Web Hoax Museum

alex boese
April 2007: Alex in a Box. Taken while I was browsing in The Book Den in Santa Barbara.

October 2005: Posing with a 410lb pumpkin somewhere in Pennsylvania.

alex boese
July 2004: Taken by a New York Times photographer for an article about web hoaxes in the July 29, 2004 issue.

About the Curator: Alex Boese

I was born in Glenside, Pennsylvania and grew up in London and Washington DC. In 1991 I graduated from Amherst College, and then gained a Master's Degree in the History of Science from the University of California, San Diego. I live in San Diego.

Pronunciation of my name
One of the first questions people ask me is how to pronounce my last name. There are two answers to this. In English it's pronounced "Bose" (rhymes with "nose," like the stereo speakers). However, the "correct" German pronunciation is "Ber-za," since in German the name is spelled Böse. The umlaut over the o gives it an 'r' sound. I mostly use the English pronunciation because it's easier for non-German speakers (such as myself) to deal with. Though I will respond to either.

The Museum of Hoaxes
I created the Museum of Hoaxes back in 1997. It began as research notes for my doctoral dissertation but soon made its way onto the web where it rapidly transformed into a full-time means for me to procrastinate. As proof of this, I never finished the dissertation, but the Museum, during the same period of time, grew enormously. It's hard to determine exactly how many people have visited the site, but it averages a little over one million page views every month. Theoretically that could be from my mother hitting the refresh button a million times every month.

My Books
Museum of Hoaxes the BookI've written three books. My first book, titled (after the website) THE MUSEUM OF HOAXES, was published in November, 2002 by Dutton Press. It detailed the most outrageous hoaxes ever perpetrated throughout history, from the middle ages up to the present.

Hippo Eats DwarfIn 2006 I came out with a second book, HIPPO EATS DWARF, which was a field guide to hoaxes "and other B.S." It explored the many forms of phoniness and fakery in modern society: political lies, reality TV shows, fake body parts, artificial food, internet hoaxes, etc.

Elephants on AcidMy most recent book, ELEPHANTS ON ACID: AND OTHER BIZARRE EXPERIMENTS, was published by Harcourt in November, 2007. It has nothing to do with hoaxes. Instead, as the title suggests, it's about bizarre scientific experiments, such as the time in 1962 when researchers decided to see what would happen if they gave an elephant LSD. Check out my list of the Top 20 Most Bizarre Experiments of All Time for more examples of weird research described in the book.

Media and Publicity
I've written articles for a number of magazines, including Smithsonian, New Scientist, and Mental Floss.

In my capacities as a 'hoaxpert' (hoax expert) and bizarre-experiment expert, I've been interviewed by many radio stations, newspapers, and magazines. These include National Public Radio, BBC Radio, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today.

I can be contacted by e-mail at: [email protected]