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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
November 2007
F-Word in Enchanted — The rumor going around online is that in one of the previews for the new Disney movie Enchanted, you can hear someone say "Get the f*ck outta here." The preview in question shows the Prince attacking a bus. The exclamation can be heard around 30 seconds into it, as the bus driver is walking out of the bus. The first time I listened to it, it definitely sounded like "Get the f*ck outta here." But when I listened to it again, it sounded more like "Get that bus outta here." Basically, it…
Posted: Thu Nov 29, 2007.   Comments (16)

Bluffing on Exams — I came across an interesting article, published in the New York Times on June 11, 1950, that discusses a series of experiments examining how likely it is that college students will bluff their way through exams. For instance, when Professor Samuel Fernberger, of the University of Pennsylvania, gave his students their final exam, in one of the questions he asked them to define "psychoterminality." It was a meaningless term, but the students didn't know that. According to the NY Times:
Posted: Thu Nov 29, 2007.   Comments (17)

Prairie Tumbleweed Farm — Back in 1994 Linda Katz created a website which she named the Prairie Tumbleweed Farm. At the time it was just a joke. She didn't really have a tumbleweed farm. She had dreamed it up as something to do while teaching herself web design. But it turned out that there really are people out there who want to order tumbleweeds. For instance, movie studios or people hosting wild-west parties. And they started to place orders for tumbleweeds with Linda. Now, according to Yahoo! News, Linda is…
Posted: Thu Nov 29, 2007.   Comments (8)

Hippo Goes For A Swim — Here's a story I missed last month, even though it occurred right here in my backyard (figuratively speaking). FoxSports.com took the lead in disseminating it, but versions of it, such as the one below (from the Seattle Times) appeared in many papers: The San Diego Chargers moved their practice operations to Arizona during last week's devastating fires in Southern California, depriving special-teams coach Steve Crosby of a genuine Kodak moment back home. As Jay Glazer reported at…
Posted: Thu Nov 29, 2007.   Comments (1)


Quick Links: Nov. 27, 2007 — Ocean's 11 Conman "It was one of the most audacious jewel thefts in history. In the middle of a crowded room, the famed Star of the Empress Sisi was stolen from its high-security case and replaced with a replica." (Thanks, Joe) Turkey Mystery Turkeys mysteriously show up in a town, and then wander away. "After entertaining residents of Harborview Drive on Thanksgiving morning, 15 turkeys departed - in single file - about 1 p.m. Thursday and have not been seen since, residents said…
Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2007.   Comments (4)

How to charge an iPod with an onion — I'm not sure what to make of this video. Is it true or false? It describes how to charge an iPod with an onion. The instructions are that you first poke a hole in the onion, then you soak it in an electrolyte solution (Gatorade). Once the onion has soaked up enough of the Gatorade, you simply push the usb adapter of your iPod's power cable into the onion, and according to the guys who made the video "your iPod will power up and it should begin charging." I'm sure that the onion would…
Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2007.   Comments (25)

Fake Photos Alter Memories of Real Events — Researchers from UC Irvine and the University of Padua in Italy have found that doctored photos can alter our perceptions and memories of public events. The researchers showed subjects either an actual or an altered photo of one of two historical events, the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest in Beijing and the 2003 anti-war protest in Rome. The Tiananmen Square photo was altered to include a crowd, and the Rome photo was altered to show riot police and a masked protester. LiveScience…
Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2007.   Comments (7)

Skaggs turns down chance of TV fame — On his Art of the Prank blog, Joey Skaggs recounts how he was recently contacted by CBS TV, who were recruiting pranksters for a reality TV show, tentatively called "Pranksters." The concept of the show is that "comedians compete for a chance at their prank show." Kind of like HGTV's Design Star, except with pranksters. CBS wanted to know if Joey would be interested in participating. His comment: Do they not see the irony in what they are trying to do? They are asking pranksters —…
Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2007.   Comments (2)

A Perfect Prank — A perfect prank should be funny, but it should also make a statement and actually make the world a better place. I figure the prank recently revealed to have been perpetrated by the Untergunther, a French "cultural guerrilla" group, comes pretty close to fulfilling that definition. Members of the Untergunther secretly repaired a clock in the Pantheon, a Paris landmark. The clock had been broken for decades -- until one day it was mysteriously working again. The Guardian reports: For a…
Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2007.   Comments (9)

Quick Links: Megan Meier, fake lawyer, etc. — I'm on the road up to Lake Tahoe for Thanksgiving, but here's a few quick links I've been meaning to post. Online hoax leads to girl's suicide The case of Megan Meier is attracting lots of attention, both online and offline. Megan believed that a young guy on MySpace was interested in her, but when Josh started to send her nasty messages, she committed suicide. Later it was discovered that "Josh" was a fake alias created by adults in Megan's neighborhood. A bizarre case, and one that…
Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2007.   Comments (25)

Hawk Kills Whitey — The students of Ohio State are in mourning after a hawk killed Whitey, an albino squirrel that was widely known around the campus. A facebook page has been created to honor Whitey's memory. It currently has over 2100 members. The Lantern, Ohio State's student newspaper, reports: Whitey's life was cut short at around 2 p.m. Friday when a hawk spotted his white fur coat from above and flew in for the kill. Several students walking through the South Oval witnessed the aftermath of the…
Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2007.   Comments (7)

Searches for gold—Finds ammonia — Here's a case that could be described as what you get when you cross Mythbusters with the Darwin Awards. A 16-year-old boy living in the Tampa area heard a legend that a pipe that ran under the U.S. 301 bridge was filled with gold. Other people told him that it was actually an ammonia pipe leading to a fertilizer company. So the kid decided to test it out for himself and find out what the truth was: The anhydrous ammonia that flows through the pipeline from the port to fertlizer…
Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2007.   Comments (9)

The Sound of Quintuplets Crying — When a Russian woman recently gave birth to quintuplets, it made news around the world. But BBC viewers who watched the footage of the babies might have thought something was a little odd. Why were the babies crying, even though they had respirators in their mouths? It turns out the cries were dubbed in: The BBC has admitted that it added the sound of crying to a report yesterday on the birth of a set of quintuplets. It is the latest in a series of rows over fakery to hit the…
Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2007.   Comments (7)

Robot Roaches Coated with Pheromones — Jose Halloy, a biologist at the Free University of Brussels, created little robot cockroaches that he programmed to behave in ways similar to real cockroaches. For instance, he could program the robo-roaches to prefer a light or dark shelter. The interesting part is that when he coated these robot roaches with roach pheromones, other roaches seemed to accept them as one of their own, and even would follow their lead: Halloy initially programmed the robots to have the same darkness…
Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2007.   Comments (3)

Fake Fishmongers Terrorize Edinburgh — Here's a case for the Streater sisters to tackle. Scotsman.com reports that: FAKE fishmongers are continuing to operate in Edinburgh, targeting residents in Newington and Fairmilehead in the past week, according to Trading Standards. It seems that these scam artists are wrapping Vietnamese catfish in polystyrene and cling film, then labeling it as "monkfish fillet," and using high-pressure sales techniques to get random people on the street to buy the phony fish. Up to three of them…
Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2007.   Comments (5)

Virgin Mary in Pancakes and Trees — We've got a pareidolia double feature. First up is an image of the Virgin Mary that some claim to see in a sycamore tree that was burned in the recent Southern California fires. The tree is located off the Sierra Highway in Los Angeles County. KNBC reports: Believers have left flowers and other offerings in front of the tree, turning it into a makeshift altar. Some also have left notes, hoping to be blessed after seeing the vision. Second up is a Jesus and Mary Pancake (which sounds…
Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2007.   Comments (16)

Heiresses Against Drunk Elephants — A few days ago word got out that heiress Paris Hilton was trying to call attention to the problem of drunken elephants going on rampages in northeast India. Soon this story got picked up by the press. For instance, here's part of a report that appeared in India's The Hindu: GUWAHATI: Conservationists on Tuesday hailed socialite Paris Hilton, who has been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, for trying to highlight the cause of binge-drinking elephants in the northeast.
Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007.   Comments (3)

Coin-Sucking Criminal — While researching something in the online archives of the New York Times, I spotted this story, published on December 21, 1940, about a very unusual form of petty theft: Odd Subway Thefts Are Bared In Arrest ------- Prisoner Sucked Out Coins From Turnstile, Court Is Told ------- An ingenious method of pilfering nickels from a subway turnstile was revealed in Bridge Plaza Court, Brooklyn, yesterday, when Magistrate Charles Solomon held Chester Madzenski, 24 years old, of 35 Diamond…
Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2007.   Comments (9)

Dead Cow Prank — Neil Steinberg, author of the definitive work on school pranks, advises would-be pranksters in the title of his book that they should, If At All Possible, Involve a Cow But I don't think Steinberg would approve of this prank at Wichita Falls High School. From the AP: A dead cow was found hanging by a hoof from a Wichita Falls High School fence post, but police say the incident had nothing to do with the school's upcoming football game against local rival Rider High... The Wichita Falls…
Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2007.   Comments (7)

Jenkem! — The Collier County Sheriff's office in Naples, Florida has issued a strange bulletin warning that American kids are experimenting with a new way to get high. It's called Jenkem, and it involves sniffing the fermenting gas from human sewage. You put the sewage in a bottle topped with a balloon to catch the gas. You then inhale the gas which gives you a euphoric high. In other words, you're sniffing fermenting human feces. Jenkem appears to be real. Back in 1999 the BBC reported that…
Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2007.   Comments (12)

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