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

Real Discoveries Dismissed as Hoaxes — Status: Not Hoaxes A few days ago the Financial Times ran a brief list of major technological breakthroughs that were either ignored or ridiculed. This raises an interesting issue: the danger of over-skepticism, or dismissing startling new discoveries as hoaxes simply because one refuses to believe that anything new or out-of-the-ordinary can be real. I can't find a link to the FT story, but here's a summary of their list: The Wright Brothers' discovery of flight: "When two American…
Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006.   Comments (18)

Will Ferrell Dies While Paragliding — Status: Hoax An announcement of actor Will Ferrell's death in a paragliding accident was briefly posted on the wire service iNewswire today, before the service caught wind of it, realized Will Ferrell wasn't dead, and yanked it. The release read, in part: Los Angeles -- Actor Will Ferrell accidentally died in a freak para-gliding accident yesterday in Torey Pines, Southern California. The accident apparently happened somewhere near the famed paragliding site after a freak wind gush…
Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2006.   Comments (10)

Funny Money — Status: Counterfeit currency Reuters is reporting that U.S. Customs agents have apprehended a man who had 250 $1 billion bills stashed away in his apartment. The bills showed President Cleveland, and had an issue date of 1934. Figuring out that they were counterfeit was easy, since there is no such thing as a $1 billion bill. You have to wonder how he was planning to exchange them for real cash, since anyone stupid enough to accept them wouldn't have $1 billion in the first place. In…
Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2006.   Comments (9)

Ghosts at Roadblocks — Status: Fake I've come across two different videos on Youtube that show night scenes of roadblocks in Singapore. I don't have that much information about either video, but stylistically and thematically they're very similar (and very low quality). People are clowning around at a roadblock in the middle of the night, when suddenly (at the end of each video) they see a ghostly white figure. Screaming ensues. (Warning, in case you're watching these at work: The one on the right contains…
Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2006.   Comments (9)

Google Hires 15-Year Old — Status: Hoax 15-year old Tom Vandetta found a neat trick described on the internet: how to upload a fake press release to a free wire service, and get Google News to pick it up and disseminate it, thereby making it look like real news. Of course, he couldn't resist trying this trick out, so he decided to write a release from Google itself announcing that they were hiring him: (I-Newswire) - 15 year old student, Tom Vendetta has been hired by search engine giant Google Inc. The student…
Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2006.   Comments (18)

Pet Buffalo — Status: Real My wife was watching the Home & Garden channel this afternoon (she's addicted to it), when a show came on called "Pet Pads" that featured Jim and Linda Sautner of Alberta, Canada, who keep a 1650lb pet buffalo named Bailey in their home. Remembering that I had recently posted about a woman with a pet moose, she called me in to see the show. It was pretty interesting. The buffalo had been trained to wipe its feet on a mat, as well as to turn on the light (the light was touch…
Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2006.   Comments (25)

The Price of Fake Sick Notes — Status: News article I'm hesitant to post this, remembering that the last time I posted about fake doctor's notes I ended up with hundreds of comments from people asking me to provide them with fake notes. But here goes anyway. The Shanghai Daily has an interesting short article about the economics of the fake-sick-note industry in China. Apparently sellers of fake doctor's notes can be found outside of many Shanghai hospitals: The price depends on the type of disease and duration of…
Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2006.   Comments (53)

Goldfish in Fake Breasts — Status: Unusual false body part I seem to have been posting a lot about goldfish, with recent posts having included items about blind goldfish, trained goldfish, forgetful goldfish, and swallowed goldfish. So when I came across this story about goldfish used as fake breasts, I knew I had to post it: FISH have feelings, too, according to the folks at PETA, who are taking aim at writer Josh Kilmer-Purcell. The author, whose best-selling memoir, "I Am Not Myself These Days," chronicles…
Posted: Sun Mar 12, 2006.   Comments (6)

School For Ambidexterity — Status: Highly suspect According to an article in NewKerala.com, the Veena Vadini school in Singrauli, India teaches its students to write with both hands, at the same time. And that's not all: All these students are able to write simultaneously with both their hands. Trained from the early days at their school, these 72 young students are today at comfort with this rare art. They are also fluent in a number of languages. Virangat Sharma, the principal of the school said that all his…
Posted: Sun Mar 12, 2006.   Comments (24)

Massage Milk Censored — Status: Apparently a hoax Here's news of a hoax from China. (There seems to be more of them coming from there lately.) Massage Milk (great name!) is one of the most popular blogs in China. It was featured in a Newsweek article last month about Chinese bloggers. But a few days ago its site went blank, and the assumption was that it had been forced offline by the Chinese government. At least, this is what news organizations such as the BBC assumed. Turns out everyone was wrong. The…
Posted: Fri Mar 10, 2006.   Comments (15)

Fur-Bearing Crab — Status: Fake (I think) Dethcheez saw the picture of the fur-bearing lobster, and emailed me these pictures of a fur-bearing crab. I assume it's fake, with the fur glued on, though I could be wrong. (I would have thought the picture of the furry lobster was fake also, if the creature wasn't written up in a scientific journal.) As Dethcheez points out, the furry crab looks a lot like one of those troll figurines with the wild Don King hair. Whether real or fake, I'd like to get my hands…
Posted: Fri Mar 10, 2006.   Comments (22)

JT Leroy: The Movie — Status: Movie planned about a recent hoax Variety reports that the JT Leroy hoax is already heading to the big screen. The Weinstein Company has committed to making a film about Laura Albert's elaborate deception. (Laura Albert was the woman who invented the JT Leroy character.) The time between the hoax being exposed and a movie deal about it being inked seems to have occurred incredibly fast. What is it... a month or two since the hoax was confirmed? The dust has barely settled. I…
Posted: Thu Mar 09, 2006.   Comments (6)

The Fur-Bearing Lobster — Status: Real Science has long recognized the existence of the fur-bearing trout, which lives in the rivers and lakes of North America. Now its Pacific cousin has been found: the fur-bearing lobster (scientific name Kiwa hirsuta). According to the BBC, "A US-led team found the animal last year in waters 2,300m (7,540ft) deep at a site 1,500km (900 miles) south of Easter Island, an expert has claimed. Details appear in the journal of Paris' National Museum of Natural History." So what…
Posted: Wed Mar 08, 2006.   Comments (14)

Hippo Eats Dwarf Book Review Contest — Amazon.com has started shipping copies of Hippo Eats Dwarf. So anyone who pre-ordered it should be receiving it soon. This also means that people can now post customer reviews of it on Amazon. Obviously there are no reviews of it yet, and the book looks kind of lonely without any. This has given me an idea for a contest. I point out in Hippo Eats Dwarf that a significant number of the customer reviews on Amazon are fake (glowing reviews posted by friends of the author, or by the…
Posted: Wed Mar 08, 2006.   Comments (29)

MIT Dome Wins Gold Medal — Status: Prank Pranksters at MIT struck again last week. On Tuesday morning school officials discovered a massive Olympic gold medal hanging from the MIT dome. News reports state: MIT officials said the medal was likely a prank, but they did not know how it was done or who did it. The school also said it never gave permission for the building to become a gold medal winner. The school has not said how long the medal will stay. The MIT dome, of course, has been the focus of many, many…
Posted: Wed Mar 08, 2006.   Comments (8)

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