The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
The True Meaning of Des Moines
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 23, 2003
Linguistic research has shed new light on the meaning of 'Des Moines.' Turns out it might derive from a 330-year-old practical joke. In 1673 Father Jacques Marquette met some representatives of the Peoria indian tribe near the mouth of the modern-day Des Moines River. He asked them the name of the rival tribe that lived further along the banks of the river. The Peoria told him that tribe was called the Moingoana, which became the root for the word 'Moines'. But researcher Michael McCafferty of Indiana University, while studying the now extinct Miami-Illinois language, discovered that Moingoana, translated literally, meant 's**t faces.' Evidently the Peoria were having a little fun at their rival's expense. The city of Des Moines…
Categories: Places Comments (5)
Practical Joke Six Years in the Making
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 23, 2003
Perry Caravello wanted to be an actor, and his friends told him he would be. In fact, they signed him up to play the leading role in a film they were making, Windy City Heat. Unfortunately for Perry, they weren't actually shooting a movie. They were just stringing him along, trying to figure out how long they could keep him believing that they were making a movie. He kept believing, for six long years, bolstered by an unshakeable faith in his own Star Power. Even though the friends weren't shooting a movie, they did shoot footage of the entire practical joke, which has now resulted in a documentary on Comedy Central titled, appropriately enough, Windy City Heat.
Categories: Entertainment, Pranks Comments (1)
CIA Tricks of the Trade
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 23, 2003
Some of the CIA's recent strategies are outlined here. For instance, it's been creating fake religious leaders in the Middle East to drum up support for American polices... i.e. it's been paying people to pose as pro-American Muslim clerics. They've also been giving agents satellite phones hidden in rifles. But even though they've got all kinds of high-tech gadgets, they're also still using disappearing ink.
Categories: Military Comments (0)
Jesus Freakin
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 22, 2003
Here's a curious website just sent in by a visitor: JesusFreakin.com. It's the homepage for a new role-playing game in which you get to play Jesus Christ, who's just returned after 2000 years and is ready for revenge. The game has tag lines such as 'The time has come to thin the flock,' and 'After 2000 years, he's ready to cast the first stone.' In my opinion, it's definitely a hoax. First of all, the site and graphics are pretty amateurish, given that it's supposedly produced by a video game company (Last Stone Studios). Second, there's no evidence that this company exists. It lists a business address on a press release it issued, but this address is just a…
Categories: Religion, Websites Comments (0)
An Email from Mystic Merlin
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 22, 2003
I got an angry email from Mystic Merlin, creator of the Crop Circles Mystery Board Game that I linked to below. He demanded that I remove all mention of his game from my site because, in his words, 'THIS BOARDGAME IS NOT A HOAX AND HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HOAXING AT ALL' (caps are his). Of course! How could I have been so foolish as to presume that crop circles have anything to do with hoaxes? My mistake entirely. And yet, I just can't bring myself to remove the link. Sorry, Mystic Merlin.
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales Comments (2)
Indian Ghost, Part II
Posted by The Curator on Sun Sep 21, 2003
Kentaro Mori managed to unearth the source for that ghost photo that scared so many people in India (see below). Click images for larger versions.   
Categories: Paranormal, Photos/Videos Comments (3)
Diploma Mill
Posted by The Curator on Sun Sep 21, 2003
General Delivery University: America's only genuine diploma mill
Lake Michigan Whale Watching
Posted by The Curator on Sun Sep 21, 2003
Lake Michigan Whale Watching: One of the best guarded secrets of the Great Lakes
Flag-o-Rama
Posted by The Curator on Sun Sep 21, 2003
The Flag-o-Rama Flagstore: Gift items for truly fanatical patriots.
Categories: Politics Comments (0)
Real Hamster
Posted by The Curator on Sun Sep 21, 2003
Real Hamster: Hot hamster sex. Maybe not safe for work.
Categories: Animals, Sex/Romance Comments (0)
Afterlife Telegrams
Posted by The Curator on Sun Sep 21, 2003
Afterlife Telegrams: Terminally ill volunteers will memorize your messages and, upon death, deliver them to your friends and family on the other side
Categories: Religion, Websites Comments (2)
The Penguin Conspiracy
Posted by The Curator on Sun Sep 21, 2003
The Penguin Conspiracy: Revealing the shocking truth... that penguins are plotting to take over the world
Categories: Animals Comments (2)
What is Victoria’s Secret
Posted by The Curator on Sun Sep 21, 2003
What is Victoria's Secret: In a nutshell, it's bulimia. Unfortunately this site had to place 'parody' labels all over itself due to complaints from the real Victoria's Secret
Categories: Body Manipulation Comments (0)
Moscow Subway Metrocam
Posted by The Curator on Sat Sep 20, 2003
The Moscow Subway Metrocam: It's all in Russian, but the picture you see is from a webcam located inside an underground tunnel on the Moscow subway. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll see the light of an approaching train. And yes, it is a hoax. Its creator told me so.
Categories: Places, Websites Comments (0)
First Genetics
Posted by The Curator on Sat Sep 20, 2003
First Genetics: The website of the first laboratory to have successfully genetically engineered an ape to be able to communicate with humans via typing on a keyboard
Categories: Science, Websites Comments (0)
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.