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Hoaxes of Joseph Mulhattan
Yo, God! — P.T. Barnum once suggested that someone should invent a humbugometer, which would be a device to detect the presence of humbug. But the folks at Yo, God! have done Barnum one better. They've invented a God Detector, to detect the presence of God. For example, say that you beseech God for a sign, and at that moment the phone rings. Is that really a sign from God, or is it just a coincidence? Whip out your Yo, God! detector, and you'll have the answer.
Posted: Mon Mar 29, 2004.   Comments (1)

Dragon Hoax Was a Hoax — Back in January I posted an entry about what I called the Almost Great Dragon Hoax. It described a tiny dragon that had been found in a jar of formaldehyde in a garage in Oxfordshire. Supposedly the dragon had been created in the nineteenth century by German scientists trying to hoax their British counterparts, but the joke had been spotted by the British and placed in the trash... only to be recovered from there and end up years later in the Oxfordshire garage. Now it turns out that…
Posted: Mon Mar 29, 2004.   Comments (1)

Glass and Blair: Together At Last — Christopher Frizzelle of The Stranger managed to get a real scoop. He convinced both Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass to sit down and talk with him simultaneously, so that they could compare notes on their careers as rogue journalists. Unfortunately, this dream interview never occurred. The Stranger later published a tongue-in-cheek retraction. And Stephen Glass himself denied that the interview took place. Still, Karl Freske (whom I have to thank for providing me with a heads-up about…
Posted: Mon Mar 29, 2004.   Comments (0)

ChatNannies Last All Summer Long — This story has been growing in size for the past week, and now it seems definite. It's a hoax. It began with a story in New Scientist last week describing an artificial intelligence program designed by Jim Wightman, an IT consultant from Wolverhampton. This program, called ChatNannies, supposedly scours internet chat rooms pretending to be a child and luring pedophiles into conversation with it. Once it identifies a pedophile, it reports them to the authorities. Sounds great, but if it…
Posted: Fri Mar 26, 2004.   Comments (6)


Egg Prank — I've seen post-its, tinfoil, and packing foam before, but eggs are definitely a new one (scroll down to see the story). (via BoingBoing)
Posted: Thu Mar 25, 2004.   Comments (0)

Actor Wanted, Preferably Dead — A British theater group is auditioning actors for a part in its next production. But there's one catch. They're only interested in people who can promise that they'll die before the play begins its run. Your body, if you get the part, will then lie lifeless on stage. Evidently it's not a speaking role. It's hard not to suspect that this is all a big publicity stunt and that when the time comes there will be no body on stage. Wouldn't you need a license for something like that? It…
Posted: Thu Mar 25, 2004.   Comments (0)

Museum of Hoaxes RSS Feed — I've finally gotten my act together to enable the RSS Feed that comes built into the software that I use to run this site. So if you use an RSS reader to scan blogs every day, you can now add the Museum of Hoaxes to your subscription list. The RSS Feed is here. I'll also add a button in the navigation bar on the right.
Posted: Wed Mar 24, 2004.   Comments (1)

Hate Crime or Hoax Crime? — On March 9 Kerri Dunn, a psychology professor at Claremont McKenna College east of LA, reported that her car had been vandalized and covered with racist graffiti. Now the police suspect that Ms. Dunn, who often spoke out against racism, may have staged the crime herself. Apparently some witnesses claim that the car was already covered with graffiti when she pulled into the college parking lot where the crime supposedly took place. She denies this, of course. So we'll have to wait and…
Posted: Wed Mar 24, 2004.   Comments (4)

Not Harry Potter — Here's some free advice. If a guy you meet online claims to be Daniel Radcliffe, the young actor who plays Harry Potter, don't believe him. A teenage girl from Chile flew all the way to England with her mother to meet an online correspondent who claimed to be Daniel Radcliffe, only to find some random slimebag waiting for her. Which reminds me, J.Lo, I'm still heartbroken that you stood me up.
Posted: Wed Mar 24, 2004.   Comments (0)

Naked Redux — Naked Came the Stranger, the hoax novel penned in 1969 by 24 reporters from Newsday, is being re-released by Barricade Books as a 'cult classic.' The movie rights to the book have also been bought.
Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2004.   Comments (0)

Post-It Prank — It's not quite as elaborate as the foil prank that got a huge amount of publicity two months ago, but it's good nevertheless. Damon arrived at his office on Monday morning to discover that over the weekend his co-workers had covered everything in his office with post-its.
Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2004.   Comments (0)

Coffee Pot Ghost — In May 2001 Charli Claypool, who lives on Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay, began to hear voices coming from her Krups coffee maker. After listening to these voices for many, many hours she concluded that they were voices of ghosts. And lucky for us, she recorded the 'voices' and made a large number of them available on her website, CoffeePotGhost.com. A visitor (Elizabeth A.) sent me the page and asked me whether I thought it was for real. At times it's tempting to think the entire…
Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2004.   Comments (1)

Coalition to Promote the Use of Child Soldiers — There are quite a few satirical hoaxes that I find myself comparing to Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal For Preventing The Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being A Burden to Their Parents or Country (by feeding them to rich people). The Arm the Homeless prank was one such satire. This is another. It's the Coalition to Promote the Use of Child Soldiers. Yeah, I'm assuming it's satire.
Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2004.   Comments (1)

Mystery of the Three-Headed Frog — At the beginning of March a news story about a three-headed frog found in England swept around the internet. Experts warned that the appearance of such a mutation could be a sign of impending environmental problems. But science journalist Ray Girvan thinks we shouldn't be jumping to conclusions. To him the three-headed frog actually looks like three separate frogs clasping together, engaged in a well-documented frog mating behavior called multiple amplexus. He points out that the frog…
Posted: Sun Mar 21, 2004.   Comments (12)

Trapped By Zombies — Roy and Mitch are trapped in a cabin in King's Canyon National Park, surrounded by zombies. Luckily they have access to the web, allowing them to maintain a weblog describing their situation. But for some reason, no one is coming to their rescue because no one believes their story. Meanwhile they're entertaining themselves by reading Harry Potter Books, downloading movie trailers off the internet, and lobbing javelins at zombies. Maybe this is some kind of blog tie-in for a movie (Dawn…
Posted: Sat Mar 20, 2004.   Comments (7)

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