The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
November 2005
Glitter Lung — Status: Satire mistaken as news Last week The Onion ran a story reporting that increasing numbers of elementary-school art teachers are coming down with "glitter lung" (aka pneumosparklyosis), a disease caused by inhaling too much glitter. "When art teachers spend so much time in confined quarters with inadequate ventilation amid swirling clouds of glitter, it's only a matter of time before their lungs start to suffer negative effects," said Dr. Linda Norr, a specialist in…
Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2005.   Comments (16)

Email Warns of Hidden Camera in Tanning Salons — Status: Hoax A small British newspaper reports that tanning salons in New Eltham (which, I guess, is a suburb of London) are being targeted by a hoax email warning that hidden cameras are snapping photos of women as they tan. The email is accompanied by "dozens of revealing pictures of naked women using tanning beds, who are obviously unaware they are being photographed." (Two of the pictures are below.) The article continues: Angry women who use tanning beds are circulating the…
Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2005.   Comments (14)

Satellites For Sale — Status: Real Here's another picture doing the rounds of an astronaut floating in space outside the space shuttle, holding up a 'For Sale' sign. Since it's so easy to change signs in photoshop, I guess some might suspect the image to be fake. But it's real, and it's actually pretty old. It dates to 1984. (I have no idea why it's suddenly started to circulate again.) NASA provides this description of the image: Astronaut Dale A. Gardner, having just completed the major portion of his…
Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2005.   Comments (4)

Giant Cowgirl — Status: Real Here's a picture going around of a giant cowgirl. As far as I can tell, it's real (i.e. not photoshopped). But the trick, I think, is that the woman on the left is posing beside particularly short women, thereby making herself look bigger. If you look at the refrigerator in the background, she seems to be just slightly taller than it, which would put her (I'm guessing) at around six-and-a-half feet. That's tall, but not gigantic. I don't think she's as tall as Heather…
Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2005.   Comments (24)


Penile Weight Lifting (A Follow-Up) — Status: Real I feel compelled to post something about this simply because I've posted about the sport of penile weight lifting before, expressing a few doubts about its reality. (I also had a few questions about the actual mechanics of the process). Inside Bay Area has this report of a recent demonstration of penile weight lifting in action: Grandmaster Tu Jin-Sheng, best known for his Iron Crotch, attached himself not once, but twice, to a rental moving truck and pulled it several…
Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2005.   Comments (59)

Amamanta Anatomically Correct Dolls — Status: True-to-life dolls Here's a great way to permanently traumatize your kids. Give them some of these creepy Amamanta anatomically correct dolls: These dolls include true anatomical details such as stitched on genitals and breasts. This means that children and parents alike will find the dolls true-to-life and see themselves as naturally complete and OK... Amamanta family cloth dolls are soft and cuddly and consist of a mother, father, son, daughter and newborn baby. This…
Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2005.   Comments (17)

The CSI Effect — Status: Fiction mistaken for reality I've included many definitions of hoax-related terms in Hippo Eats Dwarf. One of these terms is the CSI Effect. I define it as "The belief that all criminal cases are solved using the high-tech, forensic science seen on TV crime shows such as CSI. Lawyers have noticed that the lack of such high-tech evidence can seriously prejudice a jury against a prosecutor's case. A manifestation of the if-it's-not-like-what-we-see-on-TV-then-it-can't-be-real…
Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2005.   Comments (16)

Wait For The Bling — Status: Real Sightings of a curious abstinence-promoting billboard are being reported throughout Iowa. The message that the billboard offers: Wait For The Bling. While teen pregnancy is obviously a serious problem, these billboards almost seem like a joke (and have a few people questioning if they're photoshopped). But they seem to be real. The fine print on the bottom of the billboard reveals that they're created by the Iowa Department of Public Health's Abstinence Education Program.…
Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2005.   Comments (18)

Plymouth Rock Pieces on eBay — Status: Scam According to legend, Plymouth Rock was the first thing the pilgrims set foot upon when they landed in Massachusetts. I think that the rock itself is now on display in Plymouth. But United Press International reports that pieces of the Rock are popping up on eBay where they're fetching as much as $900. The catch is that there's absolutely no way to verify that these really are pieces of the original Plymouth Rock. A lot of people did carve off chunks of Plymouth Rock during…
Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2005.   Comments (13)

Big Foot High School — Status: Real I know of many high schools named after Washington, Lincoln, or other famous characters from U.S. history, but as far as I'm aware, there's only one Big Foot High School. It's located in Walworth, Wisconsin. However, it's not named after the Bigfoot monster. Instead, it's named after an Indian Chief: Big Foot Union High School is named after the Potawatomi Indian Chief Big Foot who lived along the banks of Geneva Lake until his tribe was relocated by the United States…
Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2005.   Comments (27)

Powdered Alcohol — Status: Apparently it's real I've posted before about chewy vodka bars, which are real not real (I included them as a question on my April Fool's Day test), although chewable rice wine is real. But now a German company is going a step further by making powdered alcohol, which it's marketing to teenagers. From an article in Deutsche Welle: The powder inside contains alcohol, and a lot of it -- about 4.8 percent by volume. That is the equivalent of one to one-and-a-half glasses of…
Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2005.   Comments (22)

The Situation with Tucker Carlson — I've never watched The Situation with Tucker Carlson before. It's on too late for me. All I know is that Tucker is that guy who wears a bowtie. But tomorrow (Monday) I'll be a guest on the show. Tucker will chat with me for about five minutes about the history of hoaxes. Or, at least, that's what I've been told. The interview will be done via video feed, so I'll be sitting in San Diego and he'll be in New York. Look for me to be on at around 11:40 pm (eastern time). Update: I've been…
Posted: Sun Nov 27, 2005.   Comments (10)

Fire Water — Status: Hoax photo What we have here appears to be a guy shooting out a stream of fire as he goes to the bathroom. I'm going to go out on a limb, and say it has to be a hoax. Either the flames have been photoshopped in (which is easy enough to do), or he's holding something concealed in his hand (such as a bottle of lighter fluid), and that's what is really shooting out the stream of fire. The fiery liquid also doesn't appear to be spreading across the floor, as one would expect it to…
Posted: Sun Nov 27, 2005.   Comments (12)

Thanksgiving Turkey — Status: Real Happy Thanksgiving everyone. My wife and I hate to have to prepare a huge meal and then deal with all the cleanup, so every year we go out to eat. This year we're going to try the all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving buffet at the Viejas casino. We've heard it's pretty good, and reasonably priced. And where better to celebrate Thanksgiving but at a Native American casino! Anyway, in honor of Thanksgiving here's an image that's been circulating around for quite a while. As far as…
Posted: Thu Nov 24, 2005.   Comments (10)

Realistic Truck Art — Status: Hoax photos These photos of trucks painted with optical-illusion art have begun doing the rounds. They're pretty obviously photoshopped since it's the exact same truck in every picture. But they're cool nonetheless. The pictures actually were all entries for a 2005 Rhino Rolling Advertising Award, being given by a German advertising agency. The challenge must have been to dream up the coolest advertisement to paint on a truck. All the entries can be seen here. It looks like the…
Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2005.   Comments (7)

Magneurol-S6: The ESP Pill — Status: Snake Oil The makers of MagneurolS·6 promise that this little pill has some remarkable properties. It will give you "the ability to plug into Earths complex magnetic fields" thereby enhancing your extra-sensory perception and psychic abilities. Of course, never mind that its ingredients are nothing that you can't find in any vitamin supplement costing far less than $49 a bottle. You won't care about such trivial matters once your sixth sense (S·6) has been awakened. One…
Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2005.   Comments (63)

Banner of Heaven — Status: Hoax website Banner of Heaven is (or rather was) a weblog run by a group of mormons who wrote about their experiences trying to balance the pressures of daily life with the demands of their religion. The cast included: Jenn: "a perky, 20-something Mormon, seeking an eternal mate in the Big Apple" Mari: "the shyest character, got her neighbor's package by mistake and was afraid to deliver it to him in case he got mad" Miranda: "the feminist who is disappointed in her husband's…
Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2005.   Comments (9)

Alibi Network — Status: Real In June 2004 the New York Times published an article about alibi networks, which are informal networks of people who will provide excuses for each other: Cellphone-based alibi clubs, which have sprung up in the United States, Europe and Asia, allow people to send out mass text messages to thousands of potential collaborators asking for help. When a willing helper responds, the sender and the helper devise a lie, and the helper then calls the victim with the excuse -- not…
Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2005.   Comments (4)

Hippo Eats Dwarf Sighting — Status: Dwarf-eating hippo sighting Peter Mount sent along a sighting of the Hippo Eats Dwarf story. (Not my book, the story itself.) It's turned up in a new book titled The World's Stupidest Deaths. I haven't seen the book, but this Australian review of it lists the tale as being among the stupid deaths it describes: Other "stupid deaths" include: AUSTRIAN dwarf and circus acrobat Franz Dasch, who was killed when he bounced on a trampoline into the yawning mouth of a nearby…
Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2005.   Comments (8)

Breath Capture — Status: Real (but possibly a publicity stunt) Breath Capture is a company that's selling air. Or more specifically, they're selling tubes. The customers themselves are supposed to provide the air by breathing into the tubes. They promote these tubes as a way to "Capture the breath of a loved one or friend and keep them close. Forever." So it's a gimmick, kind of like pet rocks, or buying land on the Moon. But what gets me is this claim the company makes on it site: Breath Capture is a…
Posted: Mon Nov 21, 2005.   Comments (7)

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