The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
The Belle de Jour weblog, which records the daily trials and tribulations of a London call girl, began attracting a lot of attention a couple of months ago. It wasn't just the racy, sexy content that got people hooked. It was also the fact that the writing was unusually good. So it wasn't a surprise when the anonymous Belle landed a book deal. But now a new element of controversy has been added to the story. As the London Times writes, "There is growing evidence that Belle may be a fictional character who has never been a prostitute." Dr. Dean Foster, who earlier unmasked the author of Primary Colors, analyzed…
Posted: Fri Mar 19, 2004 Comments (1)

Family Fun magazine has quite a few suggestions for April Fool's Day pranks over at its site. I especially like their list of food pranks, such as preparing ice-cream potatoes (shown to the right). That's not potatoes with gravy. It's ice cream with butterscotch sauce. Also check out their recipe for creating green beans out of Jolly Rancher Fruit Chews.
Posted: Fri Mar 19, 2004 Comments (0)

Back in February if you were shopping for a Valentine's Day card at Wal-Mart, you might have been able to pick up a card that showed a black 'Sambo' version of SpongeBob Squarepants. Wal-Mart officials report that it was quite a popular item. Amazingly only one person complained about the blatantly racist image. But when the manufacturer of the card found out about the card, they hit the roof, because a Black SpongeBob was definitely not what they had ordered from the printer. The mystery is how 'racist SpongeBob' ever got created. Who was responsible for it? Was it a joke by the printer in China? Seems unlikely, since all the…
Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 Comments (11)

Stewart Kirkpatrick of Scotsman.com presents the Lazy Guide to Net Culture: Hoax, Line and Sinker. "Idiotic hoaxes abound online, and are taken very seriously indeed by people who are not usually idiots."
Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 Comments (0)


Did you know that David Duchovny released a record of trashy love songs with titles such as "Alien to Your Arms," "You Must Be From Venus," and "X-File of Love"? Or that Herman Melville wrote a novel called "Symmes' Hole" that was lost for decades but has been recently rediscovered and is now available as an audiobook read by David Byrne of the Talking Heads? I certainly didn't. So I was surprised to discover these rare CDs (and others) discussed at the Entropic Empire. Now I've decided that these rare CDs are all fake, but I only concluded that after spending fifteen fruitless minutes searching for that rediscovered Herman Melville…
Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 Comments (0)

This one had me going for a while before I figured out it was a joke. The EETimes reports on a small Belgian company called Prophy-Lectric that has developed a cellphone add-on, dubbed the Nippit 3000. This remarkable device "projects a high-intensity ultra-sonic electromagnetic 'sound cone' that is inaudible to the human ear but fatal to any sperm cell within a range of six meters, or about 18 feet." In other words, just place it next to the bed during moments of intimacy, and that's all the birth control you need. As an added benefit, the high-pitched sound also keeps the dog away. I've noticed that quite a few websites have linked to this story without any acknowledgment…
Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 Comments (0)

Ted Kurts is a humble guy. All he asks is that you recognize that he's the Messiah and the second coming of Jesus Christ. You doubt his claim? You want proof? Then check out his photo to the right. Doesn't he look eerily like certain portrayals of Christ? What better proof could you ask for? Oh, and please don't refer to him as Ted Kurts. It's Ted Jesus Christ God, to you. When I come across sites like this it's hard to know if they're supposed to be taken seriously or not. I kinda suspect Ted is serious. Or maybe not. Who knows. But Ted Jesus Christ God says that anyone…
Posted: Wed Mar 17, 2004 Comments (73)

In December 1989 the U.S. invaded Panama. NBC News managed to obtain a live interview with an American businessman staying in Panama City, Roger Sizemore, who said he was witnessing the invasion as it happened. But ever since then questions have persisted about who Sizemore really was. After the interview 'Roger Sizemore' disappeared without a trace, never to be found again. Then a man named Brian Seifert came forward claiming that he was the man on the phone pretending to be Sizemore, and that he hadn't been in Panama City. He had phoned from a basement in a suburb of Indianapolis. Seifert says NBC put him up to it. NBC says they were the ones who were hoaxed... if…
Posted: Wed Mar 17, 2004 Comments (1)

Anyone who visits here regularly will notice that I've changed the design of the homepage. I do this fairly often, never being very satisfied with my layout skills. I thought the last design was a little too busy, and some of the images were using up too much bandwidth. So my goal this time was to make the page more minimalist and get rid of the bandwidth-hogging images. I also created a new seal for the Museum of Hoaxes (visible at the right of the banner above). It shows a vegetable lamb (a lamb that scholars in medieval times believed grew from a plant out of the ground), and beneath this has the inscription 'Lana Ab Oculis Liberetur.' If…
Posted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 Comments (1)

The Bush administration is getting some flack for a video it has distributed to news stations showing journalists commenting on the public reaction to the newly passed Medicare law. The problem is that those aren't real journalists. They're actors paid to read from a script. It's a subtle, ambiguous form of deception, since the White House can always say that they really are reporters. After all, they're standing there, in front of a camera, reporting. Doesn't that make them a real reporter? In a sense, yes. But really, no. They're White House press agents. There's still a difference between a press agent and a reporter.
Posted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 Comments (2)

If your cat has been feeling a little down lately, then you may need to hire the services of Confuse a Cat, Ltd., the world leaders in feline bewilderment. One of their highly trained technicians will come to your house and proceed to bewilder your cat, thus restoring it to its former self.
Posted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 Comments (4)

Lex Cusack is in jail for selling love letters supposedly written in 1961 by JFK to Marilyn Monroe. The problem is that the letters contained zip codes, and zip codes only came into use in 1963. Now the FBI wants to destroy all the letters, and Cusack is crying foul. He argues that even if the letters are fake (he continues to claim they're real), they're still his property and the government can't just destroy them.
Posted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 Comments (2)

Bobby Mason, former professional football player for the Wolverhampton Wanderers, was quite a celebrity in Southbourne. Problem is, Bobby Mason wasn't really Bobby Mason. He was an imposter who had been posing as the football player. The real Bobby Mason was quite shocked to learn that someone had been living as him for so long.
Posted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 Comments (0)

I didn't think there was anyone left who hadn't heard this joke already. It's the one about the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide, a chemical found in many toxic substances and often used as an industrial solvent. Sounds scary, but dihydrogen monoxide is, of course, simply the scientific name for water, or H2O. Apparently the city council of Aliso Viejo, California hadn't heard the joke before, because they were about to ban the use of styrofoam cups because dihydrogen monoxide was used in their production. Luckily someone clued them in before they embarrassed themselves even more. Their one comfort is that they're not the only ones to fall for this joke. Last year disc jockeys in Olathe, Kansas warned…
Posted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 Comments (3)

In 1953 Bernard Kettlewell performed a set of experiments that proved that predation by birds was responsible for the peppered moth population changing from mostly white to mostly black. The reasoning was that industrial pollution had caused the barks of trees to turn dark. Therefore black moths resting during the day on the darkened trunks of trees had a selective advantage over white moths, because the birds could see the white moths more easily and prey on them. Kettlewell released both white and black moths into the wild and demonstrated that the black moths survived at a higher rate in the polluted areas. Now you can duplicate Kettlewell's experiment with the
Posted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 Comments (4)

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