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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
June 2006
Email Warns of Inflammatory Breast Cancer — Status: True I warn in Hippo Eats Dwarf that "Unsolicited e-mail is not a reliable source of information—about anything" (Reality Rule 7.4). This is especially true of all those random health-related claims that circulate via email warning of flesh-eating bananas, poisonous perfume, toxic tampons, etc. So it's refreshing to find an example of a health-related email warning that's actually true. On May 7, Seattle's KOMO 4 News ran a segment about Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC), a…
Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2006.   Comments (3)

Interviewer Who Can’t Stop Laughing — Status: Fake A (foreign language) video clip is going around that shows a talk-show host interviewing a man and a woman. When the man starts speaking, the interviewer cracks up. The more the man speaks, the more the interviewer laughs. It's a funny video, because the guy's laughter is highly contagious. But was this a real interview? No. The clip comes from a Belgian comedy TV series called In De Gloria. Apparently the faux interview is about medical mishaps. The woman is paralyzed…
Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2006.   Comments (39)

eon8 — Status: Social Experiment A couple of people have asked me if I know anything about eon8.com, a mysterious website that features a clock counting down to July 1 (tomorrow). Unfortunately I don't know anything about it. Though I guess we'll all find out what it is tomorrow, unless we just get another cryptic clue once the clock reaches 0. According to Wikipedia, the leading theories are that it's a) an alternate reality game, b) some kind of distribution system for computer viruses…
Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2006.   Comments (13)

Religious Devotees Worship Phony Phallic Symbol — Status: Strange News Inside the Amarnath Cave, located in Indian-administered Kashmir, can be found the ice Shiva Linga, one of the holiest objects in the Hindu faith. Basically it's a large, naturally occurring, phallus-shaped ice stalagmite. Hundreds of thousands of Hindus make the pilgrimage to visit it each year, despite a high amount of terrorist activity in that area. (Wikipedia has an entry about it.) But this year the pilgrimage has been marred by allegations that the Shiva…
Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2006.   Comments (3)


Nostradamus Predicts World Cup Victory — Status: Hoax Via David Emery's Urban Legends blog I read about a Nostradamus prophecy now doing the email rounds which predicts a World Cup victory for Spain (never mind that Spain is no longer in the running): At the end of the sixth month of 2006, The King of Spain will cross the Pyrenees with his army. The legions of Beelzebub await the battle on the central European plains. Destruction and defeat will fall on the evil-doers. The Holy Grail will be returned to Spain. Nostradamus…
Posted: Thu Jun 29, 2006.   Comments (18)

Harassment Via Fart Machine — Status: Evil prankster I've had obnoxious, noisy neighbors who have made me fantasize about using all kinds of noise-making devices in retaliation. (Instead I sent a letter to their landlord, and a month later they were gone.) But this guy, Brian Pemberton, took the harassment of his neighbor to an entirely new level: victim Kathyrn McKay became a virtual prisoner in her own home in Baildon after Pemberton monitored her movements with a security system and triggered a "farting machine"…
Posted: Wed Jun 28, 2006.   Comments (12)

Canned Art — Status: Real (though probably glued together) Kathy forwarded me these pictures of sculptures made entirely from cans. She notes that: "It says 'stacked can art' but I can't see how some of these are not glued together. How could they stand up that well, unless they got glued together?" I agree. There's no way glue hasn't been used in some of these sculptures. Particularly the one of the butterfly, in which a few of the cans appear to be totally unsupported. The sculptures were…
Posted: Wed Jun 28, 2006.   Comments (20)

Watching Eyes Make Us Honest — Status: Strange experiment An experiment described in a recent issue of the journal Biology Letters reveals a simple way to make people behave more honestly: display a picture of watching eyes. Melissa Bateson, a biologist at Newcastle University, conducted the experiment on her colleagues, without their knowledge, using the communal coffee pot in the departmental lounge as the set-up. She found that when she placed a picture of a pair of beady eyes above the coffee pot, contributions…
Posted: Wed Jun 28, 2006.   Comments (6)

Hymen Repair and Fake Virginity Certificates — Status: Strange forms of deception In Hippo Eats Dwarf I define 'Secondary Virginity' as: "Virginity regained by abstaining from sex for a time." But apparently many Muslim women in Europe are using other means of regaining their virginity. The Associated Press reports: [Dr. Nathan] Wrobel is one of an unknown number of gynecologists in France who are willing to repair hymens, the membrane usually broken by the first act of sexual intercourse. He was one of the few doctors willing to…
Posted: Wed Jun 28, 2006.   Comments (20)

Nigeria Warns of British Conmen — Status: Strange News Nigerian travellers have been warned by their government to watch out for conmen while in Britain: Fraudsters in Britain might pour tomato juice or other substances on your dress and then offer to help remove it, robbing you in the process, the information ministry warned in its first-ever travel advisory obtained by Reuters on Thursday. The conmen, who are mainly white, but also include east Europeans and north Africans, might also pretend to pick up an object from…
Posted: Wed Jun 28, 2006.   Comments (7)

Shark Photos — Status: Hoax photo challenge Divester.com offers a series of images of sharks and challenges their readers to guess whether they're real or fake. About half of the images have been posted here before, but that still leaves half that should be new. Here are a few of the ones I hadn't seen before. They are, from left to right: fake, fake, and probably fake real. The diver attacked by a shark is from a Weekly World News cover. The girl swimming with sharks is an image…
Posted: Sat Jun 24, 2006.   Comments (19)

Criss Angel Pulls Woman In Half — Status: Magic trick On YouTube there's a video of magician Criss Angel taking the old "sawing a woman in half" trick a step further. He actually pulls a woman in half, whereupon her upper half crawls away in horror while her legs remain behind wriggling. I, like many other people, have been trying to figure out how he does this trick. All I can conclude is that it's achieved by clever editing of the camera footage. (Which, if true, would make it less a magic trick than a special…
Posted: Sat Jun 24, 2006.   Comments (114)

Hope Against Hope — Status: Fake Band A new band called Hope Against Hope managed to cultivate an enthusiastic online fanbase, and leveraged this popularity into an invitation from Alan McGee (a music industry exec famous for discovering Oasis) to play at the trendy Death Disco club. What neither Hope Against Hope's fans nor Alan McGee knew was that the band was fake. It didn't exist. So how did they all get fooled? Simple. Because although the band wasn't real, it did have a myspace profile. The…
Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2006.   Comments (14)

Whale Carcass found 1000 Miles Inland — Status: Mystery A few weeks ago the body of a beluga whale was found far inland, 1000 miles away from the ocean, washed up on the bank of the Tanana River in Alaska. No one seems to have any clue how the thing got there. Sylvia Brunner, a researcher at the University of Alaska Museum of the North speculates that "The whale could have died in the river last fall and frozen.... On the other hand, the whale could have entered the river this spring seeking fish heading for the ocean. After…
Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2006.   Comments (7)

Operation EMU — Status: Parody OperationEMU.com offers up "Statements, theories and artifacts related to the alleged 1974 NASA experiment during which an entire Hollywood film crew, contracted by the government, disappeared in a remote section of Nevada." This seems to be the jist of what the site alleges happened: The Hollywood film crew was there to help stage a training exercise for the NASA-led Operation EMU (which stands for Operation Experimental Mitigated Universe). Operation EMU itself was some…
Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2006.   Comments (7)

Shin Break — Status: Undetermined I've never seen anyone break a bone in real life. I've never even broken one of my own bones. So I don't have much to go on to decide if this clip of a kickboxer breaking his leg is real or fake. But it sure looks fake, especially the way his foot immediately resembles a limp sock once his shin breaks. But perhaps that's what a broken shin looks like.
Posted: Wed Jun 21, 2006.   Comments (27)

Was Franklin’s Electric Kite Experiment a Hoax? — Status: Scholarly debate Last weekend Philadelphia celebrated the anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's electric kite experiment (in which he flew a kite during a thunderstorm and proved that lightning was a form of electricity). They did so despite the fact that many believe the experiment was a hoax... that it never happened. The Philadelphia Inquirer provides a summary of this debate. The main proponent of the electric-kite-hoax theory is Tom Tucker, author of Bolt of Fate: Benjamin…
Posted: Wed Jun 21, 2006.   Comments (26)

Yellow Lines Become Wobbly — Status: Strange phenomenon The residents of Aqueduct Street have an unusual problem. Their lines are going wobbly. Specifically, the double yellow lines on their road. When the city laid down the lines earlier this month, they were straight. But now they've begun to take off in random directions. At first some suspected the work of a prankster, but apparently the truth is much more sinister: The lines are doing this of their own accord! This idea really appeals to me. Double yellow…
Posted: Wed Jun 21, 2006.   Comments (13)

The Body On A Highway Prank — Status: Prank Gone Wrong One of the rules of pranking is that you should do no harm. This means no harm to others, nor to yourself. The two Russian soldiers who thought lying down across the highway would be a funny prank, should have given more thought to this rule. As reported by MosNews.com: Two young men, private Vladislav Lunev and first class private Nikolay Chistyakov escaped from the army troops not far from Moscow, Russia, late at night, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily reported…
Posted: Wed Jun 21, 2006.   Comments (13)

The Baby Mind Reader — Status: Psychic mumbo-jumbo This week Channel Five in the UK will begin airing a documentary about Derek Ogilvie, a guy who claims to be a "Baby Mind Reader." That's right, he can read the minds of infants and tell desperate parents why their little darlings won't sleep, or why they're fussy about eating, or why they cry all the time, etc., etc. The Scotsman has a pretty sympathetic article about him, describing him as a "respected Scottish medium." The Sunday Times, however, rakes him…
Posted: Tue Jun 20, 2006.   Comments (20)

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