The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
October 2007
A Ghost Standing By A Tree? — Christopher Ogden posed by a tree in the town of Ninety Six, South Carolina, and his dad took a picture of him (below). When the two of them saw the full-size image, they noticed something strange. A mysterious figure seemed to be standing beside Christopher, even though he was standing alone when the shot was taken. The photo made its way to a local paper, The Index-Journal, to whom Christopher gave this statement: “As a civil engineer, I’m well educated, and I’ve looked at it, and my…
Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2007.   Comments (19)

A Cruel Prank — Newkerala.com reports on a cruel prank that took a tragic turn: Dubai, Oct 29: An office boy of Indian origin working for a private firm tried to commit suicide after his colleagues played a prank on him and said he will not get his salary. The prank turned into a tragedy as the boy who had been employed only for 15 days got so upset that he slashed his wrist with a knife. He lost consciousness and was admitted to Rashid hospital here yesterday. One of the victim's friends said their…
Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2007.   Comments (4)

Music Faun Plastic Surgery — Hungarian plastic surgeon Dr. Lajos Nagy offers all the usual services at his clinic. You can get a breast enlargement, a nose job, liposuction, etc. But he also offers a rather unusual service: music faun surgery. He'll make your ears pointed so that you look like a music faun. His website, modernplasztika.co.hu, states: A newfangled extravagance is spreading amongst the music-lover youngsters of New York, which, after invading America, is sure to conquer the whole world. Ears becoming…
Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2007.   Comments (19)

The FEMA Faux Press Conference — As fires rage across southern California, FEMA has demonstrated that they're willing to step up to the plate and help everyone out. In fact, should reporters be unable to attend a press conference, FEMA is even willing to have its own staffers pose as reporters and lob softball questions at the FEMA deputy administrator. The Washington Post reports that FEMA held a press conference on Thursday, but only gave the media 15 minutes advance notice. But from what was broadcast on TV, it…
Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2007.   Comments (9)


Flower Portrait Controversy — The last time the famous Flower portrait of Shakespeare (the one showing him wearing a wide white collar) made news was back in 2005, when experts at the National Portrait Gallery declared it a fraud painted sometime during the 19th century. Now a German scholar, Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel, is arguing that the National Portrait Gallery experts didn't examine the original painting. She believes that sometime in the past ten years someone stole the original Flower portrait and
Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2007.   Comments (2)

Fake Stigmata Controversy — During the 20th century, Padre Pio was one of the most famous and popular Catholic monks. He died in 1968 and was made a saint by Pope John Paul II in 2002. He was recently declared the Patron Saint of New Year Blues. Pio was particularly famous for the supernatural phenomena associated with him. In particular, stigmata were said to have mysteriously appeared on his hands and feet. But a new book argues that Pio faked his stigmata: a book called Padre Pio and the Italy of the 19th…
Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2007.   Comments (72)

Undercover Agent Shuts Down Bradbury Play — Joe Littrell forwarded me this strange news story posted at scifidimensions.com. I can't tell if it's real or a joke. Supposedly a man identifying himself as "Agent Egan," a California "undercover investigator," halted a performance of Ray Bradbury's play Dandelion Wine at the Fremont Center Theatre, half an hour into the performance. Bradbury himself was in the audience. The play, one of Bradbury’s most autobiographical works, includes performances by several young actors, and when…
Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2007.   Comments (6)

Gravity Speakers — This video purports to show an amateur experiment in which someone created a small gravitational field "using a speaker and a generated sound wave." The instructions say that a Bose Companion 2 Series II speaker was used, and a "sine wave at 16 khz" was generated. Obviously it's fake. Audio speakers will not create a gravity field. But I'm not sure how they created the special effect. (Not that I know much about creating video effects.) Perhaps they used some kind of fancy editing…
Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2007.   Comments (62)

Can of Dehydrated Water — Dehydrated water is an old joke, but I've never actually seen a can of the stuff. Here one is, posted on Flickr by David Reeves. His caption reads, "Spotted on the chemical storage shelf in an adjacent laboratory." The strange thing is that Bernard Food Industries, the company listed as the maker of this product, is a real company. Why were they manufacturing this stuff? I assume it was a joke. Update: Looks like these cans must have been a gag product that Bernard Foods produced at…
Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2007.   Comments (47)

San Diego Fires — San Diego is on fire again. I've been watching the TV most of the day, tracking the progress of the fires. It's amazing how many people have been evacuated and homes have been destroyed. From what I hear, many more people have been affected by this fire than by the fire back in 2003. I'm lucky that where I am in San Diego (relatively close to downtown), I'm not in any danger. All that I'm dealing with is the smoke. But that's pretty bad. The air smells strongly of it, and if you're…
Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2007.   Comments (12)

Zeolite Natural Cellular Defense — "George" writes: "I would appreciate your opinion about waiora's zeolite "natural cellular defense" for treating cancer (www.waiora.com). do you think there's something to it or is it just a scam?" I don't actually see where Waiora claims that their "Natural Cellular Defense" product can be used to treat cancer. In fact, their website states, "These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease." However, what they do claim sounds rather dubious to me:
Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2007.   Comments (18)

Towel Jesus — From Cranky Media Guy, with the comment, "New horizons in pareidolia": A Houston woman says the face of Jesus is a message sent straight from God and left on a bathroom towel... She says she used the towel to clean an air conditioner. "I guess it just got stained," she said. So Lucille washed it. And bleached it. Twice. And then her granddaughter used the towel. "It kind of scared me, because I was going to dry my hair," Desiree Ramos recalled. "But then I just threw it. And then I…
Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2007.   Comments (12)

Woman finds toothbrush in her nose — The Mumbai Mirror reports that doctors in India removed a three-inch piece of a broken toothbrush from a woman's nose. The woman claims she's not sure how it got there: So how did it get there? The woman claims she is not sure. She says, “Around two months ago as I was brushing my teeth, my husband accidentally pushed me and the toothbrush in my hand broke. I was left holding the lower portion of the brush but couldn’t locate the rest of it. Soon after, I started bleeding profusely from…
Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2007.   Comments (8)

Vending Machine Camouflage — The New York Times reports about a Japanese designer, Aya Tsukioka, who has designed clothes that transform into vending-machine costumes. The idea is that if you're being pursued by a criminal, you can quickly transform yourself into a vending machine, and the criminal will hopefully run right past you.Ms. Tsukioka, a 29-year-old experimental fashion designer, lifted a flap on her skirt to reveal a large sheet of cloth printed in bright red with a soft drink logo partly visible. By…
Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2007.   Comments (10)

Insomniac Fish — Big Gary, Deputy Curator in Charge of Fish, spotted this article about fish who suffer from insomnia: California scientists studying sleep disorders in humans found that some zebrafish, a common aquarium pet, have a mutant gene that disrupts their sleep patterns in a way similar to insomnia in humans. Zebrafish with the mutant gene slept 30 percent less than fish without the mutation. When they finally drifted off they remained asleep half as long as the normal fish, the researchers at…
Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2007.   Comments (2)

Pizza Delivery Prank Goes Wrong — Ordering pizzas to the house of someone who didn't expect to get them is one of the oldest pranks around. The concept dates all the way back to the Berners Street Hoax of 1810 (although that prank involved just about everything except pizza being delivered to a woman's front door). Here's a case of the prank being perpetrated long-distance, from over a continent away: A Singapore Airlines pilot accused of making prank calls about a colleague in B.C. could be facing a hefty fine -- and…
Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2007.   Comments (12)

$3 trillion in bonds could be fake — Police in the Philippines have found a chest in a banana grove that contains $3 trillion in Federal reserve notes and certificates. However, they're warning that the notes could be counterfeit. From Cebu Daily News: The chest which is 27.3 inches long, 10 inches wide and 14.4 inches in height has the markings of Federal Reserve Bank, Cleveland,Ohio, series of 1934. Total Face Value: three trillion USA.” On top of the markings was an engraved seal of the United States. The opened…
Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2007.   Comments (4)

Man Attacks Inflatable Pumpkin — Do you ever feel like if you see just one more fake giant inflatable pumpkin, that you're going to go mad and attack something? Apparently this guy did: LLOYD, N.Y. -- A woman says a neighbor attacked her inflatable Halloween lawn display of three ghosts and a giant pumpkin, then apparently smashed his head through her window in a fit of rage. State Police said officers found a drunken John Odee, 43, inside Dawn Garcia's house in the Hudson Valley town of Lloyd on Thursday night,…
Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2007.   Comments (8)

The Dwarf in the Trunk — About four months ago (on June 3, 2007) this brief article appeared in the London Sunday Times: Police moved swiftly to foil a child kidnapping when a witness spotted a boy being locked in a car boot. Officers set up road blocks, flagged down a Mercedes that fitted the description, and opened the boot -where they found mechanic Klaus "Shorty" Mueller, 27, who had climbed in to find the source of a rattling noise. A spokesman for police in Bremen, north Germany, said: "It seems the…
Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2007.   Comments (7)

Laughter Yoga — What do you get when you combine yoga and fake laughter? Laughter Yoga! The Ventura County Star has an article about this new twist on yoga. Groups of people get together and just start laughing. At first they fake the laughter, but after about ten minutes, apparently most people are laughing for real. Googling the term "laughter yoga" reveals that this seems to be a pretty popular new form of yoga. The article explains that the technique was created by yoga instructor Madhuri Kataria…
Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2007.   Comments (8)

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