The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
For the Bigfoot collector who already has everything... but this. Or for someone who has a Bigfoot-themed bathroom. Available on etsy. It comes as a print of an "original oil and digital painting." Though it would be better if it were a velvet painting.
Four days ago an ad appeared on Craigslist (Pittsburgh) seeking someone to take their place at Harvard in return for $40,000/year. The ad has since been removed, but screenshots of it are still floating around the web: You must have either a 4.0 GPA in high school, or a 3.5 or higher GPA from a university to get hired for this. Your age does not matter, but you must be a male since I have a male name. I am looking for someone to attend Harvard University pretending to be me for four years, starting August 2014. I will pay for your tuition, books, housing, transportation,…
Great name. Lousy product. Acme Worm Bouncer was widely advertised in the 1920s and 30s, with guarantees that it would quickly free farm animals of "blood-sucking, profit-stealing parasites." But the stuff was actually mostly charcoal. Governmental authorities eventually filed suit against Acme Feeds, Inc., the company that made the stuff, charging them with "misleading representations regarding its efficacy." [via The Quack Doctor] Misbranding of Acme Worm Bouncer. U.S. v. 5 Bags of Acme Worm Bouncer. Default decree of condemnation and destruction. The labeling of this product bore false and misleading representations regarding its efficacy in the conditions indicated below. On February 2, 1940, the United States…
The classic example of the "gag name" prank is to tell a reporter your name is "Haywood Jablome" — and hope the reporter doesn't think too long about what phrase that name sounds like. Haywood Jablome digging out a snowdrift. Fargo Forum - Dec 27, 2009 An older example: back in 1930, students at Cornell made headlines by getting politicians to praise the legacy of one "Hugo N. Frye" (you go and fry), supposed founder of the Republican party in New York state. A more recent version of the prank occurred earlier this year when San Francisco station KTVU reported that the pilots of the crashed Asiana…
|Posted: Thu Dec 19, 2013||Comments (2)|
People magazine recently posted an article that it titled "N.Y.C.'s 8 Craziest Urban Legends Debunked." But that title is misleading, because it turns out the article only lists 3 urban legends, and then the writer must have been unable to find anything else when doing a google search for "New York urban legends," because the other 5 things on the list are random bits of NYC trivia and paranormal speculation. I guess I shouldn't have expected anything more from People magazine. To save everyone the trouble of having to read the article, the 3 urban legends the writer managed to come up with were: Pennies thrown from the top…
|Posted: Thu Dec 19, 2013||Comments (0)|
Back in July, security camera footage of supposed paranormal activity in a Whitstable shop (boxes floating off shelves and hovering in the air) did the rounds on paranormal websites. Turns out the paranormal activity was manufactured by a pair of magicians for a new UK TV show, The Happenings. The premise was to try to convince a town "via trickery and fakery" that it's haunted. Doubtful News points out that the show didn't do very well in the ratings. Therefore, "more saw the You Tube video of the hoax without ever knowing the truth behind it!"
|Posted: Thu Dec 19, 2013||Comments (0)|
Here's a case of pareidolia from 1927. That was the year Mrs. Baca of Belen, NM glanced up at the window that had recently been installed in the attic of her family's house and noticed "an image of Christ ascending into heaven" on the windowpane. [miracles of intervention blog] Soon thousands of people were flocking to see the "miracle window". The Christ figure could only be seen during daylight, and only from the ground. If you stood in the attic, the window looked perfectly transparent. The image survived attempts to clean the window, even when it was cleaned with gasoline. But puzzlingly, the image resisted being…
|Posted: Wed Dec 18, 2013||Comments (0)|
The news of Norman Feller's emergence from his underground bunker has gone viral. The story is that Feller went into the bunker shortly before January 1, 2000, convinced that the Y2K virus was going to bring about the collapse of civilization. He finally came out because he was curious if the world really had ended. However, the source of the story is the CBC's satirical This is That radio show. The show has a history of these spoof pieces that get mistaken for real news. The last one that went viral was their piece three months ago about the Youth Athletic Association that had decided to eliminate the ball from its soccer program in…
|Posted: Wed Dec 18, 2013||Comments (2)|
Dr. Daniel Bucher, a shark expert at Southern Cross University, says that the notion they do is just a myth. So if you have a pet shark, go ahead and feed them fresh filet-o-human. Oh no ... sharks DO like the taste of human flesh The Logan Reporter According to Southern Cross University shark expert Dr Daniel Bucher it is not true sharks don't like the taste of human flesh. He said there was no evidence to support this claim, which he believed gained acceptance to allay people's fears of shark attack. "Normally they eat fish, but they don't mind red meat if they can get it," he said.…
|Posted: Wed Dec 18, 2013||Comments (1)|
According to urban legend, the holiday season sees a spike in suicides. But Scientific American notes that November and December actually have the lowest rates of suicide. The reason is perhaps because "The increased emotional and social support during holiday time temporarily dims the feelings of despair and anguish for many depressed children and adults." But unfortunately the holiday lull is followed by a peak of suicides in the Spring: "As winter thaws into spring, there is the hope for renewal that if not delivered can set into motion agitation and despair."
|Posted: Tue Dec 17, 2013||Comments (0)|
Police in Edmonton recently launched a pinterest page on which they display "unique" lost and stolen items they've acquired. If anyone recognizes an item as their former possession, and can provide "specific details" that identify it, they'll be reunited with it. One of the items is the mounted head of a jackalope. I wonder what kind of specific details they need to identify this? I could say that it enjoys whiskey and is sometimes called the "warrior rabbit." But I don't think that's what they're looking for.
|Posted: Tue Dec 17, 2013||Comments (2)|
The War on Christmas! Looks like some people are taking seriously this spoof National Report article about a 9-year-old kid being suspended for wishing his atheist teacher a Merry Christmas. National Report is one of the many satirical news sites that are now online. Although you have to search its site for a while before finding its disclaimer ("National Report is a news and political satire web publication"), because they don't post it on the bottom of every page, which can easily lead people to believe its stories are real.
|Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2013||Comments (1)|
Thanks to "anonymous" who posted a comment to my recent post about "Christmas Tinner" (the entire Christmas day meal in a tin), alerting me to this video in which "steviejacko" has a can of the stuff, opens it up, and eats it. This suggests that, at the very least, someone created a prototype of this product. In the youtube comments, steviejacko says: "The one shop where it is available in basingstoke is sold out, it was done as a trial to see how much interest there was, it wont be available now for 2 weeks and even then it will be pretty scarce."
|Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2013||Comments (1)|
Macy's decision to include the cast of the broadway musical Kinky Boots in its Thanksgiving Day parade was criticized by some conservative groups — since Kinky Boots features drag queens, and (so the conservatives argued) this made it inappropriate for the children watching the parade. But instead of being repentant, Macy's seemed to be doubling-down on its support of Kinky Boots when a flyer started to circulate online announcing that Macy's would be having an event in its kids department hosted by a Santa in kinky boots: "Bring your whole family to see Santa wearing a glittery addition to his traditional outfit!" Both Harvey Fierstein (who stars in Kinky…
|Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2013||Comments (0)|
DUPÉ sells bottled fresh air, as well as other products such as bottled moon light, positive thoughts, and "eco-friendly little rays of sunshine." The site (and storefront) were part of a spoof campaign launched a few months ago by Yarra Valley Water, providers of tap water to the Melbourne area. If you try to buy any of DUPÉ's fresh air, you get a message telling you: "Buying bottled air doesn't make sense. It's just like buying bottled water." (Thanks to Patty on WU for the heads up about…
|Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2013||Comments (2)|