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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
April 2006
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)

Giant Laser — Status: Real Found on Flickr: a cool picture of a giant laser beaming out of the MMT Telescope, on top of Mt. Hopkins in Arizona. The guy who took it, Filip Pizlo, says it's not photoshopped, and I'm willing to believe him, if only because when I was a grad student at UC San Diego there was a green laser beam similar to this visible in the sky over La Jolla almost every night. I never figured out where it was coming from or what the purpose of it was. It couldn't have been coming from…
Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2006.   Comments (18)

Tagging Air Force One — Status: Fake A video on stillfree.com shows a guy (Mark Ecko) spraying graffiti on Air Force One. This involves him avoiding armed guards, climbing over fences, and then sprinting across the tarmac to write "Still Free" on the plane's engine. The video is well done, but fake. As a disclaimer on the site reads: "You, the viewer of the preceeding are hereby advised that the video does not depict a real event. It is intended for the sole, limited and express purpose of entertainment and…
Posted: Tue Apr 18, 2006.   Comments (27)

Tree-Nesting Elephant — Status: Probably photoshopped How did the elephant get up in the tree? I'm guessing photoshop since, as far as I know, elephants are not known to be tree climbers. I don't have any information about the source of this image, but it wouldn't surprise me if it came from a worth1000 contest, or something of that nature.
Posted: Mon Apr 17, 2006.   Comments (11)

Global Spell Casting Day — Status: Publicity stunt/superstition An organization named witchschool.com has announced that on May 5th, 2006 an experiment in global spell casting will take place: Hundreds of participants around the world will focus their energy to manifest love, peace, prosperity and hope for the world. With this unified act of will, they anticipate that magic energy will fill people with personal power and create events that will lead to a better world. "We need no longer wait to see if magic is…
Posted: Mon Apr 17, 2006.   Comments (10)

Feng Shui For Cars — Status: Pseudoscience Aon Private Clients, a British insurance broker, has commissioned the first ever study of how to improve the feng shui of cars. They note that implementing these recommendations "could improve the flow of energy in vehicles and help drivers alleviate the negative feelings which lead to road rage." Suggestions offered by the study include: A driver should park his or her car facing away from the driver’s home. According to feng shui, cars are ‘predatory tigers’. If…
Posted: Mon Apr 17, 2006.   Comments (11)

Boston Couple Eats Glass — Status: Insurance Scam When I was in elementary school, I often heard a rumor that if you ate chalk you could fake the symptoms of being sick, and thus not have to go to school. I never tried it, but this couple seems to have taken the same idea and advanced it a step further: A couple has been charged with filing fraudulent insurance claims that said they had eaten glass found in their food at restaurants, hotels and grocery stores, federal prosecutors said... The couple used aliases,…
Posted: Mon Apr 17, 2006.   Comments (2)

The Musuem of Hoaxes — Status: Typosquatter My wife just discovered this. If you misspell museumofhoaxes.com by switching he 'e' and the 'u' in museum (a very easy mistake to make), you'll arrive at The Musuem of Hoaxes, which contains links to info about museums. It's obviously a site created by a spammer hoping to profit off of people who are trying to get to the Museum of Hoaxes, but who aren't great spellers. I probably shouldn't link to this alternative version of the Museum (I'm only sending more…
Posted: Mon Apr 17, 2006.   Comments (13)

Cow In A Car — Status: Undetermined (but I think they're real) Two pictures, found on flickr (here and here on Alex Laurie's photostream) of a cow in a car:   The info accompanying the images states that they were "taken by a friend of a friend in Slovenia." It looks more like a calf than a full-grown cow, so I suppose it would be possible to stuff the animal in the back of your Volkswagen and hit the highway with it. Given that there are two images, and they don't appear to be photoshopped, I'm…
Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2006.   Comments (14)

Giant Rabbits — Status: Real A lot of people have been emailing me these two pictures of giant rabbits, wanting to know if they're real. (Even my wife emailed them to me.) So I figure I better post something about them.   I state in Hippo Eats Dwarf that "The bigger the animal, the taller the tale you're likely being fed." So most of the time if you see pictures of animals that are grossly oversized (such as these big roosters), the pictures are fake. But these rabbits are an exception to that…
Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2006.   Comments (16)

Drug Companies Invent Diseases (aka Diseasemongering) — Status: Medical News The journal Public Library of Science Medicine is publishing a special series of articles devoted to the practice of "diseasemongering": when pharmaceutical companies invent diseases, or market cures for benign conditions, in order to sell more drugs. The Times, reporting on the special issue, writes that: conditions such as female sexual dysfunction, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and “restless legs syndrome” have been promoted by companies hoping…
Posted: Thu Apr 13, 2006.   Comments (23)

Don’t Use Cruise Control In The Rain — Status: HoaxHere's an email that's been circulating around: "A 36-year-old female had an accident several weeks ago and wrote off her vehicle. It was raining, though not excessively, when her car suddenly began to aquaplane and literally flew through the air. She was not seriously injured but very stunned at the sudden occurrence. When she explained what had happened to a highway patrolman, he told her she should never drive in the rain with cruise control activated. If your car begins…
Posted: Thu Apr 13, 2006.   Comments (25)

Missouri Couple Has Sextuplets — Status: Hoax A Missouri couple, Sarah and Kris Everson, have been charged with staging an elaborate hoax to fool people into believing they had sextuplets. Supposedly Sarah gave birth to the six babies on March 8. Stories about the multiple birth ran in local papers, and people who heard about the family's tight financial situation began to organize donations for them. Sarah also supplied the Associated Press with a photograph of herself looking very pregnant, as well as sonograms of…
Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2006.   Comments (14)

Motorcycle Flips Car — Status: Undetermined (but probably true) Alex Palmer forwarded me the following email which is circulating around, consisting of the following text and four pictures: Subject: Picture is worth a thousand words. The Honda rider was traveling at such a "very high speed", his reaction time was not sufficient enough to avoid this accident. Swedish Police estimate a speed of ~250 KM/h (155mph) before the bike hit the slow moving car side-on at an intersection. At that speed, they predicted…
Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2006.   Comments (28)

Donut Maker Sponsors High School — Status: April Fool Prank Students at Hugh McRoberts School in Richmond, British Columbia were stunned when they learned that donut-maker Tim Hortons was going to become an official sponsor of their school. As a result the nickname for the school's team would change from the "Strikers" to the "Dunkers". Also: The school’s Snack Shack had been sold, students were told in a survey that asked which doughnuts they preferred for the new shack’s menu. What’s more, the school was to undergo a…
Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2006.   Comments (11)

$150 McDonald Sandwich — Status: Real (kind of) You've probably heard of the $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie. Now comes word of a $150 McDonald Sandwich. Yes, it's real, but it's not a sandwich from the fast-food McDonalds. It's being sold at Selfridges, a UK department store, and it's named after Scott McDonald, the executive chef at the store. Obviously the name is a little tongue-in-cheek. The sandwich is supposedly worth $150 "because of the Wagyu beef that makes up most of the filling... the 595-gram sandwich…
Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2006.   Comments (19)

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