The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
The Candy Witch
Posted by The Curator on Thu Oct 31, 2013
In 2004, the researchers Jacqueline Woolley, Elizabeth Boerger, and Arthur Markman conducted a study at the University of Texas at Austin in which they told young children (ages 3 to 5) at a childcare center about the "Candy Witch." This was the script they used: 'Let me tell you about the Candy Witch. I have never seen the Candy Witch so I don't have a real picture of her. But somebody made a doll that looks like her, and I have a picture of that. Here it is. This is what she looks like. (Speaker shows picture of a Candy Witch doll and passes the picture around.) She's a really nice witch. And do you know…
Categories: Paranormal, Psychology Comments (0)
The Peril of Cyber Romance
Posted by The Curator on Thu Oct 31, 2013
A bizarre love triangle. Wang Pai and Lili struck up a romance online, but when they first met in real life, they realized that, oops!, they were father-in-law/daughter-in-law. Even worse, Wang's son, Wang Jai, had tailed his wife to her rendezvous. The whole mess ended in a brawl, leaving Lili with missing teeth and Wang Pai with a serious head injury. This story was first reported recently by the Heilongjiang Morning Post, and then by ChinaSMACK, the Daily Mail, and a whole bunch of other news outlets. But the Heilongjiang Morning Post, realizing the entire tale was a hoax invented by Wei Hongji, a reporter with Muleng Television, has posted an…
Categories: Sex/Romance Comments (0)
The World’s Leading Authority on Poisoned Candy
Posted by The Curator on Sat Oct 26, 2013
In 1985, Joel Best published an article in the sociology journal Social Problems analyzing reports of children receiving dangerous treats on Halloween (razor blades in apples, poisoned candy, etc.). After doing an extensive review of newspaper databases for all cases between 1959 and 1984, he couldn't find a single instance of a child being killed by a Halloween treat, although there were a handful of cases (18) of minor injuries, and a larger number of reports of the discovery of contaminated treats without injury. Although he suspected that most if not all of these discovery reports were hoaxes. So he concluded that the idea of "Halloween Sadism" was…
Agatha Cunningham, the Brooklyn Library Ghost
Posted by The Curator on Sat Oct 26, 2013
Two years ago the Brooklyn Public Library uploaded a video to YouTube detailing the presence of a ghost in the library: On October 28, 1977 Agatha Ann Cunningham went missing during her kindergarten call trip to the Brooklyn Public Library. She was never found. The legend says that her ghost haunts the lower level decks of the Central Library. But even though the entire library administration insists that Agatha's ghost is real, the Brooklyn Daily has some questions. For instance, they wonder why the news clipping about Agatha's disappearance that's briefly shown on screen seems to be a doctored version of a 1979 New York Times…
Categories: Paranormal Comments (1)
The Screaming Ghost in Room 209
Posted by The Curator on Sat Oct 26, 2013
The story here is that this video supposedly comes from security camera footage of a Sep. 14, 2003 paranormal event at a Wingate Hotel in Illinois. Though it wasn't until Sep 2012 that it was posted on YouTube. Screaming was heard coming from room 209. But no one was checked into that room. So some guy named John (a security guard?) is sent to investigate. He enters the room and reports that the carpet has been ripped up, the shower is on, and all the furniture is turned upside down. But the room is empty! Also, as John enters the room, a ghostly figure can be seen exiting it.
Categories: Paranormal, Videos Comments (8)
Alcohol Myths
Posted by The Curator on Fri Oct 25, 2013
Mental Floss has an interesting, brief article on "6 Absurd Alcohol Myths People Believed During Prohibition". The myths were: Alcohol turns blood into water Merely smelling alcohol could deform unborn children Some bootleg wines were made with cockroaches Most beer drinkers die of dropsy Alcohol can give you a 25-pound liver Drunkards' brains can be used as torches The cockroach wine myth reminds me of the Army Worm Wine that I posted about back in 2005, except that Army Worm Wine was apparently real. Levels of Healing - May 1900 The Spirits of America
Categories: Urban Legends Comments (0)
The Landeshut Ghost
Posted by The Curator on Fri Oct 25, 2013
[Since Halloween is fast approaching, I thought I'd do some ghost-themed posts.] Back in 1935, the town of Landeshut (which at the time, I believe, was in Germany, but now is in Poland) had a bit of a problem. A ghost was scaring the residents. The specter had often been seen walking in a dark outer street near the hospital. People were getting so frightened that the town decided to take the unusual step of offering a 50 marks reward for anyone who could capture the ghost. Fifty marks was about $20. According to the Inflation Calculator website, that would be $330 in today's money. That doesn't seem terribly generous…
Categories: Paranormal Comments (0)
As Chris Tarrant departs from the UK version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, The Express takes the opportunity to review the history of the quiz show, including some of the hoaxes and frauds associated with it. For example, the show spawned an internet meme of screenshots of contestants getting absurdly simple questions wrong. Many of these are hoaxes, such as the most famous one which seems to show contestant Fiona Wheeler (not Kathy Evans as some email captions claim) deciding that an elephant is larger than the moon. In reality, Wheeler was asked "What is the everyday name for the trachea?" (Breastbone, Windpipe, Kneecap, or Heelbone). And…
Categories: Entertainment Comments (0)
Spaceman First-Class Bob Percy
Posted by The Curator on Wed Oct 23, 2013
In February 1959, Bob Percy, rush chairman of the Psi Omega professional dental fraternity at the University of Southern California, was kidnapped by his own pledges and dressed in a "space helmet, toe-less tennis shoes, sweat pants and shirt with chained hands and feet." He was then taken to the airport and put on a plane, with no idea of where he was going and no money. The picture below was taken as he was boarding the plane. Halfway through the flight he figured out he was en route to Las Vegas, by overhearing a passenger. Once in Vegas, he called the Las Vegas Sun,…
Categories: Pranks Comments (1)
Who is Veronika Larsson?
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 21, 2013
Writing in Sweden's Metro newspaper, Jack Werner describes his effort to track down the identity of someone using a set of online aliases — TheIneffableSwede and Veronika Larsson. It started with him simply wanting to interview this person, because back in July they had left a provocative comment on a Guardian article. But as his search progressed, Werner realized that this person, over the course of the past six years, had created an elaborate fake online persona, with photos showing herself as an attractive young blond woman, and claiming to be a graduate of UC Berkeley and the London School of Economics, and fluent in five languages. None of her story checked out upon investigation, and the…
Categories: Identity/Imposters Comments (3)
The Mystery of the Racist Red Lobster Receipt
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 21, 2013
Red Lobster Waitress Toni Christina Jenkins shot to internet fame back in September after posting on her facebook page a picture of a receipt she claimed one of her customers left her, with a racist remark ("None N**ger") scrawled on it in place of a tip. The story received even more attention when, a few weeks later, a stranger who was moved by her story gave her a check for $10,759. But meanwhile, the guy who left the receipt insisted he didn't write that phrase. He admits he wrote the word "None" on the tip line, because he ordered his food to-go. But that other word, he says, wasn't his…
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror Comments (1)
Drone Delivery—not yet a reality
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 21, 2013
In March 2012, TacoCopter.com appeared online, claiming to represent a SF-area startup that planned to use drones to deliver tacos. That turned out to be a hoax. And earlier this year, the French postal service claimed it was experimenting with using drones to deliver mail. That was an April Fool's Day hoax. So the idea of drone delivery has been a popular idea with hoaxers. But now, perhaps, it's going to become a reality. The emphasis is on perhaps. Australian textbook rental service Zookal claims that next year it will begin to use drones to deliver textbooks in Sydney. This will…
Categories: Technology Comments (0)
The Oldest Ear of Corn—a fake that fooled science
Posted by The Curator on Fri Oct 18, 2013
From 1914 to 1934 the Smithsonian had on display an object that it described as the "oldest ear of corn" in the world. It was believed to be a piece of fossilized corn, several thousand years old, which had been acquired from a "collector of curios" in Cuzco, Peru. The fossil corn wasn't considered to be just a curiosity. It was regarded as having real scientific importance because, as G.N. Collins noted in a 1919 article about it in the Journal of Heredity, it provided "the first tangible evidence of the geological existence of this important cultivated plant." ("A Fossil Ear of Maize," Jour. Heredity, April 1919). It was also believed to be…
Categories: Science Comments (1)
Canine Artist Sells Work on eBay
Posted by The Curator on Tue Oct 15, 2013
Canine artist "Jack" is selling a work titled "Half-Chewed Cole Haan Wingtip" on eBay. So far bidding has reached $368, with 1 day of bidding remaining. This description is offered of the artist: Jack has been active for some time in the world of artistic defacement popularized by prominent figures such as Banksy. However, only recently have his works received critical acclaim through public notoriety and the rise of social media. He is a two-year-old Dalmatian mix who started his life on the streets of rural Virginia before being detained by a county animal control facility and then adopted by his current owner, whose many possessions have become…
Categories: Art Comments (0)
Telekinetic Coffee Prank
Posted by The Curator on Fri Oct 11, 2013
The video of the "Telekinetic Coffee Shop Prank" has gotten over 30 millions views on YouTube in 4 days. So it's definitely served its purpose, which is to promote the upcoming release of the Carrie remake. A lot of people have questioned whether the customers in the coffee shop were real or actors. But according to Andrea Morales, the actress who played the telekinetic coffee woman, the customers definitely were real. She says in an interview with the NY Daily News, "We got some awesome reactions. Some people got really into it. A constructor worker actually came toward me to calm me down, saying everything was going to be okay."
Categories: Pranks, Videos Comments (1)
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