The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
February 2008
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)

LaMa on the Evening News — Long-time forum regular LaMa (aka Marco Langbroek) has made it onto the news in the Netherlands! Thankfully, it's not for anything bad. He was interviewed in his capacity as an amateur satellite tracker (in Dutch a "satellietspotter") about that satellite the pentagon is planning to shoot down. Marco writes: Been on the Dutch 10 pm TV news by our National broadcaster NOS today. Had a cameraman and reporter visiting me for that early this evening. It concerns an item about the spy…
Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008.   Comments (18)

Capsizing Boat — A series of photos of a ship being capsized by a large wave and then righting itself is doing the rounds. (That's a bit of a pun.) The photos are real. According to an article in the Mad Mariner (mirrored here), they were taken in California's Morro Bay Harbor by Gary Robertshaw on Dec. 4, 2007. The boat is a Coast Guard vessel on a training mission. From the Mad Mariner: In a sequence of 10 photographs, reprinted here with Robertshaw's permission, a towering wave tosses the boat high…
Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008.   Comments (7)

Why do we encourage children to be gullible? — Tom Bell, in the Agoraphilia blog, asks an interesting question. Why does children's fiction promote credulity as a virtue? Children's fiction employs this trope so often that it fits a formula. A wise character tries to convince the protagonist that something wonderful will happen if only he or she will earnestly believe an improbability. Consider, for instance, how Yoda tells Luke to cast aside all doubt if he wants to levitate his x-wing from the swamps of Dagobah. "Do, or do not.…
Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008.   Comments (27)

Tah—In the Flesh! — Two weekends ago I got a chance to meet John Baker -- better known in the Hoax Forum as the moderator Tah. He was in San Diego with his family on vacation. We had lunch and then took the ferry across San Diego harbor. I had a great time. John's back home now and emailed me this snapshot of the two of us posing in front of the San Diego skyline. (I'm the short one — and I'm six-feet tall!) Our wives and John's daughter are out of view behind the camera. The only negative is that it…
Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008.   Comments (12)

Joe Herrick of Gutterman Research — Following the release of a company's quarterly earnings report, analysts get a chance to participate in a conference call with the company's management. When I briefly worked in a pr firm, years ago, I had to listen to quite a few of these calls. I thought they were usually mind-numbingly dull. But it sounds like someone has figured out a way to have some fun with them. The Wall Street Journal Reports: At least seven times just the past three weeks, a mystery caller has cleverly…
Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008.   Comments (5)

Watson’s Living Curiosities — This poster for "S. Watson's American Museum of Living Curiosities", which dates from 1885, can be found at the British Library site. All the exhibits seem like pretty standard stuff for a 19th-century museum: the stoutest lady in the world, the two-headed marvel, snake charmer, etc. It's the "Australians" exhibit that puzzles me. They don't really look like Australians. Are those outfits something that Aussies often wear?
Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008.   Comments (10)

Touch Illusions — A recent paper (available as a pdf file) by Vincent Hayward in Brain Research Bulletin lists more than twenty types of tactile illusions that can be experienced using very simple equipment available in any hardware store. Some of the descriptions of the illusions unfortunately are rather technical, but here's a summary of a few of them: The Aristotle Illusion: Cross your fingers and touch your nose. You may feel two noses. (It didn't work for me.) The Comb Illusion: Lay your finger on…
Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008.   Comments (9)

Quick Links: Stupid Criminals — Fake blind man caught driving A 70-year-old Italian man had been claiming to be blind for 40 years in order to get an invalid's pension. He was caught when police stopped him in his car at a routine road check. When they checked his record, they noticed it listed him as being 100 percent blind. (Thanks, Joe) Underwear on face fails to disguise "A robbery suspect tried to hide his face with a pair of underwear but the disguise didn't fool witnesses." Fleeing husband spotted in film
Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008.   Comments (2)

Faking pregnancy as a shoplifting technique — Detectives in Sarpy County, Omaha are warning local stores of a new shoplifting technique being used by a group of women. The women enter a store, fill up a cart with items, and then walk out. If stopped, they claim that they're giving birth. KETV reports: Detectives said that on Dec. 13, three women walked into the Bellevue Wal-Mart, filled a cart with items, then started to leave. Surveillance video shows a store officer stopped them at the door and asked for a receipt. That's when…
Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008.   Comments (6)

Woman claims to be 120 — Mariam Amash, who lives in the village of Jisr a-Zarka in Israel, claims that she is 120 years old. Her claim recently surfaced when she applied for a new Israeli identity card. She might be telling the truth. Apparently she has a birth certificate issued by Turkish authorities, who ruled Jisr a-Zarka back in 1888 when Amash says she was born. She also has eleven children, the eldest one being in her late 80s. So assuming that her children aren't lying about their ages, Amash would…
Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008.   Comments (2)

Eyeball Stickers — Quite a few blogs are linking to these fake eyeball stickers, though I haven't been able to track down if any company is actually selling them. Nevertheless, they're a good idea if you want to take a nap at work while pretending to be working. Just place the stickers over your closed eyes, and no one will be the wiser. (via J-walk). Update: If you really want to buy some eyeball stickers of your own, Roylco sells them. They're not exactly the same as the eyeball stickers in the…
Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2008.   Comments (22)

Is that a cockroach beneath the pizza? — Here's an ad, apparently created by a Brazilian extermination company, that is placed inside pizza boxes. The ad shows a photo of a dead roach, but it's only revealed as the pizza is removed from the box. I'm sure the ad would attract people's attention, but I find it surprising that a pizza company would agree to place an ad like this beneath their food. No word on if it's a real ad campaign, or just a mock up. (via nulovka via adrants)
Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2008.   Comments (9)

Quick Links: Feb 14, 2008 — Guy convinces girl he's a vampire-werewolf hybrid An unusual, but apparently effective pickup strategy. The guy was later charged with statutory sexual assault since he was 19 and she was 15. To prove to police that he was a genuine vampire/werewolf, he showed them his canine teeth. The police pointed out to him that "all mammals, including humans, have canine teeth." German museum discovers its Monet is a fake The clues: a retraced signature, it was painted over a drawing that was…
Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2008.   Comments (11)

Romanian Bigfoot — Flickr user vasiliumihnea has uploaded pictures of a Bigfoot he spotted in Romania. He writes: Photos taken friday, February 8th 2008, in Romania, Vrancea Mountains. A tall strange humanoid crossing the road, that's what I saw. Normally I'm quite skeptical of Bigfoot sightings. But wow! These photos are convincing. They look nothing like a guy in an ape suit. Though maybe it's Cain. Related article: Bigfoot Hoaxes
Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2008.   Comments (16)

Jesus (or a lobster) in a tree — Here's another "Jesus Image in a Tree" for my collection. This one was found by Pennsylvania resident Craig O'Connor. MyFoxColorado.com reports: By counting the tree rings, O'Connor believes the tree was at least 40-50 years old. As a furniture maker of 25 years, O'Connor has worked with wood and seen plenty of different stains and marks. He says this one is radically different from all the others. O'Connor is a Catholic and believes it's a sign from God. When asked what the message is,…
Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2008.   Comments (10)

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