The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
July 2006
Quick Change Artists
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jul 16, 2006
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 article. Apparently the duo have become the most popular act during NBA half-time shows. So how is the trick done? reports that: the trick…
Categories: Magic, Photos/Videos Comments (51)
Very Pregnant
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jul 14, 2006
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 stomach looks obviously fake. And sure enough, a few…
Categories: Birth/Babies, Photos/Videos Comments (13)
No Scruf
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jul 14, 2006
Status: Viral Marketing Campaign I've received a few emails asking me for info about 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: "Let's end the trend of prickly, scratchy, stubbly faces. We're not going to shave until men do." Last week a No Scruf protest rally was…
Marauding Machete-Wielding Clowns
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jul 14, 2006
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 'Juggalos,' dress in black, wear 'angry clown' face paint, and carry machetes? And if so, how do I join?" Yes, Gary. There is such a subculture of Juggalos. But please, as a favor…
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (31)
The Vegetable Orchestra
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jul 13, 2006
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 orchestra reports that yes, they are serious about their music. It's not just a gag. And they seem to have quite an…
Categories: Entertainment, Food Comments (12)
Strange Coincidence: Titanic Disaster Foretold
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jul 13, 2006
Status: True (kind of, though I wouldn't use the word 'foretold') 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 read about before, involved an American writer named Morgan Robertson who in 1898 wrote a novella titled Futility. It told the story of a massive ocean liner named the…
Categories: History Comments (27)
Book A Fake Vacation
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 12, 2006
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 vacations last year. Now it's selling 15 a month — providing ersatz ticket stubs, hotel receipts, photos with clients' images…
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Places Comments (23)
Photograph of Mozart’s Widow
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 12, 2006
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:
Categories: History, Photos/Videos Comments (5)
Fake Muscle Suits (all the rage in India)
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 12, 2006
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 2,000 to Rs 2,500, the suit is the most indemand quick muscle fix not to mention a great (albeit 'deceitful')…
Categories: Body Manipulation Comments (13)
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jul 11, 2006
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 marketing campaign designed by Master Comunicacao, a Brazilian ad…
Categories: Advertising Comments (21)
The Bunny Ears Prank: A History
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jul 10, 2006
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 clamped to their necks so they could sit still for the 30 minutes required for…
Categories: Comments (30)
Farm-Raised Salmon Scam
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jul 10, 2006
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, Pacific Rockfish becomes 'snapper,' and very often lobster is really South American langoustine. So this news from Consumer Reports about a widespread farm-raised salmon scam didn't really surprise me:
Categories: Food Comments (13)
In-Car Phonographs
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jul 10, 2006
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 pulled from the market. offers a history of the Highway Hi-Fi. They debuted…
Categories: Technology Comments (16)
Pickle Phobia
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jul 09, 2006
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…
Categories: Photos/Videos, Psychology Comments (47)
Ann Coulter’s Hands
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jul 09, 2006
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 quick check on (which, I assume, is her website) reveals that…
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics Comments (39)
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