The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
March 2006
‘Devil Calls’ Cause Exploding Phones
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 29, 2006
Status: Insane rumor Panic has struck mobile phone users in India as word spreads of "devil calls" that cause your phone to explode: "People started turning off their handsets after a rumour swept Orissa state of phones exploding like bombs killing their owners when they answered the calls. The random "devil calls" supposedly started Sunday from phones with 11 to 14 digit numbers instead of the regular 10, said an official from India's state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam phone company." Obviously the rumor is completely bogus, but the theory of the general manager of the phone company in the area is interesting. He speculates that the 'devil call' rumor "could be the handiwork of vested…
Categories: Mass Delusion, Technology Comments (18)
Is April Fools Day Dying Out?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 28, 2006
Status: Commentary Jeff Daniel, in a recent column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, wonders if anyone celebrates April Fool's Day anymore. He writes: For all practical purposes, the official day of practical joking appears to be as flat as a deflated whoopee cushion if reports from Sacramento, Calif., and Columbus, Ohio, are to be believed. Last April 1, newspapers in those cities ran stories investigating the tradition's demise. In one of the pieces, a reporter's random polling found not a single April Fools' Day participant. Daniel conducted his own informal poll, asking people at a local mall if they observed April 1st. He found one person who did, but "The…
Categories: April Fools Day Comments (10)
Museum of Hoaxes in Christian Science Monitor
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 28, 2006
The Museum of Hoaxes got mentioned twice in the Christian Science Monitor in the past two days. The first time is in a story by Randy Dotinga titled "When computers do news, hoaxes slip in." It's about the spate of recent online press release hoaxes, such as Tom Vendetta's hoax of a few days ago. I get quoted at the end of the article: "In the old days, to perpetrate a hoax and get it in front of the eyes of the millions of people, you had to be in the media some way or have access to a reporter. Nowadays, literally anybody can do it," says Alex Boese, author of "Hippo Eats…
Categories: Miscellaneous Comments (7)
Top Ten Office Pranks
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 28, 2006
Status: April Fool Pranks has issued a press release listing what they have determined to be the top ten office pranks, based on a survey of 2500 office workers. Here they are: 1. Change the caller ID on a co-worker's phone to read Mr. Kitten every time he calls someone. 2. Place random objects from people's desks in the vending machine. 3. Place a live goldfish in an IV bag in a clinic. 4. Sneak onto someone else's computer and send out an "I love you" email to the entire office. 5. Wall-paper someone's entire cube with headshots of his co-workers. 6. Pull…
Categories: April Fools Day, Pranks Comments (31)
Media Schedule
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 28, 2006
I've been pretty busy lately, what with Hippo Eats Dwarf appearing in bookstores this week, and I've also been updating portions of the site to get ready for April Fool's Day. That's why posting has been kind of light. Anyway, I'm going to be doing a bunch of radio shows this week, so I've posted my schedule below. If you get one of these stations listen in and see if whomever I'm talking to manages to stump me (DJs seem to love to flip to random pages of my book and grill me on whatever they find there, as I struggle to remember what I wrote a year ago). If you live in San Diego, I'll be doing a book…
Categories: Miscellaneous Comments (8)
The Fat Tax
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 27, 2006
Status: Hoax An article in the current issue of Esquire describes the tax-reform campaign of a sixty-six-year-old recluse named Irwin Leba. His idea is to enact a fat tax. The idea is pretty simple. Charge overweight people higher taxes. That way you raise more tax revenue and encourage people to be healthier, at the same time. Here's exactly how it would work: sometime between January 1 and April 15, every American will have to visit a government-sponsored weigh station and step on a scale. You'll leave with a notarized certificate attesting to your body-mass index (BMI). If that number is 25.5…
Smiling Pots
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 24, 2006
Status: Optical Illusion Not a hoax, but a cute optical illusion. (If this were an eBay picture, there would be a fat naked guy reflected in the pots, but nothing so crude here.) (via Ceticismo Aberto)
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (9)
Skinny Model
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 24, 2006
Status: Real A lot of people still stumble upon the "Too Skinny" pictures that I have posted on the site. (Warning: one of the pictures may not be safe for work.) Andrea was one such person, and decided to send in a picture of a real-life skinny model that she once worked with to serve as a comparison. She writes: I worked for 3 seasons at dolce&gabbanna in milan, italy and all the girl models were very skinny but we had 2 anorexic/bulimic ones, one (the one in the pic) more than the other. The thing that…
Categories: Body Manipulation Comments (59)
21st Annual April Fools’ Day Parade
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 23, 2006
Status: Annual tradition Joey Skaggs has once again announced details of New York City's Annual April Fools Day Parade. Here's the full press release. Details include: This year's floats will include a Fundamentalist Noah's Ark float featuring two of all of earth's creatures, including dinosaurs; a Hurricane Katrina Victim's float where for $1 a throw you can attempt to dunk Michael Brown in a vat of toxic sludge packed with snakes, rats and a big crocodile; a Last Chance Cruise Ship float offering gambling and shuffleboard, plus off-shore abortions when Roe v. Wade is overturned; and a Clandestine CIA Prison float featuring the latest prison torture techniques.
Categories: April Fools Day Comments (4)
Bird-Feeder Thief
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 23, 2006
Status: Real Thanks to Peter Wenker for sending along these pictures of a bird-feeder thief. Though I don't have any details about where or when they were taken, there's no doubt in my mind that they're real, since bears are notorious bird-feeder thieves. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department even has instructions on their website titled "Don't Let your Bird Feeder Become a Bear Feeder!" Their recommendations include: "Stop all bird feeding by April 1, or as soon as snow melts;" and, "Clean up any spilled birdseed and dispose of it in the trash."
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos Comments (40)
Leprechaun Loose in Alabama
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 23, 2006
Status: Undetermined Some residents of Mobile, Alabama are claiming that a leprechaun is loose in their neighborhood. It shows up in the branches of a tree at night. Apparently it can't be photographed, but the thumbnail shows an "amateur sketch" of what people say it looks like. The NBC 15 news broadcast that covered this interesting phenomenon reports that: "eyewitnesses say the leprechaun only comes out at night. If you shine a light in its direction, it suddenly disappears." Make sure that you catch the guy who appears towards the end of the report who has "a special leprechaun flute which has been passed…
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales, Places Comments (51)
Mermaids and Bull Genitals Used to Find Missing Car
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 22, 2006
Status: Scam This leaves me at a complete loss for words. It's amazing: HARARE, Zimbabwe - A bogus traditional healer who persuaded a businesswoman to hire "mermaids" and accommodate them in a Harare hotel to help find a stolen car was convicted of theft by false pretenses, court officials said Tuesday... In Zimbabwe, where tribal superstition is deeply entrenched, prosecutors said Chizema persuaded Margaret Mapfumo to pay 200 million Zimbabwe dollars (about $30,000) to hire mermaids, feed and accommodate them in a Harare hotel, buy power generators for a floodlit lakeside ceremony and invoke ancestral spirits to find the missing car. Some of the money was to be used to buy a…
Categories: Con Artists Comments (11)
The Mystery of the Mouse-Like Kitten
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 20, 2006
Status: Probably a rodent posing as a kitten About a week ago Smerk posted a link in the forum to a story about a cat who supposedly gave birth to a kitten that looks like a mouse. The story reads: According to the owner of the cat, the litter included 5 regular kittens, and one that more resembles a mouse. The owner says the nose, mouth and ears look like that of a mouse, but the rest of the body is that of a cat. The mother cat doesn't seem to notice or mind. She's nursing and taking care of it,…
Categories: Animals Comments (11)
Fake Russian Music Degrees
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 20, 2006
Status: Fraud Korean investigators have uncovered a case of widespread degree fraud involving over 120 people who bought fake Russian music degrees from a woman "identified as Do": Do advertised her institute as a Korean campus of the Russian university and the Russian college dean came here along with a couple of other Russian professors for about 10 days a year to provide lessons,'' said a prosecutor... Prosecutors said that the fake degree holders registered their degrees at the Korea Research Foundation (KRF) and some of them worked as lecturers at local universities, trying to create an academic clique. This strikes me as odd as I would never have picked…
Categories: Con Artists Comments (11)
Cloud Sends a Signal
Posted by The Curator on Sun Mar 19, 2006
Status: Photoshopped This cloud is sending a clear signal. The picture looks vaguely familiar, so perhaps it's been circulating around for a while. Anyway, I'd say it's definitely been photoshopped. When I fiddled around with the hue and saturation settings of the image in photoshop, the finger portions of the cloud stood out, indicating that they had been digitally pasted in.
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (5)
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