The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
December 2007
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)

Operation Lucky Bag — If you saw a wallet lying on the ground, what would you do? A lot of people might, out of curiosity, pick it up to examine it. They might even walk away with it. But if they did, they could find themselves surrounded by police and facing arrest. This happened to Carlos Alayo who picked up a wallet he saw laying on a New York City subway platform. When he went to get on the train, police stopped him. WNBC.com explains: The 32-year-old had been ensnared in Operation Lucky Bag, an…
Posted: Thu Dec 06, 2007.   Comments (13)

Phallus in Football Field — In the summer of 2004 pranksters used herbicide to trace the outline of a giant phallus in the football field located inside Harman-Geist Stadium in Northeastern Pennsylvania. When the grass died, the phallus became visible. Maintenance crews did their best to hide the phallus by painting it green, but eventually the paint wore away. And now the prank has succeeded in reaching an even wider audience, thanks to satellite technology. Overhead satellite imagery of the stadium -- and…
Posted: Thu Dec 06, 2007.   Comments (2)

Still No Sex In Space — Ever since humans first made it into space, there have been rumors of sex-in-space experiments. Such rumors are doing the rounds again, and this time it's the Russians who are the focus of them. Russian officials decided they should go on record to deny them: "There is no proof ... that on any mission cosmonauts had sex," the deputy head of the Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Valery Bogomolov, told a news conference in Moscow. "Cosmonauts, too, are regular people, but ... I have not…
Posted: Thu Dec 06, 2007.   Comments (7)

Web-Controlled Christmas Lights Are Back for 2007 — Alek Komarnitsky is back with his web-controlled Christmas lights. These are the lights that started out as a hoax, but have transformed, by popular demand, into something real. Alek writes: There are three live webcams and X10 powerline control technology system so web surfers can not only view the action, but also *control* the 17,000 lights. Heck, you can even inflate/deflate the giant Elmo, Frosty, Santa, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Homer Simpson – D’OH! While people around the…
Posted: Thu Dec 06, 2007.   Comments (1)

Sell My Dna — SellMyDna.com offers to help you sell a sample of your DNA to a research company, New Line Genetics, who will then obtain a patent for it. They pay $5000! Better yet, you can even sell your friend's DNA, because once a cell leaves their body, it no longer belongs to them. From their website: SellMyDNA.com does not condone the patenting of other’s DNA without their permission. However, what better way to surprise your loved ones for a birthday or holiday event than giving the gift of…
Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2007.   Comments (0)

Photoshopped Kitten in Defamation Suit — Stewart Bright lived with Marjorie Hervey, founder of the Hervey Foundation for Cats, a charity for injured cats. But when Bright and Hervey had a falling out, "Bright accused Ms Hervey of needlessly killing kittens and emailed about 600 supporters of the charity with an attached picture showing a hand with a gun pointing at a kitten with its front paws up as if surrendering." That's pretty damning evidence, though not in the way Bright hoped. The picture was recently entered into…
Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2007.   Comments (6)

Quick Links: Dec. 4, 2007 — Tickle Me Counterfeit Authorities are warning consumers to be on the lookout for fake Tickle Me Elmos showing up on store shelves this Christmas. How can you tell the difference between the real and the fake? For a start, the fake Elmo is called "The Laughing Doll." Also, oddly enough, the fakes are more expensive than the real thing. Phony Doo-Wops Doo-wop groups from the 1950s and '60s, such as the Drifters, Coasters and Platters, are complaining that they're going broke. They can't…
Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2007.   Comments (0)

China Moon Controversy — Last week Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao released the first photograph taken by the Chang-e 1 lunar probe. The picture showed the surface of the moon. Wen declared, "Chinese people's dream of flying to the moon for more than 1,000 years has started to materialize." But then people on the internet started to point out that the picture looked an awful lot like a NASA picture from 2005. In fact, the two photos looked almost identical. So now the Chinese lunar probe programme is…
Posted: Mon Dec 03, 2007.   Comments (14)

Quick Links: Dec. 3, 2007 — Pie in Santa's Face "A 22-year-old University of Montana student was charged with assault Friday for shoving a pumpkin pie into Santa Claus’ face at a shopping mall while a teen sat on his lap." Save the Park Four students in the UK created a hoax website as a social experiment to test the influence of the media. Their website, savethepark.co.uk, claimed there were plans to build a 220,000 tonne waste incineration plant in a South London park. Within a few weeks their site had received…
Posted: Mon Dec 03, 2007.   Comments (4)

Deceptive Ad — Here's another example of a retailer creating a misleading display for their product. It's not technically a lie, but it certainly could confuse a shopper who didn't pay close attention. The image has been circulating around the internet recently. Unfortunately, I can't remember where I first saw it. Related Post: Deceptive Sign. Update: The image was first posted on Consumerist.com, emailed to them by "William" who saw it at a Toys R Us. (Though I figured out that I first saw it via…
Posted: Mon Dec 03, 2007.   Comments (11)

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