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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
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)

I've mentioned Larry Adams's book before, Fraud in Other Words, but I was reading through it again tonight and thought it deserved another mention. The book is an exploration of the language of fraud. Adams has collected together all the jargon and terminology of the culture of fraud, and as you flip through the book you come across one devious scam and ploy after another. For instance, I've always thought it was annoying how those subscription cards fall out of magazines when I'm reading them. I never realized that the cards are designed to fall out. They're called 'Drop Outs.' According to Adams: If the recipient has to bend over and pick up a card, they are more…
Posted: Sat Sep 06, 2003 Comments (0)

Crop circles are appearing in soy bean fields in Adams County, Ohio.
Posted: Sat Sep 06, 2003 Comments (0)

An accountant fakes cancer in order to avoid a five-month prison term. Gets found out, and is now looking at the possibility of a 50-year term instead.
Posted: Sat Sep 06, 2003 Comments (0)


Crawford County police were alarmed when they discovered leg bones sticking out of a pair of work boots that were standing on the bank of Lake Shepherd Springs in Arkansas. They launched a massive investigation, until they realized the bones came from an animal. They warn that whoever is responsible for the hoax will be prosecuted for committing a crime.
Posted: Sat Sep 06, 2003 Comments (2)

Croydon residents can rest easy. Signs alerting them to the danger of a crocodile inhabiting a local pond were just a prank.
Posted: Sat Sep 06, 2003 Comments (0)

Here's one to add to the list of 'eerie patterns that people see in random objects' (already on the list would be the 666 forming on the Alamo, and the Virgin Mary appearing on a hospital in Boston). A woman who lives in Hertford County, North Carolina claims that an image of an Indian chief has appeared in her wooden door over the past three months (she's had the door for seven years). The appearance of the face is attracting the usual gaggle of curious visitors. I've been looking at the picture of her door that accompanies the story, and I just can't make out the face.
Posted: Sat Sep 06, 2003 Comments (0)

Does this photo that's been circulating through email really show the management of Microsoft as they looked back in 1978?
Posted: Fri Sep 05, 2003 Comments (2)

Check out this site dedicated to the art of Johann Dieter Wassmann, a university lecturer/sewerage engineer/artist who lived and worked in Germany from 1841-1898. It's incredibly elaborate, including his life history and samples of his work. And nowhere on the site does it suggest that the entire thing is a hoax, that Johann Dieter Wassmann never existed. You only find this out if you click on the link at the bottom of the page that says 'Next Show: Melbourne International Arts Festival, 12-25 October, 2003.' This takes you to the website of the Melbourne Festival itself where it admits that, "The Wassmann Foundation and artist Johann Dieter Wassmann are constructions created by American-born installation artist Jeff Wassmann and…
Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2003 Comments (1)

A visitor sent me this photo of the Real East Coast Blackout of 2003. It definitely represents an improvement over that phony blackout picture that was circulating last week.
Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2003 Comments (1)

It's a spectacular (and by now quite famous) photo. Two elks stand in a river as an inferno rages behind them. But is the picture real?
Posted: Tue Aug 26, 2003 Comments (0)

Recently a company called Infinium Labs announced that it would soon be coming out with a high-powered game console called 'Phantom' that it promises will revolutionize the gaming industry. You can check out their very slick website to find out more about the console. But rumors have began to spread suggesting that there is no Phantom Game Console, that the whole thing is a hoax. The rumors started when someone paid a visit to the company's headquarters and discovered that the headquarters consisted of nothing more than a "100ft x 100ft room with a desk and two phones." Why would anyone perpetrate a hoax like this? One theory is that it's all a publicity stunt put together by…
Posted: Tue Aug 26, 2003 Comments (4)

Here's a guy that should be running for Governor of California. He's wasted on Crouch Hill ward.
Posted: Sun Aug 24, 2003 Comments (0)

When I first saw this picture I thought, 'that can't be a real animal, it's got to be a hoax.' But apparently it's real. It's an angora rabbit. What an odd-looking creature. More pictures can be found here. (link via Geisha asobi blog)
Posted: Sat Aug 23, 2003 Comments (4)

A reader named Chelsea has shared a fascinating site. It's ThingInTheSolarLight.com. The story here is that a couple just bought a solar-powered light for their yard. They set it up, and then they noticed a strange shape appearing to move inside the light. They captured this strange movement on video, and dubbed the moving spectre the 'Wasist.' I think that should be pronounced Vas-Ist. It's german for 'What is it?' The whole thing is quite loony, of course, but oddly entertaining.
Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2003 Comments (1)

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