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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
Fascinating article in New Scientist reports on research that posits that what really separates skeptics from believers (when it comes to matters such as paranormal activity) is brain chemistry. Those with high levels of dopamine in their brains seem to be more prone to see patterns and meaning in random pieces of information. When the drug L-dopa was given to skeptics, they likewise became more prone to see patterns in randomness as well. Of course, the researchers seem to be assuming that the patterns weren't really there. But maybe they actually really WERE there, but the researchers themselves weren't able to see them because their own levels of dopamine weren't high enough. I wonder if the researchers noted their…
Posted: Fri Jul 26, 2002 Comments (0)

Large crop circle found in a field of soybeans outside of Naperville, Illinois. Is it real, or a publicity stunt in anticipation of the release of the movie 'Signs' on August 2?
Posted: Fri Jul 26, 2002 Comments (0)

"Stickboy" sent me an e-mail letting me know about his "official web site of supernatural activity." Check it out.
Posted: Fri Jul 26, 2002 Comments (0)

Nice collection of 'Wacky Postcards' (also referred to as tall tale postcards, or freak postcards) at the UCM Museum's site. UCM stands for Unusual Collections and Miniature Town. The Museum is located in Louisiana. I've never been to Louisiana, but I'd love to get there someday.
Posted: Fri Jul 26, 2002 Comments (0)


Robert Wiemer, one of the 25 authors of the 'Naked Came the Stranger' literary hoax from 1969, died yesterday. He was better known as an editorial writer for Newsday. Naked Came the Stranger was a novel that was designed to test just how low the standards of taste of the American public had sunk. 25 Newsday staff members each wrote a chapter of this novel. Their only requirements were that their chapters could contain no plot or character development, no social insight, and no verbal skill. Only one thing was required: a minimum of two sex scenes per chapter. The resulting novel was attributed to a fictitious author (Penelope Ashe), who was played by the attractive sister-in-law…
Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2002 Comments (0)

A rogue soccer team pretends to be Romania's Olympic team.
Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2002 Comments (0)

Lake Tahoe Man invents Sept. 11 heroics, including the claim that he was buried under rubble for over 79 hours.
Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2002 Comments (0)

Using technology to get around the problem of people lying online. From the NY Times (reg. req.). Researchers estimate that 42% of online responses are currently false.
Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2002 Comments (0)

I've heard about psychics reading palms. Now here's one that reads buttocks.
Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2002 Comments (4)

Great article in the National Post about the role of ghostwriters in the writing of "autobiographies." Often ghostwriters will invent the lives of their subjects out of whole cloth... And many celebrities never read the autobiographies which they've supposedly written. As the article says, "If the nominal author of a memoir says, 'I want to thank the devoted and talented Ms. Holly Ryle for her expert editorial assistance,' that probably means she wrote every word."
Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2002 Comments (0)

The Monkey Man has returned in India, after an absence of about a year. Reports are that a "monkey-like machine" is attacking people as they sleep on rooftops and in open places.
Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2002 Comments (0)

An exhibition of the art of Mortimer Menpes is being displayed at the National Library of Australia. Menpes was known for making fakes of the works of the great masters. This was in the early 20th century.
Posted: Sun Jul 21, 2002 Comments (0)

Posted: Sun Jul 21, 2002 Comments (0)

Cheney promises crackdown on corporate fraud. I don't know. Somehow it seems a little fishy.
Posted: Sun Jul 21, 2002 Comments (0)

Baywatch star Traci Bingham has been getting a huge amount of publicity for parading around European cities in her bikini made out of lettuce. Her point was to promote vegetarianism. But purists will note that the bikini was made out of fake lettuce.
Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2002 Comments (1)

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