The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
October 2004
The Venus Flytrap Dionaea House — Here's a good link for Halloween. It's the final email correspondence of Mark Condry, as posted by his friend Eric. It takes about 15 or 20 minutes to read through in its entirety, but it's a good story if you've got the time. And no, it isn't real, though it tries its best to seem real (but if you believe in the supernatural, maybe it could be real). It was written (or posted to the web, if you believe the site) by Eric Heisserer, a Hollywood screenwriter. I won't ruin the story by…
Posted: Sun Oct 31, 2004.   Comments (19)

Vanishing Hitchhiker on Mount St. Helens — The Tacoma Washington News Tribune reports on a Vanishing Hitchhiker legend local to Mount St. Helens. (in case you're not familiar with it, the Vanishing Hitchhiker urban legend goes like this: a guy picks up a hitchhiker who then mysteriously vanishes from inside the moving car. He realizes that the hitchhiker was a ghost.) Following the eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980, many drivers in the area swore they saw a woman dressed in white thumbing a ride by the side of the…
Posted: Fri Oct 29, 2004.   Comments (3)

Dog Thong Flatulence Filter — I realize that flatulence filters are real products (though I have had a lot of people tell me they thought they were a hoax). But I suspect that the Dog Thong Flatulence Filter has to be a joke. I mean, how well could it possibly work? It just doesn't seem large enough to fully contain and filter all the gas a dog can produce. And imagine having to strap it back on Fido every time he comes in from the yard.
Posted: Fri Oct 29, 2004.   Comments (7)

Haunted House on eBay — I've seen many haunted things offered up for sale on eBay: haunted glass jars, haunted Coke cans, haunted toasters, haunted rubber duckys, even a haunted Gmail account (which, I'll now admit, I offered $10 for, but got outbid). So it seems inevitable that someone would finally try to auction an entire haunted house on the site. But based on what we're told in the article, the woman's evidence for supernatural possession seems a little sketchy. A few flying objects and weird noises.…
Posted: Fri Oct 29, 2004.   Comments (3)


Conman Makes Money Rain From Sky — Thanks to Big Gary for forwarding me this next story. A conman made hundreds of dollars by convincing residents of an Ethiopian town that he could make money literally rain down upon them from the sky. At first I thought, who could be stupid enough to believe that? But then I realized it's basically no different from any of the get-rich-quick schemes popular here in America: trade your way to riches in the stock market, work at home and earn big bucks, take this seminar and learn the…
Posted: Fri Oct 29, 2004.   Comments (2)

Man Tries to Kill Wife to ‘Save Marriage’ — If there was an award for stupid excuses, this guy would get one. William Dahlby threw a live electrical wire into his wife's bath, and when she tried to jump out, he pushed her back in. But he says that he's innocent of trying to kill her because he only did it to "save the marriage." He was hoping the near-death experience would jump-start their flagging relationship, so to speak. Apparently William didn't realize that the old saying about the quickest way to a woman's heart being…
Posted: Fri Oct 29, 2004.   Comments (6)

Hypo-Allergenic Cats — I've been getting a lot of emails about Allerca, the company that claims it will start selling genetically engineered hypo-allergenic cats in 2007. It may be that they never manage to do what they claim they will do. Or at least, they never manage to do it in commercially viable quantities. But I'm pretty sure they're very serious about trying to do it. But I think they should lower the price a bit. At $3500 a pop, these cats are only going to be for the very rich, considering that you…
Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2004.   Comments (15)

Lie Detector Watch — It's a Truth Detector, Decoder and International Timepiece in One! Just ask a person a question as they hold two fingers against the watch's bio-feedback sensors. "The more bars appear on the screen, the less likely it is they are being honest. Look for other clues, such as rapid eye movement or a flushed face to help you decide." The one customer comment at the bottom of the screen says that it's "Better than expected." Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but I still can't imagine that…
Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2004.   Comments (5)

Killer Whale Meets Dog — The picture below, which has been spreading around via email, looks like one of those things that's too fantastic to be true. But it's real. The whale is Luna, a killer whale that showed up in Nootka Sound, Canada back in 2001. Luna had lost contact with his pod and didn't seem to know what else to do besides hanging out in the sound, interacting with all the people there. This picture was taken at the docks off Gold River. Scientists want to reunite Luna with his pod, but this is being…
Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2004.   Comments (22)

Ananova Corrections — I've said before that I don't trust the Ananova news service, and now here's proof that they really do make some questionable claims. Craig Silverman, of Regret the Error, links to Ananova's corrections page where they apologize for the following strange errors, among others (though personally I think the corrections they've listed are only the tip of the iceberg): Robotic relief - an apology. On September 11, we published a story suggesting that Indian scientists had invented a robot…
Posted: Wed Oct 27, 2004.   Comments (4)

Who’s Buried in Yeats’ Grave? — William Butler Yeats is widely regarded as one of the greatest modern poets. He's also my favorite poet (and we happen to share a birthday!). When I spent a semester studying in Ireland fifteen years ago I made a special trip to visit his grave located just outside of Sligo. It's well worth a visit, even if you couldn't care less about Yeats, because the scenery there is stunning. But now I find out that Yeats may not occupy that grave. Instead, it may be a random Englishman named…
Posted: Wed Oct 27, 2004.   Comments (21)

Walmart Wine — Is Walmart really soon going to be offering its own brand of cheap wine? It will if you believe this email that's been circulating around for over a year: Some Walmart customers soon will be able to sample a new discount item: Walmart's own brand of wine. The world's largest retail chain is teaming up with E&J Gallo Winery of Modesto, California, to produce the spirits at an affordable price, in the $2-5 range. While wine connoisseurs may not be inclined to throw a bottle of…
Posted: Wed Oct 27, 2004.   Comments (11)

iPod Socks — Today Apple announced the iPod photo, an iPod that will allow you to view pictures as well as play music. But they also introduced a new product that's getting less attention: the iPod sock. The socks, priced at the non-bargain price of $29, will come five to a pack, each sock in a different color. Their purpose will be to "keep your iPod warm". According to the Mac Observer, "Those in attendance offered Mr. Jobs a round of enthusiastic applause when it became clear that this was…
Posted: Wed Oct 27, 2004.   Comments (17)

Joey the Midwife — Joey the Midwife is an advertising agency. An unbelievably cheap advertising agency. How can it offer such low rates? Simple. "Here's our secret: We have developed the use of "themes" to sell products. Why reinvent the wheel with every ad campaign? We've got a collection of themes that are PROVEN winners.... themes everyone loves. We just plug your product into a theme and PRESTO BINGO, you've got a world-class ad campaign at a fraction of the cost and a fraction of the time." It's a…
Posted: Wed Oct 27, 2004.   Comments (5)

Goths for Bush — I'm a Democrat, but I've got to hand it to the Goths for Bush. I like their reasoning: "We are forming this Goth Republican Band to help elect George Bush to continue the sadness. His actions facilitate our morbid fascination and the beauty of enduring pain. Many people lead unhappy lives and that is sad. Bush will continue the sadness. He knows that gentle people are excellent for spanking. His foreign policy is the best, he spanks the world and the unseen one knows it deserves it, so…
Posted: Wed Oct 27, 2004.   Comments (12)

Was the eBay Wedding Invitation Auction a Hoax? — Last week this was the big thing on the internet: some guy in Scotland was selling invitations on eBay to a wedding he didn't want to go to. He said that the groom was a former mate of his, but the bride was a "dog." Bidding on the tickets reached £400, and that was with strict controls to make sure all the bids were genuine. But last night Twinklydog (as the guy called himself) cancelled the auction, admitting that the bride was his former girlfriend and that he was still in love with…
Posted: Tue Oct 26, 2004.   Comments (2)

Real-Life Truman Show — According to the Guardian, RTL2 TV in Germany is constructing an entire fake town outside of Hamburg which will provide the setting for their version of the Big Brother Reality TV show. It'll be just like a real-life version of The Truman Show. Residents of the artificial town will be filmed 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In addition, fans of the show will be able to visit the town "to see the residents just as if they were visiting a zoo." The German broadcasters say that the…
Posted: Tue Oct 26, 2004.   Comments (10)

Halloween Banned As Offensive to Witches — ABC News reports on a Washington State school district that has banned Halloween celebrations this year, in part because "Halloween celebrations and children dressed in Halloween costumes might be offensive to real witches." Now it's great that the school district wants to teach the kids to be respectful of different beliefs, etc... but in this case their decision seems a bit confused because witches are not, in fact, real. A real witch, historically speaking, would be someone who…
Posted: Mon Oct 25, 2004.   Comments (34)

70-Year-Old Reservist Called Up to Serve — Ted Wallace thought it was a little odd when he received orders to report for duty at Fort Irwin. Odd, because Ted is 70 years old. Everyone knows that the army is relying heavily on reservists to fight the war in Iraq, but has the situation really become so desperate that they're rounding up the septuagenarians? But Ted was ready to go. He only asked that his call-up be deferred until after his knee-replacement operation. Luckily for Ted, he won't be shipped out to Iraq. The orders
Posted: Mon Oct 25, 2004.   Comments (4)

Ashlee Simpson Does a Milli Vanilli — I haven't watched Saturday Night Live in years, so I didn't witness Ashlee Simpson's 'Milli Vanilli moment' live when it happened, but I did see the clips which are downloadable from a number of sites (and check out this Benny Hill remix of it). Oddly enough, her record company is claiming that the goof-up (Ashlee's voice coming out of the speakers before she started singing) was not evidence of lip-synching or any other kind of vocal aid. They say what happened was simply a computer…
Posted: Mon Oct 25, 2004.   Comments (17)

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