The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
January 2006
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)

Circle of Gnomes Found in Forest — 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…
Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2006.   Comments (8)

Flying Car on Google Earth — 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…
Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2006.   Comments (69)

Inappropriate Cheer Photoshops — 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.
Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2006.   Comments (14)

Saudi Bride — 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…
Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2006.   Comments (10)

Fictitious Patients in Cancer Study — 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…
Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2006.   Comments (2)

90 Million People Flush Toilet During SuperBowl Half-Time — 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:
Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2006.   Comments (17)

Pherotones — 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 NewsTrend.com, 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…
Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2006.   Comments (6)

Whopper Hopper — Status: Tall-Tale Photo It's good to see that people are still making whopper hopper photos. (via Daily Owned)
Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2006.   Comments (2)

Dog Leaps From Overpass — 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…
Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2006.   Comments (5)

Campus Urban Legends — 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…
Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2006.   Comments (33)

Seven-Person Bicycle — Status: Real Odd, but real. Hammacher Schlemmer is selling a seven-person bicycle. (Actually, bicycle is inaccurate. It's a tricycle.) The blurb about it says: "The frame has an ergonomic design making it easy to get on and off, and has seven sets of pedals that propel the trike forward via a patented transmission system. One person steers, while all seven riders are free to pedal, or not, as the bike moves along." You'd look real cool going down to the store to pick up a loaf of bread…
Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2006.   Comments (17)

MagicSHELF — Status: It's a kind of magic trick (though it really will hold up your books) Linkydinky.com is offering a product called the magicSHELF. Kathy Johnston emailed me to ask: "Is this for real? I can't tell how it works." Unfortunately, I don't yet have a definitive answer. The magicSHELF has stumped me. Pictures of the magicSHELF show books floating against a wall as if by magic, with no visible means of support. As the site says, "magicSHELF floats your books in the air, docking to…
Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2006.   Comments (38)

Mystery Cayman Fish — Status: Identified as a rattail David Emery forwarded me the link to this creepy looking fish that washed up on the beach on Cayman Brac over the weekend. The local paper there is trying to figure out what in the heck it is: It is roughly thirty inches long, more than half of which is a long, eel-like tail attached to a fish body. It has pale pink scales, pectoral fins, a dorsal fin and a small feathery fin on its belly. Local fishermen say they have not seen a creature quite like this…
Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2006.   Comments (12)

90-year-old Kung Fu Master Does Finger Stand — Status: Fake Check out this video of Monk Hai-Tank (wmv file). He's 90-years-old, but he still has "finger skill." Which means that he can stand upside-down supported by only one finger. The video obviously has to be fake. I assume they're supporting him with invisible wires. Special effects like this are pretty standard in kung-fu movies. (via Ceticismo Aberto)
Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2006.   Comments (104)

Glasgow High School Offers Fake Tanning Lessons — Status: Fake tans in the news Deprived of natural sunlight by geography, students in Glasgow high schools have taken to popping down to the tanning salon between classes. This has become such a problem (with school officials worrying about students damaging their skin) that some high schools have begun offering lessons on how to get a fake tan: In the first of a series of such sessions, Lisa Fulton, a training expert with Fake Bake, will give pupils tips on how to apply fake tan next…
Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2006.   Comments (4)

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