishers; April 1, 1987.

"The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God" by Lee Strobel - Published by Zondervan Publishing Company; March 1, 2004.

"How Now Shall We Live?" by Charles W. Colson - Published by Tyndale House Publishers; September 1, 1999.

Most of these books are quite heavy reads, but since you asked for specific sources I can only assume that you are interested in checking up them.

If you are indeed interested in the truth (not just being right) you will find more than enough scientific proof within these pages.

I suggest Lee Strobel's books, as he was once a staunch atheist who was looking to debunk Christianity. When he decided that he was more interested in finding the truth than he was in being right, he discovered that science really does prove the Bible to be all that it claims to be.

If after checking these resources you need more, feel free to ask as there are many, more osbscure and more technical, titles that I can site for you.

As for the JREF challenge, it has already been presented and concluded by them that since there is a 1 in 10^-157 chance that the Bible is not what it claims to be, the claim was denied. They decided that there is a chance that the Bible is a fraud.

Too bad the JREF doesn't adhere to standard science. You see, there is a standard called the Universal Probability Bound which is the degree of improbability below which a specified event of that probability cannot reasonably be attributed to chance regardless of whatever probabilitistic resources from the known universe are factored in.

Universal probability bounds have been estimated anywhere between 10^
Posted by R. Erin Lenth  on  Wed Sep 15, 2004  at  12:47 AM
I just emailed James Randi. I'll let you know what he says.
Posted by Sheldon  on  Wed Sep 15, 2004  at  01:24 AM
LIAR!
Got a reply from James Randi at the James Randi Educational Foundation (http://www.randi.org).

His answer:

"He
Posted by Sheldon  on  Thu Sep 16, 2004  at  09:10 PM
Sheldon,

In part, due to your last post, I too sent James Randi an email looking to inquire as to the nature, findings, and status of the claim which I mentioned earlier.

Here was my message:

<i><blockquote>Dear Mr. Randi,

I have been debating with someone regarding the possibility that the Bible is true and accurate.

While doing so I quoted an acquaintance of mine who (to the best of my knowledge) submitted the work of Peter Stoner (
Posted by Rev. R. Erin Lenth  on  Sat Sep 18, 2004  at  03:59 PM
Please excuse my "didn'tsays" typo.
Posted by Rev. R. Erin Lenth  on  Sat Sep 18, 2004  at  04:00 PM
First of all, you're an idiot. Secondly, James Randi deals in disproving claims that can actually be tested scientifically. The bible and all claims of the existence of gods cannot be disproved, and therefore cannot be tested via the scientific method.

If you choose to believe in an invisible man in the sky, and believe that the writings of Bronze Age goat herders is a better way to live your life than through reality, then there's nothing I can do about that.

I have no plans to "look over" the references you gave me, any more than you plan to tak a scientific look at the claims of your religion. The difference is that the authors of your favorite books will have speculated, repeated falsities, and dreamed up any number of excuses for their beliefs.

Regarding my comment about "The Right Rev," it's a sardonic joke. I wouldn't expect you to get it, though, because you don't seem to look beyond the surface of anything.

I do wish you well in your delusions, but I beg you not to vote, sit on a jury, or have any other influence on our society; such illogic as yours is damaging to a culture that strives toward finding the truth in everyday situations, and avoiding superstition.

This is the last I will have to say on the matter.
Posted by Sheldon  on  Mon Sep 20, 2004  at  08:06 PM
I guess since your last post is the "last [you] have to say on the matter," I can have the last word; thank you.

First, allow me to express my sympathy for you as you deal with the obvious anger and irritation this conversation has brought you.

Second, I'd like you to take note that, between the two of us, I am the only one to have posted any form of sited works or researchable information. Since you have brought nothing original, interesting, researchable, or verifiable to the table I am somewhat forced to assume that you wanted nothing more than an argument.

What is it that leads me to this conclusion?

Looking back, you will notice that you never once addressed any particular piece of information I presented to you. You looked for any opportunity (spelling, my take on your unfunny joke, etc...) to draw attention away from the matter at hand.

In addition, you asked for resources you didn't plan to check, you stooped to name-calling, and spewed accusations.

Sounds like someone looking for a argument, to me.

As for scientifically proving the existence of "gods," I don't recall that having been a part of any of our previous conversations. But you can discuss it with someone else if you'd like. Maybe they have the patience to endure your endless angry drivel.

If you ever do find yourself wondering about heavenly things and searching for truth, this blog is likely to be here for at least a few years. You can research all this stuff then, if you choose... if it's not too late for you and you're still around, that is.

As for me, I will be adding you to my weekly prayer list and hope for your sake that someday, in some way, I hear good things about you.

Until then, may the Holy Spirit work on you and may the love of God be triumphant in you.


Sincerely,
Rev. R. Erin Lenth

PS - Thank you for leaving me the last word.
.
Posted by Rev. R. Erin Lenth  on  Mon Sep 20, 2004  at  09:15 PM
I saw a posting by some pastor who claims most Christians think it is a hoax. That simply is not true. Millions of Catholic and Anglican and Orthodox and Protestant and Evangelical Christians think it is authentic. In fact, scholars such as Gary Habermas at Jerry Falwell's Libert University believe it is genuine. Dr. Habermas' paper is published under his CV on the university website.

Check out http://www.historicaljesusquest.com for the latest information.
Posted by Jake Again  in  New Jersey  on  Thu Oct 28, 2004  at  07:38 PM
A couple of other sites you might check out are http://www.shroudstory.com and http://www.shroudforum.com.
Posted by Jake  in  New Jersey  on  Thu Oct 28, 2004  at  07:51 PM
The web site "shroudstory.com" actually has articles that challenge the validity of Carbon dating, for god's sake! The reason the Shroud-Heads are attacking Carbon dating is that is the most solid form of evidence showing this thing for the fraud that it is. If the Carbon dating had shown it to be 2000 years old, they'd be hailing Carbon dating as the scientific breakthrough of the century! Anyone who takes the kind of crap on their site seriously has some big problems with critical thinking!

And Gary Habermas (whose degrees were awarded by religious institutions) not only writes crap taking the myth of Jesus and his resurrection seriously, but he also writes books such as "The Thomas Factor: Using Your Doubts to Draw Closer to God." Gimme a break! Do you think that his approach to the Shroud of Turin is going to be unbiased? If so, you need to have your head examined.
Posted by Barbara Honda  on  Fri Oct 29, 2004  at  08:57 PM
See http://right-mind.us/archive/2005/02/19/1878.aspx -- Moscow Resident Reproduces the Shroud of Turin.

The article is published in the March/April 2005 edition of Books and Culture (though it's not up on their website yet). The article is titled Father Brown Fakes the Shroud and describes both the formulation and testing of the Shadow Theory: that the shroud image can be created using only painted glass and sunlight.

It seems like an easy enough thesis, easily reproducible, would have been a simple technique for the medievals, and a reasonable explanation for what we see.

See: http://www.shadowshroud.com/

Best,
Dale
http://right-mind.us
Posted by Dale Courtney  in  Moscow, Idaho  on  Sat Feb 19, 2005  at  07:33 PM
The shadow shroud, while ingenious, does not produce an image like the one on the Shroud of Turin.

The image on the Turin shroud is a caramel-like substance (dehydrated and oxidized starch fractions and saccharides) between 180 and 800 nanometers thick. That is thinner than most bacteria. It can be scraped away, pulled away with adhesive and reduced with diimide. When the image is removed, the linen fiber is identical to the fiber in the non-image area.

The only chemicallly logical explanation, so far offered, is a Maillard (amino/carbonyl) reaction. The shadow shroud image is a negative-bleached image and cannot be chemically anything like the Turin images.

Check out: http://www.historicaljesusquest.com for an interesting explanation.

Dan
Posted by Daniel R. Porter  on  Sun Mar 13, 2005  at  08:15 AM
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