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Today's Featured Topic:
Hoaxes of Joseph Mulhattan
EU bans dangerous jellies — One can always depend on EU politicians for bizarre and arbitrary decrees. First there was their decision to reclassify carrots as fruit. Now they've decided to ban jelly mini cups, recognizing them as the obvious threat to public safety that they are. Apparently they're afraid that someone might choke on the things, even though no one has ever done so in the past. File this under 'sounds like a hoax, but actually isn't.' Update: Apparently there have been deaths attributed to these…
Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2004.   Comments (11)

Fake Abductions More Common Than Most People Realize — The abduction of Audrey Seiler, and subsequent revelation that she had faked the abduction herself, has been generating a lot of media attention. But in an interview with the Newhouse News Service, Ben Radford, managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, points out that cases like this are far more common than most people realize. By his estimate, they occur about three of four times a month, but most of the cases slip under the media's radar. In the early stages of the Seiler case,…
Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004.   Comments (0)

Weeping Mary Returns — About a year and a half ago I posted an entry about a statue of the Virgin Mary in Perth that was weeping rose-scented tears. Critics and church officials dismissed it as a hoax created by filling the statue with some kind of oil. Now that same statue is back in the news again, crying even more publicly. The Archbishop of Perth has cautioned people that "the case for a miraculous happening has not been proved."
Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004.   Comments (0)

New Zealand Rapper MC Emu — On the Fighting Talk weblog journalism student Patrick Crewdson gives an example of how hoaxes can make the leap from being fiction into becoming fact. He once edited a journal called Critic that published a joke article about "New Zealand's least-known musician": rapper MC Emu. Of course, MC Emu was fictitious, but now references to this rapper have begun to appear in serious histories of New Zealand music... references that seem to credit MC Emu with being a real character.
Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004.   Comments (1)


Fingers in Eyes — Alex Knight sent in a link to this picture from Yahoo! News, which is one of those images that looks fake, even though it's real (warning: the full-sized image may definitely make you cringe). It reminds me of the 'finger through the nose and out the eye' picture which was going around about a year ago, and which was definitely fake.
Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004.   Comments (3)

Is this Baby Jessica? — Back in 1987 'Baby Jessica' became famous when she fell down a well and was saved following a dramatic rescue operation. Stuff Magazine is now featuring a photo of 'Baby Jessica' all grown up and posing by a well, but is that really Baby Jessica? Makeup and lighting will do a lot (as will digital touch-up work), but the woman in the photo doesn't look that much like Jessica as she appeared a few years ago in this picture. Here's a link to a hi-res scan of the Stuff article. Note that…
Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004.   Comments (10)

ID Sniper Rifle — The ID Sniper Rifle is a high-powered rifle, produced by Empire North, that supposedly can implant a GPS-microchip into a person, allowing the military to track them wherever they go in the world. Here's the description from Empire North's website: The microchip will enter the body and stay there, causing no internal damage, and only a very small amount of physical pain to the target. It will feel like a mosquito-bite lasting a fraction of a second. Given the low-tech feel of Empire…
Posted: Mon Apr 12, 2004.   Comments (6)

Paranormal Photo Hoax Contest — Stephen Wagner, over at About.com, is sponsoring a contest to create a paranormal photo hoax. You have until April 30 to submit your entries. The prize is a copy of Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings.
Posted: Mon Apr 12, 2004.   Comments (3)

Bimpco — Bimpco offers a variety of ingenious products that will help you to keep your cellphone bills under control. The site is really a front for Cricket Wireless, but it's amusing.
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2004.   Comments (1)

Online Tanning Salon — Are you getting a little pale and pasty sitting inside all day staring at your computer screen? Then head over to the sunnysite periodically and catch a few rays. Warning: you may want to wear protective eyewear. (via Bifurcated Rivets)
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2004.   Comments (0)

Imaginary Mail-Order Brides — Buying imaginary girlfriends is the trendy new thing nowadays. So this entrepreneur figured he'd shake things up a little and sell imaginary mail-order brides. Unfortunately, the guys who shelled out $1500 a piece for the brides weren't very thrilled that they were just imaginary.
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2004.   Comments (0)

Scary Spiders — If spiders scare you, then definitely look no closer at this picture of some spiders that a soldier in Iraq found in his sleeping bag. Yes, despite their size and ugliness, they're real. They're Camel Spiders.
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2004.   Comments (29)

The Lavabrator — Check out the lavabrator. A vibrator that doubles as a lava lamp. Great idea. Unfortunately, it's a joke. (safe for work).
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2004.   Comments (0)

Eyeball jewelry — When I first saw this I thought it had to be a hoax, because it reminded me of the Floral Sculpture Clinic. But this appears to be legitimate. Dutch surgeons have figured out a way to implant small decorative pieces of jewelry in people's eyes. Here's a link to the Clinic where you can get this done.
Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2004.   Comments (3)

Woman Killed by Frozen Urine — Kelli wrote in with a question about this strange photo showing a woman impaled by a long, yellowish-looking stick. The photo comes with an explanatory caption: This unfortunate woman was found dead on parkland in Yorkshire, England. She's believed to have been pierced by a shaft of frozen urine which had fallen from a leak in a toilet facility of an overhead plane. Kelli wants to know if it's real. Well, of course it's not. This photo has actually been floating around the internet…
Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2004.   Comments (7)

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