The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
May 2005
Wal-Mart Advertisements — There's an interesting Q&A in today's Stuart Elliott column in the NY Times: A Reader Asks: I have a question regarding Wal-Mart's advertising. Do you know if Wal-Mart actually uses employees in its ads or does it hire actors? I've wondered about this myself. Are there really all these happy people working at Wal-Mart? Elliott's response: The people appearing in the television commercials and print advertisements for Wal-Mart Stores are actual employees, according to Wal-Mart and…
Posted: Tue May 10, 2005.   Comments (41)

The Reel in a Rock — Stop The Presses! The Creationists have disproven evolution! How? Because they found a fishing reel in a rock. The 'reel in a rock' seems to have been around for quite a while, but I've only heard of it now. What a treat I've been missing. Dan Jones says that he found this thing twenty-five years ago while trout fishing. It was lying right out in the open. It's a chunk of Phyllite rock with an old fishing reel embedded in it. It's pretty obvious that someone has drilled a few holes in…
Posted: Tue May 10, 2005.   Comments (34)

The Black Spider Club — The Black Spider Club bills itself as "the worlds most exclusive club". "We are not listed on any search engine, and we do not publicise ourselves, for you to have found this site means you were referred by one of our illustrious members." I haven't been able to find any info about what this 'club' actually is. It indeed doesn't appear in any search engines. So maybe it's really a club, or maybe it's an alternative reality game. I don't know. But if it is a club, I'm pretty sure they…
Posted: Tue May 10, 2005.   Comments (13)

Trompe l’oeil Murals — Some photos of the mural paintings of Eric Grohe have been doing the rounds. The coolest ones, I think, are the ones where people are standing and looking at the paintings, and you can't quite tell if the people are part of the painting or not.
Posted: Tue May 10, 2005.   Comments (9)

Satellite Map Oddity — I got an email from Mike Scofield asking about this odd thing that can be seen via Google's satellite map out in the middle of the desert around Nevada. Mike writes: Assuming I did the link right, you should see a giant triangle with concentric circles in it. I did some poking around and it looks like this symbol is ~near~ Area 51. This leads me to think it's one of two different hoaxes. One is that it's a very good photoshop someone slipped into the satalite map that Google is…
Posted: Tue May 10, 2005.   Comments (64)

Lion vs. Midgets — A faux BBC news article describing a match between one lion and 42 unarmed midget fighters has been linked to by a lot of sites. However, the article is now clearly labelled as a fake. Apparently what inspired the article was a debate some guy was having with his friend about who would win in a hypothetical fight between one lion and 40 weaponless midgets. He created the fake BBC piece in order to convince his friend that the lion would win. Personally, I don't think it matters if it…
Posted: Mon May 09, 2005.   Comments (29)

The Dominion of Melchizedek — On my next vacation I'm going to the Dominion of Melchizedek. It looks lovely. But actually, I might have trouble finding a flight there since there's no such place. I found it mentioned in a book I was browsing through, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Frauds, Scams, and Cons. The author of this book, Duane Swierczynski, says that the Dominion of Melchizedek "was solely the invention of an American swindler, who created it as a front for a multitude of scams. If you're near a computer, go…
Posted: Mon May 09, 2005.   Comments (1)

Scientists Walk of Fame — I'm a little late on this one, but better late than never. On May 4 Caltech students transformed the Hollywood Walk of Fame into the "Illustrious Scientists Walk of Fame": Students literally covered over 500 of the celebrity stars on Hollywood Blvd. with prestigious scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, David Baltimore, Richard Feynman, Madame Currie... The prank was meant to coincide with the Commemorative U.S. Postage Stamp of preeminent Caltech…
Posted: Mon May 09, 2005.   Comments (8)

Runaway Bride Stuff on eBay — eBay has become like the internet's funhouse mirror for popular culture. Any widely reported event immediately gets reflected back in the form of strange eBay auctions. So with the Runaway Bride being the latest story in the news, it was inevitable that Runaway Bride stuff would soon show up on eBay. Here's a round-up of the most prominent of it: Runaway Bride on Toast Jennifer Wilbanks found on my morning breakfast toast. I still think her fiance did it !!! This is the one and only…
Posted: Fri May 06, 2005.   Comments (11)

Dead Husband Hoax — A woman has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after faking her husband's death (with the help of her husband). The two of them dug up a corpse from a grave, put it in their car, and lit it on fire. The police weren't fooled. Apparently the husband had been sentenced to jail, and the scheme was an elaborate way to get out of having to go. Now they're both going to jail. So the plan really didn't work. My impression is that forging a death certificate is, by far, the easiest way to…
Posted: Thu May 05, 2005.   Comments (3)

Coin Stacking — I never realized that coin stacking was a sport, nor that people could create such intricate stacks. Some of these things really seem to defy gravity. But I see no reason to believe that any of the images aren't real. It reminds me of rock balancing, which I posted about last year. Check out some of the other coin stack pictures here. (via Reality Carnival)
Posted: Thu May 05, 2005.   Comments (11)

A New Kind of Moisturizer — Ananova reports that an entrepreneur down in Mexico has started selling a line of semen moisturizer: Porn star Lyn May, who is in her sixties, is behind the company producing the cream. Mrs May swears that the Semen moisturizer is capable of erasing wrinkles and leaves skin soft. She told Las Ultimas Noticias: "I select attractive young man and pay them for their semen that is mixed with honey and oats to create the moisturiser." Okay, despite the fact that it's gross to be selling…
Posted: Thu May 05, 2005.   Comments (26)

Cow Urine — Apparently cow urine is the hot new drink in India. I'm not sure what people believe to be the health benefits of it, but there's a brisk market in sales of the stuff. The only problem is the nasty smell: A few suppliers even have suggestions for battling the odour. "You can kill the smell if you add some essence while consuming it. But if you store it in a bottle again, the odour returns," says Lakshmanananda of another ashram in Gandipet, on the outskirts of the city. Demand is so…
Posted: Thu May 05, 2005.   Comments (15)

Snake in Breakfast Food — Seems like people are suddenly finding all kinds of things in their food. A boy in England just found a two-foot long snake in the box of his breakfast cereal: Ms Willett, who was eating breakfast with her son at the time, said she first thought the snake was a free gift. Describing the incident, she said: "My lad, he went to open his cereal and luckily enough I was behind him because a snake popped out. "I just screamed. I grabbed the box off him and found some Sellotape." ... An…
Posted: Thu May 05, 2005.   Comments (2)

Coalition for Traditional Values — Laura Bush has been getting rave reviews for her comedy routine at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, but not everyone was pleased. The Coalition for Traditional Values issued a press release (pdf file) denouncing her performance. We saw our President undermined, mocked and emasculated by his own wife on the most public of stages, and at a time when his manliness is already under attack. We saw the leader of the free world seemingly unable to lead his own family. Mr. President,…
Posted: Tue May 03, 2005.   Comments (15)

Finger in Frozen Custard — In the wake of the Wendy's Finger Chili, we now have reports of a finger found in a pint of Kohl's Frozen Custard. But this incident appears to be real. The store that sold the custard admits it had an employee who lost a finger. That's the problem with hoaxes. You hear enough of them and you start to think everything is fake. Now this poor guy who found a finger in his custard has to convince everyone that he didn't make it up. (thanks to Heidi for the link).
Posted: Tue May 03, 2005.   Comments (8)

Cochran’s Tombstone — This photo of Johnnie Cochran's tombstone has been making the rounds: One big clue that it's fake is that it misspells Cochran's first name. Another clue that it's fake is that it's obviously a joke. But here's a photo taken by the Mars Spirit lander that I swear is absolutely real. No joke:
Posted: Tue May 03, 2005.   Comments (8)

Battery Charger — Here's a cool idea for a battery charger. What makes it great is that it's totally portable! Finally a cord-free charger.
Posted: Tue May 03, 2005.   Comments (10)

Photos of the Museum of Hoaxes — Some of you have asked about the images of the Museum that appeared in the piece on CNN. They were created by Eric Schucard of Carlsbad, CA about a month ago (he was hoping I could get USA Today to run them, but no such luck). I've uploaded them so everyone can check them out. At some point (when I'm done with the book) I'll redesign my 'About the Museum' page to incorporate them.
Posted: Tue May 03, 2005.   Comments (5)

Paula Zahn Tonight — If you watch the Paula Zahn Show on CNN tonight (monday, May 2) you'll see an interesting guest: Me! They wanted someone who could blab on about hoaxes for a couple of minutes, so I fit the part. I didn't get to speak to Paula herself. In fact, I was actually looking at the wall during the entire interview while speaking to a reporter on speakerphone. It airs 8-9pm Eastern time, and 5-6pm Pacific. I think they're going to have a segment about 2 minutes long in which they're interviewing me.
Posted: Mon May 02, 2005.   Comments (30)

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