The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
November 2007
Virgin Mary in Pancakes and Trees
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 16, 2007
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
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion Comments (16)
Heiresses Against Drunk Elephants
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 14, 2007
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. Activists said a celebrity endorsement was sure to raise awareness of the plight of the pachyderms that…
Categories: Animals, Celebrities Comments (3)
Coin-Sucking Criminal
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 08, 2007
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 Street, Brooklyn, in $1000 bail for Special Sessions on a petit larceny charge and $1000 bail for sentence…
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (9)
Dead Cow Prank
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 08, 2007
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 Independent…
Categories: Animals, Pranks Comments (7)
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 08, 2007
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 street children in the slums of Zambia were using this method to get high:
Categories: Gross, Health/Medicine Comments (12)
What’s in a name
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 06, 2007
Qamar Mohammed Malik, a Pakistan-born engineer, submitted his CV to the Amec Group construction company, but was told that the company had no suitable vacancies. He then submitted a similar CV with inferior qualifications, but using a fake Welsh name, Rhyddir Aled Lloyd-Hilbert. This time he was told there was a job vacancy and was offered an interview. Malik has now filed a lawsuit against the Amec Group, accusing the company of racism. The company defends itself, saying that, ""Mr Lloyd-Hilbert" was contacted for interview with regard to the quality inspector vacancy and not Mr Malik because the former indicated he was about to move to Wales whereas the latter had a Reading address."…
Insulting Surnames
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 06, 2007
The Vancouver Sun reports that linguistics researchers believe that many common surnames began as insults. For instance, centuries ago a guy might have been nicknamed "John the Bastard," and the insulting epithet would become his last name, adhering to all his descendants (until someone eventually changed it): there is a whole category of names that are believed to have been given to children abandoned to orphanages - including the French name Jette (meaning "thrown out"), the Italian name Esposito (meaning "exposed") and the English name Parrish (meaning someone who was raised at the expense of the community.) ... Both the…
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (18)
75 Homeless Gnomes
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 05, 2007
Last month 75 gnomes suddenly appeared on the front lawn outside of a house in Springfield, Oregon. The police don't know where the gnomes came from, but they assume they were gnome-napped from other houses around town. It is one of the largest cases of gnome-napping anyone can remember. The gnomes are currently being housed in the police station, although the police have warned that can only be a temporary arrangement: “We need to get them out of here,” Springfield Capt. Richard Harrison said. “Every time I leave my office they’re…
Categories: Gnomes, Pranks Comments (6)
What does an elephant on acid look like?
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 01, 2007
One of the things that's interested me with the recent flurry of articles about Elephants On Acid, is how the artists who illustrated the articles chose to depict an elephant on acid. So here's a small collection I've put together of artistic depictions of elephants on acid. The two popular options are either to show an angry-looking elephant, or a psychedelic one. (left) from the cover of my book; (right) from an album by Tusko Fatale, a Virginia-based band. (left) from the Daily Mail; (right) from the Daily Telegraph. …
Categories: Animals Comments (4)
Elephants on Acid Publicity
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 01, 2007
I received a couple of emails this morning along the lines of: Hey, the Guardian just published a list of the top ten weirdest experiments of all time. It sounds a lot like your list of the top 20 most bizarre experiments. They're not ripping you off, are they? It's nice that people are concerned, but there's no need to worry. I haven't been ripped off. After I posted my top 20 list back in September, New Scientist contacted me asking if I would like to create a shortened version of it for their magazine. I was more than happy to oblige, and the resulting article will appear in the Nov. 3 issue of…
Categories: Miscellaneous Comments (6)
Helium Balloons Lift Car
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 01, 2007
In this video some guys from New Zealand attach helium balloons to a car until it floats away. Unfortunately, no one is in the car when it floats away. (Though that would have been a good update on the legend of Lawnchair Larry.) Of course, the video is fake. reports that it was digitally edited to remove a crane, which is what actually causes the car to rise into the air. Also, the video turns out to be a viral ad created by Ford "aimed at selling Ford cars to generations X and Y."
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (6)
Hawk Attacks Poodle
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 01, 2007
The Sacramento Bee reports that a strange event occurred at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Carmichael -- a hawk swooped down from the sky and snatched a woman's toy poodle. At least, that's what the woman claims: To hear publicity coordinator Betty Cooper tell it, an employee was walking the center grounds when he was flagged down by the hysterical woman, who claimed a hawk had made off with her toy poodle. And though it's a story straight out of the friend-of-a-friend-told-me handbook, it's not outside the realm of possibility. The nature center does have a wild hawk…
Categories: Animals Comments (10)
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