The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
May 2006
Back From Scotland — I'm back from hunting the Loch Ness Monster and Wild Haggises (Haggii?) with fellow Museum of Hoaxers in Scotland. It was a great trip. Despite the Scottish climate staying true to reputation by raining every single day I was there, I saw and did lots of stuff: went on a ghost tour, sampled some whisky, experimented with a Victorian electric shock machine, etc. But the best part was meeting everyone else who was there. My theory that regular readers of this site are all exceptionally…
Posted: Tue May 23, 2006.   Comments (24)

Please Take This Survey — I've signed up with a new ad network called Federated Media recently started by John Battelle (one of the founders of Wired Magazine, according to the Wikipedia entry about him). In an effort to better match readers of this site to potential advertisers, Federated Media wants you all to take a brief survey. It's only a few questions: age, address, social security number, credit card info, bank account info, etc. (No, just kidding... they're not looking to steal your identity.)…
Posted: Mon May 15, 2006.   Comments (24)

Love Spud — Status: Real A rare heart-shaped potato has been found by Linda Greene of Moon Township, Pa. She found it in a sack of potatoes back in February and emailed the Idaho Potato Commission about it in March. For some reason it's only making headlines now. What makes the discovery of the potato strange is that irregularly shaped potatoes are supposed to be removed during the sorting process and used for french fries. The potato commission president said: "I would guarantee someone saw it…
Posted: Sun May 14, 2006.   Comments (3)

Inflatable Pub — Status: Strange, but real Speaking of fake Irish bars, now it's possible to have an instant fake British pub, anywhere you like. It's advertised as "the Worlds first fully functioning Mobile Inflatable Pub." This comes from the same people who brought us the world's first inflatable church. Ideally it should come with a bartender who fakes a British accent.
Posted: Sun May 14, 2006.   Comments (3)


The Great Edinburgh Adventure — Tomorrow (Monday) I'll be flying to Edinburgh to participate in an exciting experiment: the first face-to-face meeting of Museum-of-Hoaxers. We'll be coming from all corners of the earth: Australia, America, and Europe. Will we be able to tolerate each other in real life (as opposed to virtual life)? Will we all end up in jail? Stay tuned. I hope to post some reports from Edinburgh. I should note that this adventure wasn't my idea. The credit goes to a group of regulars who hang out…
Posted: Sun May 14, 2006.   Comments (11)

Will The Real Guy Kewney Please Stand Up? — Status: Case of mistaken identity Guy Kewney, editor of newswireless.net, was scheduled to be interviewed by the BBC about the Apple Computer vs. Apple record label case. But as he stood in the lobby of the BBC building waiting to be met by the studio manager, he saw, to his surprise, someone else introduced and then interviewed under his name. Guy Kewney, according to his own description, is "fair-haired, blue-eyed, prominent-nosed, and with the sort of pale skin that makes my …
Posted: Sat May 13, 2006.   Comments (5)

Naked Skydiving — Status: Hoax Here's an amusing article that deserves mention on Regret the Error (the weblog about newspaper corrections), if it isn't already there.Tabloid Aftonbladet has been forced to withdraw an article about naked Swedish skydivers, after it turned out that the paper had been the victim of a hoax. The article, headed "It's wonderful - but cold", described how Stockholm Skydiving Club had celebrated spring by jumping from a height of 4,000 metres in their birthday suits. The paper…
Posted: Fri May 12, 2006.   Comments (7)

George Lutz, RIP — Status: Obituary George Lutz of Amityville Horror fame has given up the ghost. He died of a heart attack in Las Vegas on May 8. George and his family lived in the house in Amityville, New York for four weeks in 1975 before supposedly being driven out of it by repeated paranormal occurrences (weird sounds and voices, green slime dripping from the ceiling, etc.) They left the house in a hurry, but weren't so scared that they weren't able to return and hold a garage sale. Personally I…
Posted: Fri May 12, 2006.   Comments (34)

Ann Arbor Fairy Doors — Status: Real doors Fairy Doors are popping up around Ann Arbor, Michigan. No one knows who's building them. They just mysteriously appear. The Washington Post reports: The entryways are Thumbelina small and are so subtle and incongruent that they're easy to overlook -- or dismiss. At first glance, you might mistake one of the eight doors for an electric socket or a mismatched brick. But look closely and you'll see evidence that, yes indeed, something very little could live in there.
Posted: Fri May 12, 2006.   Comments (11)

Long Live The Hodag — Status: New Book Kurt Kortenhof has sent word that his new book, LONG LIVE THE HODAG — The Life and Legacy of Eugene Simeon Shepard is now in print. For anyone interested in hoaxes, tall tales, and folklore, I figure it should be interesting. I've already ordered a copy. For those who don't know what the Hodag is, it's a creature native to Wisconsin. It's said to have the head of a bull, the back of a dinosaur, and the leering features of a giant man. You can still find it featured on…
Posted: Wed May 10, 2006.   Comments (2)

Vote For Padre Pio — Status: Joke ballot Reuters reports on a case of a dead guy who was temporarily in the running for Italy's president: With no hope of immediately electing a president, lawmakers have been throwing away votes for the past two days while party leaders negotiate a consensus candidate. A secret ballot has allowed them to get creative. For one elector, the political deadlock offered a rare chance to vote for Padre Pio, a 20th century mystic monk who had the stigmata -- bleeding wounds in the…
Posted: Wed May 10, 2006.   Comments (5)

IQ Challenge — Status: Practical joke I evidently don't spend enough time on LiveJournal, because if I did I would have known about the IQ Challenge sooner. (It was evidently quite popular on LiveJournal.) As it is, I completely missed out on it, and now it's over. What it was (or claimed to be) was an IQ test offered by IQ-Challenge.com. Once you completed the test, it produced a small graphic showing your score that you could post on your site. The joke was that the test gave everyone a high score.…
Posted: Wed May 10, 2006.   Comments (36)

Article About Plagiarism Plagiarized — Status: Purposeful plagiarism A hoax? A ploy? A gimmick? I'm not sure what to call this. Check out this piece by David Edelstein on plagiarism. Now read this, which reveals that Edelstein's piece on plagiarism was, except for the first and last lines, entirely plagiarized from other sources. Very clever! Seriously -- that's pretty neat. Very meta. (This post was plagiarized from Penguins on the Equator... and thanks to Joe Littrell for the heads up about the New York Magazine piece.)
Posted: Tue May 09, 2006.   Comments (5)

In Memory of Father Noise — Status: Believed to be a hoax Here's an interesting news report from Ireland: It has emerged that a joke bronze plaque found on Dublin's O'Connell Bridge has been there for three years. The plaque claims to mark the spot where a Father Pat Noise drowned when his carriage plunged into the Liffey, in suspicious circumstances, in 1919. But Dublin City Council says the priest is a fictitious figure, and wants the mystery sculptor to come forward. The plaque is arousing great public…
Posted: Tue May 09, 2006.   Comments (11)

The Earl of Buckingham — Status: Imposter The scam of pretending to be British peerage is still going strong. A few months ago we heard about that guy in Minnesota who was picking up teenage girls by claiming to be the Fifth Duke of Cleveland (aka the Earl of Scooby). Now comes word of a far more elaborate scam. The man in question called himself Christopher Buckingham, the Earl of Buckingham. He had been living under that identity for almost twenty years. Police realized last year that he was living under a…
Posted: Tue May 09, 2006.   Comments (8)

The Million Dollar Space Pen — Status: Urban Legend Dwayne Day has an interesting article in Space Review about the urban legend of the Million Dollar Space Pen. I'm sure you've heard the legend before. It's the one in which NASA pays a million dollars to develop a pen that will write in space. The Russians, meanwhile, being a bit more practical and budget-conscious, just use a pencil for their space missions. The truth is that the space pen was independently developed in the mid-1960s by Paul Fisher of the Fisher…
Posted: Mon May 08, 2006.   Comments (17)

DVD-Sniffing Dogs — Status: Strange, but true The Press Association wire service is reporting that "Two black Labradors have become the world's first dogs to be trained to search for counterfeit DVDs." The two dogs, Lucky and Flo, were trained by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact). In their first assignment "Lucky and Flo were put to work at FedEx's UK hub at Stansted Airport in Essex where they immediately identified packages and parcels containing DVDs for destinations in the UK." Okay,…
Posted: Mon May 08, 2006.   Comments (6)

Air Pollution Marketing Campaign — Status: Probably photoshopped These pictures doing the rounds supposedly show a "guerilla marketing component from a campaign designed to gain public support in an effort to reduce the pollution released by particular powerplants in Chicago. The shape and text was created by power-washing filthy sidewalks using a large stencil form." It would be a clever idea for an anti-pollution campaign, except that these photos look photoshopped. The border of the image seems a bit too…
Posted: Mon May 08, 2006.   Comments (11)

Casimir Effect Causes Ships To Attract Each Other — Status: Myth According to Wikipedia, the Casimir Effect (which is real) is "a physical force exerted between separate objects, which is due to neither charge, gravity, nor the exchange of particles, but instead is due to resonance of all-pervasive energy fields in the intervening space between the objects." The effect is best observed with things such as parallel plates of metal in a vacuum. Another example often used to illustrate the effect is that it can be seen operating on ships…
Posted: Sat May 06, 2006.   Comments (6)

Bosnian Pyramids — Status: Looks like a hoax The discovery of massive pyramids in Bosnia was widely reported in the news last month (at which point Beasjt posted about it in the Hoax Forum). The discovery was made by a Bosnian-American businessman named Semir Osmanagic, who has been actively pursuing Chariots-of-the-Gods-style archaeology for the past fifteen years, mostly in Mexico and Central America. (He believes the Mayans were descended from Atlanteans who came from the Pleiades... you can read…
Posted: Sat May 06, 2006.   Comments (10)

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