The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
A reader of my book wrote to me pointing out that in the book I claim that examples of Paul Jordan Smith's hoax 'Disumbrationist' paintings could be found on my website. But in fact, the paintings weren't there. My fault entirely. At some point, during some reorganization of the website, the page of Disumbrationist Art was deleted and never put back up. So here it is again, restored to its original glory. For those not familiar with the Disumbrationist story, Paul Jordan Smith was a novelist living in LA during the 1920s. As a joke he adopted the persona of a scruffy Russian artist, Pavel Jerdanowitch, and submitted some paintings 'in the modern style' to art contests. Jerdanowitch…
Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2003 Comments (1)

Over the past two weeks a lot of attention has been paid to a website whose name could be read in two ways: http://www.powergenitalia.com. Think about it. Powergen Italia, or... Anyway, I didn't link to it here at first, believing it was a legitimate company that didn't realize how its name could be misread. Turns out I was wrong. According to an article in The Register, the site is a spoof. The real company named Powergen denies having an Italian division named Powergen Italia. Someone must have created the site for a laugh. Perhaps a disgruntled Powergen employee. Some other website names that can be read in two ways are WhoRepresents.com (Whore Presents) and IPanywhere.com. (via…
Posted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 Comments (2)

A visitor named Heinz Klostermann sent me quite a bit of info about Joseph Papp, a Hungarian-born inventor who first claimed that he had built a submarine capable of traveling at 300 mph, and later claimed to have built a car engine that could run for six months without refueling. Heinz sent an article about Papp that appeared in the San Jose Mercury News in 1989, as well as an article apparently written by the physicist Richard Feynman describing a demonstration of Papp's engine. It turns out that Heinz has been working for the past three years to reinvent Papp's engine (the secret of how to build it died with Papp). If you have any info about Papp…
Posted: Sun Jun 22, 2003 Comments (1)

Another visitor contribution: ...I guess this Website can't be Dis-Proved, but it might make an interesting addition to your Museum: Dolphin Sex (Warning: some of the content isn't safe for work) My response: I assume the site is just a joke. But given all the things that people have supposedly tried to mate with throughout history (see my Birth Hoaxes Gallery for some examples) one can never be too sure.
Posted: Sat Jun 21, 2003 Comments (4)


A visitor asks: http://crossspot.net/objective/kidz.html is this site for real,or just mocking christian web sites? My answer: My vote is that it's satire, though it's pretty hard to tell. To my jaded sensibility the site definitely has a tongue-in-cheek feel to it. For instance the proposed redesign of the American flag to include the word 'GOD' stamped in huge letters across the top of it seems a little much. But there are people who go for that kind of stuff. What confuses me are the banner ads on the site which appear to lead to genuine Christian businesses. But maybe the ads are put there just to give the site a façade of authenticity.
Posted: Sat Jun 21, 2003 Comments (14)

Here's another case of the underlying reality of what an ad is showing being out of sync with the message the ad is trying to deliver. A Canadian campaign commercial shows a shot of a smiling family accompanied by a voice over that says, "I want a premier who believes what I believe." But the family shown is an American family from Oregon. Oops.
Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2003 Comments (0)

More info about the image of the Virgin Mary that's appearing in the window of Milton Hospital. Plus a picture. I guess I can sort of see how it looks like the Virgin Mary, but it also looks a little like the state of New Hampshire if you squint your eyes just right.
Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2003 Comments (0)

More from Gary Poole, a spokesperson for Beer for the Homeless: "It was originally intended as an internet satire, but very quickly took on a life of it's own when people really did start donating money. The group that does it even had to hire an accountant to keep up with taxes and such. They'll be featured in an upcoming issue of FHM Magazine, in fact."
Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2003 Comments (0)

This is disappointing. Poland Spring water turns out not to be spring water at all, just highly treated groundwater. Nestle is being sued for false advertising. I used to drink Poland Spring all the time before I moved out to California.
Posted: Thu Jun 19, 2003 Comments (6)

A few weeks ago I linked to a site called Beer for the Homeless, which I suspected of being a hoax. After all, it reminded me of the classic Arm the Homeless campaign, which was definitely a hoax. Turns out my suspicions were wrong. I just got this note from a spokesperson for the site: Just as a note, the "Beer For The Homeless" website is indeed NOT a hoax. It's a real site that really uses the money raised to buy and deliver beer to homeless people living in Chattanooga, Tennessee. One of our talk show hosts is the one who came up with the idea and really has made a beer run -…
Posted: Thu Jun 19, 2003 Comments (0)

A visitor named 'AJ' wrote in with this question: Awhile back there was a picture of a Very Big Rooster with a guy in a cowboy hat and a rope tied around the neck of the rooster, where Can I find that picture? Here's the picture, plus a look at some other big roosters of yesteryear.
Posted: Thu Jun 19, 2003 Comments (0)

The Czar of Bizarre: sideshow-related art, prose, and links.
Posted: Thu Jun 19, 2003 Comments (0)

It turns out that Hitler wrote a sequel to Mein Kampf, and unlike the infamous Hitler Diaries, it's not a hoax. It's soon going to be published in an English translation. This NY Times article about it also contains a good summary of the Hitler Diaries hoax.
Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2003 Comments (0)

Miami deejays hoax Fidel Castro with a prank phone call. It's the same pair that earlier hoaxed Hugo Chavez.
Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2003 Comments (0)

High-school seniors superglue the locks on their teachers' doors. The teachers are not amused. In other senior prank news, piglets are released in a school the day of the senior barbeque.
Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2003 Comments (253)

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