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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
December 2007
Christmas Cards From Heaven — Thirty-four people received Christmas cards from Oregon-resident Chet Fitch this year. What made this unusual is that Chet died two months ago. The cards, written in his own handwriting, had a return address of "Heaven" and contained messages such as: "I asked Big Guy if I could sneak back and send some cards. At first he said no; but at my insistence he finally said, 'Oh well, what the heaven, go ahead but don't (tarry) there.' Wish I could tell you about things here but words cannot…
Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2007.   Comments (8)

Cheer Chains — If you've been to Starbucks in the past week or so, you've been at risk of finding yourself trapped in a "cheer chain." What this means is that the person in line in front of you pays for your drink, and in return you're supposed to pay for the drink of the person behind you. This goes on and on, ad nauseam. The Associated Press reported on one cheer chain that totaled 1,013 customers. The question is, are these cheer chains a true spontaneous phenomenon, or are they a cynically…
Posted: Sun Dec 23, 2007.   Comments (16)

Quick Links: Dec. 22, 2007 — MAVAV Strikes Again The State of New York produced an educational video to warn about the dangers of video games. The video includes a list of "resources" parents can visit to learn more, one of which is the website of "Mothers Against Videogame Addiction and Violence." Obviously the state of New York hasn't been reading this website, since we listed MAVAV as a hoax back in 2004. Chuck Norris Sues Chuck Norris is suing the publisher and author of The Truth About Chuck Norris for…
Posted: Sat Dec 22, 2007.   Comments (5)

Quick Links: Dec. 19, 2007 — Survivor Tale of Woe A contestant on the TV show Survivor:China may have lied about losing her job as a janitor at an Elementary School. If I still watched Survivor I might care more about this, but I haven't seen it in years. Princeton Hoax Exposed A student at Princeton who was a member of an anti-sex club claimed he was beaten up by horny liberals who were enraged by his "brave stand against promiscuity." Turns out he beat himself up. Figures. Gold Pills Offered for sale at the New…
Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2007.   Comments (16)


Drive Someone Insane With Postcards — On eBay, right now, you have the chance to bid on a chance to participate in a prank that will "Drive Someone Insane with Postcards." The seller's description reads: I will be spending the Christmas holiday in Poland in a tiny village that has one church with no bell because angry Germans stole it. Aside from vodka, there is not a lot for me to do. During the course of my holiday I will send three postcards to one person of your choosing. These postcards will be rant-ravingly insane,…
Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2007.   Comments (4)

Quick Links: Dec. 17, 2007 — My 61 Memorable Games A special updated edition of Bobby Fischer's book, "My 60 Memorable Games," is up for auction on eBay, and bidding has already reached $3,050. The New York Times Chess Blog wonders whether the book is real. Giant Skeleton photo doing the rounds again National Geographic has an article about the Giant Skeleton photo, which dates back to 2004. The article says it's now enjoying a revival. I'm even quoted, though I don't remember talking to National Geographic.…
Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007.   Comments (2)

Student receives detention for using Firefox — A letter describing how a high school student received detention for using the Firefox browser -- apparently because his teacher didn't understand that Firefox is simply a different kind of browser -- has been doing the rounds: The letter actually says "Foxfire" not "Firefox" -- which makes it sound like the teacher was totally clueless. I believed the letter when I saw it. In fact, I didn't notice that anyone was skeptical of it (though apparently a few people were). But it turns…
Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007.   Comments (8)

Prank Call Leads to Electric Shock Treatment — Prank phone calls and electric-shock gadgets are perennial favorites of pranksters. So I guess what happened at the Judge Rotenberg Education Center was just a novel combination of the two: Call up and order electric-shock treatment for someone. It's actually kind of scary to think that it's that easy to order treatment for a patient. Boston Herald reports: State officials are investigating complaints that staff at the Judge Rotenberg Education Center gave three people — including two…
Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007.   Comments (2)

Loch Ness Terror Plot? — This is weird: An east London electrician accused of having terror ties claimed he was not attending training camps but hunting for the Loch Ness Monster during a trip to Scotland with other terror suspects, the Scottish Daily Record reported Saturday. Kader Ahmed, 20, was up in the Loch Ness area with a group organized by preacher Mohammed Hamid. I wonder if they went on the Nessie Hunter cruise with that boat captain who sounded like Sean Connery?
Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007.   Comments (1)

Bigfoot Prank — WTVY News reports on a prank that reminded me of the Winsted Wild Man hoax from 1895, although quite a bit less sensational: A teenager wore an outfit depicting the mythical Bigfoot creature. He then carried a fellow young person on each shoulder. Alarmed residents called the sheriff's department and several others armed with shotguns headed to where the prank was taking place. The young people, ranging in age from 18-to-23, were given a warning. However, sheriff's officials say those…
Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2007.   Comments (5)

Misleading Papa Johns Ad — Here's another case of a misleading claim in an advertisement. This time from Papa Johns, who offers unlimited toppings, as long as you have a maximum of no more than five toppings. (posted by Nave_7 on flickr.) Related posts: Deceptive Ad (Dec 3, 2007) Deceptive Sign (Sep 10, 2007)
Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2007.   Comments (13)

Fake is Japan’s Annual Symbol — The Japan Kanji ability assessment association has selected the Chinese character meaning "fake" as the symbol that best describes Japan in 2007. Xinhuanet.com reports: The result represented Japanese people's anger over the society's darkness exposed in 2007, including a series of financial scandals involving Cabinet ministers, the Social Insurance Agency's blunder of losing about 50 million pension records and some well-know food companies' forgery of production dates. My wife was…
Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2007.   Comments (2)

Not Andy Warhol — Kutv.com has an article describing a hoax perpetrated by Andy Warhol back in 1967. He had been asked to do a speaking tour at various colleges, but decided, at the last minute, that he didn't want to do it. So he sent someone else, Allen Midgette, who pretended to be him: "Midgette whitened his hair and face and adopted a Warhol persona, and, accompanied by Morrissey, went on tour. And most believed the forged artist was authentic." People finally figured out that Midgette was not…
Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2007.   Comments (5)

Jesus X-Ray — A Florida man who recently had a chest X-ray says that he can see Jesus in it. Which raises the question, just what HAS that guy been smoking? Personally, I can't see it at all. (Thanks Joe and Bob)
Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2007.   Comments (21)

Quick Links: Dec. 12, 2007 — Sextuplet husband gets three years Remember that couple who pretended they had sextuplets last year? The guy has now been sentenced to three years in prison for violating the terms of his probation. His wife is still at large. Pregnant lawyer made up abduction "pregnant Ohio attorney Karyn McConnell Hancock confessed Monday to fabricating a story about being kidnapped by three people at gunpoint in Toledo last week." I'm going to start keeping track of these fake abduction cases. There…
Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2007.   Comments (4)

Two Lists of Hoaxes — Blogissues.com has posted a list of the Top 15 Hoax Websites. And guess which site comes in at #11? Cranky Media Guy's Tom's Girl hoax! Congratulations, Bob! One of these days I need to post my own list of the top hoax websites. It's one of those things I've been meaning to do for ages, but haven't gotten around to it. Also, virtualhosting.com has a list of the Top 20 Hilarious and Creative Internet Scams. Some of their choices seem highly debatable. For instance, they include the…
Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2007.   Comments (6)

Three Art Fakes — There seems to be a flurry of art hoaxes in the news recently. Here's three of them: Fake Faun The Art Institute of Chicago has admitted that a half-man, half-goat ceramic figure, once believed to have been sculpted by Paul Gauguin, is probably a fake. Instead, it was probably made by the Greenhalgh family who made the work in their garden shed. Fake Warhol Brillo Boxes Stockholm's National Museum of Art has stated that 105 "Brillo Boxes" attributed to Andy Warhol were actually…
Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2007.   Comments (0)

Lost Postcard Rescue Department — Recently Doris Alman received a postcard inside a plain white envelope. The postcard was sent from her mother and father, vacationing in Flagstaff, Arizona, to her grandmother in Audobon, Iowa. It had been mailed on Sept. 24, 1968. The envelope that held the postcard had a one-line return address: Lost Postcard Rescue Department. It had been mailed recently from Brooklyn, New York. Doris Alman says she has no idea who could have mailed the old postcard to her. Whoever it was did some…
Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2007.   Comments (7)

Has Ho, Ho, Ho Been Banned? — Last month a rumor began to circulate alleging that Santas were being banned from saying "Ho, Ho, Ho" because "Ho" is a slang term for a prostitute. As is often the case with such rumors, there was an event that triggered the rumor, but that event had been twisted and blown out of proportion in the course of being repeated. What really happened was that Westaff, a firm in Australia that trains Santas for appearances in shopping malls, had cautioned its trainees that many small children…
Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2007.   Comments (6)

Spammed by the Disinformation Company — Authors love to read reviews of their books, especially positive ones. So, as an author, it's difficult to resist the temptation to periodically check out the Amazon page for your book, to see if readers have posted any new reviews of it. However, in Hippo Eats Dwarf I pointed out the danger of taking such reviews too seriously because so many of them are posted either by friends of the author -- or by rivals. In fact, I actually invited people to post fake reviews of Hippo Eats Dwarf.…
Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2007.   Comments (6)

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