The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
First they saw the image of the Virgin Mary in a window of Milton Hospital (see below). Now they're seeing the image of the Virgin Mary in Milton Hospital's brick chimney.
Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2003 Comments (0)

SendSteveAGift.com is the latest website in which a guy brazenly asks people to send him money, just for the hell of it (his argument: give a buck to change Steve's luck). An anonymous visitor asked me if the site is for real. My response: Of course it is! I'm 100% certain that if you choose to surrender your cash to Steve, he'll take it. But if you're in a mood to part with some money, why not give it to me?
Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2003 Comments (2)

Check out the website of Ben Field. Ben is a student at Miami University in Ohio. Every year the students there celebrate Green Beer Day (a celebration not sanctioned by the university) by drinking green beer in bars all day. This year Ben got the clever idea of sending out an email to all 31,000 students, disguised to make it appear that it was coming from the university president, declaring that classes were cancelled for Green Beer Day. Needless to say, the university was not amused. Now Ben has to reimburse his parents $9000 in legal fees that they covered for him. So Ben created a website to tell his story and solicit donations from the public to help…
Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2003 Comments (1)

This day in hoax history. June 25, 1899: The Great Wall of China Hoax.
Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2003 Comments (0)


Sea serpent spotted by Cape Breton fisherman.
Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2003 Comments (0)

Public Service Announcement: if you get an email telling you that if you forward this message to five people you'll get a free flight from London to Asia courtesy of British Airways, DON'T BELIEVE IT. Versions of this hoax have been going around for years, involving Microsoft and Nike, among others. The premise of the hoax is always that these companies have some way of tracking email in order to determine who is forwarding their email. This, of course, is absolute nonsense.
Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2003 Comments (0)

The following email has been making the rounds. Someone asked me if it's real: The Veil By now you've heard of Sultaana Freeman. Sultaana is the Muslim convert in Florida who is refusing to remove her veil for a driver's license photo. So do you want to see what she looks like? Well here you go. Sultaana with and without her veil! Wait a minute! Doesn't that look like a mug shot on the left? Why, yes! I think it is! I guess she was arrested! Well, as a matter of fact she was. It happened in 1997 in Decatur,…
Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2003 Comments (2)

I just read about this British plan to fly a hot-air balloon right up to the very edge of space. The balloon pilots will have to wear spacesuits to protect them from the low air pressure and cosmic rays at that elevation. Of course, they've already been beaten out by Hans Pfaall who rode a hot air balloon all the way to the moon back in 1835.
Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2003 Comments (0)

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)

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