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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
September 2005
Downloading Communism
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 08, 2005
Jelena sent in the image to the right, asking "Americans do have a reputation, but this can't be for real, can it?" By real, I assume she means--is the RIAA really distributing this poster? The answer is no. Looking at the fine print on the side of the image, I can see that it's author was
Dead Jackalope
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 07, 2005
In Jackalope news: a Minnesota woman found in her yard a dead rabbit with horns growing out of its head, exactly like a jackalope. A veterinarian declared that it had been infected by Shope papilloma virus, "a highly contagious disease that causes rabbits to grow things on their head and face that look like horns." The veterinarian's explanation is, of course, part of the continuing conspiracy to conceal the existence of jackalopes from the general public.
AtomChip Notebook Computer
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 07, 2005
You may never have heard of the Atom Chip Corporation before, but you will if they've really built what they claim to have built--a notebook computer that boasts a 6.8GHZ CPU and 2TB of non-volatile Quantum Storage (in place of a hard disk). For those who aren't tech savvy, a notebook computer like this would be years ahead of anything else on the market. The company says that it will present this miracle technology to the world during an upcoming Consumer Electronics Show. However, the pictures it has on its website look strangely amateurish, like pieces of computer hardware glued together. The liberal use of…
Categories: Technology Comments (90)
Kangaroo Testicle Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 07, 2005
The organizers of the world testicle-cooking championship in Serbia were all prepared for the arrival of Nigel Bevan, Australia's leading kangaroo testicle cook. They even had a supply of kangaroo testicles on hand, ready for him to cook up into a delicious dish. But Bevan never showed up. It's hard to tell from the text of the article, but it seems to imply that Nigel Bevan, master kangaroo testicle chef, is real enough, but that some prankster was pretending to be him. However, a google search turns up no references to a testicle cook named Nigel Bevan (except for the references made in this article itself).
Categories: Food Comments (12)
Hippo Eats Dwarf Cover
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 07, 2005
Hippo Eats Dwarf now has a cover, thanks to the art department at Harcourt. This will almost definitely be the final cover unless (as my editor cautions) changes are made after the sales conference in October. Ideally one wants a cover that will make people curious enough to pick up the book and flip through it, and I think this does the trick. Oh, and I shouldn't forget to point out that the book can be pre-ordered on Amazon.
Categories: Miscellaneous Comments (6)
Skype Prank
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 07, 2005
Here's a prank perpetrated on the Skype system (an internet-based phone and chat service) that proves you never know who you're talking to online: A profile is put up with a girl's name and picture, and put in "Skype me" mode. Within minutes some seedy guy will invariably try calling/chatting, and there's a little program I made running the whole time which will partner up people 2 at a time, and send messages from the first person to the second, & vice versa. This way both people think they're talking to a girl, when they find out, well, they're not normally too happy about it... It reminds me of the VixenLove program…
Categories: Identity/Imposters, Pranks Comments (10)
Esquivalience Copyright Trap
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 07, 2005
The most recent edition of the New Oxford American Dictionary (NOAD) defines esquivalience as "the willful avoidance of one’s official responsibilities." However, esquivalience isn't a real word. It's a copyright trap, placed in the dictionary so that the editors can know when others are stealing their work. This was reported in last week's New Yorker. The editors of NOAD admit that they made up esquivalience: "An editor named Christine Lindberg came up with “esquivalience.” The word has since been spotted on, which cites Webster’s New Millennium as its source." But, of course, if enough people start to use the word, it could become real. I think the most famous case of fake entries in a dictionary occurred…
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (2)
Hypnosis Diet
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 07, 2005
CNN reports that the latest weight-loss fad to sweep the country is the Hypnosis Diet. Therapists place hypnotic suggestions in their patients' minds, telling them to "picture themselves in a relaxing place whenever they feel the impulse to overeat." (Hopefully their relaxing place isn't a donut store.) I was going to chalk up whatever effect this therapy might have to the power of suggestion, but I guess that's the whole point. Hey, if it helps some people, that's great. But I'd assume it would work best on highly suggestible people. I wonder if the hypnosis therapists have ever considered taking a cue from Elizabeth Loftus and tried hypnotically implanting fake memories to…
Categories: Food Comments (4)
Convert Your Car to Hydrogen
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 06, 2005
United Nuclear is selling a Hydrogen Fuel System Kit that will allow you to convert your existing car to run on hydrogen. It's not for sale just yet, but they promise that they're "currently fleet-testing our systems and are in final preparation for sales to the general public." If they ever do manage to perfect this, I'd buy it. I'd love to never have to worry about going to a gas station again. But I have serious doubts that United Nuclear really does have a system like this nearly ready for sale to the public. I've written…
Categories: Technology Comments (83)
Dear Abby Dilemma
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 06, 2005
Last week a woman wrote in to Dear Abby with an interesting dilemma: Dear Abby: My husband gave me a diamond and sapphire ring for our anniversary. Because it was too large, I took it to a jeweler, who asked me where it came from. When I asked the jeweler why he asked, he informed me that the sapphire was synthetic and the "diamonds" were cubic zirconia. I'm not certain whether to tell my husband. I don't want him to think I don't like the ring. It is beautiful, and I will love wearing it regardless. However, if he bought the ring thinking it was the real McCoy, he may have spent a lot more…
Categories: Sex/Romance Comments (20)
Sharks in New Orleans
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 05, 2005
David Emery throws some cold water on rumors that sharks are swimming through the streets of New Orleans. He points out that the shark sightings seem to be the "seen by a friend of a friend" variety: I found repeated references to unnamed "authorities" and "officials" reporting one "3-foot shark cruising the city." Which authorities? Which officials? Digging further, I could only find mention of one by name: Mayor Aaron Broussard of Jefferson Parish (a New Orleans suburb), who, according to the August 30 issue of the Palm Beach Post, "told residents Tuesday that at least one 3-foot shark had been spotted." Again, that's one small shark reportedly sighted — exactly where and by whom,…
Categories: Animals, Places Comments (9)
Katrina Survivor Story
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 05, 2005
After 9/11 fake tales of heroism and survival soon began to pop up, so it's inevitable that after Katrina people will also invent stories. A tale that's been posted on a gamer's site has some people suspecting a hoax. I have no idea if it's real or not, so you'll have to decide for yourself. In the story, Naomi tells of how life on the coast of Alabama has descended into a state of primitive lawlessness. She claims to be living on the second floor of a house (the first floor was flooded and is covered in mud), keeping her gun close at hand to fend off looters. She's running a generator that allows her…
Categories: Places Comments (11)
Bullshit Protectors
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 05, 2005
This image of a veteran wearing a "Bullshit Protector" over his ears as he listens to President Bush giving a speech was doing the rounds about two weeks ago. So I'm a bit late getting to it, but better late than never. The veteran is Bill Moyer, and the picture was taken by AP photographer Douglas Pizac. was inspired by the picture to design an entire series of Bullshit Protectors that you can print out and make on your own.
Categories: Politics Comments (12)
Advertising Cliches
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 05, 2005
John Camm, writing for the BBC, has compiled a long list of ways in which life as it's portrayed in advertisements differs from real life. For instance, in advertisements: Men are obsessed with sex but will forego sex in order to watch football or drink beer. Any act of male stupidity (e.g. walking across a clean floor in muddy boots, putting the dog in the dishwasher, etc.) will be met with a wry smile, not genuine annoyance/anger. If you work for the emergency services, you are a better person than the general population. Elderly relatives NEVER suffer from senile dementia. Scandinavians are, without exception, blonde and beautiful. Women have jobs they never do in real…
Categories: Advertising Comments (10)
Hippo Eats Dwarf Completed
Posted by The Curator on Sun Sep 04, 2005
On Friday I sent in the final, fully edited manuscript of Hippo Eats Dwarf to my publisher. A few small things remain for me to do. For instance, I need to write the acknowledgments page. But basically it's completed. Now the publisher needs to finish the cover art and start formatting it to look like a real book. But the book has already been listed on Amazon, which means it can now be pre-ordered. So over the next seven months I'll be bugging people to pre-order it, since the more people pre-order it, the easier it is to convince bookstores to stock it and display it prominently. And at $10, it's a bargain. Here's the catalog copy for…
Categories: Miscellaneous Comments (21)
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