The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
July 2006
Quick Change Artists — Status: Magic Trick A lot of sites have been linking to this video of a pair of quick-change artists performing on NBC's America's Got Talent. The video is fun to watch if you haven't seen them performing before. The pair are magicians David & Dania, who were recently profiled in this Slate.com article. Apparently the duo have become the most popular act during NBA half-time shows. So how is the trick done? Slate.com reports that: the trick dates back to the 19th century, and the…
Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2006.   Comments (51)

Very Pregnant — Status: Hoax I missed this story last month, but better late than never. Early in June a lot of newspapers ran this photo of Qiao Yubo, a Chinese woman supposedly pregnant with five babies. Apparently it was one of the most viewed photos on Yahoo! News. The caption accompanying the photo stated that she was 1.67m tall, five months pregnant, had a waist measuring 1.75m, and was eating seven meals a day. Honestly, I have a hard time understanding how anyone thought this was real. Her…
Posted: Fri Jul 14, 2006.   Comments (13)

No Scruf — Status: Viral Marketing Campaign I've received a few emails asking me for info about noscruf.org. It appears, on the surface, to be a site created by the NO SCRUF organization, which stands for "National Organization of Social Crusaders Repulsed by Unshaven Faces." It's supposedly a growing coalition of women who have vowed not to shave until men start shaving. Their website, which features lots of photos of hirsute models (obviously photoshopped, or using glue-on hair), proclaims:…
Posted: Fri Jul 14, 2006.   Comments (19)

Marauding Machete-Wielding Clowns — Status: Weird News (True) Big Gary forwarded me this news story about a "machete-wielding gang in angry clown make-up" who have been attacking people in Washington State. The article notes that the group call themselves "juggalos" and often shout "Woo, woo, juggalo!" to each other as they attack victims. The article concludes by noting: "Juggalos often dress in black and wear clown face paint." Big Gary wonders: "Does Seattle really have a subculture of people who call themselves…
Posted: Fri Jul 14, 2006.   Comments (31)


The Vegetable Orchestra — Status: Strange, but true Vienna boasts the world's only vegetable orchestra. Members of this orchestra play only instruments made out of vegetables. Among their instruments: the cuke-o-phon, the radish-marimba, and the carrot-flute. (A few kitchen utensils such as knives and mixers are also used, on occasion.) And I love this part of the concept: "the instruments are subsequently made into a soup so that the audience can then enjoy them a second time" In their FAQ, the vegetable…
Posted: Thu Jul 13, 2006.   Comments (12)

Strange Coincidence: Titanic Disaster Foretold — Status: True (kind of, though I wouldn't use the word 'foretold') 2spare.com offers a list of the Top 15 Strangest Coincidences. It's an interesting list (Thanks for the link, Kathy!), and as far as I can tell all the coincidences they list are basically true. Or, at least, they've all been widely reported, and I haven't been able to find any false statements in them yet. (I didn't analyze all of them that closely.) But one coincidence I found particularly interesting, that I hadn't…
Posted: Thu Jul 13, 2006.   Comments (27)

Book A Fake Vacation — Status: Weird News The Los Angeles Times reports about a Russian travel agency, Persey Tours, that sells fake vacations: For $500, nobody will believe you weren't sunning yourself last week on Copacabana Beach, just before you trekked through the Amazon rain forest and slept in a thatched hut. Hey! That's you, arms outstretched like Kate Winslet on the bow of the Titanic, on top of Corcovado! Persey Tours was barely keeping the bill collectors at bay before it started offering fake…
Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006.   Comments (23)

Photograph of Mozart’s Widow — Status: Probably a hoax Last week the London Times printed a photo that, so it claimed, was the only known photograph of Mozart's widow (Constanze), taken in 1840 at the home of Swiss composer Max Keller when she was 78 years old. (She's supposedly the woman on the far left.) However, the photo has generated controversy online, where a number of scholars have labeled it a hoax. The Sounds & Fury blog cites Agnes Selby, author of a biography of Constanze Mozart, who writes that: this…
Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006.   Comments (5)

Fake Muscle Suits (all the rage in India) — Status: Weird News The Times of India reports that fake muscle suits are the latest fashion trend in India : Made of a combination of spandex and rubber, this suit replete with biceps, washboard abs and killer pectorals can be worn under T-shirts, giving the wearer a vicarious thrill of having a 'to-die-for' upper body. And these 'made in Bangkok/Hong Kong/Taiwan' suits are selling like hot cakes from stores that are stocking them... With each suit retailing for anything between Rs…
Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006.   Comments (13)

Roach-vertising — Status: Strange (but real) marketing campaign You see a large cockroach on your floor. If you don't scream and run the other way, you might try to kill it. But it won't squash like a normal roach. So you pick it up, and then you see the advertisement printed on the bottom of it: "See how easy it is to get into your house? D.D. Drin. Insect Elimination." This scenario may happen to you, because fake slogan-bearing roaches are apparently being slipped beneath people's doors as part of a…
Posted: Tue Jul 11, 2006.   Comments (21)

The Bunny Ears Prank: A History — Status: Classic prank Making 'Bunny Ears' behind someone's head has to be the most ubiquitous prank of all time. I can't think of anything that would rival it. In fact, it's so pervasive, so taken-for-granted, that I had never given it a second thought until I read this article by Rachel Sauer in which she attempts to trace a brief history of the bunny-ears prank. She writes: Way back in the early history of photography, back when people had metal rods strapped to their backs and…
Posted: Mon Jul 10, 2006.   Comments (30)

Farm-Raised Salmon Scam — Status: False advertising It was only in the course of writing Hippo Eats Dwarf that I became aware of how widespread the use of deceptive marketing is in the food industry. 'Chicken nuggets' often contain mostly ground-up skin and bones from cows and pigs. Order veal at a restaurant and there's a good chance you'll be served cheap pork. And fish restaurants are notorious for serving cheap fish to their patrons, having creatively renamed it to sound more appealing. So, for instance,…
Posted: Mon Jul 10, 2006.   Comments (13)

In-Car Phonographs — Status: Real Did car manufacturers ever offer the option of an in-car phonograph? I would have thought not. After all, the technological challenge presented by such a product is obvious. How can you get it not to skip? But trusting in the common sense of car manufacturers is never a wise thing to do. So in this respect it's probably obvious that, yes, such a feature was once offered, though for a very brief period of time. Predictably, the in-car phonographs skipped like crazy and were…
Posted: Mon Jul 10, 2006.   Comments (16)

Pickle Phobia — Status: Undetermined Some of the things I post about aren't the most intelligence-enhancing things in the world. I know that. But what follows is really scraping the bottom of the barrel, so to speak. It's a woman who appeared on the Maury Povich Show who claims to be Pickle-Phobic. The mere sight of pickles sends her into a state of screaming panic. Her fear of pickles is ruining her life. Here's what she has to say: "My name is Mariah, and I hate pickles. I hate everything about...…
Posted: Sun Jul 09, 2006.   Comments (47)

Ann Coulter’s Hands — Status: Real I don't like to make fun of people's appearances (doing so disturbs my soft, liberal sensibilities), but when I saw this picture of Ann Coulter I thought that it was either photoshopped, or she had the strangest looking hand I've ever seen in my life. In fact, I would hesitate to even use the words 'hand' to describe that thing at the end of her arm. Instead, the phrase 'raptor claw' seems like it might be more appropriate. The thing is almost as long as her forearm! But a…
Posted: Sun Jul 09, 2006.   Comments (39)

Did Ken Lay Fake His Death? — Status: Undetermined (I refuse to give him the benefit of the doubt) Ken Lay was reported dead on Wednesday. The medical examiner ruled the cause of death to be severe coronary disease. But almost as soon as word of his death hit the internet, the conspiracy theories started. Scott Adams summed up what many were thinking in his Dilbert Blog: Does it seem suspicious to you that ex-Enron CEO Ken Lay died right before they could put his guilty ass behind bars? I wonder how many doctors…
Posted: Sun Jul 09, 2006.   Comments (17)

Huggable Urns — Status: Weird, but real Christophe Thill sent me a link to Huggable Urns (they're teddy bears that hold cremains) along with the message: "This has to be a hoax? Right? Right?" Sorry, Christophe. I don't think so. The Huggable Urns look real enough, and if you click on the 'Buy Now' button on the products page, it takes you to a PayPal payment page, which is usually a good sign that a product is real. Actually, although the huggable urns seem a bit ghoulish and tacky, they're not…
Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2006.   Comments (20)

The Frosties Kid Is Dead — Status: Urban Legend A recent ad for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes shows a blond-haired kid dancing around singing "They're going to taste great!" I think this is a British ad. At least, I've never seen it here in America. And all the references to it I've found occur in the British press. For instance, David Whitehouse writes in the Guardian: Pity the poor Kellogg's marketing department... all they wanted to do was make an advert in which a chirpy young scamp would skip his way through the…
Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2006.   Comments (102)

Unfortunate URL: OMFG.com — Status: Real Here's another site to add to my ongoing list of unfortunate URLsOMFG.com. The site explains that OMFG stands for 'Official Meeting Facilities Guide.' They claim to be "the industry’s leading meeting planning print directory for the most active meeting professionals." They seem to have no clue that OMFG is more commonly used as an acronym for a different phrase ('Oh My F***ing God'). But having this URL probably generates a fair amount of traffic for them, so maybe it…
Posted: Thu Jul 06, 2006.   Comments (8)

Submarine At The Beach — Status: Real Supposedly this is a picture of a Russian nuclear sub cruising by a beach somewhere in Russia. I've noticed this picture posted on a number of blogs, but the info about it comes from strategypage.com. However, no source for the photo is indicated. Is it real? I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be. Here in San Diego it's quite common to see nuclear subs cruising past, especially if you're at Cabrillo Point or Coronado. I imagine the same must be true in Russia.
Posted: Thu Jul 06, 2006.   Comments (30)

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