The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
September 2007
Yeti Footprint Photo Fetches Monster Price — A 1951 photo of a "yeti footprint" recently sold at Christie's for £3,500. That's almost $7000 (thanks to the lousy exchange rate we Americans are currently stuck with). The photo was taken in the Himalayas in 1951 by Eric Shipton, who was a member of a reconaissance expedition scouting the region before attempting to climb Mt. Everest. Another member of the team, Tom Bourdillon, included this note with the picture when he sent it to his friend Michael Davies: “Dear Mick, here are the…
Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2007.   Comments (5)

Cops Writing Cops — Cops Writing Cops claims to be a site created by a bunch of police officers in order to publicize the problem of cops who give other cops tickets for traffic violations. They invite cops who have been ticketed by other cops to write in with their stories. In their "About Us" section, they write: Our mission is to try and bond our community by bringing the stories of how our brothers and sisters are sometimes mistreated by other brothers and sisters. Maybe after visiting this site and…
Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2007.   Comments (10)

Porthemmet Beach — The website for Porthemmet Beach advertises that it is the best beach in Cornwall. It also claims that it's the only beach in the UK to allow topless sunbathing. So how does one find this beach? These are the directions on the website: Porthemmet is very easy to get to from anywhere in Cornwall. Head north up the A30 until you see the signs. They are very clear, you can't miss it! It should be noted that there is a private joke in Cornwall whereby locals will pretend to not know where…
Posted: Thu Sep 27, 2007.   Comments (17)

New Yorker on Joyce Hatto — Mark Singer has written an article for the New Yorker about the Joyce Hatto hoax, that was revealed earlier this year. I was busy finishing Elephants on Acid when it was making headlines, but Flora posted about it. Hatto was supposedly a virtuoso pianist, whose talent was discovered only very late in her life, when she was already in her seventies. She was notable for being able to masterfully play a wide variety of works, including compositions by Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Liszt, and…
Posted: Thu Sep 27, 2007.   Comments (4)


Bat Bugs Have Fake Genitals — National Geographic has an article about a "hotbed of deception" in the natural world. It involves the genitals of a small, reddish-brown parasite called the bat bug. In order to protect themselves from the unwanted advances of male members of the species, female bat bugs have evolved a region on their body similar to a fake genital: Researchers have long known that male bat bugs ignore females' conventional parts and instead use their sharp penises to stab the females' abdomens,…
Posted: Thu Sep 27, 2007.   Comments (2)

Fake Acupuncture Better Than Medicine? — A study conducted in Germany found that "fake" acupuncture worked almost as well as "real" acupuncture, and that both performed better than conventional care (which included painkillers, massage, and heat therapy). Reportedly, 47 percent of patients receiving real acupuncture to treat lower back pain improved, as did 44 percent of the fake acupuncture group, but only 27 percent of the usual care group got relief. The study has been published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, which…
Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007.   Comments (12)

Best of the forum - 21st September 07 — Due to my ongoing computer problems and personal situation, this is again brought to you by Madmouse. Peruvian Meteorite (eovti) An apparent meteorite landing in Peru has led to reports of illness amongst locals. Original suggestions for the cause of the sickness included radiation poisoning, but that seems unlikely. Sign Language Translator (Madmouse) There’s been a lot of discussion in the forum about this story. A group of UK students have developed a system to translate spoken…
Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2007.   Comments (0)

Top of Mt. Everest Sawed Off — A Chinese artist, Xu Zhen, claims to have climbed to the top of Mt. Everest, sawed off the top of it, and brought it back to China where he now has it on display in an art gallery. From the gallery's press release: 8848 is the publicly recognized height of the world’s tallest mountain, Mt. Everest. Artist Xu Zhen has sawed off 1.86 meters (his height) from the peak of Mt. Everest, and transported the piece to participate in this exhibition. Audiences may not believe that this is real,…
Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2007.   Comments (10)

Rude Crop Circle — The Smith family, owners of Hee Haw Farms in Utah County, weren't too pleased when they found a crop circle in their corn maze. According to the Deseret News: Two strategically positioned circles, each measuring 36 feet in diameter, and a 100-foot-long rectangle appeared near the maze entrance in the southwest portion of the nine-acre corn field over Labor Day weekend. From the ground they appear random, but from above the shapes' placement appears more strategic, not to mention…
Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2007.   Comments (2)

Floating Barn — A picture of an apparently floating barn has recently been making the rounds. According to whoever posted it on panoramio.com, the barn is located in Ukraine, 1 km from Krasnosilka. However, the same person also titled the picture "kin-dza-dza," which is the title of a Russian science-fiction movie. I don't know if that's supposed to mean that the picture looks like something out of a science-fiction movie, or if it's fake. I'm inclined to think that the building is real, and that…
Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2007.   Comments (23)

Ecowatts Miracle Tube — The Mail on Sunday reports that a British company called Ecowatts claims to have created a device that seems to create energy from virtually nothing. It's a 12-inch tube that you plug into your electrical outlet. The device then creates more heat energy than the electrical energy put into it can account for. They hope to market this revolutionary tube as a home-heating device. Sounds like another free-energy scam to me. If the device really did output more energy than is put into it,…
Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2007.   Comments (25)

Is my baby gay? — A website called Is My Baby Gay offers to inform you of your child's sexual preferences for a fee of only $19.99. They direct customers to print out a circle on a piece of paper. You're then supposed to apply the tongue of your baby to the center of the circle for 15 seconds. You mail this piece of paper to the "Is My Baby Gay" testing center, and they promise to get back to you with an answer within two weeks. If they turn out to be wrong, they promise that they'll refund 150% of your…
Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2007.   Comments (17)

Man hits head - Suddenly knows English — Cranky Media Guy forwarded me this article on Ananova.com about a Czech speedway rider who suffered a concussion during a race, was knocked out, and woke up speaking perfect English, with a posh British accent... even though he barely spoke a word of English before. His command of English only lasted for 48 hours, at which point his memory returned, as did his native Czech, and his English disappeared. CMG is skeptical. He says, "The Foreign Accent Syndrome mentioned in the last…
Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2007.   Comments (9)

Suicidal Teens Welcome — An image showing a "suicidal teens welcome" sign in the window of an armed forces career center has recently been circulating again. The image is at least six months old. And no, it's not real. The sign is a reference to an episode of The Simpsons in which a similar sign was shown in the window of an army recruiting center. The only question is whether the image is photoshopped, or did someone surreptitiously stick the sign in the window of the recruiting center and then snap the…
Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2007.   Comments (8)

Real-Life “Killer in the Backseat” — A real-life version of the "killer in the backseat" urban legend has been reported. Folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand gives the following description of this classic tale in his Encyclopedia of Urban Legends: "Would-be killer lurks in back, detected by motorist or gas-station attendant." In all versions, the intended victim is a woman. In the versions in which another motorist spots the assailant, the driver notices that the car or truck following her keeps blinking his lights or shifting…
Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2007.   Comments (9)

Dihydrogen Monoxide… Once Again — The dihydrogen monoxide prank has gained another victim. Jacqui Dean, a New Zealand politician, received a letter from a constituent asking her to look into the issue of the dangerous chemical known as dihydrogen monoxide. She promptly fired off a letter to the Associate Health Minister asking him whether it would be possible to ban the drug. The minister replied that dihydrogen monoxide "may have been described to her as colourless, odourless, tasteless and causing the death of…
Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2007.   Comments (6)

Flamingoing — I've found the new line of work that I'm going to go into: Flamingoing. Flamingoing involves offering one's services as a professional flamingo prankster. People pay you to place flocks of pink flamingoes on other people's yards. A note is left along with the birds, "You've been flamingoed," and there's a number the victim can call to find out who played the prank. Flamingoing, as a line of work, has been pioneered by two high school students, Emily Lohmeyer and Paige Prentice of…
Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2007.   Comments (11)

Men’s Studies — Freshmen at Swarthmore College found in their mailboxes a course packet describing the "Men's Studies" department. Courses included: MENS 001. ESPN and Sportswriting Students will analyze the language conventions used in the analysis of sports. Readings and texts will include ESPN’s SportsCenter, Sports Illustrated, and the sports sections of various newspapers. MENS 025. Study a Broad An in-depth appreciation of women in our lives. Each week, a different woman from television,…
Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2007.   Comments (7)

Tree Image in Tree — A conker tree in Holdenhurst, Dorset was cut down. Inside one of the branches was found an image of a tiny tree. Tree experts say that the brown mark is caused by disease -- that the heart of the wood was beginning to rot. Personally, I don't think the mark looks like a tree. I think it looks like Jesus (wearing a tree costume). Link: The Daily Mail.
Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2007.   Comments (8)

Fake Holy Water Warning — Health officers in Britain have issued a warning to consumers to be on the lookout for fake holy water. From the BBC: The water is advertised as coming from the sacred well of Zam Zam in Mecca, the most holy city in Islam, and demand increases during Ramadan. The warning does not cover genuine Zam Zam, which is sourced from the Well of Zam Zam, located within the Masjid al Haram in Mecca. Councillor Audrey Lewis was concerned Muslims may be exploited into buying counterfeit Zam Zam…
Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2007.   Comments (7)

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