The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
May 2004
Emily Chesley Reading Circle — Emily Chesley was a "speculative fiction writer of the late Victorian period (who lived for some time in the London, Ontario region), who has been long-overlooked by Canadian literature." She was also a "poet, social activist, explorer, aviatrix, and 92-year-old pole vaulter." The Emily Chesley Reading Circle is a "group of 'scholars' and bon-vivants" who get together to study and help promote her work. So far, they've been quite successful. They've even managed to get an abridged…
Posted: Tue May 25, 2004.   Comments (1)

A Few Nonexistent Places — According to reliable information that can be found on the internet, Idaho doesn't exist. Nor does Wyoming, Wisconsin, Vermont, North Dakota, France, and England. Oh, and the Moon doesn't exist either.
Posted: Mon May 24, 2004.   Comments (7)

Clueless Childless Couple — Last week the British Daily Mirror printed a story about a particularly clueless German couple. As the article put it: "Fertility doctors were baffled when a perfectly-healthy couple claimed they couldn't have children - until they confessed they had never made love. The husband, 36, and his 32-year-old wife thought that all they had to do to make a baby was to lie next to each other and let nature take its course." This story got picked up by wire services, and soon was being linked…
Posted: Sun May 23, 2004.   Comments (1)

Ian Hislop Mania — Got this contribution from Chris 'Crispy' Philpot in the UK: BBC Television in the UK showed an episode of topical news quiz 'Have I Got News For You' that picked up on the ex-wife's knickers on eBay story. It said how useless tat could reach an astonishing price - going on to show the auction... for a signed photograph of Ian Hislop, a team captain on the show. At the time it had no bids and 6 hits.... Bidding went crazy - it started off quite sensibly and climbed to £5,000 without…
Posted: Sun May 23, 2004.   Comments (1)


Boycott Gillette — I've received quite a few emails with questions like this: Is Gillette really putting spy chips inside of their products that allow them to spy on consumers at a distance? Is the company surreptitiously snapping photographs of people who pick up their products from store shelves? Are these and other claims being made at the Boycott Gillette website really true? Well, the strange thing is, as wild as these claims sound, they're actually true. Or rather, they used to be true... and could…
Posted: Sat May 22, 2004.   Comments (3)

Motorcycle Trip Through Chernobyl — A month or two ago a woman named Elena posted a travelogue on the web about her solitary motorcycle ride through the deserted area around Chernobyl. With all the eerie pictures she took of the abandoned, irradiated 'ghost town,' her travelogue quickly became one of the most linked-to sites on the net. Now there are accusations that her travelogue wasn't completely honest. Apparently she didn't go around alone on a motorcycle. She went in a car with her husband and a friend. Elena…
Posted: Fri May 21, 2004.   Comments (43)

UPS Uniform Hoax — Mark wrote to let me know that the UPS Uniform Email Hoax is making the rounds again (the corporate security at his office thoughtfully forwarded it to everyone he works with). This hoax is an old one, going back almost two years. Basically the email claims that terrorists managed to purchase $32,000 worth of UPS uniforms on eBay, so everyone should have their eyes out for phony UPS employees delivering packages. The latest version of the message has the fake signature of a Homeland…
Posted: Thu May 20, 2004.   Comments (3)

Computer Grading? — Robert Yagelowich pointed this article out to me, and like him what I read initially made me pretty skeptical. The article describes a computer program that's being used to grade student essays. Not just grade the spelling and punctuation, but the content itself. Since computers can't even be relied on to spellcheck very well, I couldn't imagine how they would grade content. I had suspicions of another ChatNannies type of hoax. But apparently computer-grading is real. The software,…
Posted: Thu May 20, 2004.   Comments (4)

Unfortunate Last Names — I've always thought my last name was pretty bad. And I mean that in the literal sense. 'Boese' means 'bad' (or angry) in German. But its meaning wouldn't matter much if only English-speaking people could pronounce it (it's 'burr-za', as if it had an 'r' in it... not 'boose'). But I shouldn't feel too sorry for myself, because this guy in Brazil, Mr. Reinhardt Adolfo Fuck, has me beat hands down. As far as I can tell, that really is his name. He must get endless jokes about it.
Posted: Thu May 20, 2004.   Comments (693)

Ex-Wife’s Knickers — Supposedly to get even with his soon-to-be-ex wife, who's been cheating on him, a man is selling her knickers on eBay. Except it's not eBay. Just a mock-up of it. Now if the (fake) seller had taken pictures of himself wearing her underwear (taking a page from Wedding Dress Guy), it might have been funnier. (via Adrants)
Posted: Thu May 20, 2004.   Comments (0)

Cicada Facts — Cicadaville reveals the dangerous truth about cicadas. For instance, did you know that cicadas are vicious killers that prey on children and pets? You do now. I was also surprised to learn that there are many cases of cicadas being successfully altered, with minor surgery, to look like Ryan Seacrest.
Posted: Wed May 19, 2004.   Comments (2)

Horse and Hound Humor — According to Horse & Hound magazine, British health authorities have decided to make it the law that all children must wear face masks and rubber gloves while doing yard work or grooming horses. Health and Safety spokeswoman Lirap Ducek is quoted as saying, "Childhood asthma has increased three-fold in the last 10 years, and we want to ensure that children are protected against picking up bugs which can have long-term health implications." But before you send your kid out in a rubber…
Posted: Wed May 19, 2004.   Comments (5)

BirdTyping — Roman Kingsley is an Australian man who has trained geese to do skywriting, or 'birdtyping' as he calls it. Impossible, you say? Not at all, according to Kingsley. As he says in this interview, "It normally takes about three months to train the birds to spell out a word. Once each bird knows the letter, they have to know where in the word that letter occurs. But I’m hoping to speed it up more in the future. The curved letters, you know, like o, c, and b take the birds a bit longer. But…
Posted: Wed May 19, 2004.   Comments (1)

Recreated Ark of the Covenant — Since April, at least, a seller has been trying to auction off a recreated Ark of the Covenant on eBay. Apparently no one is willing to take it off his hands because bidding keeps ending without a winner, and he just keeps relisting the thing. This, despite the fact that the recreated Ark possesses some remarkable powers. It gives its owner the power to heal by placing on of hands. It allows the owner to converse directly with God. Oh, and it explodes cameras! (that last feature alone…
Posted: Tue May 18, 2004.   Comments (10)

Cicada Cash — The cicadas have returned, and with them the rumor that researchers at Johns Hopkins University will pay up to $1000 for specimens of rare blue-eyed cicadas. Unfortunately, the rumor simply isn't true. In fact, no researcher at Johns Hopkins even studies cicadas, let alone insects, though back in 1947 the university did employ a Biologist, William D. McElroy (who later moved out to UC San Diego), who announced that he would pay kids twenty-five cents for every 100 fireflies they could…
Posted: Tue May 18, 2004.   Comments (0)

Bush is Lord — Bush is Lord has collected evidence to prove that "George W. Bush is indeed not only our nation's leader, but our spiritual lighthouse and embodied salvation." Well, if this is true, then does that make Cheney an angel?
Posted: Tue May 18, 2004.   Comments (4)

The Nullarbor Nymph — Thirty-two years ago the tiny town of Eucla, Australia, on the edge of the Nullarbor plain, became famous when a few of its residents first sighted the Nullarbor Nymph. The Nymph was a blonde, feral, half-naked woman who lived in the bush and ran wild with kangaroos. News of this wild woman quickly spread around the world. President Nixon was asked his opinion of her (reportedly his reply could not be repeated over the air), and the Loch Ness monster sent her a telegram. Sooner or…
Posted: Tue May 18, 2004.   Comments (1)

The Knee Trumpet — Musicians will appreciate this. It's a little known instrument, popular back in the Middle Ages, known as the Tromba Da Gamba, or Knee Trumpet. According to Virgilanti (who managed to acquire one of these rare instruments): "It was gaining a lot in popularity by the start of the 17th century but encountered a bit of a PR problem in 1619 when, according to the story, the pope (presumably Pope Paul V) saw the instrument being played by a woman. He was shocked at the suggestiveness of…
Posted: Tue May 18, 2004.   Comments (2)

Andy Has Returned… And He’s Got A Weblog — I should never have doubted that Andy Kaufman wouldn't return. He's now back from the dead (or the faux dead), and he's started a weblog. Among the things he's learned while away: alien abductions are a hoax, and he's Ann Coulter's twin. (via J-Walk)
Posted: Mon May 17, 2004.   Comments (0)

American Idol Scandal — To be honest, the whole American Idol thing has completely passed me by. I've never watched a single episode of it (though I have spent some time listening to William Hung... I don't know why). But it didn't surprise me to read that American Idol's voting system is essentially a sham, highly vulnerable to manipulation by gamblers.
Posted: Mon May 17, 2004.   Comments (2)

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