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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
December 2005
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)

School For Pranks — Status: True (news item) A couple of people emailed me about this. (Thanks to everyone who did!) The artist Ray Beldner has been teaching a class at St. Mary's College titled "Pranks: Culture jamming as social activism." One of the class requirements is to try to hoax the media. One hoax created by the students involved "the distribution of a news release touting a fictional bar to be opened near the Moraga campus." However, the media didn't fall for it. (Evidently it wasn't sensational…
Posted: Fri Dec 09, 2005.   Comments (5)

Smoot Retires — Status: Update about a classic college prank NPR reports that Oliver Smoot has retired from the board of the American National Standards Institute. Fans of classic college pranks will recognize Smoot as the official unit of length of the Harvard Bridge. Here's what Neil Steinberg writes (in If At All Possible, Involve A Cow: The Book of College Pranks) about how the Smoot came into being: In the fall of 1958, the pledge masters at MIT's Lambda Chi Alpha house, dreading the approaching…
Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2005.   Comments (4)

Is Chin-Whiskered Charlie A Fraud? — Status: Undetermined, but it doesn't look good for Charlie Controversy is swirling in the world of muskie fishing over the status of Chin-Whiskered Charlie, the muskie that currently holds the title of biggest muskie ever caught, weighing in at 69 pounds, 11 ounces. He was reeled in by Louis Spray back in 1949. But now a group calling itself the World Record Muskie Alliance is challenging Charlie's right to the title. Based on an analysis of old photos of Charlie (Charlie himself was…
Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2005.   Comments (2)

The Return of the Web-Controlled Christmas Lights — Status: Real Last year Alek Komarnitsky thrilled internet surfers with his web-controlled christmas lights. Visitors to his site could remotely turn the lights on and off, and view their handiwork via a webcam. Millions of people checked out his site. Then Alek confessed to the Wall Street Journal that the entire thing was a gigantic hoax. His christmas lights weren't controllable via the web. He had simply rigged up some software to make it look that way. Well, Alek's back, and this…
Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2005.   Comments (8)

Xenacate — This is a request for help. The proofreader has been going through the manuscript of Hippo Eats Dwarf looking for errors. This is the final check that the book receives before it goes to print. After this, nothing can be changed. Anyway, in the final chapter of the book (about death), I include the following definition: Xenacate, v.: To kill a TV or movie character off so completely that no chance remains of bringing her back from the dead. Inspired by the TV show Xena: Warrior…
Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2005.   Comments (88)

Brazilian Sand Girl — Status: Real picture (fake girl) Check out this picture. Is it a real girl lying in the sand? Or is it a sand sculpture? Hard to tell. The photographer, Jair Ribbeiro, says that it's a sand sculpture: I was walkin' in the Farol da Barra Beach (Bahia Brazil) last august '04 when i saw this sculpture in the sand.. It was really unbelieveble.. The guy that made this is a genius.. Leonardo!!!! It actually looks faker in the thumbnail than it does in the larger version. (via Optical…
Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2005.   Comments (22)

Birthplace of George W. Bush — Status: Hoax The picture of this Connecticut highway sign has been circulating for quite a while, and it's obviously photoshopped (Snopes has a picture of the non-photoshopped version, which lacks the phrases "Birthplace of George W. Bush" and "We apologize"... though their non-photoshopped version actually kind of looks like it's been photoshopped). But apparently there really are signs outside of New Haven, Connecticut welcoming people to New Haven "The birthplace of President George…
Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2005.   Comments (27)

Baby Bush Toys — Status: Hoax Website (political satire) We've already seen W Ketchup, so why not Baby Bush Toys? Their website states: Sure, we all want what's best for our kids, but let's face the truth: not every child can grow up to be Einstein! At The Baby Bush Toy Company, we offer an exciting range of products for the resoundingly average child. Products include a "Twisty Thing, That is Red" (shown in the thumbnail), and a "Terror Alert Xylophone." Unfortunately, none of these products seem to…
Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2005.   Comments (5)

Head-Lice Lotion Scam — Status: Medical Scam Dr. Dale Pearlman has admitted that the head-lice treatment he was selling for $285 is really a commercial skin cleanser, Cetaphil, that could be bought over-the-counter for $10: Dr. Dale Pearlman got widespread media attention and skepticism from some head-lice specialists last year when the journal Pediatrics published his study detailing results with a product he called Nuvo lotion. He described it as a "dry-on suffocation-based pediculicide" and the first in a…
Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2005.   Comments (8)

Sony’s Fake Graffiti — Status: Faux-rilla marketing campaign In order to promote its new handheld game player, Sony is paying artists to spray paint fake graffiti on buildings in major cities. (They're also paying the building owners for the right to spray paint the graffiti, which consists of images of spaced-out kids playing with the new handheld device.) But according to an article in Wired, the fake graffiti has provoked the anger of some city residents, who have spray painted over the images messages…
Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2005.   Comments (8)

Shark Caught With Shark in Mouth — Status: Real Photos are doing the rounds (especially in Australia) of a large shark that was caught with another shark in its mouth. According to abc.net.au, the shark was caught at Tannum Beach: Apparently the smaller fish was caught on Tannum's shark lines. While being pulled in, the movement attracted the attention of its larger colleague. The tiger shark was so reluctant to let go of its free meal, it was eventually pulled in to shore. These photographs depicting the shark, and its…
Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2005.   Comments (17)

Ronaldinho Nike Ad — Status: Undetermined (but I'm guessing fake) Nike has a new ad featuring Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho Gaucho. In the ad Ronaldinho puts on a pair of Nikes, juggles the ball a few times, and then kicks the ball towards the goal so that it hits the crossbar and bounces directly back to him. He does this four times in a row. And it's all shot in a single take. This has inspired a lot of discussion on the net, because it's hard to believe anyone could be skilled enough to do this. In
Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2005.   Comments (56)

Silver Star Mountain Sasquatch — Status: Undetermined (but I'm pretty sure it's not a sasquatch) The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization has posted pictures of a weird figure recently spotted by a hiker on Silver Star Mountain in Washington state. To me the figure looks like another hiker. But the Bigfoot believers are convinced it's a sasquatch. As they note: The photos are inconclusive, but they are potentially relevant. The figure you see could be a sasquatch. The silhouette is comparable to the lanky…
Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2005.   Comments (18)

Monkey Day — Status: New Holiday Here's a new holiday to add to your calendar. It's Monkey Day on December 14: Monkey Day is an annual holiday celebrated on December 14th that offers people a reprise from the traditional religious holidays permeating the month of December. Monkey Day is a fun way to celebrate all things simian, an excuse to hang out with friends and family dressed as monkeys and grunt at one another, and at the same time promoting knowledge and awareness of monkeys and their…
Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2005.   Comments (13)

Was a Penguin Stolen from the New England Aquarium? — Status: Urban Legend I had never heard this urban legend before, but the gist of it is that a young boy managed to steal a penguin from the New England Aquarium by carrying it out in his backpack. Last week the Aquarium held a press conference to officially deny the rumor: "This week, I got a call from Fayetteville, Ark., about the penguin abduction," said aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse. "I even got a call from California. We figured we had to do something." LaCasse speculated that…
Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2005.   Comments (17)

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