The Hoax Museum Blog

Brides for Liechtenstein

In 1928, the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung published an article about a Bride Import company that was supplying wives to the men of Liechtenstein. Women were being shipped into the country in freight cars, the magazine claimed, and were sold at marriage markets. The article provoked outrage in Liechtenstein, particularly because all the brides shown being imported seemed to be extremely overweight. more…

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2015.   Comments (4)

Lard From Live Pigs

Back in 1921, a widely reprinted story claimed that German farmers had developed a method of obtaining lard from live pigs by operating on the pigs to remove the rashers, then bandaging the pigs up and letting them heal. Supposedly the operation could be repeated three times a year. The story was actually a German April Fool's Day spoof that was mistaken by the American and British press for real news. more…

Posted: Sun Jan 11, 2015.   Comments (1)

Dachshunds listed in Social Directory

The publishers of the Social Directory of the United States were embarrassed when, in 1939, they were tricked into including a pair of dachshunds in their listing of prominent American families who "through culture, ancestry, tradition and aristocracy of achievement have risen and maintained the heights of social leadership." more…

Posted: Mon Jan 05, 2015.   Comments (0)

Konstant Kitten

The website KonstantKitten.com claims to offer a service that's like a Netflix for kittens, in that it allows customers to rent kittens through the mail and exchange them every 3 months for new ones. But rest assured, it's fake. more…

Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2015.   Comments (2)


Self-Kidnapping Attempt Goes Awry

From the incompetent criminals file: Back in 1974, 20-year-old Kenneth Lutz of Grand Terrace, California thought he had found an easy way to scam his parents. He kidnapped himself. He did this by attaching a note to his parents' front door demanding $5000 in $20 bills for his return, with instructions that the money be "put out when you go to work Wednesday," and signed the note, "the kidnaper". Then he went into hiding. However, he didn't hide very well. When the police arrived a few hours later they found him sitting at a desk in a camper van behind his parents' home. He promptly confessed that he had written the note, and that no one else was involved in the scheme, explaining, "I wanted the money and it sounded like something that could be done." A detective said that the circumstances of the case had immediately aroused his suspicions because, "You tell me one kidnapper that signs his name 'kidnaper' at the bottom of a note."

Posted: Thu Jan 01, 2015.   Comments (0)

The Quahaug-Dropping Seagulls of Martha’s Vineyard

Seagulls have learned that they can break open quahaugs (hard-shelled clams) by dropping them from great heights onto hard surfaces such as roads or rocks. This is a well-documented behavior. But in 1932, the Vineyard Gazette reported that seagulls at Martha's Vineyard had learned an even more remarkable trick. They were killing rats by deliberately dropping quahaugs on them, and then feasting on the dead rats.

Posted: Fri Dec 26, 2014.   Comments (0)

Tijuana Pandas

From Italy comes news that authorities have closed a circus that was trying to pass off painted dogs as panda bears. Two chow-chows had been dyed black and white, and the circus was charging money for kids to pose with them. When called out on the deception, the circus owner initially claimed that these were rare panda/dog hybrids. Now the police have charged the owner with animal abuse and defrauding customers. more…

Posted: Wed Dec 24, 2014.   Comments (0)

The Demon on a Hospital Bed

This photo shows what looks like a demon squatting on top of a hospital bed. But closer examination reveals no demon, but just an interesting example of pareidolia. Various objects in the room are positioned in such a way that, when combined, they look like a devilish creature. more…

Posted: Wed Dec 24, 2014.   Comments (1)

The bogus store that never happened

Here's an example from 1975 of bureaucracy at its finest. The Nassau County District Attorney planned to create a "bogus store" equipped with hidden surveillance equipment and manned by undercover cops, in order to catch people selling stolen goods on behalf of organized crime. But before it could happen, another part of the state bureaucracy, the Division of Criminal Justice, issued a press release announcing the plan. Defending the announcement, the agency's pr officer noted, "We can't say there are 49 public grants and one secret one." So that was the end of that undercover operation.

Posted: Sat Dec 20, 2014.   Comments (1)

The Teenage Stock Market Genius Who Made $72 Million

New York Magazine has egg on its face after running a story claiming that a 17-year-old Stuyvesant High School student made $72 million on the stock market. Within a day, the New York Observer debunked the story, revealing that the actual amount the student made was $0. The kid hadn't even done any real trades, only simulated ones for the school's investment club. more…

Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2014.   Comments (0)

Do a quarter million Swiss secretly eat cats?

The short answer is, almost definitely no, they don't.

Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2014.   Comments (0)

Color-Changing Paint for Cars

Videos circulating online show cars that are apparently able to change their color with the push of a button. more…

Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2014.   Comments (1)

Loggers accidentally cut down oldest tree

This week, hundreds of thousands of people shared a story from fake news site World News Daily claiming that loggers had accidentally cut down the world's oldest tree in the Amazon forest. As with everything published by World News Daily, the story was not true, but it definitely sounded true to a lot of people who expressed their outrage on social media. more…

Posted: Sat Dec 13, 2014.   Comments (1)

The Toilet-Paper Eating Mom

Does she really crave eating toilet paper, or is she full of it? more…

Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2014.   Comments (5)

The Myth of the Poisonous Poinsettia

Millions of poinsettias are sold every year at Christmastime. But are these plants highly poisonous? For decades, many believed so. "One poinsettia leaf can kill a child," was a warning repeated often over the years. more…

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014.   Comments (1)

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