The Museum of Hoaxes
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Today's Featured Topic:
The Great Turkey Drive of 1866

Is Peter Lynds a Hoax? — Recently a 27-year-old New Zealander named Peter Lynds has been getting a lot of attention. He's been hailed as the next Einstein because he's come up with an entirely new theory of time. And he's done this without having any formal qualifications as a physicist. But suggestions that Peter Lynds may be nothing more than a hoax have been cropping up. Some have even doubted the guy's existence. The Guardian investigated and found that Lynds was real enough, but that his work hasn't…
Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2003.   Comments (0)

Fake Friendsters — There's been not one, but two articles in the past few days about the phenomenon of Fake Friendsters. Apparently many people using the new online service Friendster — a service that allows you to meet new people by making connections with the friends of your friends — have been creating fake identities, identities such as God, Giant Squid, or Jackalope. Friendster is fighting back by trying to delete all the fakes. Of course, this is like fighting the tide. Just ask any postmodernist…
Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2003.   Comments (2)

Mold Dogs — How do you know if your house has a mold problem? Well, you could hire a mold-sniffing dog to find out. But be warned. Mold Consultants, LLC says the mold-dog industry is a scam.
Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2003.   Comments (0)


Hotmail Hoax — To all users of Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc. If you ever get an email claiming to be from your service provider warning you that you need to forward the email you just received "so that we know you are still using this account," then it's a hoax. Variations of this hoax have actually been around a long, long time, but people are still falling for it.
Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2003.   Comments (3)

Tourist Flights to Mars — This story is five years old (dating back to 1998) but someone just sent it to me anyway. It details what appears to be a case of extreme gullibility. But a search on Lexis-Nexis for any newspaper report of this scam occurring in the past twenty years turned up nothing—except for skeptical references to this same email. So I've got to conclude that the case this email describes is just an urban legend. This person posting on SpaceFuture.com's message board back in 1998 agrees. Here's…
Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2003.   Comments (2)

To Serve Rabbit — This has gotten a lot of attention. A LiveJournal user, Siamang, posted an entry about how his pet rabbit Grendel died. So (he claimed) he decided to skin and eat his beloved pet. After all, burying or cremating him seemed so impersonal. This was accompanied by pictures of Grendel both alive and served up on a plate. Predictably, the entry got a huge response. But it seems that Siamang wasn't being entirely honest. In a separate journal entry he refuses to say whether his story is true…
Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2003.   Comments (0)

Terry Tate for Governor — To the list of fictitious characters campaigning to become Governor of California we can now add Terry Tate, the 'Office Linebacker' in those ads by Reebok. Terry Tate is played by actor Lester Speight, but it's Tate that's running, not Speight. So we now have Gollum and Tate running, as well as Gary Coleman, Gallagher, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the pornstar Mary Carey, Angelyne, and Larry Flynt. All elections should be this fun!
Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2003.   Comments (0)

Baron Munchausen Trading Cards — A cool set of Baron Munchausen trading cards. I'm sure it would cost a lot of money to buy the complete set. Update 8/14/03: I didn't intend to suggest that these cards are a hoax, as a few people queried me about. I linked to them because Munchausen (the fictional character) was a famous teller of tall tales, so the cards appealed to me as an example of hoax memorabilia.
Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2003.   Comments (1)

Outhouse Springs Water — Stuart Elliott, in today's edition of his NY Times email newsletter, writes about a hoax product that recently became a real product. It goes by the name Outhouse Springs water. This brand of bottled water was dreamed up by an advertising agency that wanted to gauge how effective outdoor billboard ads could be. So they put 40 billboards advertising the fictitious Outhouse Springs Water up around Charleston, South Carolina. The billboards sported slogans such as "It's #1, not #2!"…
Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2003.   Comments (0)

The Cesky Sen Hypermarket — How do people react when their expectations built up by advertising collide with reality? That was the question two Czech film students set out to answer. They flooded Czech media with advertisements for a new 'hypermarket'—Cesky sen— offering goods at rock-bottom prices. New TV sets for $19, for instance. Eager shoppers flooded to the hypermarket's address, shopping bags in hand, only to find a large empty scaffold bearing a banner fluttering aimlessly in the wind. (Story via Paul…
Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2003.   Comments (0)

When I do not know if it is a hoax or not — A frustrated visitor asks: "If you don't know whether it's real, or a hoax, then why in the world did you include it on this site of 'hoaxes'!" I assume they were referring to those pictures of the skinny models. Well, as vast as my knowledge is (note: sarcasm intended), sometimes I just don't know whether the weird things that pop up on the news or on the internet are real or false. But when I list things here, usually someone will write in with info that'll point the way towards the…
Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2003.   Comments (0)

Air Guitar For Sale — A brand new air guitar and drum set. Bid on it now at eBay.
Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2003.   Comments (1)

They Captured ET — Talk about a pain in the neck. Photoshop has made this guy look a bit like a giraffe, or E.T. This photo has been circulating via email for a few months. It's usually titled 'They finally captured E.T." or some variation of that. I think it's fair to conclude that the neck and stomach of the man being led away by the police officer have been digitally enlarged. Note the boxy pixellation where the photoshopper cut-and-pasted to lengthen the neck: (thanks to Karen Robinson for sending this).
Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2003.   Comments (2)

Gollum for Governor — Here's the latest entrant to the California recall election: Gollum, from Lord of the Rings. Considering the other candidates running, he just might have my vote.
Posted: Mon Aug 11, 2003.   Comments (0)

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