The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
August 2004
Fake Onsen Scandal — The Japanese love to soak in Onsen... hot springs that bubble up from the ground, often milky white or green in color, tinted by minerals in the earth. But now many have been dismayed to discover that some of the springs don't owe their color to natural minerals, but instead to far more mundane ingredients. Namely, bath salts. Japan Today notes, "In Kagoshima Prefecture, a hot spring famous for its unusual green color was revealed to be the result of dissolving household "Bath-Clean"…
Posted: Wed Aug 11, 2004.   Comments (0)

The Secret History of the Flying Carpet — In late July an essay appeared in the Australian literary journal Meanjin written by Azhar Abidi. It was titled 'The Secret History of the Flying Carpet'. The essay described the discovery of 13th-century Persian scrolls that suggested there was some truth to the old legends of flying carpets. Ancient Persian artisans had apparently discovered a process of boiling fibers in a magnetic clay before weaving them into a carpet. These magnetized fibers then floated above the ground, repelled…
Posted: Tue Aug 10, 2004.   Comments (6)

Devirginize Marc — This falls under the category of 'could easily be true, but seriously, you've got to be kidding.' It's DeVirginizeMarc.com. Marc (if that's his real name) is 26 years old and a virgin. Or, as he puts it, "My name is Marc, and I'm a virgin... and I'm okay with it." But he's obviously not that okay with it, because he's soliciting applications from the public to help him change his situation. Maybe it's just me, but Marc looks like he's closer to his late 30s than his mid 20s. Could he…
Posted: Tue Aug 10, 2004.   Comments (5)

Hoax Execution and ABC News — Today ABC News sent a camerateam around to my house to interview me about the hoax execution of Benjamin Vanderford. Vanderford used special-effects to stage his own execution by Islamic militants, then uploaded footage of the scene onto file-sharing networks, and waited for the media to bite. It took three months, but the media finally did bite, reporting it as an actual execution yesterday. At which point, Vanderford confessed to the hoax. I got a call from ABC this morning asking if…
Posted: Sat Aug 07, 2004.   Comments (11)


Advanced Rutabaga Studies Institute — It's common knowledge that Rutabaga Studies is one of the most exciting fields of inquiry in the world today, and at the Advanced Rutabaga Studies Institute they're on the cutting edge of it. For instance, you can peek in on their live Rutacam and witness a thrilling Rutabaga experiment in action. Also, keep up with recent developments in Rutabaga Studies, such as the anticipated launching of a giant rutabaga into geostationary orbit. And did you know that September is National…
Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2004.   Comments (8)

Saddles for REAL MEN! — Wimpy men ride on soft, padded bicycle seats. Real men ride on rock-hard seats. Literally. Sheldon Brown is selling Real MAN © Saddles made out of solid granite from Canada's rugged Gaspé peninsula. In order to qualify for purchase of this product, a chemical analysis of your blood will be performed to determine that your testosterone level is high enough to ride the Real MAN © saddle. (via Red Ferret)
Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2004.   Comments (2)

Escape-a-Date — The Arizona Daily Star reports that Cingular Wireless is preparing to debut an Escape-a-Date feature on its phones. It will allow you to prearrange a phone call to interrupt you during a date, providing you with a convenient out, should it be necessary. Excuse messages offered up will include "my friend is having some trouble with superglue and needs some help" and "my friend was looking in his fridge and found some pudding that's shaped like Elvis." That second thing about Elvis really…
Posted: Thu Aug 05, 2004.   Comments (3)

Boyfriend Arm Pillow — For those women who don't want to sleep with a real man, but like to have an arm wrapped around them at night, Japanese manufacturer Kameo has come out with the Boyfriend Arm Pillow. A Kameo spokesman says that, "It has been so successful we have had to draw up a waiting list. Women of all ages have been queueing round the block to take one home." Kameo also plans to introduce a Girlfriend Arm Pillow later. But this is my question: If you're married would it be considered cheating to…
Posted: Thu Aug 05, 2004.   Comments (13)

Fake Terrorism Drill — This should win some kind of award for stupidity. Government officials in Carter County, Tenn. were settling down to their meeting about property taxes when armed intruders burst into the room, fired shots into the air, and proceeded to take hostages. "There will be no new taxes, everyone here is going to vote no," one intruder shouted. People panicked and rushed for cover. But no need. Turns out it was just a "drill" orchestrated by the local Emergency Management Director. Problem is,…
Posted: Thu Aug 05, 2004.   Comments (2)

Miss Plastic Surgery — The BBC reports that a "Miss Plastic Surgery" beauty contest will be held in China in October. All the contestants must have enhanced their appearance via cosmetic surgery. The inspiration for the event came after a woman was barred from a beauty contest on account of her surgical enhancements. What surprises me here is that China has beaten America to the punch on this one. Where is our Miss Plastic Surgery contest? I thought Fox would have dreamed up something like this ages ago.
Posted: Thu Aug 05, 2004.   Comments (6)

Thatcher Isn’t Dead — Margaret Thatcher isn't dead, despite what this elaborate mock-up of The Guardian claims. Nor is Stephen Hawking now going to speak in her voice.
Posted: Thu Aug 05, 2004.   Comments (6)

Longshot Presidential Candidates — If you choose not to vote for Emperor Buonaparte in November (God knows why not), here are some other alternative-reality-type candidates you can cast your ballot for. I found the info about these candidates on the Politics1.com website (you need to scroll about 2/3 of the way down the page before you start getting to the really interesting candidates). First there's Albert 'Al' Hamburg. "Perennial candidate Al Hamburg, 72, had lost 14 consecutive bids for President and for Governor,…
Posted: Thu Aug 05, 2004.   Comments (2)

HRM Caesar St. Augustine de Buonaparte — On September 17, 1859 Joshua Norton delivered a proclamation to the San Francisco Bulletin declaring himself Emperor of the United States. From that point on, Joshua Norton was forever known as Emperor Norton I, a role which he dutifully performed for the rest of his life, proudly walking around the streets of San Francisco dressed in his emperor's uniform, complete with plumed hat, gold epaulets, and a sword at his side. When he died in 1880, 10,000 people showed up at his funeral.
Posted: Thu Aug 05, 2004.   Comments (29)

California As An Island — The Philadelphia Print Shop has a great online collection of ancient maps that contain mythical geography. Mythical geography describes "geographic features that appear on the map but not on the earth; cities where none ever were, islands where there are but waves, lakes and rivers where there is dry land, and kingdoms of non-existent kings." (I have some more information about this topic in my Medieval Travel Lies Gallery). My favorite ancient maps in the Print Shop's collection are…
Posted: Wed Aug 04, 2004.   Comments (4)

Phony Sold Signs — A British Real Estate Agency has been fined for placing phony 'sold' signs up outside the houses of its own employees. It's not quite clear to me what they gained by doing this. I assume it made them look like they were doing more business than they actually were. Still, it's odd to think that as you drive around a neighborhood and see all those 'for sale' and 'sold' signs, that the signs might bear no relationship to reality at all.
Posted: Wed Aug 04, 2004.   Comments (3)

Frisbee Animals — Allison, who runs an ultimate frisbee company in Nottingham, just sent in these pictures of frisbee-playing animals. First we have Frisbee Croc. Yeah, Frisbee Croc is a pretty obvious fake, but it's a cool photoshop nevertheless. The image comes from the Northern Territory Ultimate Frisbee site. Next we have Frisbee Horse.    As far as I can tell, these Frisbee Horse pictures are real. The name of the horse is Namoniet. He's an Egyptian Arabian Stallion trained by Jay Evans.…
Posted: Wed Aug 04, 2004.   Comments (5)

Return of the Jedi: New Ending — Here's something that's causing serious Star Wars fans to roll their eyes in disgust. The rumor going around is that in the upcoming DVD release of the Star Wars series, George Lucas has altered the ending of Return of the Jedi (Episode VI) so that Hayden Christensen has replaced Sebastian Shaw in the final scene that shows the ghosts of Darth Vader, Yoda, and Obi wan Kenobi standing together. As some have pointed out, this doesn't make sense because why would Darth Vader's ghost be…
Posted: Tue Aug 03, 2004.   Comments (129)

Rance Update — I haven't visited the Rance blog in ages (in case you missed out on the Rance thing, he's an anonymous blogger who claims to be an a-list Hollywood celebrity). Now it looks like Rance has decided to call it quits, but he wants his blog to live on. So he's accepting applications for Rance 2. I guess he must be from Hollywood if he's that committed to producing a sequel. But as is always the case, you just know that the sequel is going to be worse than the original.
Posted: Tue Aug 03, 2004.   Comments (0)

Test Your Phishing IQ — MailFrontier offers a short test that allows you to determine how easily you would fall for a phishing scam. I only got a score of 70%, so evidently I'm not as fraudproof as I thought.
Posted: Mon Aug 02, 2004.   Comments (13)

Weird Subscription Services — I recently joined Netflix, and I'm enjoying it so far. It makes sense to rent dvds via the web (though scratched dvds are a real headache). But when I came across Bag, Borrow, or Steal, which delivers a constant stream of designer handbags to your door, I thought it was a joke. It's obviously not, which just goes to show how out of touch I am with the world of fashion. I also was a bit skeptical about the Blacksocks service. Blacksocks describes itself as the "inventor of the…
Posted: Mon Aug 02, 2004.   Comments (8)

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