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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
February 2006
Pictures That Lie — Status: News Article C|Net is running an interesting article on its site about "Pictures That Lie." They found quite a few of the images here at the Museum of Hoaxes. They contacted me about a week ago asking permission to use some of the images, but I had to admit that I didn't control the copyright on the images they were interested in, so it wasn't up to me to grant permission. (Though I said they should feel free to use the images since most of them were either in the public domain…
Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006.   Comments (4)

Message In A Bottle Crosses Atlantic — Status: Undetermined The story of Harvey Bennett and his ocean-crossing bottle has been widely reported during the past week. The basic facts are as follows: Harvey Bennett, the owner of a tackle shop in Amagansett, New York, has for years been throwing messages-in-bottles into the Atlantic. He usually never sees the bottles again. But on January 24 he received a package in the mail containing one of his discarded bottles which, apparently, had floated all the way to Bournemouth,…
Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006.   Comments (9)

Sad Princess Di Doll — Status: Fake (in the sense of being a doll), Real (in the sense of really being sold) I think this Princess Di doll, created by Texas-based Time Capsule Toys, is an example of what Umberto Eco would call hyperreality—fakes whose fakeness (or kitchiness, or strangeness) makes them interesting in their own right. The likeness of Princess Di isn't actually very good, but its makers have tried to make it more true-to-life by having it say various melancholy phrases that Princess Di said,…
Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006.   Comments (9)

Fish Spells Allah and Muhammad — Status: Pareidolia Oscar, who's a fish, lives in a tank in Waterfoot, England. He's attracting quite a bit of attention because markings on one side of his body seem to spell out the name Allah in arabic script, while markings on his other side seem to spell out Muhammad. Since I don't know arabic, I'm not in a position to judge how much the markings look like these words. But at least saying that markings spell a word is a bit more cut-and-dry than saying that markings look like…
Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006.   Comments (45)


Pets In Uniform — Status: Real (fake photo service) Wouldn't it be great to have a picture of Fido dressed in a military uniform to keep on the mantel? Unfortunately actually dressing Fido in the uniform can be a hassle, but thankfully there's now an alternative, PetsInUniform.com: Imagine: your dog, cat, or other pet in full military regalia. We make this fantasy a reality. Using the latest digital techniques, we combine a photo of your pet with the uniform and background of your choice. I don't…
Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006.   Comments (10)

What Happens When Dogs Attack a Bull — Status: Real This series of images of two pit bulls attacking a bull are a couple of months old (though they're new to me). They recall those images of a mule attacking a mountain lion. Despite looking rather surreal (especially that one of the dog suspended in air above the bull), not to mention bizarre (what were the dogs thinking?), they are real. This scene occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, outside of New Orleans, when the two pit bulls, crazed with hunger, decided…
Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006.   Comments (56)

MagicSHELF Update 2 — The saga of the magicSHELF continues. I received my own magicSHELF in the mail yesterday, courtesy of linkydinky, and put it up today. Here I am posing with it. I placed it across from my desk. It's definitely odd to look over and see some books floating there. But I like it. It's kind of cool. I added a short review of the magicSHELF to my original post about it. While I don't reveal how it works in the review, I do try to strike a balanced tone, pointing out that you could make one…
Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006.   Comments (7)

Topless Fish Saleswomen Legal in Liverpool — Status: Undetermined (though I'm assuming it's false, until proven otherwise) Some of you may have read this claim before: "Topless saleswomen are legal in Liverpool, England, but only in tropical fish stores." I hadn't heard it before until I happened upon it on the blog of Cavan Scott who is (rightly, I think) quite skeptical of it. He's emailed the Liverpool county council to get their opinion about it, but my guess is that he probably won't get a reply. (Though I decided to send…
Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006.   Comments (38)

Suicide Cryptogram — Status: Undetermined (the cryptogram is probably genuine, but it's meaning is unknown) Security expert Bruce Schneier has posted an interesting item on his blog. It's a scan of a cryptogram emailed to him by someone who claims the cryptogram was left behind by a man named David Rayburn, who killed his wife and stepson with a hammer and then hanged himself. It's been confirmed that this murder/suicide did occur, and it seems likely that the correspondent is telling the truth about the…
Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006.   Comments (4)

Painted Room Illusions — Status: Real These photos show rooms painted in such a way that, if you stand in the correct place, a pattern will appear. Despite looking photoshopped, they are real. The painted rooms are the creations of artist Felice Varini. On his website you can find more examples of his art if you search around long enough (and struggle through the incredibly bad navigation). Varini writes: The painted form achieves its coherence when the viewer stands at the vantage point. When he* moves out of…
Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006.   Comments (11)

Goldfish Have No Memory — Status: False Popular legend has it that goldfish have no memory, which is why they're happy to swim around in small glass bowls. (Actually, I had never heard this legend before, but my wife had.) Now researchers in the UK have debunked this legend. The Telegraph reports: The urban legend of the amnesiac fish has been dealt a new blow by a study which shows that goldfish can learn to avoid parts of their tanks where they receive electric shocks for at least 24 hours, probably longer...…
Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2006.   Comments (19)

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