The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
March 2005
Guardian’s April Fool’s Day Quiz — The Guardian has an April Fool's Day quiz that lets you test your skills at separating real news stories from April Fool's Day jokes. I got 9 out of 9, so I did very well. However, I also spotted a mistake in their test. Question Five asks: Telescopes belonging to the Chicago Times discovered a penal colony on the moon in 1876 (True or April Fool). The correct answer, according to the test, is that it's an April Fool. That's not totally accurate. The story was a hoax, but it wasn't an…
Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2005.   Comments (7)

Government Records Your Phone Calls — Has the government been monitoring and recording your telephone conversations? A government contractor was able to copy 1 terabyte worth of phone calls recorded by the government. Enter your phone number to find out if they've been spying on you!
Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2005.   Comments (19)

Garden Gnome Liberation Front — Wikipedia has a brief blurb about the Garden Gnome Liberation Front. This is a political movement dedicated to liberating gnomes from the gardens in which they are imprisoned. Members of the liberation front remove gnomes from gardens and either take them out to the woods to set them loose, or smash them to set their spirit free (personally I think taking them out to the woods sounds like the more humane option). I wonder if they've ever considered taking them to the underwater gnome…
Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2005.   Comments (40)

April Fool’s Day Effect — The site seems to be loading very slowly today, and a few people have reported not being able to access it at all. This is the beginning of the April Fool's Day effect. Traffic to the site increases and causes the performance of the site to nosedive. I'm guessing this will last until April 2nd. There's absolutely nothing I can do about it.
Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2005.   Comments (10)


Bush Twins in Maxim — As an April Fool's Day prank Maxim magazine has printed a photo of the Bush twins doctored to make it look like they're decked out in lingerie. Of course, Maxim has also plastered a number of disclaimers on the image, just to make sure that no one thinks the picture is real. Most of the media avoids focusing on the twins too much, for fear of incurring the wrath of the White House. But Maxim evidently figured that the attention it would get by printing the picture would offset anything…
Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2005.   Comments (30)

Plagiarizing for Laura — Hundreds of blogs have linked to this in the past week, so I might as well pay it some attention, even though I'm doubtful that it's a hoax. The basic story is as follows: Some guy was contacted out of the blue via IM by a college student who wanted to know if he would write a paper on Hinduism for her. She had searched for people who mentioned the word 'Hindu' in their AOL profile and came up with him. To make a long story short, he agreed to write the paper for $75, but all he did was…
Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2005.   Comments (13)

Curing Obesity Through Sterility — The website of the Pacific Northwest Medical Journal contains an article titled, "Curing Obesity through Sterility: California's Controversial Program Under the Microscope". According to this article San Francisco has a publicly funded program to allow obese men to get free vasectomies. The idea is to stop them breeding in order to eliminate the gene for fatness from the population. This cannot be real. I've never heard of such a program and can't imagine it getting funded. But if it's…
Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2005.   Comments (63)

Easy Millionaire Question — I'm a pretty loyal 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' viewer. It usually comes on after I'm done with dinner and I'm too lazy to get up, so I just sit there watching it. I've seen some viewers get some very easy questions wrong on the show, but I'd find it hard to believe that anyone would really need help on this question. I'm guessing that either the question has been changed in this screenshot, or answer B has been altered to make it the obvious choice.
Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2005.   Comments (42)

Terrorist Catch and Release — This image has been floating around the internet for at least two years. It usually is accompanied by the caption: "In 2003 the US Navy initiates its new 'Terrorist Catch and Release Program.'" Obviously the caption is a joke, and I'm guessing that the car has been photoshopped in. But what would the crowd be standing there for? Would it be safe for them to stand there as a plane was taking off?
Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2005.   Comments (49)

Getting Ready for April Fools Day — April Fool's Day is usually the day when this site gets the most visitors. In the past this has caused the site to crash... so if nothing on the site seems to be working on April 1st, it's not me playing a prank. It's just the server melting down. Though hopefully that won't happen this year since I upgraded to a better server. April Fool's Day is also a time when this site gets some media attention (because I don't think any other site on the web has as much info about April Fools).…
Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2005.   Comments (19)

Credit Card Prank, Parts I and II — Zug's Credit Card Prank was widely linked to a few years ago. This is the prank as he describes it: Every time you make a credit card purchase, they're supposed to match your signature against the one on the back of your card. Nobody seems to check anymore, so I tried to see how far I could push it with wacky signatures like "Mariah Carey" and "Zeus". Now Zug has posted a sequel to the Credit Card Prank in which he makes his signatures even wackier and tries to discover what he can get…
Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2005.   Comments (16)

Watching Ringu — A video (in quicktime) shows a group of Japanese girls (members of the pop group Morning Musume) watching a video of the horror movie Ringu. There's a lot of shrieking, so definitely turn your speakers down. But wait until the end for the prank that's played on them. The video can also be found on other sites in wmv format.
Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2005.   Comments (15)

Family Pranks for April 1st — FamilyFun has a list of thirteen pranks that can be played on family members on April Fools Day. The list includes:Wake the kids up at 3am and tell them it's time for schoolSew shut the fly on Dad's underwearCreate a fake coffee spill (includes a recipe for doing this: mix together equal parts white glue and brown puff paint and let the mixture dry on wax paper... I have no idea what 'puff paint' is)Fasten a rubber band around the spray attachment on the kitchen sink
Posted: Sun Mar 27, 2005.   Comments (27)

Hidden Dangers — The website of the British firm Health and Safety Management Consultants offers a list of 'hidden dangers'. For instance, did you know that 10,700 people in the UK are injured every year while putting their socks on? That two women have been killed by lightning hitting the underwiring of their bras? That more people are injured by flowerpots every year than by hedge trimmers? And that "the number of injuries inflicted by vegetables remains unacceptably high, at 13,132"? Most of these…
Posted: Sun Mar 27, 2005.   Comments (13)

Harvey Nichols Labor Giveaway — The Guardian reports that numerous pregnant women have been seen lurking around branches of the UK store Harvey Nichols. Why? Because the women heard a rumor that Harvey Nichols gives out £500 gift vouchers to women who go into labor in the store. Supposedly one woman who was going into labor in the back of a car even took the time to phone the store to find out if the rumor was true. I guess she would have directed the driver to make a beeline to the store. However, the rumor is not true.
Posted: Sun Mar 27, 2005.   Comments (6)

The John Rhys-Davies Internet Rumor Experiment — Rubber Chicken has posted an interesting account of their experiment in spreading rumors and misinformation via their internet. What they wanted to do was plant one seed of misinformation, and see how far it would spread. As it turned out, it spread quite far. Their seed of misinformation was this: they made up a rumor that actor John Rhys-Davies, of Sliders fame, was going to provide the voice for General Grievous, the new CGI villain in Star Wars Episode III. They emailed this rumor…
Posted: Sun Mar 27, 2005.   Comments (9)

Easter Legend is a Hoax — It's long been thought that the word Easter and the traditions we associate with it (the Easter Bunny and hiding eggs) stem from an old Germanic Saxon belief about the goddess Ostara. The Saxons believed that Ostara was sent by the Sun King during the spring to bring an end to winter. She bore a basket of colored eggs, and with the help of a magical rabbit would hide these eggs under plants and flowers to bring them new life. The name Ostara evolved into Oestre, or Easter. Turns out…
Posted: Sun Mar 27, 2005.   Comments (19)

Google and Terri Schiavo — On March 22 Google altered their graphic (as they often do) to show water dripping out of the word 'Google' into a bowl. The rumor immediately started racing around that this was some kind of reference to the Terri Schiavo case. I don't quite follow the logic of the rumor. Did people think that Google was showing how water is dripping out of Schiavo as she dehydrates? I'm not sure. Anyway, it wasn't any kind of reference to Terri Schiavo. Google used the graphic to note that it was
Posted: Sat Mar 26, 2005.   Comments (22)

Soldier With Fingers Crossed — Snopes has a listing about a photo that shows a soldier shaking hands with Hillary Clinton while his fingers are crossed. A caption accompanying the photo explains that the soldier was crossing his fingers to signal that he was coerced to shake hands with her. Today Snopes updated this listing to include a link to a Yahoo Personals Page apparently created by the guy in the picture in which he states that he's no fan of Hillary Clinton. Snopes notes that this confirms what the caption…
Posted: Sat Mar 26, 2005.   Comments (26)

Earth Dog Tags — This is a cute idea: earth dog tags. "In case of alien abduction these dog tags may save your life. The crucial data an alien will need to get you back to Earth is die stamped into these dog tags." Plus, they come with a money back guarantee: "should you ever be abducted by aliens while wearing Location Earth Dog Tags and not returned safely to Earth you will be entitled to a full refund of the purchase price." But I think they should also sell non-Earth dog tags. You could give them…
Posted: Fri Mar 25, 2005.   Comments (31)

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