The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
July 2004
Wireless iPod — Rumors of a new wireless iPod (i.e. no headphones cord) have begun floating around based upon this advertising poster that was supposedly "IM'd to a family member of a person working in an Asian PR firm by accident." Hmmm. Since I just got an iPod about two months ago, it would suck if a new and much better model came out so soon. But then again, that would be just my luck. However, I have a feeling that the advertising poster is just a fake.
Posted: Fri Jul 30, 2004.   Comments (13)

Clubbo.com — Clubbo.com is definitely one of the most elaborate, in-depth hoax websites that I've ever come across. The attention to detail is astounding. The only site I can think of that rivals it in this respect would be Boilerplate, the Victorian Era Robot. Clubbo.com purports to be the homepage of an indie record label that's been representing bizarre, one-hit (or in many cases, no-hit) wonders for decades. The fun thing is that they actually provide mp3 samples of all the artists, as well…
Posted: Fri Jul 30, 2004.   Comments (2)

Manchurian Global — At first glance, Manchurian Global looks like any other faceless corporation. Its website is full of corporate jargon about mission statements, international client bases, and holistic visions. But, of course, Manchurian Global isn't a real corporation. Its site is part of the advertising campaign for The Manchurian Candidate, which opens today. The illusion of reality that the site maintains is actually quite convincing. They've really made it look like a real company. Only until you…
Posted: Fri Jul 30, 2004.   Comments (23)

Preparing for Emergencies — The British government recently put up a website, preparingforemergencies.gov.uk, filled with advice (most of it fairly obvious) on what to do in case of an emergency. In response York University student Thomas Scott put up this website, preparingforemergencies.co.uk, that looks almost identical but instead offers advice on what to do in situations such as being attacked by a zombie (destroy their brain), or alien invasion (negotiate using sign language). Anyone can see that Scott's…
Posted: Fri Jul 30, 2004.   Comments (0)


NYTimes Photo Shoot Outtakes — After whining about the vacuum cleaner being visible in the picture of me that appeared in the NY Times yesterday, I got an apologetic note from the photographer, Alan Decker, which made me feel bad. The presence of the vacuum cleaner was, of course, my fault, since I was supposed to move it before he arrived. Anyway, as Alan pointed out, in the other pictures he took (a few of which he just sent me) you really couldn't see it... except in this one puzzling shot. And here I am in my
Posted: Fri Jul 30, 2004.   Comments (4)

Hogzilla — You wouldn't want to run into this thing while out for a stroll in the woods. It's a 1000lb wild hog with 9-inch tusks, nicknamed Hogzilla, that hunting Guide Chris Griffin claims to have shot in Georgia last month. To put this in perspective, 500lb wild hogs are considered enormous. No one has ever heard of a 1000lb wild hog before, so it's raising a few eyebrows. Plus, the only evidence for the creature's existence is a picture Griffin snapped of himself posing beside it. He says…
Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2004.   Comments (40)

New York Times Story — This is going to be an egocentric post, because it's about me. I got my picture in the New York Times today. So does that mean I'm famous? Can I walk into an expensive restaurant now and get a table right away? I'm not betting on it. I'm featured in an article by Daniel Terdiman about hoax weblogs. Not that I've ever created a hoax weblog, but I do write about them. My friend Odin Soli, who created the Plain Layne hoax, also got his picture in there (Odin and I studied American History…
Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2004.   Comments (11)

PayPal Class Action Suit — A study by an anti-spam firm called MailFrontier found that, on average, 28% of computer users are fooled by email scams. But intriguingly, 20% of users misidentify legitimate emails from companies such as PayPal as scams. This becomes relevant because a lot of people recently received an email informing them of the possibility of joining a class-action suit against PayPal (I got one of these emails in my inbox this morning). The suit is real. The email is legitimate. But quite a few…
Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2004.   Comments (5)

Butt Candles — Ear Candling is an ancient home remedy in which wax and other impurities are supposedly drawn out of a person's ear canal by sticking a burning hollow candle in their ear. The theory is that the hollow candle creates a vacuum that sucks everything out. Butt Candling, by extension, is the same procedure, only with the candle placed... well, you can guess where it's placed. As the ButtCandle site (which is safe for work) puts it: "In length and diameter, [the butt candle is] similiar to…
Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2004.   Comments (19)

Fake Washing Suds — Consumers in England have been alerted to be on the lookout for fake washing suds. Rogue boxes of 'Bold 2in1' are masquerading as the real thing. A government official is quoted as saying: "Consumers are aware of counterfeit DVDs and computer games but fake washing powder is unusual and goes to show the length that counterfeiters will go to deceive the public." I certainly wasn't aware of this problem. I think I could use washing powder for years without ever noticing that it was fake,…
Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2004.   Comments (2)

Using Cellphones During Thunder Storms — Will using a cellphone during a thunder storm increase your chances of getting hit by lightning? According to China.com it will. They've posted a news story warning people not to use their cellphones during storms. The article even lists some examples of cellphone users struck by lightning: an elderly person sightseeing at the Great Wall, a woman on a street in Changchun, etc. Does China.com know what it's talking about? Not really. All the credible information I can find agrees that…
Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2004.   Comments (5)

Nude Photos Required to Enter Canada — The Toronto Sun reports that exotic dancers applying for a visa to enter Canada are now expected to submit photos of themselves performing in the nude... to prove that they really are exotic dancers. Immigration lawyer Mendel Green claims that the rules are quite specific: "They can't be partially nude. If they don't have pictures in the nude, they are not going to wiggle their bottoms in Canada." This sounds very weird. Could the Toronto Sun be the victim of a joke? Are they pulling…
Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2004.   Comments (5)

Expensive Counterfeits — Why would anyone counterfeit money if the cost of making the counterfeits was more than the money itself? That's the question Japanese police are puzzling over. Since profit can't be a motive "police suspect a techno-maniac is involved." Well, either that or a really stupid criminal.
Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2004.   Comments (0)

Become a Minister — Once upon a time it required years of study to become a minister. Then it got a bit easier when all you had to do was respond to an ad in the back of a magazine. But now, thanks to the internet, becoming a minister is dead easy. Just go to the website of the Universal Life Church and in five minutes you'll have the right to be referred to as Reverend. I think I actually became a ULC minister years ago (back when you had to send away for the form) because a friend signed me up as a…
Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2004.   Comments (1)

Egging — The Washington Post reports on a growing epidemic of eggings. As they say, "Nationwide, there is evidence of eggings escalating into much more than a practical joke." The reporter, Mitra Kalita, actually called me up to get a quote about this issue, and so if you go to the very end of the article (on the second page) you'll be able to read my profound thoughts about the phenomenon of egging. To tell the truth, I've never egged anyone in my life, so I didn't feel like much of an expert…
Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2004.   Comments (12)

Guy Falling Off Bike — I found this photo over at J-Walk Blog. J-Walk can't tell if it's real or fake, and the people who have posted comments over there seem split also. I think the image itself has to be real, in the sense of not being digitally manipulated... simply because the image quality is too high. Typically photoshopped images tend to be low-quality, to hide any mistakes. One person claimed that the guy falling off his bike is actually a statue, which could be, though I haven't been able to find…
Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2004.   Comments (14)

Phony Honor Killing? — Norma Khouri's bestseller Honor Lost (published in Australia where Khouri now lives as Forbidden Love) tells the story of a Jordanian 'honor killing.' Dalia, a young woman, falls in love with a Christian man and is murdered for this transgression by her father in order to defend the 'honor' of the family. It's a shocking story, and Khouri has always insisted that it's entirely true. She claims that she lived in Jordan for many years and personally knew Dalia. But the Sydney Morning…
Posted: Sat Jul 24, 2004.   Comments (4)

Sperm Race TV — Reality TV shows just keep getting weirder and weirder. The latest one being developed in Britain (unless it's all a hoax, like Lapdance Island or Quarantine) is Sperm Race TV, in which a group of guys get to compete for the prize of fathering a child. Two finalists are chosen, one chosen by the mother on the basis of romantic attraction, the other chosen by the show's producers on the basis of 'genetic compatibility' with the mother. The two guys will then compete in a sperm race,…
Posted: Sat Jul 24, 2004.   Comments (12)

Fruit Salad Trees — Why bother with having a tree in your backyard that grows just oranges, or just lemons, when you can have one tree that simultaneously grows peaches, apricots, plums, and nectarines or oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes, tangellos, grapefruit, and pomellos? What you need is a Fruit Salad Tree from the Fruit Salad Tree Company. My wife insists these have to be a joke, arguing that everyone would already have a fruit salad tree if they were really possible to buy. I, on the other hand,…
Posted: Fri Jul 23, 2004.   Comments (34)

Cruise Missile For Sale — Bruce Simpson is advertising that for a very modest sum he'll show you how to build your very own cruise missile. As he says on his website: "Whether you're a very small nation looking to extend its military capabilities while perhaps creating a highly profitable export industry, or an entrepreneur seeking to enter the massive market low-cost UAVs, RPVs and other pilotless vehicles, or whether you just want a single missile to mount on your SUV as a roof ornament -- I'm your man."
Posted: Fri Jul 23, 2004.   Comments (0)

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