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

Best Blonde Joke Ever — Status: Prank Here it is. The best blonde joke ever. (If you ever find out what it is, let me know)
Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2006.   Comments (23)

The GTC Group Billion Dollar Trust — 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…
Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2006.   Comments (23)

Nigerian Curse Scam — 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…
Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2006.   Comments (7)

Rogue Paint Line — 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…
Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2006.   Comments (11)

Man Pretends To Be Nazi To Get Fired — 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…
Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2006.   Comments (8)

Sami Fleshscraper — 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.…
Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2006.   Comments (14)

Russian Pranks — 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…
Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2006.   Comments (5)

The Inappropriate Cheer — 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…
Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2006.   Comments (6)

Towing A Killer Whale — 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.)
Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2006.   Comments (9)

Fake Duke Scam — 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…
Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2006.   Comments (3)

Fredding — Status: Undetermined (is it a joke or meant seriously?) David Mocknick has written a self-help book that describes a novel new form of stress therapy: Fredding. This involves saying the phrase "Fred! Who's Fred? Ha!" It's not clear to me whether he's serious about this, or if it's all an elaborate joke (in which getting people to think he's serious is part of the joke). An article about his book explains: Fredding (which can be done in solitaire but works best in a group setting)…
Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2006.   Comments (17)

Chuck Norris Facts — Status: Tall TalesI don't know when the Chuck Norris facts first appeared on the internet. Many of you might already be aware of them. But just in case you're not, they're worth a look. Here's a few of the facts: • Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits. • The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain. • If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you can't see Chuck Norris, you may be only seconds away from death. Chuck Norris is aware of these "facts" being spread about him. So far,…
Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2006.   Comments (280)

Remembering The Plumber From Plympton — Status: Marking an anniversary in hoax history The million little biographical lies of James Frey have been getting all the attention in the press this week, but as the Devon Western Morning News reminds us, this month marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of a memoir whose lies were far greater: The Third Eye by T. Lobsang Rampa (aka the Plumber from Plympton). Rampa claimed to have grown up in Tibet (born into a wealthy Tibetan family), to have studied in Lhasa to become a…
Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2006.   Comments (5)

Restaurant That Serves TV Dinners — Status: Real Daniel Folk writes in with this question: I was watching TV not too long ago and saw a little advertisement about a restaurant in New York that only has TV dinners (Swanson, Lean Cuisine, etc...) on their menu. Supposedly it is a real upscale restaurant and these TV dinners are outrageously priced ($40 - $50). I tried to do a quick Google search for this restaurant but with no success. Have you heard about this restaurant and do you know the name of it? I've never heard…
Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006.   Comments (14)

The Man Who Can’t Be Photographed — Status: Has to be a hoax A Chinese paper, the Dahe Daily, reports on a curious incident involving a man who can't be photographed. Ye Xiangting went to the local police station to get his photo taken for an ID card. This is what happened: He sat in front of the camera, but no image of him would show up in the photo. The staff checked the camera very carefully, but found no problems. He retook photos of Ye Xiangting, but no photos of Ye Xiangting was found on the computer images. But…
Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006.   Comments (10)

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