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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
Thanks to Derek Freeman's work, a lot of people know that the anthropologist Margaret Mead was hoaxed into believing that young Samoan girls were far more sexually active than they actually were. But Mead made influential claims about other cultures as well, about which she apparently was just as wrong, according to this article in Front Page Magazine. For instance, she claimed that the Mountain Arapesh, a tribe of New Guinea yam gardeners, had no knowledge of the concept of war. Not quite. Other researchers later found that about half the adult male Arapesh had killed people in battle.
Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2003 Comments (0)

Just added Google Ads to the home page of the site (see to the right), and it looks like the Google computer is inferring from the fact that I had one entry referring to identical twins amputating body parts that visitors to my site might be interested in ads about amputation services and DNA testing. How weird. But at least these ads are a lot more interesting than the generic kind of ads for credit cards and mutual funds that are plastered over most of the internet.
Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2003 Comments (0)

The SciFi Channel has a section on its website called SciFi Happens on which they pretend to invite the public to send in clips of true-life weird things that have been caught on film. All the clips are staged by the SciFi Channel itself, of course, but some of them are kind of cool. There's a UFO spotted flying around the World Trade Center, a guy who becomes magnetized after suffering an electric shock, ladybugs that fly in geometric patterns, and the Lake Champlain sea serpent. You need Quicktime to see the clips.
Posted: Sat Sep 13, 2003 Comments (1)

I've just signed up with Google Ads to have them place ads on my website, thus ending my long-standing principled stance against cluttering up my site with advertising. Since it's costing me $50 a month to pay for the bandwidth for the site, I figure that I need to make an effort to recoup those costs somehow. Plus, the Google Ads, being only text, are relatively unobtrusive. And finally, the Google computer tailors the ads to the content of each page, so that the ads aren't totally irrelevant. I'm finding it very interesting to see what ads the computer chooses to place on each page. I've only begun adding the ad code to my pages, but on the Bonsai…
Posted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 Comments (0)


A visitor sent me a question about holotouch.com: "Dont think this is for real. Check it out. Seems too simple a site to claim what they have achieved." Actually, although the technology sounds like something out of Star Trek: the Next Generation, it is real. The links they have to articles about themselves written by the New York Times and others all check out. Plus, I've read about similar technologies before. As for the simplicity of the site, I assume that the company just doesn't have a lot of cash to spend on a flashy website. That's often the case with startup companies.
Posted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 Comments (1)

Dr. Zizlesse offers a revolutionary alternative for overweight women who can't lose those extra pounds: nipple surgery. I'll let you discover on your own why nipple surgery can solve women's weight problems, but I have to say that there's definitely a strange, twisted logic to what he suggests. I'm also sure it's a hoax. Note that near the bottom of the intro page Dr. Zizlesse asks 'Are you gullible?' (may not be safe for work because of the background image, though it took me ages before I actually noticed what was in the background). This next site also involves strange forms of body modification. At Adding and Subtracting we meet two identical twins, Ryan and Dave,…
Posted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 Comments (0)

The Sydney Morning Herald has labelled that photo of Munchkin the Monster cat (see below) a hoax (thanks to Steve Wilson for pointing this out to me). Still, I can't see how the hoax was done.
Posted: Wed Sep 10, 2003 Comments (0)

Cute hoax website: WeWantYourSoul.com. Though it's more of a spoof than a hoax, I'd say, since I don't think anyone is actually going to believe they're going to get money out of this.
Posted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 Comments (0)

Interesting piece in the NY Post about how government economists can lie with statistics, making economic growth go up and down like a yo-yo.
Posted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 Comments (1)

Flight attendants on Air Canada are all going to start wearing fake names on their name tags, as a security measure. So your stewardess could now be Xena, Warrior Princess or Zsa Zsa Gabor.
Posted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 Comments (0)

Buck Wolf reports that Loren Coleman has opened a Museum of Cryptozoology in his home. Included is a Feejee Mermaid. Of course, it can't be THE Feejee Mermaid displayed by Barnum. No one knows what happened to it (though some claim that the mermaid now owned by Harvard University is the authentic one).
Posted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 Comments (1)

Meet Munchkin the Monster Cat, who seems to be related to Snowball. Is Munchkin for real. Honestly, I don't know. I'm looking for answers. (Thanks to Mara, who thinks Munchkin is fake, for sending this image).
Posted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 Comments (0)

An email has been going around containing the text of a supposed Air Force press release that lists bases slated for reduction or closure due to budget cuts. The Air Force announced today that the press release is a hoax.
Posted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 Comments (0)

At last we have definitive scientific proof that ducks' quacks DO echo. Now hopefully researchers will press ahead and perform echo tests on the full range of barnyard sounds: moos, oinks, barks, cock-a-doodle-doos, etc.
Posted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 Comments (0)

The Guardian, inspired by the recent publication of Peter Carey's My Life As a Fake, is offering a Short History of Literary Hoaxes. If you want a slightly longer history of literary hoaxes (as well as every other type of hoax) you could, um, buy my book.
Posted: Sun Sep 07, 2003 Comments (0)

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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.