The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
February 2006
Ann Arbor Public School Site — Status: Parody The website of the Ann Arbor Public School system can be found at http://www.aaps.k12.mi.us/. A parody version of it (created by an unknown author) is at http://annarborpublicschools.org/. Apparently the school district doesn't find the parody amusing, because they're sending its domain host a cease-and-desist letter claiming infringement of their intellectual property. The two sites do look very similar, but I don't think their case would hold up in court. After all,…
Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006.   Comments (9)

Video iPod — Status: HoaxIn the past two weeks there have been a flurry of rumors, accompanied by pictures, about new products from Apple. We've seen this version of a new video iPod: It turned out to be a hoax created by "Bud62". A picture of an Apple iPhone has also been floating around: This iPhone is a fantasy product designed by Isamu Sanada (who's just a guy who likes to design fictitious Apple products). And finally, we have another video iPod: Yet another hoax. Whoever created it has…
Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006.   Comments (11)

The Disappearing Blonde Gene — Status: Hoax reported as news Peter Frost has an article in the current issue of Evolution and Human Behavior in which he argues that the trait for blonde hair evolved 10,000 years ago in northern Europe because men found blonde women to be attractive--and because there were more women than men, the women had to compete for the men. (I'm simplifying his argument a lot.) But I'm not bringing this up to make a point about Frost's article. Instead, I'm bringing it up because the London…
Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006.   Comments (32)

Ancient Buddha Figurines Found in California River — Status: Undetermined A resident of the town of Colfax (northern California) claims to have found hundreds of ancient Buddha figurines buried in the American River: Herman Henry says he found about 400 of the Buddha carvings in a washed out sandbar along the River more than a month ago. The thumb-sized, white carvings may be hundreds of years old. And now federal and state investigators are looking into the discovery and are looking for Mr. Henry. He found them in a state park. It's…
Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2006.   Comments (9)


Turkish Wrist Walkers — Status: Real I've received quite a few emails about the following story, presumably because it seems like something lifted from Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks. A family in Turkey contains five siblings who have apparently never learned how to walk on their feet. They still walk on all fours, with the weight of their upper bodies supported by their wrists (wrist walking, as opposed to knuckle walking, which is what apes do). You can check out a video of one of these wrist walkers
Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2006.   Comments (19)

The Tongue Map — Status: Urban Legend One of the many catalogs I receive is the Wine Enthusiast. On the inside cover of the catalog I received last week is a description of Symphony Stemware wine glasses which are supposedly "designed and shaped to enhance the best characteristics of every wine." Accompanying this claim is a map of the tongue with the following caption: "The specially designed shape of each glass directs the flow of wine to the proper areas of your palate, emphasizing a wine's best…
Posted: Sun Feb 26, 2006.   Comments (30)

Overpopulated Mouse Colony Perishes — Status: A hoax (perhaps?) based on a real experiment Henry Rosenbaum emailed me with the following description of a hoax, followed by a question: For 30 years, from the mid-1960's, I lived in central Michigan, about a four hour drive from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where my wife and I often visited for weekends. I well recall an exhibit at one of the major museums that featured an enclosed cage/environment with a number of mice and a descriptive explanation to the effect: The mice were…
Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2006.   Comments (24)

Powerball Lottery Hoax: The Details — Here's Bob's preliminary account of the powerball lottery hoax: Alan Abel and I have been talking about doing something with the Powerball for the better part of a year now. It all came together really quickly last weekend when we heard that the record Powerball jackpot was finally won. A number of things came together that made this week just about perfect: It was a record amount; there was only one winner; it was won in a rural state which would make things seem less suspicious;…
Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2006.   Comments (7)

The Case of the Microwaved Penis — Status: hoax The following incident caught my attention because it occurred in McKeesport, which is right outside of Pittsburgh. This is where my mother grew up. My grandfather used to be mayor of a small suburb of McKeesport called Liberty Borough. I visited it often growing up. McKeesport is also where Andy Warhol grew up. Sadly, the city has gone way, way downhill ever since the steel mills closed, as evidenced by this incident: Police in McKeesport said a woman who needed to pass a…
Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2006.   Comments (20)

The Traveling Hippo Experiment — I've just received a few copies of my book, Hippo Eats Dwarf, from my publisher. This is the final version that will be on sale in stores in a few weeks. It's great to see the book finally done and in print! Anyway, since I have a few extra copies, an idea occurred to me. Why not give them away? But not as prizes. Instead, give them away to volunteers on the condition that, once read, they're passed along to someone else. Each person who gets the book will write a note in it saying…
Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2006.   Comments (17)

Great-Grandmother Gives Birth — Status: True Thanks to Big Gary for directing my attention to Janise Wulf, the 62-year-old great-grandmother who just gave birth to her 12th child. Gary wasn't totally sure that the story was real, but I'm pretty sure it is. After all, on my page about birth hoaxes I note a true story of a 63-year-old woman who gave birth back in 1997. And the Guardian reports that the oldest woman ever to give birth was Adriana Iliescu, who did so at the age of 66 last year. I know a lot of kids are…
Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2006.   Comments (18)

Bob Pagano Wins $365M Powerball Lottery — Status: Hoax Alan Abel has struck again, this time with the help of a regular here at the Museum of Hoaxes, Bob Pagani (aka Cranky Media Guy). Bob pretended to be the winner of the $365M Powerball lottery. (The real winners were a bunch of meat packers.) Apparently Abel helped behind the scenes. The action took place on Monday, but I didn't hear about it until today when I got an email from a reporter at the Des Moines Register asking me if I had heard about the Powerball Prank, and…
Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2006.   Comments (17)

Philippine Urban Legends (Jose Rizal was Jack the Ripper) — Status: urban legends An article from the Philippine Daily Inquirer records some Philippine urban legends: the "White Lady" of Balete Drive, Robina Gokongwei's "snake twin" lurking in department store dressing rooms, the elusive "kapre" that lives in an ancient mango tree near the Emilio Aguinaldo house in Kawit town, and Andres Bonifacio's love child from a place aptly named Libog (now Santo Domingo) in Albay province. None of those mean much to me. But most of the article is devoted…
Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2006.   Comments (190)

Pastry Burgers — Status: Pastry disguised as fast food Apparently some men feel self-conscious about eating pastries in public, fearing that chowing down on confectioneries doesn't look very manly. Mamido's burgers, a restaurant in Japan, has the solution. It disguises pastries as fast food. Treehugger reports: The "bun" is actually a sponge cake, the "patty" inside is chocolate cream, and the "pickles" are kiwis. The deep-fried fish burger, meanwhile, priced at ¥440 ($3.70), features a banana shaped…
Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2006.   Comments (12)

Ayds Weight-Loss Candy — Status: Real On Google video there are a couple of commercials from the early 80s touting a weight-loss product called Ayds. (An Ayds radio commercial can be heard here.) The name of the product is so unfortunate, that it makes the ads sound like Saturday Night Live skits, with lines such as: "Ayds helps you control your appetite so you lose weight... Why take diet pills when you can enjoy Ayds?... Ayds helps you lose weight safely and effectively!" However, the ads are totally real,…
Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2006.   Comments (86)

TV Producer Has Question — Here's a request for help that I received today from a researcher at a TV production company: I work in the Development Department for a Production Company called North One TV. We're currently working on an idea for a show that uses science to hoax people. Obviously there are many fantastic science based hoaxes that have been performed through out history. What we're thinking is we could use one or two of the more famous hoaxes to break up the show. The main crux being a presenter…
Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2006.   Comments (22)

Museum of Hoaxes Keyrings — I received this unusual request in my email today: My name is Beatriz Damiani and for 20 years I have devoted myself to collecting "keyrings", being my collection, at present, of more than 5600 units from 184 different countries all over the world. Within my collection one of the most important, as well as interesting sets, is the one of "Museums". After long years of hard but enjoyable work, I have been able to obtain keyrings from most Museums but I still lack one from yours. The…
Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2006.   Comments (8)

Fake Guinness Scam — Status: Scam I'm a big fan of Guinness (Murphy's and Beamish as well), so this news report from Africa of a Guinness counterfeiting scam caught my eye. Three men have been charged with producing fake Guinness and selling it to bars in Nigeria. (From what I've heard, Guinness is incredibly popular in Nigeria.) The way they created the phony Guinness was what I found interesting: They further explained that they buy the original product of Wilmot Stout [a cheap beer] from a depot located…
Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2006.   Comments (6)

Camera Unlost, But Not Quite Found — Status: True Earlier today I read (via blogdex) the tale of a woman named Judith and her camera that was lost, then found, but still (paradoxically) remains lost. I thought it was interesting, but didn't consider it might be a hoax. However, several people have emailed me about it, so I thought I'd take a closer look at it. Here's the jist of the tale. Judith lost her camera while on vacation in Hawaii. Back home she decided to create a photo blog of her vacation using pictures found…
Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2006.   Comments (14)

Skinbags (bags made from human skin) — Status: Real bags (but not really made from skin) The front page of the skinbags site advertises that skinbags are "Organic objects, in synthetic human skin." That description isn't as clear as it could be, and could easily be misread to suggest that skinbags are actually made from human skin. Much of the rest of the site plays up this ambiguity. You come across passages such as this: What is it? Could it be human skin? One asks oneself, reaching out a hand in an attempt to touch it :…
Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2006.   Comments (17)

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