The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
October 2005
Hydra High Energy H2O — Status: Dubious Product Claims The makers of Hydra High Energy H2O claim that most people in the world are chronically dehydrated. In fact, they claim that even people who are drinking up to half their body weight in water every day, are still dehydrated. They offer their product as the cure for this problem. They state that it "dramatically increases intra-cellular hydration – by an average of more than 22%" So what makes Hydra H2O more hydrating than normal water? Well, according…
Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2005.   Comments (14)

Jesus Tree — Status: Pareidolia The latest face of a deity to be seen in a random object is the face of Jesus that some people claim they can see in the trunk of a tree on North Clinton Avenue in Rochester, New York. They're now calling it the Jesus Tree. Most of the time, when people start claiming to see the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich or Jesus in an oyster shell, I can at least make out the outline of a face. But in this case I can't see anything at all. Maybe you need to have more…
Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2005.   Comments (37)

The Curse of Saint Edmund — Status: Unlikely A group of anti-development activists calling themselves the Knights of Saint Edmund have hit upon an unusual way of stopping a shopping center from being built in their hometown, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. They're threatening to unleash the ancient Curse of St. Edmund upon the developers. Their website states that: On St Edmund's day, the 20th November 2005, a formal and public cursing ceremony will take place at Bury St Edmunds to once again summon the avenging saint…
Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2005.   Comments (18)

Peanut Butter Slices — Status: Real This really shouldn't surprise me, but for some reason it does. A company has developed peanut butter slices that come in packs (similar to packs of sliced cheese). I'm not sure how they made the peanut butter rigid enough, and non-sticky enough, that it could be formed into a plastic-wrapped slice. But somehow they did. I'd be worried that whatever they did to it would affect the taste. No word on whether anyone has developed sliced jam. [Update: they have; see the…
Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2005.   Comments (29)


The Grafton Portrait of Shakespeare — Status: Art Fake (i.e. it's not Shakespeare) The National Portrait Gallery has reported that the Grafton portrait, long thought to depict Shakespeare as a young man, doesn't depict him at all. They don't know who the guy in the painting is. The portrait apparently served as the inspiration for the portrayal of Shakespeare in the movie Shakespeare in Love. So the Grafton portrait will now join the Flower portrait (revealed to be a nineteenth-century fake earlier this year) in the…
Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2005.   Comments (10)

Loo With A View — Status: Real A photo is doing the email circuit, showing a bathroom that men who don't enjoy being watched as they 'go about their business' might not want to use. Yes, it is a real bathroom. It's located on the second floor of the Sofitel Hotel in Queenstown, New Zealand. Here's from a press release about the bathroom: Queenstown photographer Sheena Haywood shot the images of models from local agency Ican -- after Auckland model agencies turned down the job when they heard where the…
Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2005.   Comments (14)

Volkswagen Autostadt Car Tower — Status: Real Here's a new picture doing the email circuit. It's accompanied by this caption: A Volkswagen Polo is loaded in the car towers of the VW Autostadt in Wolfsburg, northern Germany on Wednesday. The Autostadt, situated next to Volkswagen's headquarter, is the company's theme park, and distribution centre where daily 5,500 visitors view Volkswagen brands like Bentley, Audi, Lamborghini. It looks like something out of a science-fiction movie, but it's real, as is the caption.…
Posted: Thu Oct 27, 2005.   Comments (23)

Chess Boxing — Status: Real Chess Boxing seems to be getting a lot of attention lately. The basic premise of this sport is that you play chess for four minutes, and then you box for two minutes. Then you go back to playing chess, followed by another round of boxing. And this goes on and on for eleven rounds until someone is either knocked out, or checkmated. The website of the World Chess Boxing Organization states that: One of the goals of this new sport is the old ideal of a healthy mind in a…
Posted: Thu Oct 27, 2005.   Comments (16)

Plastic Pumpkin Carving — Status: Real (though the pumpkins are fake) The newest thing for Halloween is fake pumpkins. Made out of polyurethane foam, they can be carved just like the real thing. But don't try to eat the seeds. A guy quoted about this issue in the Loudoun Times-Mirror notes that: "There's something wrong with society if people start carving plastic pumpkins." I don't think I have anything to add to that statement. The article also notes that once you've carved your foam pumpkin, it wouldn't be…
Posted: Wed Oct 26, 2005.   Comments (25)

Museum of Hoaxes Mentioned in the Wall Street Journal — I've learned that the Museum of Hoaxes got mentioned in the Wall Street Journal last week. The title of the article was "Photo Firms Hunt Copyright Violators" (October 19, 2005) by Vauhini Vara. I got included because of my brief fight with the Science & Society Picture Library over my use of the Cottingley Fairy images. Unfortunately the reporter didn't fully represent my side of the argument. Here are the relevant sections from the article: Bloggers, beware: That photo of Tom Cruise…
Posted: Wed Oct 26, 2005.   Comments (7)

Pet Rat Grooming — Status: Real Gary emailed me this article with the comment "Please tell me this is a hoax." Sadly, I think it's not. Here are some highlights from the article: Grooming isn't just for dogs anymore, and many pet owners are bringing in their rats to groomers like Garrison, who uses waterless shampoo to make their coats shine and smell sweet... "We need to be there for all our clients," Garrison said. "I think we might be the only place around that grooms rats."... "The most difficult…
Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2005.   Comments (49)

Do Round Bowls Make Goldfish Go Blind? — Status: Undetermined CNN reports that the city of Rome has passed a set of laws to prevent cruelty to animals. For instance, dog owners will be forced to walk their dogs regularly. And round goldfish bowls have been banned because round bowls supposedly cause the fish to go blind. Specifically, the article says: The newspaper [Il Messaggero] reported that round bowls caused fish to go blind. No one at Rome council was available to confirm this was why they were banned. Many fish…
Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2005.   Comments (39)

Ice Giant Found in Siberia — Status: Hoax (part of a viral marketing campaign) Russian geologist Arkady Simkin claims to have participated in an oil-surveying expedition to Northern Siberia that found an enormous, skyscraper-size creature buried in the ice. He gives the following description of the creature (which he refers to as Taurus Major) on his website: The animal appears to be a huge quadruped with horns much like a bull. In fact it looks to be a hybrid of a bull, woolly mammoth and a rhino – if such a…
Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2005.   Comments (40)

Great Pointed Archer Society — Status: Undetermined (but probably a hoax) Not many people like rats. But the members of the Great Pointed Archer Society do. As they proclaim on their very slick website: The immediate goal of this website is to replace the offensive name ‘rat’ with the untainted, and beautiful name Great Pointed Archer. By doing away with this all-to-common slur, we can begin to repair centuries of disrespect and hatred. After all, it’s not their fault they live in the sewer and eat trash. It's not…
Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2005.   Comments (8)

Charlotte Church/Liam Gallagher Pepsi Ad — Status: Hoax It's been very widely reported in the past few days that singer Charlotte Church and Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher will be paired up in a new ad for Pepsi. According to the report: the unlikely pair will head-up a lucrative advertising campaign, which will feature the OASIS frontman "teaching" Church how to trash hotel rooms and smash instruments while enjoying a selection of alcoholic drinks mixed with the cola beverage. A PepsiCo source tells British newspaper the Daily…
Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2005.   Comments (4)

Google’s Dentist — Status: HoaxI'm a bit late on this one, but it's odd enough to be worth recording for posterity. It was the blog of Sam Gustard, "Google's first full-time on-site dentist." As the blog explained: After they hear this people usually ask why we need our own dentist, or they roll their eyes about supposed extravagence like the well-known free meals at work and so on. Actually, I'm surprised more companies of their size don't have their own dentist. Just do the math (I had to do some math…
Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2005.   Comments (7)

A Baby Named Google — Status: Seems True Earlier this year there was a story about a couple who named their baby Yahoo, in honor of having met over the internet. That story turned out to be a hoax invented by a Romanian reporter, Ion Garnod. But now there's a case, apparently true, in which a couple decided to name their baby Google. In response to whether he thinks his son will be teased in school on account of his name, the father stated: "not if he is using Google Search engine and he is building new idea…
Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2005.   Comments (12)

Victor the Talking Budgie — Status: In my opinion, a case of parrot pareidolia Victor is (or rather was) a budgie that, according to its owner, could speak in context. In other words, Victor could not only mimic words, as many birds can, but also carry on meaningful conversations. Victor has been a topic of discussion on the internet for over four years. However, I just became aware of him thanks to an email from Gretel Shuvzwichinstov. So here are the basic facts about Victor, as I understand them: Victor…
Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2005.   Comments (42)

World’s Longest Surname — Status: Seems to be true Charles Haberl e-mailed me with a question about the world's longest surname. Here's the main part of his message (it's kind of long): There's an bit of internet lore circulating around that the Guinness World Record for Longest Name in the world belongs to a Mr. Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy…
Posted: Fri Oct 21, 2005.   Comments (37)

China Invades Japan — Status: Hoax (Fake News Story) A fake news article ruffled a few feathers over in Asia by reporting that China had invaded the Japanese island of Okinawa. In the context of growing tensions between the two countries, this was apparently believable to some people. Though there's no word on how many people fell for it. The hoaxers disguised their fake story as a Yahoo! News page. Usually fake news stories are easily spotted by examining the URL. If it looks like a Yahoo! News page, but…
Posted: Fri Oct 21, 2005.   Comments (21)

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