The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
January 2006
Seven-Person Bicycle
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 19, 2006
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 on this thing, especially if you then try to chain it up in the bike rack.…
Categories: Technology Comments (17)
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 19, 2006
Status: It's a kind of magic trick (though it really will hold up your books) 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 any wall you wish." When I first saw it I figured it had to be a…
Mystery Cayman Fish
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 19, 2006
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 before. It has boney bristles all along its spine, right down to the tip of its tail and small sharp teeth,…
Categories: Animals Comments (12)
90-year-old Kung Fu Master Does Finger Stand
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 19, 2006
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)
Categories: Photos/Videos, Sports Comments (104)
Glasgow High School Offers Fake Tanning Lessons
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 18, 2006
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 week. Ms Fulton also plans to tell the pupils about her celebrity clientele, in the hope that stars will have influence where health experts do not.
Categories: Body Manipulation Comments (4)
Best Blonde Joke Ever
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 18, 2006
Status: Prank Here it is. The best blonde joke ever. (If you ever find out what it is, let me know)
Categories: Pranks Comments (23)
The GTC Group Billion Dollar Trust
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 17, 2006
Status: Scam Here's an offer that has scam written all over it. The GTC Group (I'm kind of reluctant to link to their website, on the off chance that I'll help send a victim their way, but here it is) claims that if you agree to establish a trading account in their name (no money or fees required!), they will pay you, and 5000 other lucky volunteers, $24,000. They're circulating this claim via email. Here's how they explain the deal on their website: Our client is a family trust with $1B to invest. We recently presented them with an investment opportunity to make a return of 18% without risk. Unfortunately, this opportunity involves the…
Categories: Con Artists, Email Hoaxes Comments (23)
Nigerian Curse Scam
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 16, 2006
Status: Scam According to the Arab News, the Nigerian bank scam has taken on a new twist. The scammers no longer tell you that they want to transfer $30 million into your bank account, or that you've won the European lottery. Now they inform you that you've been cursed, and you need to pay up to have the curse lifted. They bypass email and phone you directly to tell you this: Abdul Rahman, sociology professor at Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud University, said he received one of these calls from an Arabic speaker who informed him that he had been cursed by a colleague. The caller then claimed that he could neutralize the evil spell…
Categories: Con Artists Comments (7)
Rogue Paint Line
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 16, 2006
Status: Undetermined What is the meaning of a two-mile line of paint that stretches through central London? No one knows who put it there or why. The BBC reports: It begins on the pavement at a bus stop in Euston and only stops for roads, starting again on the pavement on the other side... Camden Council, Transport for London and electricity suppliers say they did not put it there. Theories include it being a drunken prank or street art. Maybe it's a message from aliens. But seriously, how could someone paint a two-mile line of paint through a…
Categories: Places, Pranks Comments (11)
Man Pretends To Be Nazi To Get Fired
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 16, 2006
Status: Bizarre Excuse Last year Jacques Pluss was fired from his position as a history professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University after the school became aware that he was an active member of the American Nazi Party. Now Pluss is saying that yes, he was a Nazi, but he was only pretending to believe all that stuff. It was all part of an effort to go undercover to collect information for a book. So far undercover that no one was aware of his true feelings, except for his mother, who's now dead. Inside Higher Ed reports: Told that the links among various white power groups have been well documented by groups like the Southern Poverty…
Categories: Identity/Imposters Comments (8)
Sami Fleshscraper
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 16, 2006
Status: Possible prank Forty years after stealing a "Sami Fleshscraper" from a Norwegian museum, the contrite thief has mailed the item back. Problem is, the museum has no idea what the object is. From the article on Yahoo News: "For 40 years I have enjoyed this rare tool in my home. In my old age ... I have now decided to return it to the descendants of those who imagined it, built it and used it," the anonymous thief wrote in a typed letter sent to the embassy just before Christmas. The letter was posted from Biarritz in southwestern France and…
Categories: History, Pranks Comments (14)
Russian Pranks
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 16, 2006
Status: Pranks Singapore's Electric New Paper has an article about the burgeoning market for pranks among Russia's nouveau riche. People there are spending tens of thousands of dollars (roubles) to pull elaborate pranks on their friends. Staging fake arrests seems to be a popular gag. There's even a company that will coordinate intricate stunts. Jokes in the company's catalog include: The Robinson Crusoe: "For 20,000 a group of up to five friends are invited on to a yacht and shipwrecked on an island with no food or shelter." And this one: "Invite friends to a party at an isolated Russian country house or dacha on Moscow's outskirts. After a while the…
Categories: Pranks Comments (5)
The Inappropriate Cheer
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 16, 2006
Status: Undetermined A photo has been circulating showing a scene from the recent Rose Bowl in which a USC cheerleader seems to be celebrating a Texas touchdown. Snopes has posted the picture, but is skeptical of the claim that the cheerleader was cheering after a touchdown by the opposing team. They write: "the image appears to represent not a brainless cheerleader who couldn't tell that the other team had just made a touchdown, but a play that resulted in a close scoring call, with the on-field Texas players signaling their belief that their team had scored, while from other vantage…
Categories: Sports Comments (6)
Towing A Killer Whale
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 16, 2006
Status: Photoshopped I found this picture on a Finnish-language website, but there was no information about it. However, I'd say it was definitely photoshopped, and not particularly skillfully. The ropes look fake. (The one thing that made me hesitate before saying it was fake, however, was the thought that it could be a picture of an attempt to tow away a beached whale, or something like that.)
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (9)
Fake Duke Scam
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jan 15, 2006
Status: Imposter I kinda thought the posing-as-British-royalty scam had gone out of style with the end of the British Empire. But it seems con artists are still getting mileage out of it, as seen by this story in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press: A group of Stillwater student journalists discovered [Joshua Adam] Gardner had been using a false identity when visiting the school in recent weeks. He'd been posing as "Caspian James Crichton-Stuart IV, the Fifth Duke of Cleveland" while staying with a Stillwater family for the past two months, investigators say. Caspian James Crichton-Stuart IV, the Fifth Duke of Cleveland? People believed that? Though it seems his primary targets were…
Categories: Identity/Imposters Comments (3)
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