The Museum of Hoaxes
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Today's Featured Topic:
The Great Moon Hoax of 1835
Bigot Mom Hoax — THE LATEST BIGOTED NOTE HOAX: Deejays for a New York radio morning show aired a story about two gay dads who had sent out invitations for their daughters birthday party and had received back a note from the mother of one boy saying, "Tommy will NOT attend. I do not believe in what you do and will not subject my innocent son to your 'lifestyle.' I'm sorry Sophia has to grow up this way. If you have an issue or need to speak to me: [number erased]." Turns out the entire story was made…
Posted: Mon Feb 17, 2014.   Comments (0)

Miscegenation Hoax Anniversary — Philip Kadish, who's completing his Ph.D. in American Lit. at The City University of New York, notes that a 'neglected anniversary' recently passed by: the 150th anniversary of the Miscegenation Hoax of 1864, which, as he notes, was "one of the greatest and least remembered political media hoaxes in American history." The old hoax is certainly evidence that bigotry has always been a part of American politics. As Kadish notes, the hoax foreshadowed modern political hoaxes that play to…
Posted: Sun Feb 16, 2014.   Comments (0)

Subversive Vodafone Puppet Ad — A Vodafone commercial featuring talking puppets has been the subject of some strange rumors in Egypt. The buzz is that the commercial is full of coded messages telling Islamist terrorists to bomb churches. You see, the commercial opens and closes with a shot of a four-branched cactus from which hangs a single Christmas ornament. The four branches, so the rumors suggest, represent the four-fingered salute of the Muslim brotherhood. The cactus itself represents bitterness and resistance.…
Posted: Wed Jan 08, 2014.   Comments (0)

Things keep looking worse for that New Jersey Waitress — I posted yesterday that Dayna Morales (the "I received a homophobic note and no tip" woman) had been suspended from the restaurant where she was working. Now, the consumerist reports that someone got the idea of checking to see if she actually donated the money she received to the Wounded Warrior Project, as she promised she was going to. The news (kinda predictably) is that no donation was given under her name, or from the zip code where she lives, or from the restaurant. So unless she…
Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2013.   Comments (1)


Another Zero-Tip Receipt — Forrest Swan, a 22-year-old waiter and Auburn fan, says he got stiffed by a customer who was an Alabama fan. The customer also wrote a note on the receipt: "don't talk about being proud of Auburn to an Alabama Fan!" Naturally a photo was quickly snapped of the offending receipt and uploaded to twitter. [huffpost] Mr. Swan hasn't revealed what restaurant this happened at. So details are impossible to verify. But I have a hunch that this case actually is real, unlike the other recent…
Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2013.   Comments (0)

Another case of a note on a restaurant receipt — Dayna Morales, a server at the Gallop Asian Bistro in New Jersey, says that a couple she recently waited on not only didn't tip her, but also left a note on the receipt criticizing her lifestyle. So Morales took a photo of the receipt and uploaded it to the facebook page of the "Have A Gay Day" organization. The photo attracted a lot of publicity and sympathetic supporters soon sent Morales almost $3000, which she says she's donating to charity. But the twist in the story: a couple…
Posted: Tue Nov 26, 2013.   Comments (4)

The Mystery of the Racist Red Lobster Receipt — Red Lobster Waitress Toni Christina Jenkins shot to internet fame back in September after posting on her facebook page a picture of a receipt she claimed one of her customers left her, with a racist remark ("None N**ger") scrawled on it in place of a tip. The story received even more attention when, a few weeks later, a stranger who was moved by her story gave her a check for $10,759. But meanwhile, the guy who left the receipt insisted he didn't write that phrase. He admits he wrote…
Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2013.   Comments (1)

Seriously Richview Collegiate — A picture of a letter detailing a blatantly racist policy supposedly adopted by a Toronto-area high school, Richview Collegiate Institute, was all over Twitter recently. The letter reads: Dear teachers and students, As of late the safety of our students' has been brought into question. Due to a frequent increase in student robberies and fights this letter has been sent out to inform students on safety precautions that are to be taken to protect their well being. Personal belongings are…
Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013.   Comments (0)

Was Mancow really waterboarded? — Gawker devoted a series of posts last week to shockjock Erich Muller, aka Mancow. First they praised him for having undergone waterboarding so he could decide for himself whether or not it was torture. But then they obtained a series of emails from Mancow's publicist suggesting the entire thing was a hoax, that Mancow faked being waterboarded. Mancow insists the waterboarding wasn't faked, despite what his publicist's email may suggest. Apparently there's no video of the event, which…
Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2009.   Comments (8)

Moms Behaving Badly — A dispute between two young girls escalated into an online fight between the mothers. The mother of one of the girls posted an ad on Craigslist offering sex with men, and listed the phone number of the other girl's mother as the contact. Twenty-two people called the number. The woman has now been charged with aggravated harrassment. [Newsday]
Posted: Mon May 11, 2009.   Comments (2)

Mystery Stones Explained — The mystery of why someone has been leaving white stones with cryptic black markings on them around Orleans, Massachusetts has been solved. The creator of the stones sent an explanatory letter to the local paper: The writer said the backward “R” and an “R” separated by three slashes on one line and an “X” book ended by two vertical lines underneath means “Remember 9-11.” He (most believe the writer is a male) said he came up with the design about two years ago “When I became…
Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2009.   Comments (11)

Little Green Pill Hoax — It must have seemed like a good idea to someone at Greenpeace to leave mysterious green pills labeled "nuclear radiation pills" on the doorsteps of various Toronto homes. The homeowners panicked and called the police. The pills were actually seaweed tablets. Greenpeace had been hoping to raise awareness of a nuclear power plant being built in the area. [citynews.ca]
Posted: Thu Apr 09, 2009.   Comments (3)

The Dark Side of April Fool’s Day — For some, April Fool's Day means innocent fun. For others it appears to be an invitation to explore the dark corners of their twisted psyches. That's the only reason I can think of to explain why every April 1st stories like this one, featuring a woman who "pranked" her brother-in-law by calling him and telling him that her 1-year-old child wasn't breathing, appear in the news.
Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2009.   Comments (2)

Over-Reacting —A slight over-reaction, perhaps. Two guys at a science park pranked a colleague on April 1st by moving his car. When the guy couldn't find his car, the science-park security force naturally thought it must be a terrorist threat and evacuated the entire building. [Chester Evening Leader]. Update: Here's a link that should work. Plus, this article (unlike the first one I linked to) makes clear that what actually happened is that the guys moved the car into a restricted parking lot,…
Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2009.   Comments (3)

Helix High Hoax — Yesterday (Tuesday) there was a helicopter buzzing around in the sky outside my window for about half an hour. I was speculating what it might be: bank robbery, accident, men in black? No, turns out it was just a local, neighborhood hoax. (I live about 2 blocks from Helix High School in La Mesa, a San Diego suburb): A report of an armed man at Helix High School that prompted a lockdown on the campus Tuesday was a student hoax, police said. An investigation by school staff and the La…
Posted: Thu Dec 18, 2008.   Comments (5)

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