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

Ancient Pottery Recorded Audio — Status: Hoax The Raw Feed has linked to a video (in French) in which Belgian archaeologists discuss how they were able to "use computer scans of the grooves in 6,500-year-old pottery to extract sounds -- including talking and laughter -- made by the vibrations of the tools used to make the pottery." The video is fairly good quality and would lead you to believe that it might be real, if it weren't for the premise being pretty farfetched (and not reported anywhere else in the news).
Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2006.   Comments (23)

Korean Couple Weds on a Train — Status: Fake About a week ago a touching scene took place in South Korea. A couple boarded a train and then proceeded to get married in front of all the passengers. The groom explained to everyone that he was too poor to pay for a proper ceremony, so he and his bride had decided to get married on a train instead. After the ceremony the crowd broke into wild applause, and pictures of the wedding (taken by a passenger with a cellphone) began to circulate on the internet. But now it…
Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2006.   Comments (7)

Popular Myths in Science — Status: Urban Legends LiveScience.com has a list of the 20 Most Popular Myths in Science. Included in the list are classics such as these: It takes seven years to digest gum. Hair and fingernails continue growing after death. A penny dropped from the top of a tall building could kill a pedestrian. Humans use only 10 percent of their brains. You get less wet by running in the rain. Eating a poppy seed bagel mimics opium use. Oddly enough, they also throw a few strange-but-true items…
Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006.   Comments (17)

Hillary Clinton in Wax — Status: Fake HillaryA lot of people don't like Hillary, but I do. But then, I'm nostalgic for the 90s. Anyway, here's something else to add to the list of strange hyperreal objects. it's Hillary Clinton in wax, recently unveiled at Madame Tussauds: The Clinton statue, crafted at the original Tussauds museum in London, takes its place in a wing dedicated to presidents and other public figures known as "the gallery." There, the likeness of the Democratic senator joins statues of…
Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006.   Comments (15)

Stealth Stars and Stripes — Status: Real This image of a Stealth fighter (an F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter, to be accurate) decorated with the Stars and Stripes has been circulating around. At first I suspected it had been photoshopped. After all, painting a Stealth Fighter with bright colors would seem to defeat its purpose. But it's real. Some googling revealed that this Stars-and-Striped Stealth was featured at an Edwards Air Force Base Airshow in 2005 (scroll down almost to the bottom of the page to find…
Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006.   Comments (12)

White House Valentine’s Day Dinner — Status: Undetermined For Valentine's Day my wife and I went to a restaurant called Green Tomato and had a great meal which included ravioli in a mustard cream sauce, green tomato soup, and chicken stuffed with mascarpone and spinach. But apparently, if this picture which is going around can be believed, the Valentine's Day dinner at the White House was quite a bit fancier than what I had. I don't see any good reason why this White House menu shouldn't be real. After all, the White…
Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2006.   Comments (15)

Vietnam Deems Grapefruit Site Too Cocky — Status: True The internet is full of many unfortunate urls that can be read in two ways. Some of the urls intentionally have double meanings, some don't. For instance, viagrafix.com (via grafix / viagra fix) was an unintentional oversight, but powergenitalia.com (powergen italia / power genitalia) was a deliberate joke, as is penisland.net. Apparently Vietnamese sites are prone to the same problem. For which reason, Vietnamese regulators have rejected the website name www.buoi.com.vn.
Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2006.   Comments (5)

Stevie Starr, Professional Regurgitator — Status: Magic trick Stevie Starr calls himself a professional regurgitator. He's been doing his act for a long time, and is quite famous. (He's appeared on shows such as Jay Leno and Ripley's Believe it or Not.) But I just became aware of him through a video of one of his performances on Google Video, and I'm at a complete loss to explain how he does what he does. His performance includes some of the following tricks: He swallows sugar, followed by a glass of water, and then…
Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006.   Comments (193)

Clairvoyant Gets Message From Woman Buried Alive — Status: Almost definitely an urban legend The Leicester Mercury has printed a spooky story that sounds very much like an urban legend. (Though I know some people say that true urban legends don't involve the supernatural, so I guess it would be a ghost legend.) Since I don't believe in ghosts, I'm assuming that the story is mostly b.s. But I'm curious if any parts of it are true. The story goes like this: In 1950 Dr Guiseppi Stoppolino of Camerino University was testing an Italian…
Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006.   Comments (31)

Mexican Row Houses — Status: Real This looks like a painting, or a picture of toy houses, but apparently it's neither. These are real houses. The picture was taken by a Mexican helicopter pilot. (I can only find his last name, which is Ruiz Oscar Ruiz.) He writes of this picture: "REAL PICTURE! 300+ low income homes in Ixtapaluca, complex has more than 10,000!" The link goes to his gallery of aerial photographs of Mexico City. This photo is nine rows down on the right.
Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006.   Comments (32)

Comic Book Urban Legends — The Comics Should Be Good blog is creating a database of comic book urban legends. I don't recognize all the names and characters referred to, but it makes for interesting reading anyway. Here's a few samples (full explanations for all of these at Comics Should Be Good): Wolverine's costume was patterned in part on the uniforms of the Michigan Wolverines football team. (False) Joker was originally killed off in his SECOND appearance! (True) Wolverine was initially intended to be a…
Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006.   Comments (7)

Bogus Vintage Wine — Status: Counterfeiting scam The Washington Post reports on a growing problem in the vintage wine business: bogus vintage wines. Apparently many collectors who shell out thousands of dollars for a rare bottle of wine are discovering that what they bought is a fake: "The cloud of shame over the last 10 years has been the market for counterfeit trophy wine." Sutcliffe [head of the international wine department at Sotheby's] said there was a psychological block to dealing with the problem…
Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006.   Comments (8)

World-Record Hoaxes — I received this email from Alanna Fraser: I am a development producer working at KEO Films in London. I'm looking into the possibility of doing a documentary/series on people who have faked world records/cheated/hood-winked people (either Guinness World Records or others). I came across your website when I was looking for info on this subject on the internet, and wondered whether you might be able to help me out with any advice or suggestions? I'd really appreciate any help that you…
Posted: Thu Feb 09, 2006.   Comments (22)

Mystery of the Manure From the Sky — Status: Undetermined A few months ago Timothy Rohn, of Richard Township, Michigan, went outside to discover his car covered in bird poop. Or maybe it was human poop. Or maybe something else entirely. Whatever it was, there was a lot of it. But he didn't worry too much about it. He just let the rain wash it off. But two months later, the same thing has happened again. Something up there really likes pooping on his car. The Saginaw News reports that: Rohn said the substance definitely is…
Posted: Thu Feb 09, 2006.   Comments (12)

Trained Goldfish — Status: Undetermined Christine sent in a video of four goldfish who have apparently been trained to swim in synchronized patterns. They're definitely the best-trained goldfish I've ever seen. In fact, I didn't even know it was possible to train fish, but a quick google search reveals that I'm wrong. The Clicker Training site shows a film clip of a trained fish (it's the second movie down), and also has a discussion about training fish. Which isn't to say that the movie of the four…
Posted: Thu Feb 09, 2006.   Comments (30)

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