The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
January 2006
Fake Puma Ad Mystery Solved — Status: Update about advertising hoax Remember this racy PUMA ad? It was circulating around the internet back in early 2003. The rumor was that it had appeared in the Brazilian version of Maxim, but PUMA officials soon denied this, and further stated that their company was not responsible for it in any way. PUMA then threatened to sue anyone who posted it. (No one ever got sued.) This led many bloggers to speculate that PUMA was, in fact, the creator of it, and had spread it as a…
Posted: Tue Jan 31, 2006.   Comments (11)

Rainbow vs. Tornado — Status: Real A very cool picture... and it's not photoshopped. It was taken by Eric Nguyen in Kansas in 2004, and was featured as the Astronomy Picture of the Day on June 13, 2005. APOD explains: "Last June in Kansas, storm chaser Eric Nguyen photographed this budding twister in a different light -- the light of a rainbow. Pictured above, a white tornado cloud descends from a dark storm cloud. The Sun, peeking through a clear patch of sky to the left, illuminates some buildings in the…
Posted: Tue Jan 31, 2006.   Comments (4)

Fighting Dinosaurs Fossil — Status: Real Zkato wants to know if the fossil of fighting dinosaurs found on the website of the Nakasato dinosaur Center is real. The fossil does sound a little too good to be true: One Protoceratops, a herbivorous (plant-eating) dinosaur, perished in the struggle with a carnivorous theropod, Velociraptor. After their death 80 million years ago, both skeletons were fossilized, then finally unearthed in 1971 in fully articulated forms without having been smashed. However, not only is…
Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006.   Comments (12)

32-pound Cat — Status: Real I love fat cat pictures, and here are some good ones, courtesy of Kieran Charette who reports that they were taken at a vets office in Vancouver. Apparently the cat is perfectly healthy. Just large. 32 pounds, to be exact. (Which makes him 8 pounds lighter than Sassy, aka Munchkin.) I don't see any reason why these pictures would be fake. (Although the datestamp on the pictures--09/01/2007--is obviously wrong.)
Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006.   Comments (34)


Near Miss Over London — Status: Optical Illusion Barry Bland snapped a photograph of two airplanes apparently narrowly avoiding colliding in the sky over London. However, Civil Aviation Authorities are dismissing the photograph as an optical illusion, pointing out that none of their safety systems indicated that the two planes were close to each other. The BBC reports: British Air Line Pilots Association chairman Captain Mervyn Granshaw described it as a "fluke photograph". He explained how visual factors…
Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006.   Comments (10)

Hoax Websites of Lost — Status: A few hoax sites After getting the first season of Lost on dvd for christmas, I've become hooked on the show. Although I'm beginning to suspect that the writers of the show are simply going to introduce one mystery after another without ever offering an explanation for anything. But anyway, here are some hoax websites related to Lost: Oceanic World Air (the airline that the Lost passengers were flying on), Dharma Industries (the mysterious project that was being conducted on the…
Posted: Sat Jan 28, 2006.   Comments (63)

Dating Service for Single Men Seeking Birthmoms — Status: The intention seems genuine (though it doesn't look like the service has matched anyone up) Ally forwarded me a link to the website withchild.us, along with this comment: A friend sent this to me (we used to be part of a young mom's group) and I thought it was really disturbing... Could this site be a hoax? I sure hope so... It's a site that hooks up men who want to adopt with girls who don't want to give up their babies and they have the slogan "Attention Single Men Seeking…
Posted: Sat Jan 28, 2006.   Comments (22)

Budgie Enjoys Cross-Stitching — Status: Undetermined Birds can be very clever, but so clever that they'll take up stitching as a hobby? I'm not so sure about that, though that's what Sandra Battye claims of her three-year-old budgie, Spike. She says: "She would sit on my shoulder and watch me for hours. One day I just sat and didn’t stitch. It seemed to frustrate her. Then suddenly she picked up the needle in her beak and began cross-stitching herself. I was staggered. Now I can’t stop her. She still gets a bit…
Posted: Fri Jan 27, 2006.   Comments (23)

Rescued Cat and Frogkitten — Status: Real, Fake The expression on this cat's face is pretty wild, but I don't see any evidence of photoshopping. I found the image on this Russian livejournal site, so I'm guessing it might be a Russian fireman who just saved the cat. This little guy, however, ("frogkitten" -- whose image has been floating around the internet for years) has definitely been photoshopped.
Posted: Fri Jan 27, 2006.   Comments (25)

Carjacker Strategy: Place Paper On Your Rear Window — Status: Theoretically could happen (though there's no solid evidence it ever has) You may have received this email warning recently: Imagine: You walk across the parking lot, unlock your car and get inside. Then you lock all your doors, start the engine and shift into REVERSE. Habit! You look into the rear-view window to back out of your parking space and you notice a piece of paper, some sort of advertisement stuck to your rear window. So, you shift into PARK, unlock your doors and…
Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2006.   Comments (25)

Nasdijj, Native-American Memoirist — Status: Phony Here we go again. Another memoirist has been unmasked as a phony. This time it's Nasdijj, celebrated Native-American author of autobiographical works such as The Blood Runs Like A River Through My Dreams and The Boy and the Dog Are Sleeping. Turns out he ain't Native American, unless by Native American one means white anglo-saxon protestant. His real identity seems to be that of Tim Barrus, who grew up in a middle-class community in Lansing, Michigan. As Barrus, he was a…
Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2006.   Comments (5)

MagicSHELF Update — So I've been in contact with Uncle Url of Linky Dinky, and as a consequence I've become a firm believer in the brilliance and ingenuity of the magicSHELF. Everyone needs to have one of these! Well, that may be, but the behind-the-scenes story is that Uncle Url and I have worked out a deal. He's sending me a magicSHELF (and an extra one which I can give away as a prize). I'm going to test it out and verify that it does indeed work as advertised. Then he'll be able to use me as an…
Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2006.   Comments (27)

Thames Whale Watering Can on eBay — Status: Beware of fakes This is just pathetic: Opportunists have tried to capitalise on the hysteria surrounding the Thames whale by putting a bogus watering-can up for sale on eBay, with a starting price tag of £1,924. The unidentified owner insisted the item was used in the attempted rescue of the 19ft northern bottle-nosed female whale to keep her moist and comfortable. But the fake sale outraged the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, who spent 36 hours and £100,000 trying to save…
Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2006.   Comments (5)

Insect Candy — Status: Real Paul Farrington emailed me with a question about the HOTLIX Insect Candy Company: "The site looks real, the products look real, there are no obvious giveaways except the sheer unbelievable grotesqueness of the very concept! What’s your take?" Well, my take is that the insect candy is definitely real, though I've never ordered any of it and submitted it to an entomologist for confirmation. (Nor do I plan to.) But there's no reason to believe the candy wouldn't be real.…
Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2006.   Comments (34)

magicSHELF Mystery Solved — Status: magicSHELVES are a kind of simple magic trick, but they do work (they will hold up your books) Greg Cason broke down and ordered one of those LinkyDinky magicSHELVES that I posted about last week (I was tempted to do the same), thereby learning the secret of how they work. It turns out it's not a photoshop trick, nor are the books glued to the wall. Actually, they work almost exactly as I theorized. [edited out... I can't give away the secret. That would be against the…
Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2006.   Comments (7)

The Case of the Gary-lous Parrot — Status: Seems to be an urban legend reported as news Remember that story about the British parrot that kept squawking the phrase "I love you, Gary", thereby revealing to its owner, Chris Taylor, that his girlfriend was having an affair with a guy named Gary? It was all over the news about a week ago. (Charybdis posted it in the forum.) Well, it's looking more and more like the story was bogus. The couple has been refusing offers of thousands of pounds to get their photo taken with the…
Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2006.   Comments (5)

Bloody Sundae — Status: Undetermined A Delaware woman alleges that the hot fudge sundae her son was served at a local McDonald's was topped with a special sauce: human blood. The restaurant owner disputes this, claiming the red stuff was simply strawberry syrup: According to court documents, Jara bought food, including four hot fudge sundaes, at the restaurant's drive-thru window on Dec. 30, 2004. Her son, now 13, dug into his sundae and "recognized the taste of blood and, upon careful inspection,…
Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2006.   Comments (13)

First Review of Hippo Eats Dwarf — The first review of Hippo Eats Dwarf is in. Actually, it's not so much a full review as a descriptive blurb, but it's what the reviewer from Booklist wrote. (Booklist, from what I understand, is read mostly by librarians and bookstore owners.) Boese, Alex. Hippo Eats Dwarf: A Field Guide to Hoaxes and Other B.S. Apr. 2006. 288p. illus. Harcourt, paper, $14 (0-15-603083-7). 001.9. From the author of the entertaining Museum of Hoaxes (2002) comes an even more entertaining follow-up.…
Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2006.   Comments (5)

Cremain Printing — Status: True Two weeks ago a lot of people were linking to a story about books bound in human skin that can be found in many libraries, including the rare book libraries at Brown and Harvard. This is, apparently, quite true. Often the books are old medical works, with the skin coming from patients or paupers whose bodies were bought for research. The most gruesome book, owned by the Boston Athenaeum, is an 1837 copy of the memoirs of the highwayman George Walton, bound in his own skin.
Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2006.   Comments (15)

Is Lip Balm Addictive? — Status: Undetermined There's an old urban legend that states that the makers of lip balm (Carmex, specifically), add ground-up fiberglass to their product. The glass irritates people's lips, causing them to feel like they need to apply the balm again and again. There's another urban legend that states that lip balm interferes with the moisture sensors in the lips, causing lips to become dry and requiring more lip balm to be applied. Neither of these urban legends is true. Carmex debunks…
Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2006.   Comments (21)

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