The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
June 2004
Haunted Gmail Account — Confirming my theory that haunting is the ultimate way to add value to any product on eBay, a haunted Gmail account is now up for sale on the auction site. Of course, the value of Gmail accounts is plummeting now that so many of them are available. But a haunted Gmail account that places a curse on whomever owns it... that's something special. I'm tempted to make an offer on it myself. (thanks to Lothar in the Hoax Forum for this find)
Posted: Wed Jun 30, 2004.   Comments (13)

Origin of the Bill Gates Email Hoax — Displaying some very impressive sleuthing skills, Jonathon Keats has apparently solved the mystery of the origin of the ubiquitous Bill-Gates-will-pay-you-to-forward-this-email hoax. He writes about it in an article in Wired. He traced the origin of the hoax back to November 18, 1997 when Iowa State student Bryan Mack was sitting in a campus computer lab and created the first version of the email as a joke that he sent to a friend sitting beside him. It read: "My name is Bill Gates.…
Posted: Wed Jun 30, 2004.   Comments (29)

Green Sweat — Here's a strange medical case from China. It seems a bit odd, but it's in the Shenzhen Daily, so I guess it must be true. Why make something like this up? Doctors treated a man whose sweat had turned green. As the article describes: "On the evening of May 28, he noticed green stains on his shirt. At first he thought the stains had probably come from some dye he had accidentally touched. However, when he was helping a friend move furniture Sunday morning, he was shocked to see green…
Posted: Wed Jun 30, 2004.   Comments (23)

DVD Rewinder — This is a step beyond the online DVD rewinding service that I reported on back in February. That worked via the CD tray of your computer, but this new home DVD Rewinder from 1783 Productions sits on your desk and whirres, flashes, and spins. The blurb about it says: "assure that you never again have to pay another DVD Rewind fee! This novelty, created by 1783, spins discs backwards while playing a customizable "rewind" sound and flashes lights. The DVD Rewinder even has a USB port for…
Posted: Wed Jun 30, 2004.   Comments (5)


Bus Shelter Prank — A bus shelter in Norfolk County, UK has become a favorite target for pranksters. Local residents woke to find the shelter transformed into a living room. "The culprits decked the shelter out with a comfy chair, a television, a lamp, a stereo system and even created a fake fireplace on the wall to complete the homely effect." This isn't the first time the pranksters have struck. Last month "a lawn appeared in the shelter, along with a gnome and a windmill." Unfortunately the article…
Posted: Tue Jun 29, 2004.   Comments (4)

DNA Activation — If you've studied any biology at all, then you probably believe that DNA is a two-stranded molecule shaped like a double helix. How foolish you are! Toby Alexander has revealed that DNA is actually a 12-stranded molecule. There are two visible strands, and then 10 'etheric' strands. Toby laments that scientists have never learned about the 10 other strands because scientists "have to rely on physical observations and can only validate things that they can see with their eyes and…
Posted: Mon Jun 28, 2004.   Comments (24)

How to Build a Time Machine — Instructions for building a time machine: "You will need rocks, a Sega Saturn, some celery, spaghetti noodles, thumbtacks, a port-o-potty, and a cellular telephone from the 1980's." But this model of time machine will only transport you to 1993, so it's not of much use. (via The Presurfer)
Posted: Mon Jun 28, 2004.   Comments (13)

Internet For Sale — Someone has placed the internet up for sale on eBay. The seller assures us that "This is serious. Comes with original certificate of authenticity." According to the picture accompanying the auction, the internet looks a bit like a shiny black ball. The certificate of authenticity, however, looks like it's been printed out on a home inkjet printer. If memory serves me, this joke about putting the internet up for sale has been done before, and yet the current seller has already made at…
Posted: Mon Jun 28, 2004.   Comments (4)

Fastest Man in Japan — I found this email today in my inbox: This e-mail from Japan. Please write about me in your paper. I am the fastest man in Japan. I put off clothes in about one second. You can see me. Click here. http://www.joqr.co.jp/bbqr/56bakuhatsu2.asx Japanese people can watch me in TV. I want world people to watch me. I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.Thank you. Itabasi-ku 2-14-17, Tokyo, OfficeHERA, Jun Nagatani Of course, I couldn't resist checking that out. Sure enough, he…
Posted: Mon Jun 28, 2004.   Comments (5)

Plain Layne is Odin Soli — This isn't going to mean much to anyone, but when I heard the news I was dumbfounded. Plain Layne is Odin Soli. I haven't seen Odin in years, but I know him quite well. We went to grad school together at UC San Diego, though he left before I did. I've also read a novel he wrote. It was a detective story and pretty good. We TA'ed for the same class, plus we had quite a few beers together in the campus pub. Well, this makes the entire Plain Layne saga much more up close and personal for…
Posted: Mon Jun 28, 2004.   Comments (4)

Ball-Swallowing Catfish — This story about a catfish with a big, red inflatable ball stuck in its mouth found bobbing around in Sandalwood Lake has been getting quite a bit of attention. Apparently the guy who found the fish, Bill Driver, first saw a red ball in the water, then he noticed that there was a catfish attached to it. The story was reported in the Wichita Eagle by Michael Pearce, so there's no reason to think it isn't true. But what I wonder about is how the ball got into the fish's mouth in the…
Posted: Mon Jun 28, 2004.   Comments (4)

The Woman Who Gave Birth to a Frog — The BBC is reporting that a woman in Iran has given birth to a frog. Doctors are speculating that a frog larva somehow got into her uterus while she was swimming, and then grew inside her to a full-sized frog. That seems very unlikely to me. What would a frog feed on inside a person's body? Wouldn't the frog suffocate? Actually, the brief article seems a bit ambiguous on whether it's definitely a frog that came out of her, or if it's a baby that looks rather frog-like. Either way, this…
Posted: Sun Jun 27, 2004.   Comments (14)

Harry Potter Hoax — Harry Potter and the Pillar of Storgé. Could this be the title of the next book in the Harry Potter series? It sounds like a bit of a mouthful, but over at Mugglenet, a site for Harry Potter fans, someone calling themselves HPstorge claims to have found a way into a secret area of J.K. Rowling's site where this new title was supposedly revealed. The new title is apparently going to be officially announced on July 1 (we'll just have to wait and see what happens). HPstorge placed screen…
Posted: Sun Jun 27, 2004.   Comments (7)

Future NBA Star Chimezie Kudu — ESPN recently offered up a strange story about Chimezie Kudu, a 7-foot 11 South African entering the NBA draft. Chimezie almost missed the filing for the draft, since his application was written in an obscure Hottentot dialect. And despite his size, Chimezie's future success hardly seems guaranteed. He's never actually played competitive basketball before, though he has been playing the game for a while. He practices shots "on a single hoop in a local park in his native land -- the…
Posted: Sat Jun 26, 2004.   Comments (6)

StunStrike Stun Gun: Hoax or Not? — From the Hoax Forum: An Indiana company called Xtreme Alternative Defense Systems is developing a stun gun called the StunStrike that it boasts will be able to stun people at a distance, kind of like a taser without the wires. The company president, Pete Bitar, explains that the weapon will fire "a stream of electricity like water out of a hose at one or many targets in a single sweep." Sounds a little sci-fi, but certainly not implausible. At least until you check out the company's…
Posted: Sat Jun 26, 2004.   Comments (16)

Clueless Childless Couple Follow-Up — Back in May I posted an entry about a German couple who went to a fertility clinic to find out why they couldn't produce a child. The reason: they hadn't realized that you first have to have sex in order to get pregnant. Supposedly they both came from very religious backgrounds and had never been taught about the birds and the bees. The clinic was said to be planning to conduct a survey to find out if there were other similarly clueless couples out there. This story was widely reported…
Posted: Sat Jun 26, 2004.   Comments (0)

Muslim Messiah Hoax — I suppose this is no different than thinking that the Virgin Mary has appeared in a stain on a hospital window or flocking to see a weeping statue of Mary, but somehow it seems even more bizarre. For the past two weeks hundreds of Muslims have been making a pilgrimage to a West German University Clinic to see the Messiah being breastfed by his dead mother. They've been drawn there by a rumor spread via Turkish websites. According to the rumor, a Muslim woman died while giving birth to…
Posted: Sat Jun 26, 2004.   Comments (0)

To Hermione on her 18th Birthday — Donald Nyffington, 37-year-old UNIX programmer, is in love. He's in love with Hermione Granger... or rather with Emma Watson who plays Hermione in the Harry Potter movies. And Emma, unfortunately for Donald, is only 14. So he's started the 'Official Countdown Website to Hermione Granger's 18th Birthday.' The site is convincing enough that you really might start to believe that Donald and his unrequited passion for Hermione are for real. But they're not. The picture on Donald's 'About…
Posted: Thu Jun 24, 2004.   Comments (6)

Rasputin’s Penis: Hoax or Not? — The Russian Museum of Erotica, newly opened in St. Petersburg, has been crowing about its acquisition of the penis of Rasputin (the mad mystic and lover of the wife of the Russian Tsar). A photo accompanying the many news reports about this unusual exhibit shows an attractive young woman staring rather in awe at the huge, grotesque thing as it floats in formaldehyde (there's another picture here). It definitely looks like a penis, but is it Rasputin's penis (which, according to…
Posted: Thu Jun 24, 2004.   Comments (88)

Christmas Party Prank Gone Awry — In an otherwise dull story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about local school-district politics, one bizarre passage caught my eye: The embattled Mento also sought to downplay his much-publicized conduct at last year's Christmas party, saying he blew up a bikini-clad doll as a harmless practical joke. An exact replica of the doll was displayed at the hearing, complete with the package labeled "Inflatable Fat Ass Party Doll"... All agreed that it took the superintendent about 15 minutes…
Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2004.   Comments (4)

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