The Great See ID Credit Card Hoax —
Do you have 'See ID' written on the back of your credit card, or know someone who does? I used to, until I had an unpleasant run-in at the post office because of it. Turns out that the idea that it's safer to write 'See ID' on the back of your credit card rather than sign it is just a weird hoax that's floating around. (I used to have this blurb about my experience at the post office on my LiveJournal account, which has now become defunct. I've moved it over here so that it'll have a…
Walled Cats —
A visitor (Joanna) asks: I heard about a historical practice that could possibly be a hoax. I visited the Freakatorium in NYC today, and they had on display a mummified cat that they claim was walled into "A New York City Building" to ensure its stability. Now, they assured me that although they had hoaxes in this museum, the cat thing was certainly real, although they were fuzzy on the dates and the location it was found in. I found some references to this practice in medieval times...…
Nessie News —
I believe it's now officially confirmed that I'm an idiot. I run a website called the Museum of Hoaxes, and yet I fall for an obvious hoax. Back on July 17 I trumpeted the news that a fossil of a sea serpent had been found on the shores of Loch Ness, and that it wasn't a hoax. What was I thinking? Of course it was a hoax. I believed it because I thought it was perfectly reasonable for someone to find a plesiosaur skeleton. But to find one on the shores of Loch Ness should have raised…
911 Survivor a Hoax? —
The team of developers on this website claim to be creating a game called '911 Survivor' that allows you to simulate being inside the burning World Trade Center. Reacting to this, quite a few people have immediately speculated that it must be a hoax. But looking through the site, I suspect it isn't. Instead it seems to be some kind of art project designed to make people question the boundaries drawn between real-reality and media-reality.
Burning Man Hoax —
I've never been to the Burning Man festival, but from what I hear it would be fair to call it representative of hippie culture. You go out into the desert for a few days, smoke dope, listen to music, and generally let it all hang out. So imagine the horror of Burning Man devotees when they come across this website offering a package tour to the festival. The deal included an air-conditioned tent and front-row seats at the festival. It smacked of yuppie/corporate encroachment. But the…
Fake Goyas —
The NY Times reports on a growing controversy in the art world. The famous Black Paintings by Francisco Goya may not have been painted by Goya at all. A new book coming out speculates that they were actually painted by his son, who's been considered pretty much a nobody as far as art historians have been concerned.
Fake Website Scam Warning —
The FBI says: beware fake websites. They're calling it the 'Phisher' scam. You receive an email that lures you to what you think is a legitimate website run by a real company (though it's not). Then you're tricked into divulging your personal information (credit card info, etc.)
The Naked Chef —
An email going around claims to contain, as an attachment, the next cookbook by Jamie Oliver (aka The Naked Chef). It's actually just a mock-up, containing recipes from his previous book. But I'm bummed that I haven't received this email yet.
Ern Malley Copyright —
A legal battle erupts over who owns the copyright to the poems of Ern Malley. If you don't know who he is, Malley is Australia's most famous hoax poet. My favorite line of his continues to be, "I am still the black swan of trespass on alien waters." Brooding, eerie, and completely nonsensical. (I don't have anything about him on the website, but I've got a blurb about him in my book).
Jayson Blair Redux —
So Esquire has commissioned Jayson Blair to write a movie review of Shattered Glass, an upcoming movie about Stephen Glass (another media hoaxer from five years ago). I'm sure his review will, in turn, become one of the most heavily reviewed reviews ever.
Daria Movie Rumor Page —
Here's the Unofficial Daria Movie Rumor Page. I'll let its creator, Barry Edelman, describe it in his own words:
I just finished your book and I loved it. I had to check out the site,
which is also good. Since you have a section on hoax sites, I had to submit
mine. My brother and I, annoyed by bad Hollywood movies based on television
shows (and bad Hollywood movies in general), for a few years maintained a site
called The Unofficial Daria Movie Rumor Page. The premise is that the MTV
666 on the Alamo —
Is the number 666 slowly becoming visible on the front of the Alamo? And did it first appear there after Ozzy Osbourne urinated on the building while dressed as a woman back in 1982? And when the number becomes fully visible will "something terrible happen"? Yes on all counts if you believe the urban legend that's floating around. Brenda Layland gave me a skeptical heads-up about this one, and for the past fifteen minutes I've been staring at these pictures of the Alamo trying to figure…
Sucker Day Cancelled —
I'm incredibly depressed. Sucker Day has been cancelled this year. That's like cancelling Christmas (well, not quite, but almost). In case you don't know about it, Sucker Day is a celebration held every year in the small town of Wetumka, Oklahoma, usually in the late summer. It commemorates the day in 1950 when the entire town was suckered by the con man J. Bam Morrison. Morrison arrived in town claiming to be the advanceman for a circus that would be arriving on July 24. People would…