The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
January 2006
The Case of the Gary-lous Parrot
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 25, 2006
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 parrot. In fact, it's not clear that the couple even exists since the freelance reporters who produced the story are the only ones who have access…
Categories: Animals, Sex/Romance Comments (5)
Bloody Sundae
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 24, 2006
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, noted a red substance on the side of the sundae cup as well as mixed into his ice cream," the lawsuit claims. Jara then went into the store and spoke to a swing manager…
Categories: Food Comments (13)
First Review of Hippo Eats Dwarf
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 24, 2006
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. The book is a reasonably thorough, not to mention playful, guide to fakery. Advertising posing as legitimate news stories, nonexistent movie reviewers, fraudulent sales pitches, reality television,…
Categories: Miscellaneous Comments (5)
Cremain Printing
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 24, 2006
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. Following on in this vein, Paul Collins has noted that
Categories: Death, Literature/Language Comments (15)
Is Lip Balm Addictive?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 24, 2006
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 the fiberglass myth on their website, and the moisture sensor one is false because there are no such thing as moisture sensors in the lips. (At least, not ones that regulate the moisture levels of the…
Circle of Gnomes Found in Forest
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 24, 2006
Status: Prank The Garden Gnome Liberation Army has been in the news recently: Twelve garden gnomes kidnapped in western Sweden a month ago have been found in a snowy forest, standing in a ring beside a lighted bonfire and a small hut, Swedish news agency TT reported. "It looked very cozy," Bo Larsson, a police officer in the town of Kil, near Karlstad, told TT on Friday. The gnomes mysteriously vanished from their gardens just before Christmas. A letter from the "Garden Gnomes Liberation Army" later claimed responsibility for their disappearance, explaining that the dwarfish figures had pined for freedom. The gnomes were returned to their former owners.
Categories: Gnomes Comments (8)
Flying Car on Google Earth
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 24, 2006
Status: Undetermined The Register has found what appears to be a flying car, captured by the satellite imagery of Google Earth. It's definitely either a flying car, a car parked alongside a dark-looking patch on the ground, a car-shaped object floating in the air... or maybe a UFO! The Register provides some screenshots of the object, but unfortunately no direct link. (Google Maps doesn't cover Australia, so you'll need the Google Earth program to see it). The mysterious object is located at Pt. Walter in Perth, Australia.
Inappropriate Cheer Photoshops
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 23, 2006
Status: Photo parodies The USC cheerleader caught (supposedly) giving an inappropriate cheer during the Rose Bowl is now being photoshopped into everything. A whole bunch of the images can be seen here. I suppose this was inevitable, especially the pairing of her and Touristguy.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Sports Comments (14)
Saudi Bride
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 23, 2006
Status: Fake Here's an image going around, captioned "Saudi Bride." First of all, I think it's safe to assume that these two aren't really bride and groom. I don't think she's wearing traditional Saudi wedding attire. (Though maybe she really is a bride... perhaps an American one.) Also, the guy's face has obviously been photoshopped. For instance, the left ear has been reduced in size, while the right ear has been enlarged. In fact, I'd guess that his entire face has been pasted into the photo.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Sex/Romance Comments (10)
Fictitious Patients in Cancer Study
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 23, 2006
Status: Scientific fraud A Norwegian doctor, Jon Sudbo, who published an article in the Lancet last year suggesting that aspirin could reduce the risk of oral cancer, has been accused of making up the data in his study. Specifically, he invented almost all of the 900 patients in the study (or at least half of them, by other accounts). The director of the hospital where he worked said: "he faked everything: names, diagnosis, gender, weight, age, drug use." Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet, said: "What I've been told is that he sat in front of his computer and made the whole dataset up and convinced his co-authors it was genuine... It's completely inexplicable." I…
Categories: Science Comments (2)
90 Million People Flush Toilet During SuperBowl Half-Time
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 20, 2006
Status: Undetermined According to Scott Tissue, during the halftime of the SuperBowl (or the Big Game as they call it, to avoid infringing on the NFL's trademark) "more than 350 million gallons of water will flush through our toilets as an estimated 90 million people use their facilities. That amount of flushing equals seven minutes of water flowing over the Niagara Falls." Actually, they admit that this is a legend, but they've created a website to cash in on the legend: However, I don't know how they arrive at the figure of 350 million gallons. (I assume they're just making up the figure of 90 million people flushing the toilet.) I thought that the average toilet…
Categories: Sports Comments (17)
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 20, 2006
Status: Hoax Pherotones are ringtones that will make you "irresistible to the opposite sex." They're basically like pheromones, but they work via sound rather than scent. They're also a hoax. According to, the website promoting them is part of a viral marketing campaign dreamed up by the McKinney-Silver ad agency. NewsTrend writes: The first mentions of Pherotones began around December 30, on "Dr. Vanderhood's" Pherotones blog, where the good doctor began posting "an ongoing diary of the life of a scientist on the verge of a major breakthrough." The JoniMueller blog caught wind of…
Categories: Sex/Romance, Websites Comments (6)
Whopper Hopper
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 20, 2006
Status: Tall-Tale Photo It's good to see that people are still making whopper hopper photos. (via Daily Owned)
Dog Leaps From Overpass
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 20, 2006
Status: Possible canine suicide? Charles G. Jetchick was driving along, minding his own business, when suddenly a dog crashed through his window. It had fallen from an overpass. Police don't think it was thrown. Instead, they speculate the dog fell by accident while trying to avoid a car. The police officer commented: ""We've had rocks and other stuff like that fall off of overpasses. This would be the first dog we've had." The Anomalist, however, speculates that it might be another case of canine suicide... because like spontaneous human combustion, spontaneous canine suicide can strike at any time.
Categories: Animals, Death Comments (5)
Campus Urban Legends
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 19, 2006
Status: urban legends The Auburn Plainsman (student paper of Auburn University) has a short article about campus urban legends. The ones they list are: Endowment from old lady bans sorority houses: This UL seems to exist on every college campus that doesn't have sorority houses. It states that some rich old woman left a large sum of money to the college on the condition that they ban sorority houses, because she considered them to be brothels. The more likely reality, among those schools that have sororities but no sorority houses, is that women used to be required to live on campus. Once that rule was lifted, it was cheaper for sorority members to live…
Categories: Places, Urban Legends Comments (33)
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