The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
May 2006
The Million Dollar Space Pen
Posted by The Curator on Mon May 08, 2006
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 Pen Company. He did it completely on his own, without prompting by NASA and without NASA money. It turned out to be a good pen, and NASA later started…
Categories: Technology, Urban Legends Comments (17)
DVD-Sniffing Dogs
Posted by The Curator on Mon May 08, 2006
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, obviously these dogs can't have been trained to sniff out counterfeit DVDs specifically. Why would a counterfeit DVD smell any different than a…
Categories: Animals, Law/Police/Crime Comments (6)
Air Pollution Marketing Campaign
Posted by The Curator on Mon May 08, 2006
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 well-defined, as do the lines of the text. Plus, if you're going to do this, where do you get the water and power source…
Categories: Advertising Comments (11)
Casimir Effect Causes Ships To Attract Each Other
Posted by The Curator on Sat May 06, 2006
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 lying close together in a strong swell because "waves with wavelengths longer than the distance between the ships would…
Categories: Science Comments (6)
Bosnian Pyramids
Posted by The Curator on Sat May 06, 2006
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 about it in his book, The World of the Maya, which is online.) Osmanagic claims the supposed Bosnian pyramids were…
Categories: History Comments (10)
Human-Flavored Rum
Posted by The Curator on Thu May 04, 2006
Status: Probably an urban legend mistaken as news This could be the next big thing: Soylent Green Human-Flavored Rum. Reuters reports: Hungarian builders who drank their way to the bottom of a huge barrel of rum while renovating a house got a nasty surprise when a pickled corpse tumbled out of the empty barrel, a police magazine website reported... the body of the man had been shipped back from Jamaica 20 years ago by his wife in the barrel of rum in order to avoid the cost and paperwork of an official return. According to the website,…
Categories: Death, Food, Urban Legends Comments (15)
Perfect Shot: Bullet Lodges in Cylinder of Other Gun
Posted by The Curator on Thu May 04, 2006
Status: True It's not quite as miraculous as the (false) case of impregnation by bullet recorded in 1874, but it's still pretty remarkable. A bullet fired by a cop at an assailant ended up lodged in the assailant's gun. Not in the barrel of the gun, but in the cylinder. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports:The officers ordered the man to drop the gun. Instead, police said, he squared up against them. "The officers returned fire in response to that deadly threat," Kimerer said.
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (5)
Collecting Junk For Charity
Posted by The Curator on Thu May 04, 2006
Status: Urban Legend The Oroville Mercury Register has an interesting article about the lost art of saving— how people don't save stuff the way they used to. A lot of people, myself included, save rubber bands and plastic bags in order to reuse them, but back in the old days it was common to religiously save string and tinfoil. The tinfoil, in particular, was a bit of a mystery since it never seemed to be reused. It would just accumulate, the ball of it growing larger and larger over the years. The author of the article (I can't find a byline) also notes the…
Categories: Urban Legends Comments (24)
Man, 33, Marries Woman, 104
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 03, 2006
Status: Strange, but true (I think) Muhamad Noor Che Musa met Wook Kundor while he was a lodger at her house. Soon love blossomed, and the two have now gotten married. Sure, she's 104-years-old, and he's only 33, but let's wish them the best anyway. (I guess kids are out of the question.) This is the kind of news story that makes you wonder, right away, if it's true. But as far as I can tell, it is. A picture of the newlyweds ran on the front page of Malaysia's Berita Harian newspaper (with, as the Telegraph puts…
Categories: Sex/Romance Comments (11)
Real-Life JATO Car
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 03, 2006
Status: Strange, but real The JATO (jet-assisted take-off) car is one of the most famous urban legends of all time. (Man attaches JATO unit to the top of his Chevy Impala, fires it up on a deserted Arizona highway, and launches himself into a nearby cliff at 300 mph.) But the San Francisco Chronicle reports about a man, Ron Patrick, who has built a real-life JATO car. It's a silver Volkswagen with a huge jet engine sticking out the back. It's very cool. I want one. Patrick gave this description of turning on the jet engine while driving: "You drive the…
Categories: Technology Comments (19)
Monster Truck Church Commercial
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 02, 2006
Status: Not an official ad An amusing monster-truck-style radio commercial for St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Birmingham is doing the rounds. "This Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! It's a sacramental showdown at St. Andrew's Episcopal..." It's not a real ad, in the sense that it's never been aired. Nor was it created by the church. As Church Marketing Sucks reports, it was created by Mike McKenzie, who's a St. Andrew's parishioner: "It wasn't with the intention of making a commercial--I was just goofying around," says McKenzie. "The idea hit me right after 10:30 mass--it's high mass, very formal liturgy. What would happen if you took formal liturgy and combined it with a…
Categories: Advertising, Religion Comments (3)
‘Lickable’ Breyers Ad
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 02, 2006
Status: Hoax You may feel that you need to scrub your eyeballs after seeing this supposed ad for Breyers ice cream, so if you click on the link don't say I didn't warn you. (The ad is disturbing for what it suggests, not for what it actually shows.) However, the ad definitely isn't real, which is obvious if you read the text on the right-hand side of it. I don't know who created it, but it wasn't Breyers. Unfortunately the image is now circulating around the internet in a reduced size that makes the text hard to read, leading some people to think that it might actually be a real ad.
Categories: Advertising, Gross Comments (73)
Finger Served To Diner
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 02, 2006
Status: True Taking a cue from Wendy's (see gross things found in food, TGI Friday's served a diner a piece of a human finger. Except in this case the finger piece really did get on the customer's plate as a result of a kitchen mishap, not because the customer put it there himself. Apparently one of the kitchen workers had sliced off a bit of his finger by mistake, and while everyone was rushing to help him, no one noticed that the finger piece had landed on a plate of food, which was then served to a customer. The customer noticed right away. But it doesn't look like the diner will be able to make…
Categories: Food Comments (4)
Is Nintendo Wii A Hoax?
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 02, 2006
Status: Undetermined (though highly unlikely) Last week Nintendo announced that it was renaming its soon-to-be-released console. The former name was Revolution. The new name? Wii. Barely had the name passed Nintendo's lips, than the snickering and outrage from the gaming community began. As one person astutely put it, "It means piss. For god's sake, it means PISS!" (It also means little in Scottish, but no one seems as upset about that.) Does Nintendo hope to generate publicity by gaving the console such an odd name? Or is this a case of a Japanese company not having realized what the name of…
Categories: Technology Comments (34)
The Mustache Tattoo
Posted by The Curator on Mon May 01, 2006
Status: Real tattoo, fake mustache When I first heard about this, I thought it meant that people were tattooing mustaches on their upper lip. Not quite. The mustache is tattooed on your finger, allowing you instantly to don your mustache disguise whenever and wherever necessary. Watch the video and you'll understand. Both men and women are getting these things. Fox News has dubbed it the newest trend in tattoos.
Categories: Body Manipulation Comments (21)
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