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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
March 2006
Woolly Pigs
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 17, 2006
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 curly hair, and which Barnum, not Fremont, had "discovered" in a barn in Connecticut.) Now the Woolly Pig can…
Categories: Animals Comments (10)
Fake Irish Pubs
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 17, 2006
Status: Ersatz Irishness Perfectly timed for St. Patrick's Day, Austin Kelley has an interesting article in 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 the roots of this phenomenon back to 1991, when Dublin-based IPCo started to aggressively export the "Irish Pub Concept" around the world. Nowadays would-be Irish pub owners can choose from a variety of pre-packaged styles: the "Country Cottage," the…
Categories: Food, Places Comments (14)
Fake Smiles May Cause Depression
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 17, 2006
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 consumer magazine Good Advice. "Every time a person is forced to repress his true feelings, there are negative consequences for his health," said Professor Dieter Zapf, a researcher into human emotions. I'm a…
Categories: Health/Medicine, Psychology Comments (23)
Schapelle Corby Tours
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 17, 2006
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 innocent, and that the cannabis was put in her luggage by baggage handlers at the…
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Websites Comments (25)
Victoria’s Secret Basketball Prank
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 17, 2006
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 the March 4th game. When Pruitt appeared on the court, UC fans started to chant "VIC-TOR-IA, VIC-TOR-IA." Their chants continued…
Real Discoveries Dismissed as Hoaxes
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 16, 2006
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 bicycle repairmen claimed to have built the world's firstaircraft in 1903, they were dismissed as cranks. Newspapers refused to send reporters or photographers to witness any of the flights. More than two years later, Scientific American magazine…
Categories: Technology Comments (18)
Will Ferrell Dies While Paragliding
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 15, 2006
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 basically blew Ferrell and his companion towards a wooded area where they lost control before crashing into dense foilage. (Click here to see the whole obituary.) My wife works very close to…
Categories: Celebrities, Death Comments (10)
Funny Money
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 15, 2006
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 fact, is it even a crime to possess obviously fake money? Don't a lot of places sell fake $1 million bills?
Categories: Business/Finance Comments (9)
Ghosts at Roadblocks
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 14, 2006
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 some cursing.) The caption on the first video (on the left) identifies the ghost…
Categories: Paranormal, Photos/Videos Comments (9)
Google Hires 15-Year Old
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 14, 2006
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 will receive a lowered salary, which will be placed into a bank account for future education, said Google CEO Larry Page. When asked what role Vendetta will play…
Categories: Journalism Comments (18)
Pet Buffalo
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 13, 2006
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 sensitive, so the buffalo only had to touch it with its snout). Of course, the buffalo didn't live in their home 24 hours…
Categories: Animals Comments (25)
The Price of Fake Sick Notes
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 13, 2006
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 the sick leave. A note allowing two to three days of rest normally costs 20 (US$2.47) to 30 yuan. The price goes up if the person requires longer sick leave.…
Goldfish in Fake Breasts
Posted by The Curator on Sun Mar 12, 2006
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 his double life as an ad exec-cum-drag performer,…
School For Ambidexterity
Posted by The Curator on Sun Mar 12, 2006
Status: Highly suspect According to an article in, 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 students are proficient in this art, which was started as an experiment. “The children are taught six languages Hindi, Urdu, English, Roman, Sanskrit and Arabic,” says Sharma. “I…
Categories: Body Manipulation Comments (24)
Massage Milk Censored
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 10, 2006
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 disappearing-blog-act was just a hoax. Wang Xiaofeng, the author of Massage Milk, faxed a statement to the Interfax news agency explaining that: …
Categories: Politics, Websites Comments (15)
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