The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
April 2006
Portable Ghost Detector
Posted by The Curator on Fri Apr 28, 2006
Status: Paraphenalia for the superstitious A Japanese company is selling a portable ghost detector that fits on a keychain. I can't really understand the machine-translated text, but it looks like the detector glows red in the presence of a ghost, and glows blue otherwise. It costs 2,079 Yen, which is about $18. Not too bad. Compare this to the ghost detectors sold by Abate Electronics which start at $93 (and they don't even fit on your keychain!). It goes without saying that I'm sure these things have been rigorously tested to conform to the highest scientific standards. (via OhGizmo)
Categories: Paranormal Comments (16)
Inauthentic Paper Detector
Posted by The Curator on Fri Apr 28, 2006
Status: anti-counterfeit technology Last year I posted about a group of MIT students who created an Automatic Scientific Paper Generator, capable of creating "random Computer Science research papers, including graphs, figures, and citations." One of the papers created by this program was accepted for presentation at the World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics. To stop something like this happening again, researchers at the Indiana University School of Informaics have invented an Inauthentic Paper Detector. It's supposed to be able to tell whether a paper has been written by a human or a machine. The researchers write: "The main purpose of this software is to detect whether a technical document conforms to the statistical standards…
Categories: Identity/Imposters, Science Comments (15)
Plane Flies In Front of Moon
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 27, 2006
Status: Undetermined There's some debate over at Flickr concerning whether this image is real or photoshopped. The person who took it (Kris Kros) swears that it's real. But doubts have been raised by Hugo who argues that "such a crisp capture of a jet, in front of an extremely detailed moon, in complete darkness, with no apparent noise, was quite extraordinary." I can't tell one way or the other. Though Hugo is absolutely right to point out that in almost all pictures of planes flying in front of the moon, the turbulence of the jets is visible... but it's not visible in…
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (15)
Fake Bellies
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 27, 2006
Status: Fake body parts This could be useful at baseball games. It's the Beerbelly, "a removable spare tire that serves a stealth beverage." Basically it's a bladder that you fill with your drink of choice and strap around your belly, thereby (when worn beneath a shirt) camouflaging it as a beer gut. (Thanks to Emily de Saint Jores for the link) The beer bladder would definitely be more fun to wear than the empathy belly, which is a "a multi-component, weighted 'garment' that will -- through medically accurate simulation -- enable men, women, teenage girls and boys to experience…
Categories: Body Manipulation Comments (8)
Huge Sculptures
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 26, 2006
Status: Real Tamakia Gant asks: "Are these real? They look so amazing!!!" Yeah, they are pretty cool. And they are real (real sculptures, not real people!) They're the work of Australian hyper-realist sculptor Ron Mueck. According to the Wikipedia entry about him, "Mueck's sculptures faithfully reproduce the minute detail of the human body, but play with scale to produce disconcertingly jarring visual images."
Categories: Art Comments (11)
Did Idaho Get Its Name As A Result Of A Hoax?
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 26, 2006
Status: Undetermined Following a post about how California got its name, Boing Boing added an interesting reader comment alleging that Idaho got its name because of a hoax: "When a name was being selected for new territory, eccentric lobbyist George M. Willing suggested 'Idaho,' which he claimed was a Native American term meaning 'gem of the mountains'. It was later revealed Willing had made up the name himself, and the original Idaho territory was re-named Colorado because of it. Eventually the controversy was forgotten, and modern-day Idaho was given the made-up name when the Idaho Territory was formally created in 1863." I had never heard this before, so I did a…
Categories: Literature/Language, Places Comments (11)
Steaming Coffee Manhole Cover
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 26, 2006
Status: Undetermined (but probably real) This outdoor advertisement transforming a New York City manhole into a steaming cup of coffee was apparently created by Saatchi & Saatchi for their client Folgers. The question is: was this actually done in real life (i.e. were vinyl covers placed on top of manholes), or has the picture simply been photoshopped? The picture itself seems to have been first posted at, and someone has posted a comment there claiming to be from Saatchi & Saatchi and confirming that the coffee-manhole campaign was real. But I can't find anything official from Saatchi & Saatchi in…
Categories: Advertising Comments (17)
Google Adsense Bus
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 25, 2006
Status: Fake This photo of a London bus displaying Google Adsense ads was posted on the Digital Point Forums on April 2nd. It since has been making its way around the internet. It's definitely photoshopped. The white google ads show no variation in color or shadowing. It was probably some kind of late April Fool's Day joke. Still, it would be a clever form of outdoor advertising. (via Fresh Creation)
Mystery Man Found On Raft
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 24, 2006
Status: Undetermined Last Friday a man was found floating on a makeshift raft in the Skagerrak strait between Sweden and Norway. He claimed that he had been set adrift four days ago by another ship. He also said that his name was George Williams, and that he had been born in Cape Town. Within a day he had added details to his story and now said that his parents were Russian-Jewish parents, but that he had been given up for adoption at an early age. Authorities doubt that he could have been floating out there for four days, given the cold temperatures.…
Categories: Identity/Imposters Comments (2)
Need A Hand With Your Bag?
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 24, 2006
Status: Strange guerrilla marketing campaign Brussels Airlines has been experimenting with a bizarre campaign to raise awareness about the threat of getting pickpocketed in airports. Their agents have been covertly slipping plastic hands into the bags of people who aren't paying enough attention to what's going on around them. Imagine opening up your bag and finding a hand in there. I think I'd freak out. The campaign was created for Brussels Airlines by the agency LG&F. (via Coolzor)
Categories: Advertising Comments (19)
Fake Konrad Kujau Fakes
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 24, 2006
Status: Art Forgeries Konrad Kujau was the forger responsible for creating the Hitler Diaries. After he served his prison sentence, he became something of a minor celebrity in Germany, and his "authentic fakes" of famous paintings became sought after in their own right by collectors. Kujau died in 2000, but now his great-niece, Petra, has been charged with selling hundreds of fakes of his fakes. The Times reports that: Petra Kujau, 47, faces fraud charges for selling at least 500 fake Kujaus to clients worldwide through an internet auction site for more than €550,000 (£381,000). Some of the oil paintings, bought from art schools in Asia for as little as €10 apiece,…
Categories: Art Comments (2)
Casu Marzu (aka Maggot Cheese)
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 24, 2006
Status: Real Thanks to Mark Holah (aka Rennet) for bringing the Sardinian specialty known as Casu Marzu to my attention. Casu Marzu is a type of pecorino cheese infested with thousands of wriggling maggots. If the maggots are still wriggling, then it's okay to eat (if you have a strong stomach). If the maggots aren't wriggling, that means the cheese has become toxic. The wikipedia entry for Casu Marzu is so bizarre, that you'd swear it has to be a joke: Derived from Pecorino Sardo, casu marzu goes beyond typical fermentation to a stage most would consider to be decomposition, brought about by the digestive action of the larvae of the cheese…
Categories: Food Comments (27)
Petting A Shark
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 24, 2006
Status: Real Pictures (but probably a fake caption) Nettie forwarded me these pictures that are circulating around in Australia accompanied by this text: A riding buddy of mine's father has some crazy fishing friends! These were taken down at Windy Harbour - off the South Coast of WA [Western Australia] near Northcliffe. See how close they are to shore!!
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos Comments (12)
Diving Tiger
Posted by The Curator on Fri Apr 21, 2006
Status: Real I came across this cool picture of a tiger diving into water. My first thought was that it had to be fake, but from what I can gather (via machine translation) from the comments below the image, the photographer, Sergey Bidun, says that it's real. And he links to other, less spectacular, pictures from the same series. One question that people seem to be asking is why the tiger's claws aren't out. My guess is that it's been declawed. There's an exhibit like this in Las Vegas where you can see the tigers used in the Siegfried and…
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos Comments (32)
International Association of Pranksters and Hoaxers
Posted by The Curator on Fri Apr 21, 2006
Ron Dentinger of the International Association of Pranksters and Hoaxers sent me an email to give me a heads up about the Association's website. Yes, it is a real association, which includes such esteemed members as Alan Abel and Cranky Media Guy. They met in February in Las Vegas. Their site includes a hoax photo challenge, which currently shows a photo of a man with a gorilla and asks whether it's real or a hoax. I'm guessing that it's real.
Categories: Pranks Comments (10)
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