The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
September 2005
In Pittsburgh — I'm off to Pittsburgh to visit with family. I doubt I'll have computer access there. Be back Tuesday!
Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2005.   Comments (9)

Leaving Brooklyn: Oy Vey! — 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…
Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2005.   Comments (6)

Corpses Used As Mulch — 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…
Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2005.   Comments (27)

Seattle Attempts to Save Rat Population — 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…
Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2005.   Comments (7)


Tom Cruise Lectures on Modern Science of Mental Health — Status: Hoax A press release that appeared during the past week on pressbox.co.uk 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…
Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2005.   Comments (13)

Flirts For Hire — 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…
Posted: Wed Sep 28, 2005.   Comments (15)

Ghost Found in Gloucester Store — 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…
Posted: Wed Sep 28, 2005.   Comments (11)

Killer Dolphins Set Loose by Katrina — 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…
Posted: Wed Sep 28, 2005.   Comments (15)

Ashton Kutcher Marries Demi Moore — 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…
Posted: Wed Sep 28, 2005.   Comments (3)

Holy Grail Found in Da Vinci’s Last Supper — 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: DaVinciGrail.com." 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,…
Posted: Wed Sep 28, 2005.   Comments (123)

Christian Mime Theater — 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…
Posted: Tue Sep 27, 2005.   Comments (41)

Plastic Deer Shot By Hunters — 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…
Posted: Tue Sep 27, 2005.   Comments (15)

Ashton Hacked — Status: HoaxAshtonHacked.com 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…
Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2005.   Comments (9)

Searing Meat Seals in Its Juices (and other food myths) — 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. About.com's barbeque expert agrees: By definition, searing is to cook…
Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2005.   Comments (36)

Dr. Richard Chopp (unfortunate name for a urologist) — 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…
Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2005.   Comments (19)

Mentos + Soda = Explosion — Status: True Given the urban legend about kids eating pop rocks and soda, and then having their stomachs explode, I wouldn't have believed that mixing Mentos and soda could cause such a violent reaction. But after watching the video posted on WLTX's website, I do. (You need Windows Media Player to view it, and I had to click the "Trouble Viewing" button to make it work.) To summarize what the video shows, three Mentos are dropped into a bottle of soda, causing a geyser of soda to shoot…
Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2005.   Comments (186)

Mobile Phone Conversation Simulation Service — Status: Real (but it's a conceptual art project) Denmark now has a wireless phone service called You're Kidding Me!? that allows you to pretend you're having a conversation with someone on your cellphone: The automatic service is designed to assist people at conferences, gallery openings and other places where being socially disconnected is no fun. After dialing the service number, users can choose between two types of conversations: a 'casual' or an 'important' conversation. The user…
Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2005.   Comments (4)

Babycage.net — Status: Hoax Babycage.net has been selling "infant confinement" products (i.e. cages in which you can lock up your child) since 2001. Or so it claims. It also offers a Teenager Cage, which looks like it could be very useful. The company's philosophy is straight-forward: At BabyCage.net we believe that the most important tool you need in life to succeed is discipline. Without discipline and structure, a child may become succeptible to liking rock and roll, doing drugs, or in an extreme…
Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2005.   Comments (29)

Extreme Fans Fake Emergency Landing To See Team Play — Status: Pathetic, but true Fanatical Gambian soccer fans chartered a jet and faked the need for an emergency landing so that they could watch their team play: The plane, claiming to be low on fuel, landed Tuesday in Peru's northern coast city of Piura, where Gambia played Qatar in the FIFA Under-17 World Championships later that night. Emergency crews were scrambled ahead of the Lockhead L1011 Tri-Star's unscheduled landing. It was to have landed in the capital, Lima. The fans were…
Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2005.   Comments (4)

Giant Jesus Prevents Auto Accidents — Status: Unlikely (though the people who think it does won't care what I say) Along I-75 in Ohio there stands a 62-foot-tall fiberglass and styrofoam statue of Jesus, his hands raised into the air. It's very visible from the highway. Nicknames for it include Super Savior, Touchdown Jesus, Drowning Jesus (because it's located in front of a reflecting pool), and Jeeebus. It was completed last summer, and according to rumor there have been no accidents along the stretch of highway in front…
Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2005.   Comments (21)

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