The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
February 2008
Fecal Bacteria on Lemon Wedges — A video on youtube discusses a recent study that claimed to find all kinds of harmful microorganisms, including fecal bacteria, on the lemon wedges restaurants place in drinks. Microbiologist Anne LaGrange reported that when she tested some lemon wedges "it was like they had dipped it in raw sewage." Apparently the problem is that restaurant workers often handle the wedges with their bare hands and they cut the lemons with knives they may have just used to cut meat. David Emery of…
Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008.   Comments (10)

Flick Rolled — The "Rick Rolled" prank involves tricking someone into clicking a link that takes them to a video of Rick Astley singing "Never Gonna Give You Up." A new variation of this is to "Flick Roll" someone. You trick them into viewing this image on Flickr:
Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008.   Comments (9)

Reviewer makes an “educated guess” — Maxim recently published a review of the Black Crowes' new album, Warpaint. It didn't like it much, giving it only 2.5 stars out of 5. There was just one problem. The album hadn't been released yet, and advance copies hadn't been made available. So how had the Maxim reviewer heard the album? Turns out he hadn't. Maxim explained to the Black Crowes that the reviewer made an "educated guess." Maxim later released this statement: "It is Maxim's editorial policy to assign star ratings…
Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2008.   Comments (8)

Death-Threat Elmo — Back in January 2006 I posted about a "Who Wants To Die" Talking Elmo book. When the book's buttons were pressed, the book said, "Who wants to die?" It was supposed to say, "Who wants to try to go potty?" (I'm not sure which is worse.) Now another Elmo is in the news for making bizarre death threats. TBO.com reports: A Lithia family says a cuddly, programmable Elmo doll revealed its dark side yesterday after fresh batteries were installed. Instead of singing songs or reciting the…
Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2008.   Comments (11)


Jesus or Mary in a tree — Donna and Frank Pascariello have a tree on their property that has a light patch on its bark. Of course, the patch MUST represent a religious figure of some kind. This is the rule whenever trees display any kind of discoloration. However, in the case of the Pascariello's tree, no one is sure exactly which religious figure it is. Jesus? Mary? A saint? I think it looks like a generic ghost.
Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2008.   Comments (15)

Amerimark “Passport to Health” Scam — At the beginning of January I ordered a seat cushion from a company called Amerimark. I got the cushion. It was fine. I'm sitting on it now. But a little over a month later I was looking at my credit card statement, and I noticed that in addition to the charge for the cushion, Amerimark had posted a second charge three weeks later for $3.99. I had no idea what the additional charge could be for. I asked my wife about it. She didn't know either. But I figured it must be postage, or…
Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2008.   Comments (64)

Unresponsive Bystanders — Local 6 News in Orlando recently conducted a test to see how quickly people would respond to a crime. They arranged for an undercover police officer to pretend to be a burglar trying to break into cars and homes in plain view of bystanders. The results: most bystanders ignored or just watched the crime -- and some even helped the thieves... people were ready to help the mystery man break into a car. A third test had the fake burglar enter a home through a window and then go out the…
Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2008.   Comments (13)

The Art of Pierre Brassau — I received an email from Maria in Sweden who reports that when her mother recently passed away she became the owner of a painting by Pierre Brassau, the monkey artist. (See the article about Pierre Brassau in the hoaxipedia. To sum up the story: in 1964 a Swedish reporter placed some paintings drawn by a monkey in an art show, claiming they were the work of an avant-garde French artist, Pierre Brassau. After critics praised the paintings, he revealed the hoax.) Apparently Maria's…
Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2008.   Comments (9)

St. Patrick’s Day Moved — Angela emailed me to ask if it's true that St. Patrick's Day has been moved this year, from March 17 to March 15. Yes, it's true. At least for the Irish. The problem is that Easter falls unusually early this year, which means that the traditional date for St. Patrick's Day, March 17, is going to land in the middle of Holy Week (the week immediately preceding Easter). To avoid this, Church authorities have ordered that religious celebrations for St. Patrick's Day occur instead on March…
Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2008.   Comments (8)

Business opportunities I have squandered — When someone wants to rent a midget, I'm apparently the first person they contact. I say this because I receive A LOT of email inquiries from people wanting to rent midgets, such as this one I got yesterday: do you know any midget strippers that would do a wake up at a bachelor party or this one from a few weeks ago: Do you know if I could get 2 male midgets at my Lounge for a party this Friday Jan 25th in Chicago IL.  I would appreciate a response. It's my fault. I posted about a
Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2008.   Comments (7)

Extreme Street Soccer — The following video shows kids (maybe in Brazil, I'm guessing) performing extreme freestyle soccer tricks. The tricks are pretty cool, but of course they're fake. The flips may be real, but the soccer ball must have been digitally inserted into the shots. The video is a viral ad for a new playstation game, FIFA Street 3. It reminds me of that Nike ad featuring Ronaldinho that was going around two years ago.
Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2008.   Comments (19)

Hitler Draws Disney — First there was the Hitler Diary hoax. Now we may be witnessing the Hitler Disney hoax. William Hakvaag, director of a Norwegian war museum, claims to have found sketches (shown above) of various Disney characters drawn by Adolf Hitler. He says that he found the paintings hidden inside another painting signed "A. Hitler" that he bought at an auction. Hakvaag feels 100% confident that the drawings are authentic Hitlers. The Telegraph reports: Mr Hakvaag, who said he had performed…
Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2008.   Comments (9)

Long Handles — I know there are some weird motorcycles out there, but even so, I'm going to vote that this is fake, even though I don't see any obvious evidence of photoshopping. I just don't think it would be possible to steer a bike like this. Especially not on a highway. (via bcmacsac1's flickr page) Update: I should have known better. I should have known that just because something looks incredibly stupid is not a reason to doubt its reality. And the discovery of more pictures of this…
Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2008.   Comments (16)

Obay — Recently strange ads for a drug called "Obay" began appearing around Toronto. The ads were pretty obviously satirical, but who was responsible for them? The Church of Scientology was an early suspect, since they're well known for their anti-psychiatry stance. But it turned out they had nothing to do with the ad campaign. The Torontoist tracked down the real culprit. It's an advocacy group called Colleges Ontario, which represents twenty-four colleges in Ontario. The Torontoist writes:
Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008.   Comments (7)

Who is Robert Irvine? — What we can say with certainty is that Robert Irvine is the host of the Food Network's show Dinner: Impossible. I've watched this before and found it entertaining. Though Irvine comes across as pretty arrogant. However, many other facts about Irvine's career have now been called into question. For instance, in the past Irvine has claimed that he was knighted by the Queen, that he owns a castle in Scotland, that he cooked at the White House, and that he created the wedding cake for…
Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008.   Comments (6)

Fireball Dodging — Here's another photo series I found in an old issue of Life Magazine (April 26, 1937). I had to kill some time in the UCSD library this morning, which is why I was looking through old magazines. The photos were titled "South Carolina Negroes Play 'Fireball Dodging'". Here are the captions for the five photos (complete with the racist language characteristic of the 1930s): 1) A new game invented by the Negroes of South Carolina is called "Fireball Dodging." Balls are…
Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008.   Comments (12)

Head-Swallowing Trick — I found this series of photos in an old issue of Life Magazine (Dec. 7, 1936). It was titled "Tricks of Paris Season" and had this caption: Patrons of a Paris nightclub are being entertained with this spectacle of one man swallowing another's head. M. Nicol pries open M. Martin's mouth, lowers his head, rams it in until the spectators see it disappear. Only the cold sober feel cheated by this act. I assume the method of the trick is obvious enough not to require explanation.
Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008.   Comments (3)

Man mistakes Madonna for Monroe — Everyone dreams of finding a painting by Van Gogh or Picasso in their attic. In Lawrence Nicastro's case, what he found -- so he thought -- was a rare picture of Marilyn Monroe posing as a naked hitchhiker. The BBC reports: He and his wife Phyllis then spent four months researching the photograph. Mr Nicastro suspected it had been left by a customer at his service station in New York city in 1962. The couple brought in Monroe expert Chris Harris, who confirmed it was a genuine,…
Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008.   Comments (14)

Woman Marries Blow-Up Bob — Remarries, to be exact. From Yahoo! News: Sheila Smith's husband, Bob, had to go away on business and couldn't make the Valentine's Day recommitment service at Grove City United Methodist Church. So friends brought a life-size inflatable doll to serve as a stand-in. They dressed Blow-up Bob in dress pants, a shirt and tie, and taped on a head-shot photo of the real Bob Smith. There's definitely an emerging trend of cardboard or inflatable spouses. Usually it involves military spouses…
Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008.   Comments (4)

A minor change — Sorry if I caused anyone vertigo. I decided to move the sidebar over to the left side of screen since, visually, I think it makes more sense to have it lined up beneath the museum banner. Nothing else has changed. It should only take a few moments to regain your bearings. Update: Ignore what I said above.
Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008.   Comments (22)

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