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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
Student fakes fire to avoid homework. Wow. Couldn't he just have said that the dog ate his homework?
Posted: Tue Aug 20, 2002 Comments (1)

I remember when McDonalds was promoting its "Pick your prize Monopoly" game. I tried it and didn't even win a free fries. But this guy walked away with $20 million from games at McDonalds.
Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2002 Comments (0)

US News & World Report has a special double issue this week on "The Art of the Hoax". Check out the lead article, "Strange but true: This is the golden age of hoaxes." Yours truly was interviewed for it and gets mentioned twice! Very exciting. But also check out their short piece on the Great Moon Hoax of 1835. As it turns out, they fell for a tall-tale about this hoax. In the first paragraph they claim that because of this newspaper hoax:"Daily sales of the Sun skyrocketed from 4,000 to 19,000–making it the world's most popular paper and launching a new kind of journalism."Not so! For almost a century historians have been repeating this story about…
Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2002 Comments (1)

New York prankster arrested for duct-taping himself to a utility pole in a busy intersection while holding a sign reading "Save Ira Joe Fisher."
Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2002 Comments (0)


Pranksters play havoc with New Zealand's new online electoral rolls, changing one woman's name from Kylene Soar to 'Mr. Fat Ass.' They also manage to register a basset hound to vote, listing its occupation as a cable-layer.
Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 Comments (0)

The San Francisco Chronicle takes a look at the phenomenon of phony heroes and fake victims of 9/11.
Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 Comments (0)

Here's a strange publicity stunt: a London company is seeking five people who are willing to officially change their name to Turok for one year. These people will then be walking, talking billboards helping to spread the word about the X-Box game called 'Turok: Evolution.'
Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2002 Comments (1)

I just learned that Tech TV chose the Museum of Hoaxes as their Site of the Nite last night. And next week US News & World Report will be coming out with a special double issue about hoaxes, for which I was interviewed. So the Museum of Hoaxes should (hopefully) be getting a plug somewhere in there as well. I just hope people who visit the site now will still remember it fondly when my book comes out in November. Fondly enough to maybe buy the book.
Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2002 Comments (0)

Bush to Hold Sham Economic Forum. At least, so claims the Democratic National Committee. I find it amusing when politicians start accusing each other of shams and staging events, since modern politics has become all about manipulating appearances and posing for photo ops anyway. Though in this case I'm inclined to agree with the DNC. The economic forum does appear to be what the historian Daniel Boorstin would describe as a "pseudo-event." Boorstin offered 3 criteria for identifying a pseudo-event: 1) It is not spontaneous; 2) Its success is measured by how widely it is reported; 3) Its relation to the underlying reality of the situation is ambiguous. This checklist comes from Boorstin's book THE IMAGE: A GUIDE…
Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2002 Comments (0)

Okay, I've been informed that Professor Higgins was actually the name of the professor in My Fair Lady, the broadway version of Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. At least I correctly sensed that it was an English name!
Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2002 Comments (0)

Someone wrote in with some new info about the Asian Prince website, which I have listed in my Hoax Websites Gallery. I stated that I wasn't sure if the Asian Prince was a hoax or not, but this reader reveals that the Prince's name "Wo-Hen Nankan" means "I am very ugly" in Mandarin. A clue that the site really is a hoax.
Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2002 Comments (2)

Interesting story in the Toronto Star about a man who was practicing medicine with fake credentials. But he didn't receive a single complaint about his practice. He was only exposed when the Ontario College of Physicians did a thorough check of the credentials of all medical practitioners in the area. It recalls the case of the Great Imposter, Ferdinand Waldo Demara, who once posed as a naval surgeon named Dr. Joseph Cyr and actually performed a lung operation on an injured soldier, even though he had never had a day of surgical training in his life. The operation was a success. He was only discovered to be a fake because someone recognized his picture when it appeared in…
Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2002 Comments (1)

I went to the Del Mar racetrack this weekend. My betting strategy, as always, was to bet on horses whose names appealed to me in some way. So I bet on 'Professor Higgins' because it sounded like a character out of a '60s sci-fi movie, and then on 'Tricks Her' because it sounded like Trickster, and thus had a connection with hoaxes. Both horses won. Unfortunately, every other horse I bet on lost, leaving me down $20 for the day.
Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2002 Comments (1)

The Christian Science Monitor offers a brief history of the Crop Circle phenomenon, while also noting that SIGNS grossed $60 million in its first weekend at the box office.
Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2002 Comments (0)

Another case of a hoax photo. The KeySpan Corp. ran an ad showing some Long Island fishermen in order to show its deep ties with the Long Island community. The only problem was that the picture of the fishermen was actually taken in Seattle, which was obvious since they were holding up King Salmon, which aren't found around Long Island.
Posted: Sat Aug 10, 2002 Comments (0)

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