The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
November 2005
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)

Date Bait — Status: Dating service scamMatch.com, an online dating service, has been accused of sending some of its members bogus romantic emails in an effort to get them to renew their subscriptions. But even stranger, it's also been accused of sending Match.com employees out on phony dates with subscribers: The Match lawsuit was filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles by plaintiff Matthew Evans, who contends he went out with a woman he met through the site who turned out…
Posted: Mon Nov 21, 2005.   Comments (13)

Why did the gnomes cross the road? — Status: Prank Eighteen garden gnomes were found lined up in the Australian town of Warrnambool, waiting to cross a road. The police stated: "Right on the crossing, there was some on one side and some on the other side patiently waiting for the traffic to stop," he said. "At this stage we believe it's just a school prank but obviously the owners of the garden gnomes wouldn't appreciate their property being stolen from their gardens. They're just gn-one (gone)." The gnomes were taken to…
Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005.   Comments (10)

Glowing Pork Chops — Status: Real A few Australian consumers have apparently opened their refrigerator and discovered that their pork chops are glowing. This has caused concerns about radioactive contamination. To allay these fears, the New South Wales food authority issued a statement assuring everyone that the glowing is caused by a harmless bacteria called Pseudomonas fluorescens: "The Food Authority understands that many people would be alarmed to discover their food glowing in the fridge, but we can…
Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005.   Comments (26)

Thalidomide: the Musical — Status: Real I've been compiling a list of odd (but real) musicals. So far I have: Fight Club, the Musical An opera based on the Strunk & White style guide Men are from Mars, Woman are from Venus (the musical) Jerry Springer, the Opera A musical based on the Labour Party's 1997 election manifesto (unconfirmed) To this short list I can now add Thalidomide: the Musical. It's described as "A PC-free musical with a short-armed punch. Set against the 60s thalidomide drug scandal this is…
Posted: Thu Nov 17, 2005.   Comments (19)

Fake Body Parts — Status: Real pictures, but of what? An Alex from Colombia sent me these pictures and the following note: I came across these images and sincerely speaking I have no idea what they are. Is there any logical explanation for such thing? I suppose that they are either stage props or someone with a very disturbed mind and undoubtedly very good skills in clay or meat modeling made them, staged them and took the pictures. Unfortunately I can't identify what's going on in these pictures any…
Posted: Thu Nov 17, 2005.   Comments (21)

Space Cadets — Status: Reality TV Show The premise of a new UK reality TV show, Space Cadets, will be to fool a group of contestants into believing they've been blasted into space. To achieve this goal the show's producers have outfitted an old airbase in the UK to look like a Russian base. As for simulating the space flight itself: Their shuttle will be a Hollywood creation, made originally for the film Space Cowboys. A giant custom-built screen positioned just outside the shuttle will, it is hoped,…
Posted: Thu Nov 17, 2005.   Comments (26)

Black League Basketball — Status: Never Existed Remember the Black Basketball League? Its teams (including favorites such as the Newark Eagles, Harlem Knights, Baltimore Crabs, West Philly Dancers and Cleveland Ebonies) competed from 1920-40, when they were shut out of the all-white league. Consumers can now honor the memory of this league by buying sportswear emblazoned with the team logos. Of course, if you don't remember this league, it might be because historians insist that it never existed. But Eric…
Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005.   Comments (32)

15-Inch Waist — Status: Real The picture to the right has not been photoshopped (would that it had). That woman's waist really is that thin. She's Cathie Jung, who holds the title in the Guinness Book of World Records for the Smallest Waist on a Living Person: Cathie Jung's waist is about the same size as a regular jar of mayonnaise. She's been wearing a corset every day for the past 12 years, and she now wears one 24 hours a day. "I probably have around 100 of them," says the corset queen. The…
Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005.   Comments (71)

Fake Smile Test — Status: Psychology test I've linked to a fake smile test before, but this one hosted by the BBC (and designed by Professor Paul Ekman, from the University of California) is more elaborate since it allows you to see actual video clips of people smiling. I did quite badly at differentiating the real from the fake, scoring only 9 out of 20. The blurb at the conclusion of the test notes that "Most people are surprisingly bad at spotting fake smiles. One possible explanation for this is…
Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005.   Comments (37)

Salmon-Flavored Soda — Status: Real Just in time for Thanksgiving, Jones Soda is debuting salmon-flavored soda. It's a publicity stunt, but it's real. They boast that "When you smell it, it's got that smoked salmon aroma." Yum. Just what I want my soda to smell like. They've also got other thanksgiving-themed sodas that come together in a holiday pack: Brussels Sprout with Prosciutto, Cranberry Sauce, Turkey & Gravy, Wild Herb Stuffing, Pumpkin Pie, Broccoli Casserole, Corn on the Cob, and Pecan Pie. You…
Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005.   Comments (14)

The Palace of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan — Status: Email hoax (real pictures, fake caption)Bad: Falling for an email hoax. Worse: Using the hoax as the basis for your presentation to the local city planning commission, thereby displaying your gullibility to the entire public. As reported by the Muncie Star Press (no link), Don Love gets the award for doing the latter. He received an email containing a series of pictures of an opulent estate (shown below), with the caption: In case you're wondering where this hotel is, it isn't…
Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005.   Comments (69)

The Power of Makeup — Status: Viral email Pasted below is the content of an email that's going around. It's not a hoax, but it deals with issues of camouflage and deception. (It also reminds me of some Before and After pictures that I posted over a year ago.) The subject line of the email is: Never underestimate the power of makeup.
Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2005.   Comments (29)

By-Accident.com — Status: Hoax Website By-Accident.com claims to be a company that will "deliver customized accidents such as rape, assault and past traumatic experiences. All personally tailored to suit your special needs." The idea is that you can fake a traumatic experience in your past, and thereby get all kinds of attention as a victim. The company will even provide (optional) Aesthetic Scar Surgery to make your past "accident" more believable: "You can have any physical damage you want, our…
Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2005.   Comments (3)

Fake Family Software — Status: Hoax-facilitating software Genealogists are in an uproar about new software that allows people to create fake (but real looking) online family trees. The program is called Fake Family. (Because of the controversy, the website of the software maker is now given over to an Open Letter to Genealogists.) Genealogists argue that the fake information created by this program could easily find its way into real family history databases. They also charge that the only purpose of the…
Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2005.   Comments (56)

The Bear on the California Flag Should Have Been a Pear — Status: Hoax A reporter for Inside Bay Area (I don't know his name... it's not given with the article) recently recounted how his granddaughter told him that the bear on the California flag was originally supposed to be a pear. Back in 1846, Capt. Jedediah Bartlett, leader of a band of rebels fighting against the Mexican authorities in California, supposedly drew up a flag for the future state. He thought a pear, as a symbol of the region's agriculture, would be a fitting symbol. But…
Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2005.   Comments (15)

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