The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
September 2005
In Pittsburgh
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 29, 2005
I'm off to Pittsburgh to visit with family. I doubt I'll have computer access there. Be back Tuesday!
Categories: Miscellaneous Comments (9)
Leaving Brooklyn: Oy Vey!
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 29, 2005
Status: True As you drive out of Brooklyn on the Williamsburg Bridge you'll see a traffic sign above you reading "Leaving Brooklyn. Oy Vey!" No, the sign isn't the work of a prankster, nor is the photo of the sign (to the right) a photoshop job. It's a real sign, placed there last week by the Department of Transportation at the request of Marty Markowitz, Borough President of Brooklyn. Says Markowitz: "Oy vey is an original Jewish 'expression of dismay or hurt.' The beauty is, every ethnic group knows it, and motorists seeing it know it means 'Dear me,…
Categories: Places Comments (6)
Corpses Used As Mulch
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 29, 2005
Status: True The Telegraph reports on the latest funeral practice in Sweden: freeze-drying the corpse of your loved one using liquid nitrogen, then shattering it into a powder, picking out any metal or plastic bits, and using the powder as mulch in a garden. Says Susanne Wiigh-Masak, the inventor of this technique: "Mulching was nature's original plan for us, and that's what used to happen to us at the start of humanity - we went back into the soil." It actually seems like a pretty good idea to me. A lot of people already strew cremains in their garden.
Categories: Death Comments (27)
Seattle Attempts to Save Rat Population
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 29, 2005
Status: Hoax Signs that appeared in a park in Fremont near Seattle announced that the city's park department "was planning to build a habitat to save the declining canal-rat population, species name: Rattus Norvegicus. The signs said the city was going to plant thorny bushes along that bank of the Lake Washington Ship Canal to make a safe and human-free habitat to increase the 'canal rat community.'" It all turned out to be a hoax, though according to the Seattle Times, many people were fooled: "At the Indoor Sun Shoppe across the street, customers were abuzz that Seattle is trying to save rats... Only one person said he thought it was a good idea, to protect them…
Categories: Animals Comments (7)
Tom Cruise Lectures on Modern Science of Mental Health
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 29, 2005
Status: Hoax A press release that appeared during the past week on declared that Tom Cruise would be delivering a series of four lectures at a scientology centre in Los Angeles on "topics related to 'The Modern Science of Mental Health.'" The press release turned out to be a hoax, getting a stern response from Cruise's lawyer: "It's totally phony... Tom is not giving any lectures... I'm going to look into it, because, in my view, it's forgery, wire fraud and apparently committed on an interstate basis. So, if I can find out who did this, I certainly intend to pursue every remedy I can find." The press release has now been removed from pressbox, so…
Categories: Celebrities, Psychology Comments (13)
Flirts For Hire
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 28, 2005
Status: Real While searching San Diego craigslist for someone willing to clean my hardwood floors twice a month, I stumbled upon a "Flirts for Hire" service: Is your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife not giving you the attention you deserve? Hire us, we will send someone over to bars, restaurants, clubs to flirt with you in from of them. They will get jealous in a heart beat. No physical contacts involved. No kissing, or any form of sexual activities. Just good clean fun. I suppose this is a more real-life version of having an imaginary girlfriend. When I did a google search to find out if there were…
Categories: Sex/Romance Comments (15)
Ghost Found in Gloucester Store
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 28, 2005
Status: Unlikely The BBC has video footage, taken by a security camera at night, of a (supposed) ghost haunting a store in Gloucester, England. What you see is a blurry image in which a pile of boxes falls down followed by a scene in which a figure might be sitting in a chair. The audio interview with the manager of the store, Sue Cooper, is also worth listening to, if only for its entertainment value. Sue and the BBC reporter go into the basement of the store, whereupon Sue claims to feel the presence of the ghost and becomes extremely flustered. The reporter, on the other…
Categories: Paranormal Comments (11)
Killer Dolphins Set Loose by Katrina
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 28, 2005
Status: Highly Doubtful I've received a lot of emails about a story in The Observer a few days ago alleging that thirty-six dolphins "trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater" and "carrying 'toxic dart' guns" were swept out of their tanks by Hurricane Katrina and are now at large in the Gulf of Mexico. This story is very doubtful for a number of reasons. First, it seems to be a wild rumor inspired by the true report that eight bottlenose dolphins were washed out of their marina by Katrina, but were later recovered. Second, The Observer's story relies entirely upon one source, a "respected accident investigator" named…
Ashton Kutcher Marries Demi Moore
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 28, 2005
Status: Uncertain This is my second post about Ashton Kutcher in as many days. I'm not sure what that signifies (except that my standards are probably slipping), but the celebrity-gossip-lover in me couldn't resist. The story here is that newspapers have reported Moore and Kutcher tied the knot over the weekend. But now rumors are spreading suggesting the wedding was faked to prank the media and help publicize the new season of Kutcher's MTV show, PUNK'D. Though maybe Kutcher's publicist is spreading the faux-wedding rumor in order to stir up media interest. In which case, the publicist is also probably behind the AshtonHacked website I posted about yesterday. Either way, Kutcher gets publicity…
Categories: Celebrities Comments (3)
Holy Grail Found in Da Vinci’s Last Supper
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 28, 2005
Status: True (in my opinion) Here's a bit of a mystery. I received an email from someone called Prastil who wrote, "Check this hoax out:" The site he directed me to claims that the holy grail has finally been discovered in Da Vinci's painting of the Last Supper. For centuries people have wondered why Da Vinci omitted the grail from his painting, given that the grail is one of the central elements of the Last Supper story. Its absence has spawned a variety of theories, such as the one elaborated in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, that the holy grail was Mary Magdalene's uterus (and that the figure to the left of Jesus in the…
Categories: Art Comments (123)
Christian Mime Theater
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 27, 2005
Status: Real (I think) At last you can enjoy your favorite passages from scripture as interpreted by mimes: Christian Mime Theater brings scripture passages to life through the ministry of pantomime. During the “voice over” reading of the scripture, people come to life in various light pools across the stage, portraying modern enactments of the timeless Word of God. I'm assuming this is real and not some kind of Objective-Christian-Ministries style parody. After all, it appears that you really can buy the Christian Mime Theater video, and the rest of the site appears serious. But…
Categories: Religion Comments (41)
Plastic Deer Shot By Hunters
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 27, 2005
Status: Satire Jim Heffernan reports for the Duluth News Tribune that: "Homeowners who decorate their yards with life-sized plastic deer are complaining the sculptures are being damaged by those stalking real deer during Duluth's special season for bowhunters." That seems believable enough, but the article gets a little stranger with the first interviewee, Orval Pussywillow (that can't be a real name), whose "decorative doe, Felicity, had an arrow sticking out of her hind quarter," but whose "lawn ornament depicting the posterior of a fat woman bending over" was unmolested. Other locals interviewed include Randy Waxwing, Thelma Twelvetrees, Msgr. Ernest X. Chasuble, and Professor Michael Angelo (head of the Sculpture and Human Sexuality Department at the Arrowhead College…
Categories: Animals Comments (15)
Ashton Hacked
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 26, 2005
Status: supposedly offers up recordings of real messages left on Ashton Kutcher's voicemail, as obtained by two guys who hacked his cellphone. (Some of the messages are not safe for work.) Kutcher's media rep claims that all the messages are fake. The owner of the site, however, continues to insist they're real, though the explanation of how the voicemail system was hacked doesn't sound very convincing. Anyway, the messages would only be of much interest to people who actually care what Ashton Kutcher does with his time.
Categories: Celebrities, Websites Comments (9)
Searing Meat Seals in Its Juices (and other food myths)
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 26, 2005
Status: Urban Legend I know a lot of people who swear by the notion that you have to sear meat "to seal in its juices." But I've always thought the idea was a bit far-fetched (though I agree that meat is best cooked hot and fast), so it pleased me to read, in a review of Alan Davidson's Oxford Companion to Food, that most food experts agree that it is indeed an urban legend that searing meat will seal in its juices.'s barbeque expert agrees: By definition, searing is to cook something hot and fast to brown the surface and to seal in the juices. Yet many of the leading cooking…
Categories: Food, Urban Legends Comments (36)
Dr. Richard Chopp (unfortunate name for a urologist)
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 26, 2005
Status: Real I would think twice (and then maybe another three or four times) before going to a urologist named Dr. Dick Chopp. I would also suspect the name had to be a joke. But it doesn't seem to be a joke. It's his real name. He works at the Urology Team, based in Austin, Texas: Dr. Richard (Dick) Chopp is well known in the Austin community for performing Vasectomies. He also enjoys treating patients with metabolic evolution of kidney stone disease, male endocrine urology disorders, prostate disease and Peyronie's disease. He has extensive laparoscopy surgery experience, is on the transplant team and performs Living Donor Nephrectomy. He joins that select…
Categories: Identity/Imposters Comments (19)
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