The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
Princess Caraboo — BBC Legacies, the BBC's new website for exploring local history, is doing a feature this month on Local Legends, and has put up an article about one of Bristol's local legends, Princess Caraboo (though perhaps legends is the wrong word to describe the Princess, since she was quite real, though not a real Princess). It's a good article, and they were nice enough to link back to the Museum of Hoaxes in a sidebar.
Posted: Wed Dec 03, 2003.   Comments (0)

Does Santa Exist? — A Florida elementary school teacher made the mistake of telling her kids that Santa doesn't exist. Now Santa himself is making a special trip down from the North Pole to visit the classroom just to prove that he really does exist. I'm sure the teacher feels appropriately remorseful, but at least she didn't tell her kids that Santa was dead as a British vicar did last year.
Posted: Wed Dec 03, 2003.   Comments (0)

He casts a long shadow — This photo of Dick Gephardt's shadow cast across an American flag was snapped today (Dec. 1) at a campaign rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It appeared on Yahoo News and is quickly spreading across the internet. Despite the suggestive nature of part of the shadow, one has to assume that it hasn't been photoshopped. It's one of those things that seems like a hoax, but actually isn't, much like the picture of the Jamie Oliver calendar that was circulating around recently. Thanks to Kentaro…
Posted: Mon Dec 01, 2003.   Comments (0)

Self Arrest Form — The East Point Police, in East Point, Georgia, have come up with a novel way to reduce the costs of fighting crime. They simply invite criminals to arrest themselves. They have an easy-to-use self arrest form on their website that criminals can fill out and submit online. At first I suspected that the entire East Point Police website was a joke, but this doesn't appear to be the case. Instead, I'm guessing that this self-arrest form is just a bit of police humor, in the same vein as the…
Posted: Thu Nov 27, 2003.   Comments (0)


MJ and JR News — Michael Jackson has set up a website that's serving as his Official Press Room. Apparently Jack the Ripper has now done the same. (Thanks to Kentaro Mori for the link) Update: By the way, don't bother clicking on any of the links on the 'JR News' site. They all lead to spam. Evidently the JR News site is just a front for spammers.
Posted: Wed Nov 26, 2003.   Comments (0)

Vinland Map — According to a new study, the Vinland Map (that map of North America drawn by ancient Vikings) may be genuine.
Posted: Wed Nov 26, 2003.   Comments (0)

State Seal of Kahlifoania — Apparently the great state of California, in which I live, has adopted a new state seal, as can be seen below.
Posted: Tue Nov 25, 2003.   Comments (0)

Art Forgery — MyStudios.com has an interesting History of Art Forgery (via Fiendish Is The Word). Plus, they challenged 20 contemporary artists to create works in the style of past masters, and you can see the results here.
Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2003.   Comments (0)

Sea Urchins Live Forever — One of the questions in my gullibility test is whether turtles ever die of old age. The answer is that they don't, and here's a BBC article about another species that shares this trait: the sea urchin. Apparently, unless urchins are killed off by predators or diseasey, they'll live forever.
Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2003.   Comments (0)

The Great Octopus Mystery — As a joke, a Peoria woman puts a baby octopus in her boyfriend's toilet. Her boyfriend gets home, finds an octopus in his toilet, and assumes it must have crawled there from out of the sewer. He calls the local paper and the city is soon caught up in the 'Great Octopus Mystery' until the girlfriend calls up and sheepishly confesses.
Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2003.   Comments (1)

Piltdown Man — Dr. Miles Russell argues that Charles Dawson had to be the sole perpetrator of the Piltdown Hoax, since Dawson had a long history of creating archaeological frauds.
Posted: Sat Nov 22, 2003.   Comments (0)

Bizarre Phobias — Tom wrote to ask about the reality of a site called The Phobia Clinic. At first glance, the site definitely looks like it represents a real business that's selling a program to help people overcome their fears. The strangeness comes when you dig into some of the fears that they claim they can cure, and you have to wonder... do such fears or anxieties really exist? For example, they can cure you of Arachibutyrophobia (that's a fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth),
Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2003.   Comments (449)

Michael Jackson, the jokes have begun — 'Free MJ' shop that's now up on CafePress. Plus, there have been quite a few postings today on my message board dedicated to Michael Jackson's Nose.
Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2003.   Comments (0)

The Jedi Religion — I wrote in my book about the burgeoning Jedi movement throughout the world. For instance, when the 2001 census was taken in Britain, tens of thousands of people listed 'Jedi Knight' as their religious affiliation on the census forms. I've actually heard from a source in the Office of National Statistics that when the figures were all counted, there ended up being more Jedis than Jews in Britain. Now we have more proof of the growing stature of 'Jediism': the quasi-official website of…
Posted: Thu Nov 20, 2003.   Comments (28)

Hitler Hoaxes — Mixing together some content that had been on the site before, with a little stuff from my book, I just created a small gallery of hoaxes involving Adolf Hitler. He was a strange man, and he inspired some strange hoaxes.
Posted: Tue Nov 18, 2003.   Comments (0)

The Great Chili Scandal — People are up in arms about the Great Chili Scandal. The scandal occurred at the 37th annual Original Terlingua International Frank X. Tolbert-Wick Fowler Memorial Championship Chili Cook-Off, which is like the superbowl of Chili Cook-offs. Don Eastep won first place this year. Problem is that Don hadn't actually cooked any of his own chili. His brother Terry had dropped out of the contest at the last minute, so Don posed as his brother and took his place. But instead of cooking…
Posted: Tue Nov 18, 2003.   Comments (0)

What Brand Are You? — This is one of those cases where a joke supposedly becomes reality. An advertising company (The Design Conspiracy) created a joke website called What Brand Are You?, whose purpose was to spoof the bizarre brand names that companies are increasingly dreaming up—names such as Aviva, Diageo, and Corus. Visitors to What Brand Are You could type in their name, their 'core values,' and their goals, and the supercomputer powering the website would then spit out a personalized brand name free…
Posted: Tue Nov 18, 2003.   Comments (1)

Howard Dean Confederacy Posters — Posters advertising a campaign rally for Howard Dean, and sporting a confederate flag in the background, appeared all over the campus of Dartmouth College. The group hosting the rally denies having created the posters, therefore they're obviously a prank, created by some group as yet unknown.
Posted: Sat Nov 15, 2003.   Comments (0)

The Naked Chef — Here's a picture of the 2004 calendar of Jamie Oliver (aka The Naked Chef). Note the suggestively placed piece of bread. This image originally appeared on the website of Boots, which is a British pharmacy. And it quickly attracted attention, at which point Boots cropped the image in order to remove the offending piece of bread. I can't find another picture of the calendar anywhere online to compare this picture to, but I'm assuming that the piece of bread must have been photoshopped in.…
Posted: Sat Nov 15, 2003.   Comments (0)

Catch Him If You Can — A modern-day 'Catch Me If You Can' criminal is on the run in Australia. He cons women out of money by posing as a pilot. Except that Frank Abagnale was a teenager when he posed as a pilot, whereas this guy is in his 30s.
Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2003.   Comments (0)

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