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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
July 2006
Texas Town Prays For Rain — Status: Superstition It's been a hot summer, and a lot of areas really need some rain. The town of Lubbock, Texas is taking a pro-active approach by organizing everyone in the town to pray for rain. Mayor David Miller says:"Nobody is going to tell God what to do and what not to do, but we are in a serious drought in West Texas and since he is the man who controls the rain clouds, we're asking him for his mercy and his help." If the City Council approves the rain-prayer resolution,…
Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2006.   Comments (27)

Headless Gymnast — Status: Strange but real A strange photo can be seen on Yahoo! News Photo. It looks like this gymnast is headless, though, of course, that's just an illusion created by the angle of the camera. The gymnast is Katherine Coronel of Venezuela. The photo was taken by Martin Bernetti.
Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2006.   Comments (7)

Inflatable Passenger — Status: Weird News Sheilas’ Wheels, a UK-based auto-insurance company that caters to women, has announced the invention of a "buddy on Demand": "a blow up man that inflates at the flick of a switch if and when a passenger is needed to be used whenever a woman driving alone after dark needs an instant passenger." It doesn't sound like a bad idea, and it would be very useful for carpool lanes as well. I suspected the whole thing was a joke since I couldn't find any picture of this…
Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2006.   Comments (15)

Cursor Kite — Status: Real Has a giant cursor been photoshopped into this picture? It looks like it, but the cursor is actually a kite created by Tim Elverston of WindFire Designs. It's not yet for sale. In the larger version of the picture, you can see someone on the right-hand side holding the strings to keep the kite aloft. More pictures of the Cursor Kite can be seen at the WindFire Designs site. (via OhGizmo)
Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2006.   Comments (12)


Did Einstein Consider Geography More Difficult Than Physics? — Status: Hoax The following quotation is widely attributed to Albert Einstein: "As a young man, my fondest dream was to become a geographer. However, while working in the Customs Office, I thought deeply about the matter and concluded that it was far too difficult a subject. With some reluctance, I then turned to physics as an alternative." Did he ever say it? No. Nor did he ever work in the Customs Office. (He worked in the Patent Office.) In an article in the Toronto Star, Sharon…
Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2006.   Comments (7)

Mock Marijuana — Status: Unusual product Want some marijuana? Of course, here in America it's illegal to buy the real thing, but you can buy mock marijuana... lifelike marijuana plants made out of silk and wood. It would be a pretty cool conversation piece to have sitting in the corner, especially if the police ever show up unexpectedly. The mock marijuana is sold by New Image Plants, operated by pro-pot activist Joseph White. It's a small business. Most of his customers, ironically, are…
Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2006.   Comments (24)

Rob the Parachuting War-Hero Dog — Status: Hoax A collie named Rob has long been celebrated as a hero of World War II. He received the Dickin Medal for Gallantry "For service including 20 parachute jumps while serving with Infantry in North Africa and SAS Regiment in Italy." However, Rob's plane-jumping exploits have now been exposed as a hoax. Quentin "Jimmy" Hughes, a former SAS training officer, exposed the hoax in his recent autobiographical account of the SAS, Who Cares Who Wins? The London Times reports: Far…
Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2006.   Comments (11)

Angel Crashlands On Car — Status: Seems to be some kind of viral marketing campaign Here's a bit of a mystery. Last week Liam Yates went to pick up his car from the Borough Green train station, where he had left it parked, only to discover "the bonnet, windscreen and roof of his car caved in, with one 8ft wing protruding out of the front, and another sticking up out of the top." It looked like an angel had crashlanded on his car. This Is Kent reports: The wings were matted at one end with what looked like blood,…
Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2006.   Comments (21)

Feckenham’s Declaration of Independence — Status: Hoax Earlier this spring, while digging up an oak tree, residents of Feckenham (a small British village) discovered an 800-year-old scroll written by King Henry III. The scroll stated that the village should remain independent forever. This prompted the villagers to declare their independence from Britain, set up border-patrol checkpoints around the town, and lower the taxes on beer. The Ottawa Citizen reports: The scroll, of course, is a joke. The story started earlier this…
Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2006.   Comments (4)

Is Fake-Nice A Good Thing? — Status: Etiquette advice Miss Manners recently tackled the question of whether it's better to be honest (and unpleasant) or to be fake-nice. A correspondent asked her: How can one deal (correct word?) with nice people, saying "all the right things," without meaning any of it? It's just been driving me crazy as it seems to be occurring more and more. Miss Manners responded that it would be a disaster if people were always brutally honest: This is not an affliction, Miss Manners assures…
Posted: Sun Jul 23, 2006.   Comments (23)

Penguin On A British Beach? — Status: Undetermined A penguin might have recently visited a British beach near Yarmouth. Jean Edwards claims to have seen the penguin standing on the beach, and she took a photo of it with her mobile phone. But wildlife experts are skeptical that it really is a penguin. After all, penguins live at the South Pole, so it would be a long way for one to travel. And no local zoos have reported any penguins missing. Kieran Copeland, animal care manager at Hunstanton Sealife Sanctuary,…
Posted: Sun Jul 23, 2006.   Comments (8)

Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo — Status: Linguistic puzzle Check out these parsing challenges over at linguistlist.org. It took me a good 15 or 20 minutes to figure out why they make sense. (Though I'm sure some people will figure them out immediately.) The first one is this sentence: Dogs dogs dog dog dogs. It's a legitimate english sentence. To figure out how this is so, it helps to compare it to the sentence: Cats dogs chase catch mice. (They both share the same structure.) The linguist list folks then point out…
Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2006.   Comments (33)

Coin Glued To The Ground Prank Goes Disastrously Wrong — Status: Weird News Gluing a coin to the ground and then watching as people attempt, unsuccessfully, to pick it up, has to be one of the oldest street pranks around. It dates back hundreds of years. It's a very simple prank, and I would never have imagined it could be viewed as dangerous or threatening. But somehow a prankster who glued some quarters to the ground at the Kosciusko County Fair in Indiana almost managed to shut down the entire fair. The Times-Union reports: A prankster…
Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2006.   Comments (12)

Man Builds Robot Version of Himself — Status: Weird News Wired has an interesting article about Hiroshi Ishiguro, a Japanese researcher who has built a remote-control robotic version of himself: Ishiguro's silicone-and-steel doppelgänger was made from casts taken from his own body. Powered by pressurized air and small actuators, it runs on semiautonomous motion programs. It blinks and fidgets in its seat, moving its foot up and down restlessly, its shoulders rising gently as though it were breathing. These micromovements…
Posted: Fri Jul 21, 2006.   Comments (12)

Woman Claims To Be Descendant of Jesus Christ (And Gets Huge Book Deal) — Status: Clever marketing scheme Kathleen McGowan claims to be a descendant of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. That belief would make her no different than all the other people in this world suffering from delusions of grandeur, except that she's managed to leverage her extraordinary claim of ancestry into a major book deal. Simon & Schuster will soon be publishing her novel, The Expected One, with a print-run of 250,000 copies. The book is a loose fictionalization of her claim. She…
Posted: Fri Jul 21, 2006.   Comments (26)

Magic Cheese — Status: Ponzi Scheme Chilean police have arrested a pair of con artists who had constructed an elaborate pyramid scheme based on the sale of "magic cheese". OhMyNews reports: The fraud consisted in selling people packs of "Yo Flex," a powder that, she claimed, would ferment milk into a special cheese. Giselle said that this "Magic Cheese" was the latest fashion in France, where women used it as a skin cosmetic, and which in Africa was used as a food supplement... In Chile, a pack of Yo…
Posted: Fri Jul 21, 2006.   Comments (16)

Beware of Hydrogen in Water — Status: Prank Here's a slight variation on the old dihydrogen monoxide prank. The director of the Waterfront Park in Louisville, Ky placed signs around the fountains warning people of dangerously high levels of hydrogen in the water: It seems authorities, tired of swimmers splashing around in the fountains and leery of the possibility of bacteria developing in the water, were hoping the public would be scared away by the foreboding signs — even though there was nothing amiss. David…
Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2006.   Comments (17)

Human-Toothed Fish Found in Texas — Status: Weird (but probably true) news A Lubbock, Texas news station has reported that a local fisherman recently caught a fish that seems to have human teeth: Fisherman Scott Curry reeled in the 20-pound fish on Buffalo Springs Lake and immediately noticed the catch had human-like teeth. A game warden photographed the fish and is attempting to identify it. General Manager of Buffalo Springs Lake Greg Thornton told KLBK13-TV in Texas that he has never seen anything like the fish in the…
Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2006.   Comments (18)

Godzilla Cloud — Status: Undetermined I don't have any information about this picture. It's just an image of a cloud shaped like Godzilla that I came across on the web. Is it real or fake? Well, it looks real to me, and I can't see any obvious signs of photoshopping. But I couldn't say for sure. Also, I have no idea what type of cloud this is.
Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2006.   Comments (14)

Garage Door Opener Triggers Priapic Response — Status: Old joke The Register has posted a transcript of a BBC radio call-in show during which a man phoned up claiming to have a highly unusual medical problem. Following an operation in Turkey to treat his impotence, the man now finds that every time his neighbor opens the garage door, he gets an uncontrollable erection: CALLER: But what is happening now is every time my neighbour comes back in their 4 x 4, I get an erection. HOST: Good Lord. CALLER: This is embarrassing. It's a big…
Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2006.   Comments (9)

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