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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
April 2006
Portable Ghost Detector — 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…
Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2006.   Comments (16)

Inauthentic Paper Detector — 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…
Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2006.   Comments (15)

Plane Flies In Front of Moon — 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…
Posted: Thu Apr 27, 2006.   Comments (15)

Fake Bellies — 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 --…
Posted: Thu Apr 27, 2006.   Comments (8)


Huge Sculptures — 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."
Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006.   Comments (11)

Did Idaho Get Its Name As A Result Of A Hoax? — 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.…
Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006.   Comments (11)

Steaming Coffee Manhole Cover — 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 coloribus.com, and someone has posted a comment there claiming to be from Saatchi…
Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006.   Comments (17)

Google Adsense Bus — 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)
Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2006.   Comments (4)

Mystery Man Found On Raft — 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…
Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2006.   Comments (2)

Need A Hand With Your Bag? — 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)
Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2006.   Comments (19)

Fake Konrad Kujau Fakes — 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…
Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2006.   Comments (2)

Casu Marzu (aka Maggot Cheese) — 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,…
Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2006.   Comments (27)

Petting A Shark — 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!! Nettie writes "I'd assume they were real enough as we do get some pretty big sharks around here although you'd…
Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2006.   Comments (12)

Diving Tiger — 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…
Posted: Fri Apr 21, 2006.   Comments (32)

International Association of Pranksters and Hoaxers — 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.
Posted: Fri Apr 21, 2006.   Comments (10)

Microwaved Water Kills Plants — Status: Undetermined I've posted before about theories that microwaved food is bad for you, but this is slightly different. Some guy has posted pictures of his granddaughter's science fair project in which she tested the effect microwaved water would have on a plant. The result: the plant died. (Yes, the water had been cooled before she watered the plant with it.) But the plant given water that had been boiled on a stove did just fine. So what does this prove? That microwaved water is…
Posted: Fri Apr 21, 2006.   Comments (100)

Sun Serpent — Status: Pareidolia Spaceweather.com reports that the Loch Ness Monster has been spotted... on the sun. Check out this picture taken by astrophotographer Gary Palmer of Los Angeles. It does look kind of like a serpent, and by the standards of proof applied to blurry images of Loch Ness, that means it must be a sun serpent! (Apparently the dark shapes are really solar filaments, "relatively cool, dense gas suspended above the surface of the Sun.") (via The Anomalist)
Posted: Thu Apr 20, 2006.   Comments (3)

Breast Exam Scam — Status: News 76-year-old William Winikoff of Coconut Creek, Florida has been charged with lewd and lascivious conduct for posing as a doctor and offering women free breast exams. Remarkably, he duped at least two women with this scam: Carrying a black “doctor’s” bag, investigators claim Winnikoff walked up to a apartment building and told a 36-year-old woman, that he was in the neighborhood offering free breast exams. According to police, the woman let Winikoff into her apartment and…
Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2006.   Comments (17)

Binary King Galaxy — Status: Fake Dave forwarded me this email he received (which, he noted, was dated April 1, so it seemed a bit suspicious to him). The subject line of the email reads: DEEP-SPACE PHOTO: EP_4277. The text reads: The subject of this photo is a very rare one indeed - taken by NASA with the Hubble space telescope. This is the only documented existence of a binary king galaxy in our known universe. Astronomy is definitely not my expertise. I wouldn't even be able to find the Big Dipper on…
Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2006.   Comments (17)

Mrs. Foote Attacked By Millipedes — Status: Real Recently the South Australia Sunday Mail reported on the case of Mrs. Foote, an elderly woman who is under attack by millipedes: AN elderly Kapunda woman says she feels as though she is living in an Alfred Hitchcock movie - under attack by thousands of writhing millipedes... "Every morning, I get a broom and have to sweep my way out of the front veranda to go and pick up the newspaper, I'm sick and tired of sweeping up." Mrs Foote said the creepy crawlies now encircled her…
Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2006.   Comments (3)

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