The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
January 2006
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 13, 2006
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) begins when someone "baits" another person by getting him or her to say a word that…
Categories: Psychology Comments (17)
Chuck Norris Facts
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 13, 2006
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, he has generously allowed their authors to live.
Remembering The Plumber From Plympton
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 13, 2006
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 lama, and then to have undergone a mysterious operation to open up the "third eye" in the middle of his forehead.…
Restaurant That Serves TV Dinners
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 12, 2006
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 of such a thing (nor has my wife, who's a devoted viewer of the Food TV channel), and I couldn't find anything in a Google search either.…
Categories: Food Comments (14)
The Man Who Can’t Be Photographed
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 12, 2006
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 wait, it gets weirder: They took images of Ye Xiangting with other people. They were…
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (10)
Australian Gnome Convention
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 11, 2006
Status: Gnome News On January 26th, the second Australian Gnome Convention will be held in Glenbrook Park. Gnomes and their carers are invited. The gnomes can socialize in the Gnome Dome, while the humans converse elsewhere. Why Australia? The site explains: "Whilst not native to Australia, Gnomes are reportedly migrating from Europe and Britain to make a new start in 'new lands' where the impact of pollution is less." So if you've lost a gnome recently, maybe it's headed for Australia.
Categories: Gnomes Comments (5)
Amputees Used in War Games
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 11, 2006
Status: True Apparently the U.S. Government is prepared to do everything it takes to prepare our troops for battle. This includes hiring amputees to play wounded civilians in war games. They're bussed down to Fort Polk, La., where the soldiers-in-training must also contend with fake Arab civilians, "smoke-making machines and an intercom system that pipes in 'recordings of screaming women, crying babies, barking dogs and other sound effects throughout the whole city,' and, coming soon, the simulated smells of "vomit, burning rubber, burning bodies, those kinds of things." I was impressed by this account of one scene that occurred during the simulated warfare: A Humvee and a convoy of trucks were…
Categories: Military Comments (5)
Mummified Mother Still Watching TV
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 11, 2006
Status: True Big Gary forwarded me this urban-legendesque story about the mummified body of Johannas Pope, who was "found in a chair in front of her television set 2 1/2 years after her death." Apparently she had been left there by her family, who were honoring her wish that she not be buried. They had kept the air conditioner running on full blast, thereby slowing the process of decay. Must have had a huge electricity bill. Coincidentally, also in the news is the story of Mirko Sartori, who kept the mummified body of his mother sealed up in his bedroom wardrobe so that he could keep receiving her pension check. He…
Categories: Death Comments (9)
It’s Homemade!
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 10, 2006
Status: Odd news report I find this a bit hard to believe. According to this news report "Almost a third of young Britons have passed off a ready-made meal as their own creation in order to impress someone, according to a survey by the Department of Health on Monday." Sure, it's common to joke that something is homemade when it's not, but usually it's easy to tell the difference between ready-made and homemade. The same survey also found that "one in 10 had never cooked a proper meal for themselves because they 'don't know how'." I find that easier to believe.
Categories: Food Comments (15)
Flaming Mouse Burns Down House
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 10, 2006
Status: Hoax Over in the forum, the 'flaming rodent of doom' thread discusses a story that was reported last weekend about a man who threw a mouse onto a pile of burning of leaves, only to have the mouse run out of the leaves and back at the house, setting the entire structure on fire. Served the guy right, most people thought. But the story also sounded a little too weird to be true. And sure enough, Charybdis just posted a link to an update (which I thought deserved a place here on the front page of the site) in which the guy whose house burned down swears that isn't what happened. He says the…
Categories: Animals Comments (10)
Potential new risk from mobile phones
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 10, 2006
Status: Partially true, partially fake Dipankar Mitra sent me this graphic which is circulating via email, warning of a "Potential new risk from mobile phones." He notes that it's accompanied by a caption that reads: Please use left ear while using cell (mobile), because if you use the right one it will affect brain directly. This is a true fact from Apollo medical team. Please forward to all your well wishers He asks, "Do let me know if it is real or hoax..." Well, the caption is definitely a hoax. I have…
Categories: Email Hoaxes, Technology Comments (8)
James Frey, Fiction Writer?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 10, 2006
Status: Undetermined (but the Smoking Gun presents a convincing argument) It seems to be quite the week for literary hoaxes. First there were the new revelations in the JT LeRoy case, and now The Smoking Gun is now accusing author James Frey of inventing many of the details in his autobiographical novel, A Million Little Pieces. The book tells the story of Frey's past as a drug-addict and criminal. But the Smoking Gun alleges that, "The 36-year-old author, these documents and interviews show, wholly fabricated or wildly embellished details of his purported criminal career, jail terms, and status as an outlaw 'wanted in three states.'" They concede that the guy was a drug addict and spent…
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (14)
Four Eyes Illusion
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 09, 2006
Status: Fake Obviously photoshopped, but interesting nonetheless. Looking at it too long may cause a sensation of whirling and loss of balance. I found it at Mason Inman's blog. (I have no idea where he found it).
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (11)
Cyclops Kitten
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 09, 2006
Status: Real Ichneutron sent me a link to this picture of Cy, the Cyclops Kitten on Yahoo Photos. According to the info on Yahoo, Cy was born in Redmond, Oregon, on Dec. 28, 2005 with only one eye and no nose. He lived for one day. The other cat in the litter (there were only two) was born normal. The photo is by Traci Allen. There's no reason to think the photo isn't real. The condition is known as Cyclopia. gives this description of it: The eyes are fused into a single enlarged eye that is placed below…
Categories: Animals Comments (70)
J.T. LeRoy: An Update
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 09, 2006
Status: Evidence is mounting that he's a hoax Last October I posted about the writer JT LeRoy, and the suspicion that he was an elaborate hoax: that his books had actually been written by a woman named Laura Albert, and that the person who appeared in public as LeRoy was an actor. Today the New York Times has revealed more evidence that seems to confirm this theory. The person who has been appearing in public as LeRoy seems to be Savannah Knoop, the half sister of Geoffrey Knoop (who's the guy that supposedly helped rescue the teenage LeRoy). The Times found an image of Savannah Knoop online, and people who have met LeRoy confirm that…
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