The Hoax Museum Blog

Virtual Trader — Wired News has an article about a guy, Julian Dibbell, who almost succeeded in making a living from trading in imaginary goods, namely virtual items from the game Ultima Online. Of course, it doesn't seem that extraordinary to me that someone could earn a good living from trading imaginary things. After all, isn't there a trillion dollar industry devoted to just this... i.e. the financial derivatives market? I mean, options and other financial instruments may have real value to people,…
Posted: Sun Apr 18, 2004.   Comments (1)

Ground Control to Major Abacha Tunde — The Register has posted a great Nigerian Bank Scam email that it received. I get these emails all the time, and typically they come from people claiming to be either relatives of (or bankers of) deposed third world leaders who have huge amounts of money trapped in a bank account somewhere. They need your help to move the money out of the country. But this email that the Register received claims to come from a relative of a Nigerian astronaut trapped in space. He has a huge amount of…
Posted: Sun Apr 18, 2004.   Comments (0)

Celebrity Look-Alikes — Fake Faces is a UK look-alike agency that represents a huge number of celebrity impersonators. It's kind of fun to browse through its catalog. As John Robinson of Sore Eyes notes, some of the look-alikes are really, really bad. But some are surprisingly good. For instance, would you be able to tell if that's really Joanna Lumley (of Ab Fab fame) in the thumbnail? It's not. (via Sore Eyes and I Love Everything)
Posted: Sat Apr 17, 2004.   Comments (2)

Hot Furniture-on-Furniture Action — I guess this site really isn't a hoax since it delivers exactly what it promises: furniture porn. Still, when you think of porn this isn't what most people have in mind. Very safe for work, unless images of pieces of furniture posed provocatively offend you. (Thanks, Goo)
Posted: Sat Apr 17, 2004.   Comments (2)


Jackson isn’t dead, nor is he touring Namibia — Sam Nujoma, President of Namibia, eagerly waited for the arrival of Michael Jackson, whom he believed was launching a 12-day tour of Africa in his country. Unfortunately, he waited and waited, and Jackson never showed up. In fact, Jackson never had any plans to visit Africa. Nujoma was the victim of misinformation. Jackson isn't even allowed to travel abroad until the case against him is settled.
Posted: Sat Apr 17, 2004.   Comments (0)

Michael Jackson Isn’t Dead — Despite the claims of this faux news story, Michael Jackson isn't dead.
Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2004.   Comments (1)

Paris Hilton’s Pubic Hair — Celebrity body parts seem to be the thing to sell on eBay. A few weeks ago George Best's liver was up for sale. Now we have Paris Hilton's pubic hair. According to the description on the auction, "This bundle of Pubic Hair was taken from Paris Hilton's bathroom sink at one of her hotels when she visited Australia late last year, Surprise!!!!!!!!!!!!! She isn't a natural blonde!!!!!!!!!!!!" The auction was yanked by eBay soon after it was put up, confirming that it was almost definitely…
Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2004.   Comments (8)

Million-Dollar Phone Number — The phone number 135 8585 8585 recently went up for sale on the Chinese internet auction site EachNet.com, and fetched the staggering price of $1.1 million. The appeal of the number is apparently that when spoken in Chinese it sounds similar to the phrase "let me be rich be rich be rich be rich." Well, whoever shelled out that much for the number is going to be a little bit poorer now (though it looks like the phrase worked for the previous owner). But you have to suspect that it was a hoax bid.
Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2004.   Comments (1)

Japanese Magnetic Fan — Kohei Minato, a Japanese inventor, has built an incredible new kind of magnet-powered electric motor. As this article on Japan.com explains, "Minato's motors consume just 20 percent or less of the power of conventional motors with the same torque and horse power. They run cool to the touch and produce almost no acoustic or electrical noise. They are significantly safer and cheaper (in terms of power consumed), and they are sounder environmentally." Sounds really great. Until you read…
Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2004.   Comments (2)

Soldier Guy — About a month ago a photo began to circulate around the internet showing an American soldier posing with two Iraqi boys. One of the boys was holding up a sign that read, 'Lcpl Boudreaux killed my Dad, then he knocked up my sister!' Needless to say, the photo caused a lot of outrage. The Council on American-Islamic Relations complained to the Pentagon about it. And it received coverage in publications such as Islam Online. According to the Marine Corps Times, "Investigating officers have…
Posted: Thu Apr 15, 2004.   Comments (1)

Demi Moore’s Wedding Dress Browns — I remember seeing the issue of Star Magazine with Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher on the cover, both wearing white, as I was standing in the checkout line at the supermarket. It had big headlines about their rumored engagement. Turns out they weren't actually wearing white. Demi Moore was wearing a brown dress and Ashton Kutcher was wearing a pink suit. But the editors of Star digitally changed the color of their clothes to make the image fit in with the whole wedding theme. In the…
Posted: Thu Apr 15, 2004.   Comments (0)

Fake Tax Returns — Here's a story that's appropriate for April 15. Orange County tax preparer indicted for filing over 16,000 fake federal returns.
Posted: Thu Apr 15, 2004.   Comments (1)

Godsend Institute, and other movie sites — A few people have written to me about the Godsend Institute, which is supposedly a Massachusetts fertility clinic that offers human cloning as an option for its patients. Its website is quite slick and well produced, but the Godsend Institute is, of course, not real. The site is part of the advertising campaign for the upcoming movie Godsend starring Robert De Niro. Wired published an article about this yesterday. Ever since the Blair Witch Project succeeded in creating such a buzz…
Posted: Thu Apr 15, 2004.   Comments (2)

Real Pictures, False Memories — A recent study has shown how surprisingly easy it is to convince people that they remember things that never happened to them. 27.3% of the college students who participated in the study were able to be persuaded to 'remember' a fictitious event that supposedly happened during their childhood. But when a picture was produced to help jog their memory, that figure rose to 65.2%. So the next time you want to remind someone of that money they owe you, bring along a picture.
Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2004.   Comments (1)

Four-Eyed Kitten — Recently a four-eared cat named Lilly has been in the news. Lilly and her four ears are quite real. They're the result of a genetic defect. By contrast, the four-eyed kitten shown in the thumbnail to the right doesn't seem real at all. The top set of eyes is exactly identical to the bottom set of eyes, indicating a cut-and-paste job. (Thanks to Alicka for the picture).
Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2004.   Comments (9)

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