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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
April 2004
Weeping Mary Returns — About a year and a half ago I posted an entry about a statue of the Virgin Mary in Perth that was weeping rose-scented tears. Critics and church officials dismissed it as a hoax created by filling the statue with some kind of oil. Now that same statue is back in the news again, crying even more publicly. The Archbishop of Perth has cautioned people that "the case for a miraculous happening has not been proved."
Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004.   Comments (0)

New Zealand Rapper MC Emu — On the Fighting Talk weblog journalism student Patrick Crewdson gives an example of how hoaxes can make the leap from being fiction into becoming fact. He once edited a journal called Critic that published a joke article about "New Zealand's least-known musician": rapper MC Emu. Of course, MC Emu was fictitious, but now references to this rapper have begun to appear in serious histories of New Zealand music... references that seem to credit MC Emu with being a real character.
Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004.   Comments (1)

Fingers in Eyes — Alex Knight sent in a link to this picture from Yahoo! News, which is one of those images that looks fake, even though it's real (warning: the full-sized image may definitely make you cringe). It reminds me of the 'finger through the nose and out the eye' picture which was going around about a year ago, and which was definitely fake.
Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004.   Comments (3)

Is this Baby Jessica? — Back in 1987 'Baby Jessica' became famous when she fell down a well and was saved following a dramatic rescue operation. Stuff Magazine is now featuring a photo of 'Baby Jessica' all grown up and posing by a well, but is that really Baby Jessica? Makeup and lighting will do a lot (as will digital touch-up work), but the woman in the photo doesn't look that much like Jessica as she appeared a few years ago in this picture. Here's a link to a hi-res scan of the Stuff article. Note that…
Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004.   Comments (10)


ID Sniper Rifle — The ID Sniper Rifle is a high-powered rifle, produced by Empire North, that supposedly can implant a GPS-microchip into a person, allowing the military to track them wherever they go in the world. Here's the description from Empire North's website: The microchip will enter the body and stay there, causing no internal damage, and only a very small amount of physical pain to the target. It will feel like a mosquito-bite lasting a fraction of a second. Given the low-tech feel of Empire…
Posted: Mon Apr 12, 2004.   Comments (6)

Paranormal Photo Hoax Contest — Stephen Wagner, over at About.com, is sponsoring a contest to create a paranormal photo hoax. You have until April 30 to submit your entries. The prize is a copy of Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings.
Posted: Mon Apr 12, 2004.   Comments (3)

Bimpco — Bimpco offers a variety of ingenious products that will help you to keep your cellphone bills under control. The site is really a front for Cricket Wireless, but it's amusing.
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2004.   Comments (1)

Online Tanning Salon — Are you getting a little pale and pasty sitting inside all day staring at your computer screen? Then head over to the sunnysite periodically and catch a few rays. Warning: you may want to wear protective eyewear. (via Bifurcated Rivets)
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2004.   Comments (0)

Imaginary Mail-Order Brides — Buying imaginary girlfriends is the trendy new thing nowadays. So this entrepreneur figured he'd shake things up a little and sell imaginary mail-order brides. Unfortunately, the guys who shelled out $1500 a piece for the brides weren't very thrilled that they were just imaginary.
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2004.   Comments (0)

Scary Spiders — If spiders scare you, then definitely look no closer at this picture of some spiders that a soldier in Iraq found in his sleeping bag. Yes, despite their size and ugliness, they're real. They're Camel Spiders.
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2004.   Comments (29)

The Lavabrator — Check out the lavabrator. A vibrator that doubles as a lava lamp. Great idea. Unfortunately, it's a joke. (safe for work).
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2004.   Comments (0)

Eyeball jewelry — When I first saw this I thought it had to be a hoax, because it reminded me of the Floral Sculpture Clinic. But this appears to be legitimate. Dutch surgeons have figured out a way to implant small decorative pieces of jewelry in people's eyes. Here's a link to the Clinic where you can get this done.
Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2004.   Comments (3)

Woman Killed by Frozen Urine — Kelli wrote in with a question about this strange photo showing a woman impaled by a long, yellowish-looking stick. The photo comes with an explanatory caption: This unfortunate woman was found dead on parkland in Yorkshire, England. She's believed to have been pierced by a shaft of frozen urine which had fallen from a leak in a toilet facility of an overhead plane. Kelli wants to know if it's real. Well, of course it's not. This photo has actually been floating around the internet…
Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2004.   Comments (7)

Make up a bollex fact — 'Malbec' is running a competition on his LiveJournal page: Make up a fact that's totally untrue, but sounds like it might be the case. For example: "All Ikea flat-pack furniture can be stably constructed using only 3 of the supplied screws."
Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2004.   Comments (0)

A Wedding and a Funeral — New York artist 'Shishaldin' has announced her intention to marry the French poet, Isidore Ducasse. The one catch is that Ducasse has been dead for 134 years. But in France the President is allowed to approve marriages between the living and the dead thanks to a law that was passed following a case where a woman's fiancee died right before they could get married and the grief-stricken woman pleaded with the President to allow the marriage to proceed anyway. My one question here is…
Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2004.   Comments (0)

Best and Worst April Fools, 2004 — After having had a few days to consider this year's crop of April Fool's Day hoaxes, I've picked a personal favorite, which would be NPR's news story about the "portable zip codes" program. This program, inspired by the new FCC ruling that lets you take your phone number with you when you move, would supposedly allow people to take their zip code with them when they move. I like the story because, unlike most of the hoaxes this year, it's actually semi-believable. Absurd, of course, but…
Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2004.   Comments (2)

Fake Vacation Photo Generator — Inspired by an entry I wrote last year about a growing trend in Italy of taking fake vacations (i.e. people can't afford to go anywhere, so they just tell everyone they went away, while they really spend the whole time at home), Michaela Eaves has created this Fake Vacation Photo Generator, to help people embellish their fake vacation stories with fake vacation photos. Thanks, Michaela. This will come in handy on my 'trip' to Hawaii later this year.
Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2004.   Comments (2)

Did Lynne Cheney really write a racy novel in her youth? — Over at whitehouse.org (which is not the website of the whitehouse), there's a page describing a novel, titled Sisters, written by the notoriously prudish Lynne Cheney back in 1981. This must have been in Lynne's wilder days because the book is apparently a sexy tale set on the American frontier involving brothels, attempted rapes, and lesbian love affairs. According to this news report, a publisher was going to reissue the book, but was blocked from doing so by Ms. Cheney. 'Goo' sent…
Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2004.   Comments (6)

Born to be Wild — When the 'Green' brothers were found living in the wilderness outside of Vancouver, they claimed that they had been living there, in that condition, their entire life. News reports of the Wild Boys of Canada (or 'Bush Boys of Vernon') soon followed. But now it turns out that the pair weren't so wild after all. They were really born and raised in Sacramento, California, until they ran away from home last year and found their way into the Canadian wilderness.
Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2004.   Comments (0)

Stories that sound like jokes, but aren’t — Every year on April 1 reporters test our wits by mixing in a few joke stories with the real ones. But then there are also the stories that are real, but sound like jokes. These stories challenge us to keep our skepticism under control. This year, the biggest example of that was Google's Gmail announcement that had many people swearing it must be a joke. Then we also had an article released by the British National Archives describing a bizarre WWII plan to place chickens inside of…
Posted: Fri Apr 02, 2004.   Comments (3)

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