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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
December 2005
Giving Santa the Bird — Status: Undetermined Here's a picture that's doing the rounds. I have no idea how long it's been circulating. Anyway, it's possible that the little girl's finger has been photoshopped in. But my guess is that the picture is real enough. Though who can tell anymore. I have no clue where the picture originally came from. Click the image to read the accompanying text. (It's another one of those 'priceless' parodies.)
Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2005.   Comments (9)

Man Fulfills Short Life Prediction — Status: Self-fulfilled prophecy When Sandeep was born, an astrologer predicted that he would have a short life. Recently another astrologer, on TV, seconded this prediction. In despair (whether because of the second prediction, or for some other reason, is not clear), Sandeep took his own life, thereby fulfilling the prophecy. This isn't the only self-fulfillment of a death prophecy that I'm aware of. The more famous case was the prediction of the 16th century astrologer Girolamo…
Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2005.   Comments (5)

Who Should Win the Caption Contest? — I said that I would decide who should win the caption contest today. But I'm having a tough time making a decision because there are a number of good entries. So I've decided to make the contest more democratic and let the winner be decided by a vote. I've selected my top eight choices. Pick your favorite, and cast your vote. I'll let the voting run for a day or two. Update: As of Dec. 23, Kieran won the vote . Congratulations!
Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2005.   Comments (14)

Monkey Art Fools Expert — Status: Art hoax Dr. Katja Schneider, director of the State Art Museum in Moritzburg, has been embarrassed by mistaking a painting done by Banghi, a 31-year-old female chimp, for a work by the late Ernst Wilhelm Nay: The director of the State Art Museum of Moritzburg in Saxony-Anhalt, Katja Schneider, suggested the painting was by the Guggenheim Prize-winning artist Ernst Wilhelm Nay. "It looks like an Ernst Wilhelm Nay. He was famous for using such blotches of colour," Dr Schneider…
Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2005.   Comments (18)


Student Visited By DHS Agents After Requesting Little Red Book at Library — Status: Hoax A news report has been doing the rounds concerning a student at UMass Dartmouth who was visited by Department of Homeland Security agents after ordering the official Peking version of Mao Tse-Tung's Little Red Book via interlibrary loan. The student needed the book for a research paper on communism, but apparently the book is on some kind of government watch list, and thus the visit. However, over at Boing Boing, suspicions have been raised that the story is a hoax.…
Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2005.   Comments (10)

The Three Magi — Status: Fake Yes, that's Tony Blair on the left and President Bush on the right. In the middle is the Duke of Edinburgh. They're dressed up as the three magi. It's pretty obvious that the picture is fake. Bush and Blair didn't really don these costumes. But it's not fake in the sense of being photoshopped. These are actually dummies (wax dummies, specifically) that appeared in a nativity scene at London's Madame Tussauds last Christmas. (Victoria and David Beckham served as Mary and…
Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2005.   Comments (4)

Narnia Walks Out of WTO Meeting — Status: Hoax In a dramatic move, the representatives of the state of Narnia have walked out of the WTO meeting in Hong Kong. AFX News issued this news release: AFX News Limited WTO MEETING - Narnia walks out of talks; says tired of EU, US 'bullying' 12.18.2005, 07:16 AM HONG KONG (AFX) - The independent state of Narnia has walked out of trade negotiations here, citing pressure from the European Union and the US to enforce liberalization of its garment-related sector. Narnian…
Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2005.   Comments (6)

Elephant Loose in St. Petersburg — Status: Hoax Ananova reports that an elephant is on the loose in St. Petersburg: The animal, which was being transported through Russia by an unnamed Finnish company, escaped from its container by smashing through its walls. There have been a number of sightings around the city but no one has tried to catch the elephant yet. But it appears that Ananova has done its usual thorough job of fact-checking, because the Moscow Times reports that the elephant was probably a hoax: St.…
Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2005.   Comments (5)

Man Celebrates Christmas Every Day — Status: Probably a hoax Andy Park claims that he celebrates Christmas every day: Since "becoming Mr Christmas" in 1993, the 45-year-old electrician has eaten 109,500 sprouts. He devours 25 of them with a full roast-turkey dinner daily before watching a recording of the Queen's speech, sherry in hand... So deep is his love for Christmas that, over 12 years, he reckons he has consumed 4,380 turkeys (one a day), 87,600 mince pies (20 a day), 2,190 pints of gravy (half a pint a day),…
Posted: Sat Dec 17, 2005.   Comments (18)

Skaggs Strikes Again — Status: TV show gets hoaxed (but claims it hoaxed first) Hoax master Joey Skaggs has issued a press release describing the latest deception he's been involved in. I can't find the release posted online, so I uploaded the pdf file he emailed to me. I've also excerpted the main part of the release below: Skaggs was contacted by producer Ben Sinden of ITV Factual, about a 90-minute special called "Danny Wallace's Hoax Files," to air in prime time Monday, December 19, 2005, on SkyOne…
Posted: Sat Dec 17, 2005.   Comments (9)

Caption Contest — And the winner of the 'contest to pick a contest idea' was... ME!!! Yeah, apparently my proposal to have a caption contest was the overall favorite. So I'll be keeping the copy of the book (at least for now... I'll probably give it away later). Anyway, now on to the real contest. I've selected an image. The challenge is to think up a caption or accompanying text for the image. Or, if you're so inclined, you can photoshop the image. I don't mind. Just do something creative with it…
Posted: Fri Dec 16, 2005.   Comments (54)

Animatronic Chimp Head — Status: Fake chimp I'm posting this in honor of Monkey Day. The Sharper Image is selling a life-size animatronic chimpanzee head. It's the perfect gift for those hard-to-buy-for people on your list, if you don't mind shelling out $150 for it: "Alive" Chimpanzee can see, hear and feel in ways that allow him to interact intelligently with you, your family, your guests...and with baffled strangers. Soulful eyes track movements using infrared "radar" vision; his ears have stereoscopic…
Posted: Thu Dec 15, 2005.   Comments (16)

Holy Bottled Water — Status: Real water, but it's not holy This is an odd marketing gimmick. This company is selling Holy Bottled Water. Of course, the label could easily be mistakenly read as Holy Water Bottled. But it's not holy water (in the sense of water that's been blessed by a priest). It's just regular old bottled water. The closest they come to explaining why their water is holy is this cryptic claim: From the River of Living Water flows 'Holy Bottled Water Inc.' Produced by man under the…
Posted: Thu Dec 15, 2005.   Comments (4)

Digital Plastic Surgery — Status: Online tutorial For those who still don't realize that all those beautiful models you see in magazines have benefitted from the aid of photoshop, the Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs has created an online tutorial to demonstrate exactly how photo editors manipulate appearances. They write: The media world is becoming increasingly fixated on appearances. And the number of tricks used to achieve the increasingly exaggerated ideals is growing. Many models have…
Posted: Thu Dec 15, 2005.   Comments (10)

A Contest To Think of Contest Ideas — I'm having a contest. The challenge is to help me think of contest ideas. I posted the full details in the Hoax Forum (but then it occurred to me that only registered members can post responses there, so I'm posting a brief announcement here too so that comments/ideas can be left in either place.) The basic challenge is to think of contest ideas. The one condition is that the contest has to generate responses, the best of which can be used as sidebar material somewhere in my archive of…
Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2005.   Comments (32)

Happy Monkey Day — Happy Monkey Day. I'm eating a banana as I type this. (Imagine monkey sounds.)
Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2005.   Comments (10)

Supercooled Water — Status: Real On December 7th, Matt Sparks went to get some bottled water out of his garage. The temperature in the garage was below the freezing point of water, but he noticed that the water in the bottles was still liquid. However, when he moved the water, it instantly froze. He has some videos on his site showing what happened. They're pretty cool, and if you're not aware of the phenomenon of supercooled water (as I wasn't), you might think there's some kind of trickery involved. But…
Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2005.   Comments (34)

Indigo Children See The Future — Status: New Age Mumbo Jumbo Indigo Children is a new-age term for children whose aura is indigo colored. These are the kids whom medical science would diagnose as being hyperactive or having ADD (and many lay people might diagnose as spoiled brats). But according to the indigo-child theory, these are actually children with very special powers. Nancy Ann Tappe, the psychic who first described the concept, says that Indigo Children are "souls with an evolved consciousness who have come…
Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2005.   Comments (141)

The Husband Mannequin — Suzy Walker's husband is away from home, serving on the USS West Virginia. But you'd hardly know he was gone, because Suzy carries around a life-size mannequin of him: Walker bought her stand-in man for $200 and she takes him everywhere. He's been to the movie theater, Victoria's Secret, and the gas station to buy lottery tickets. The couple attracts lots of attention. The only thing that could make this creepier would be if it turned out she didn't have a real husband. Didn't…
Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2005.   Comments (22)

John Just Wants To Go Home For Christmas — Status: Hoax Here's a sob story that was reported by the Brazosport Facts: A boy named John, 10, separated from his mother since the hurricane, was living with other foster children in an emergency shelter, and he had one Christmas wish: to go home. "But there's no way I'll get gifts for Christmas. I don't even believe in Santa anymore," he was quoted as saying. Quite touching, except John doesn't exist. He was invented by a caseworker with state Child Protective Services in Brazoria…
Posted: Sat Dec 10, 2005.   Comments (7)

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