The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
June 2007
Modern Art or Childs Art — A popular genre of art hoax involves a collector being conned into praising (and often buying) a work of art that he believes to have been done by a great artist, but which is later revealed to be the work of an animal or a young child. (See Monkey Art Fools Expert.) An example of this hoax is reported by Keith Allen in his autobiography, Grow Up. The Telegraph reports: The esteemed theatre director Sir Trevor Nunn was left with a face the colour of a blank canvas after being told the…
Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2007.   Comments (8)

Leaping Nessie — New video footage claims to show the Loch Ness Monster leaping out of the water. Despite the fact that the footage is obviously fake, there's a bigger problem with the claim that this shows the Loch Ness Monster. Whatever body of water is shown in the clip doesn't look like Loch Ness. Loch Ness is pretty narrow, and you can always see the other side. This footage, on the other hand, looks like it was shot on the coast of the sea. Another theory just occurred to me. Maybe what this…
Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2007.   Comments (14)

Snake Head Found in Beans — Here's something to add to my list of Gross Things Found in Food. Philadelphia resident Earl Hartman was sitting down at home to enjoy some green beans and chicken, when he noticed something unusual in his beans. "When I sat down, I noticed something didn’t look right. It didn't look like a green bean," he said. It wasn't a green bean. It was a snake head. This seems to be a legitimate case of something odd that found its way into a can of green beans. Seneca Foods, the company that…
Posted: Mon Jun 18, 2007.   Comments (6)

Cologne Pills — Athletic-apparel company Lululemon has recently been advertising what they claim to be the world's first cologne pill. You swallow it and then you sweat cologne. They call it L'Odeur. The tagline for the product is "Swallow the cologne pill. Sweat the fragrance." You can check out the ad here. There's also an accompanying cheesy video on You Tube. Of course, it's a hoax. The cologne-pill ads are actually designed to attract attention to a new real product, Silverescent, which is a…
Posted: Sun Jun 17, 2007.   Comments (3)


Do you really need to go? — When workers in Eston Town Hall went to the bathroom, they were surprised to find a sign with the following message posted in the lavatories:Think Green. Think Safe. Do you really need to go? Toilets and sinks account for approximately 75% of the water used in workplaces. It is important for all of us to do more to save water, both to protect our world's natural resources and to lower the economic impact of wasteful water usage. Staff members complained that they thought this was…
Posted: Sun Jun 17, 2007.   Comments (7)

Best of the Forum – 15th June 07 — Artist fools punters into buying tins of cheap plaster… (David B.) Tins of Italian artist Piero Manzoni’s excrement, sold as art to collectors for thousands of pounds, have been in the news recently, as it seems that they may contain nothing more than plaster. A spokeswoman at the Tate museum in London insisted that the revelation did not invalidate the tin as a work of art. “Keeping the viewer in suspense is part of the work’s subversive humour,” she said. The world’s most famous…
Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2007.   Comments (2)

Salt Lake City UFO — On Wednesday many residents of Salt Lake City thought they saw a UFO. A mysterious blimp-like object floated over the city for a while and then disappeared. Someone with a video camera caught it on film. Local air traffic controllers said that they didn't pick up any object on their radar. If you look at the video, it seems pretty obvious that it's some kind of man-made blimp. Nevertheless, witnesses were quick to speculate that it was some kind of massive 100-foot-long…
Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2007.   Comments (2)

Historical Hoaxes Quiz — Test your knowledge of hoaxes. David Emery, About.com's Urban Legends and Folklore guide, has posted a pop quiz about Historical Hoaxes and Fallacies. I got 15 out of 15, a perfect score. Woo Hoo! (It would have been kind of embarrassing if I had gotten any wrong, though there was one question about what Neil Armstrong said when he first stepped onto the surface of the moon that I had to think about for a while.)
Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2007.   Comments (18)

Winner and Loser Lane — The Sydney Morning Herald reports on the Lane family from New York City in which the father named one of his sons Winner and the other Loser. (Actually, the article is a few years old, but it was new to me.) At first the article struck me as sounding too weird to be true. Why would a father name his son Loser? But apparently it's true. At least, it's been reported elsewhere by credible sources, such as in this Slate.com article by the Freakonomics authors. The story is that the…
Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2007.   Comments (12)

Phantom Vibration Syndrome — Many cellphone users are reporting that they often feel their cellphone vibrating, when it's not vibrating at all. The phenomenon is being called Phantom Vibration Syndrome (an allusion, I assume, to Phantom Limb Syndrome, in which amputees feel sensations in their missing limbs). Psychologists attribute these phantom vibrations to cellphone users' brains becoming over-alert to the sensation of vibration, and therefore experiencing false alarms: Alejandro Lleras, a sensation and…
Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2007.   Comments (16)

Did Jefferson Invent Macaroni and Cheese? — Rumor has it that Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, could include, among his many other accomplishments, inventing macaroni and cheese (one of my favorite foods). The wikipedia entry for mac and cheese mentions this rumor: According to more than one urban legend, macaroni and cheese was invented by Thomas Jefferson, who, in the variant told by Alton Brown of Good Eats, upon failing to receive an Italian pasta-making machine, designed his own machine, made the…
Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2007.   Comments (8)

Quick Links: Dog Gives Birth to Kitten, etc. — Dog Gives Birth to Kitten A dog in a Chinese village has allegedly given birth to a litter that included what looks like a kitten. “Local residents have been flocking to his house to see the 'kitten' which local vets say is really a puppy which looks like a cat because of a gene mutation. It apparently yaps like a puppy.” Whether or not the photo that accompanies the article is actually a picture of the litter is uncertain. (Thanks, Sarah.) Is Des a Feline Record Breaker? Des, a cat…
Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2007.   Comments (16)

Fake Wedding Cakes — I've heard of renting wedding dresses, but I'd never heard of renting the wedding cake. But apparently renting fake wedding cakes is becoming increasingly popular. Here's how it works: The idea is to have an elegant, multitiered pretend cake for show while serving guests slices from a real, tasty and inexpensive sheet cake. The inside of a faux wedding cake crafted by Fun Cakes in Grandville contains mostly plastic foam, with a secret spot reserved for a slice of real cake to be shared…
Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2007.   Comments (9)

Paris Hilton Lives! — In the past few days, several hoaxes have been circulating on the internet about Paris Hilton. The first claims that she was stabbed in jail. The second suggests that she committed suicide. The appearance of these hoaxes was rather predictable, given the media circus surrounding her time in jail. The method of operation of both hoaxes was to disguise themselves as credible news sites. The "Paris Hilton was stabbed" story disguised itself as a CNN webpage. The "Paris Hilton committed…
Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2007.   Comments (10)

God Metal Scam — Swindlers conned a Vietnamese businessman into buying $25,000 worth of "God Metal." Apparently, the existence of God Metal is an old folk legend in Vietnam. According to Thanh Nien News: ‘God metal’, also known as ‘black copper’, is almost a myth in Vietnam. Those who claim to have seen it say it is extremely heavy but floats in an iron bucket of water. In its vicinity glass shatters, matches and lighters do not ignite, iron nails are repelled, and gold turns white. The mark for the…
Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2007.   Comments (4)

Breast-Milk Cheese — Le Petit Singly (it's a French-language website, but here's a translated version) claims to be a French farm that specializes in producing cheese out of "the mother's milk of woman." According to the blurb on their site, they've been doing this since 1947. They say that the breast-milk cheese has a caramel color and has a hint of hazelnut taste. Of course, I think it would be technically possible to make cheese out of breast milk. (Although this woman in Indonesia reports that she…
Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2007.   Comments (21)

Best of the Forum – 8th June 07 — Man blames health drink for unwanted erection (Bebelicious) New Yorker Christopher Woods underwent surgery in 2004 for severe priapism – an erection that would not subside. Now he’s suing pharmaceutical company Novartis AG, claiming that their nutritional drink, Boost Plus, was the cause of his condition. Can’t remember the name of a song? Try tapping it on your keyboard! (DJ_Canada) This programme allows you to tap the melody of a song using your space bar to try to identify it.…
Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2007.   Comments (10)

Faces in Trees — I was inspired by the news story about the mayor's face in a tree to search out other examples of faces in trees. I knew that stories about faces in trees pop up regularly in the news, but to my knowledge no one had ever collected these stories together in one place. So it seemed like an appropriate thing to waste a couple of hours doing. I posted the results in the hoaxipedia. It's more faces in trees than you can shake a stick at.
Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2007.   Comments (0)

Mayor Appears on Tree — Donald Stephens, Mayor of Rosemont in Illinois for fifty-one years, died on April 18. But now he's come back. On a tree. The Chicago Tribune reports that: Eerily, a likeness of the late mayor's face has appeared on a tree outside the village-owned health club, according to some people who have seen it. In a town still grieving for the larger-than-life mayor, who died April 18, the mysterious image is sure to add to the Stephens mystique. I find it amazing that people think it's the…
Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2007.   Comments (13)

The Viagra Oyster Email Hoax — George May had a clever idea: Let oysters soak in a solution of Viagra for a while, and then sell them as Viagra Oysters. Of course, Pfizer is objecting to this use of its drug, and food-safety officials don't like the idea of selling purposefully contaminated oysters. But still, May is confident he's got a successful product on his hands, and his idea has received quite a lot of media attention. So it pleased him, but didn't surprise him, when he received the following email from…
Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2007.   Comments (8)

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