The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
March 2006
‘Devil Calls’ Cause Exploding Phones — 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."
Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2006.   Comments (18)

Is April Fools Day Dying Out? — 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…
Posted: Tue Mar 28, 2006.   Comments (10)

Museum of Hoaxes in Christian Science Monitor — 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…
Posted: Tue Mar 28, 2006.   Comments (7)

Top Ten Office Pranks — Status: April Fool Pranks CareerBuilder.com 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…
Posted: Tue Mar 28, 2006.   Comments (31)


Media Schedule — 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…
Posted: Tue Mar 28, 2006.   Comments (8)

The Fat Tax — 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…
Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2006.   Comments (35)

Smiling Pots — 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)
Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2006.   Comments (9)

Skinny Model — 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…
Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2006.   Comments (59)

21st Annual April Fools’ Day Parade — 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…
Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2006.   Comments (4)

Bird-Feeder Thief — 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;"…
Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2006.   Comments (40)

Leprechaun Loose in Alabama — 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…
Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2006.   Comments (51)

Mermaids and Bull Genitals Used to Find Missing Car — 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,…
Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2006.   Comments (11)

The Mystery of the Mouse-Like Kitten — 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…
Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2006.   Comments (11)

Fake Russian Music Degrees — 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…
Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2006.   Comments (11)

Cloud Sends a Signal — 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.
Posted: Sun Mar 19, 2006.   Comments (5)

Woolly Pigs — Status: Real I've heard of the Vegetable Lamb, a creature from medieval folklore that was part plant and part animal, being a lamb whose belly was attached to the ground by a thick stem. (It survived by eating the grass around itself.) I've also heard of the Woolly Horse, a creature that P.T. Barnum claimed had been found by explorer John C. Fremont in the Rockies and which was "part elephant, deer, horse, buffalo, camel, and sheep." (It was actually just a horse that happened to have…
Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006.   Comments (10)

Fake Irish Pubs — Status: Ersatz Irishness Perfectly timed for St. Patrick's Day, Austin Kelley has an interesting article in Slate.com about the faux Irish pub revolution... i.e. how Irish pubs slapped together with off-the-shelf charm and quaintness have been popping up in cities all over the world. The term I've heard to describe this phenomenon (which Kelley doesn't mention) is To Irishise, meaning to transform a bar, with the help of interior design specialists, into a fake Irish pub. Kelley traces…
Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006.   Comments (14)

Fake Smiles May Cause Depression — Status: Medical study New research by Dr. Dieter Zapf of Frankfurt University suggests that workers who constantly have to pretend to be friendly to customers suffer from higher rates of depression and illness. The Advertiser reports: Flight attendants, sales personnel and call centre operators are most at risk, say psychologists at Frankfurt University. People in these jobs are more likely to suffer from depression, according to the study released yesterday ahead of publication in…
Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006.   Comments (23)

Schapelle Corby Tours — Status: Hoax This is in pretty bad taste, but kind of funny nevertheless, in a twisted kind of way. A guy in Bali named Eddie Hutauruk claims to be offering guided tours that allow you to visit Schapelle Corby in her jail cell. (For those who don't recognize who Schapelle Corby is, she's the Australian woman who is currently serving a 20-year sentence for supposedly trying to import 4.1 kg of cannabis into Bali. The cannabis was found in her luggage. A lot of people think she's…
Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006.   Comments (25)

Victoria’s Secret Basketball Prank — Status: prank Here's a prank that definitely rates as one of the more inventive (and cruel) student pranks of recent years. The set-up occurred a week before a NCAA game pitting UC Berkeley against the University of Southern California. USC's starting guard, Gabe Pruitt (pictured), met a UCLA coed named Victoria online. They traded messages via AOL Instant Messenger. She sent him her picture. He sent her his. They arranged to meet after the game on March 4. The sinker occurred during…
Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006.   Comments (10)

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