Hoax Museum Blog Posts: March 2008

April Fools Day, 2008 — Happy April Fools! I'm not going to attempt to catalog every April Fools prank that happens. Other sites have that covered, such as aprilfoolsdayontheweb.com and wikipedia. But I'll list a few of what I think are the better ones: • The BBC has captured footage of flying penguins. As reported by telegraph.co.uk: "Camera crews discovered a colony of Adélie penguins while filming on King George Island, some 750 miles south of the Falkland Islands." • YouTube UK has rickrolled its…
Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2008.   Comments (18)

April Fools Email - Not My Doing — Someone pasted part of my April Fools list into an email, and this is circulating around Europe. It has the subject line: Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time. Whoever is responsible for doing this, used my email address in the "From" field. I know this because I'm being swamped by bouncebacks from people who are not in their office, or whose server is rejecting the message. I'm hoping the email doesn't have a virus attached to it, but my fear is that it does. There's a link at…
Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2008.   Comments (4)

Margarine Invitation — From Pakistan comes a report of an elaborate stunt that seems to have been an early April Fool's day prank... though it didn't happen on April 1st, so it can't count as one. Around 300 people were conned by fake margarine salesmen into showing up for what was supposed to be a free breakfast. From the Pakistan Daily Times: Around 300 students were fooled on Sunday into going to Model Town Park for a free breakfast supposedly arranged by a well-known margarine brand. On arrival however,…
Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2008.   Comments (5)

Toast Appears on Jesus Christ — John Ordover sent this in. He was looking at a picture of Jesus (or rather, an artist's interpretation of what Jesus might have looked like) when he realized a piece of toast had miraculously appeared on it. I think this must be a message from John's toaster! But can we be sure that actually is a piece of toast? It kinda looks like a granola bar to me.
Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2008.   Comments (64)


Molested By Bigfoot — 57-year-old Gene Morrill was charged with soliciting 13-year-old boys over the internet. He pleaded guilty, but in his defense noted that he himself had been molested as a child -- by Bigfoot! The Free Lance-Star reports: Morrill told an investigator preparing his pre-sentence report about being sexually assaulted by the legendary Bigfoot, a North American folklore character said to be between 7 and 10 feet tall, and covered in dark brown or dark reddish hair. Patton [his defense…
Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2008.   Comments (10)

April Fool, or the Evils of Deception — For the past week I've been researching the history of April Fools Day in order to revise and supplement the info I already have on the site. For instance, I've significantly revised my article about the origin of April Fool's Day. I think it's now just about the most thorough examination of this question in print -- which isn't saying much because most articles about the origin of April Fool's Day simply repeat the same old legends, and leave it at that. In the course of this research…
Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2008.   Comments (19)

April Fool’s Day Survival Mode — April 1st is approaching, which means that the Museum will probably experience its annual surge of traffic that results in pages loading incredibly slowly or not at all. I'm going to do whatever possible to stop the site from crashing on April 1st, though I'm not sure how much I can really do. I've already moved most of the images to a separate server, to reduce the strain on the main server. I'm also going to temporarily eliminate avatars in the forum. I'm not deleting them. They just…
Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008.   Comments (10)

Fred and Sharon’s Movies — Nick Foister sent me a link to Fred and Sharon's Movies, which have become the latest viral video sensation. Fred and Sharon are a couple who claim to run a movie production business in Kelowna, Canada. But their movies are so bad they're actually funny. It takes talent to be that bad. They have over 20 videos on youtube. If you haven't seen any of them, at least watch "Who Needs a Movie?" (below), in which they try to promote their movie production business. Fred and Sharon also…
Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008.   Comments (27)

Cheesus and Mary — Two examples of religious pareidolia have made headlines recently. The first is "Cheesus" -- a Jesus-shaped Cheeto found by Steve Cragg, a youth director at Memorial Drive United Methodist Church in Houston. He actually found it a couple of years ago, but decided to unveil it recently in honor of Easter. The second is the Virgin Mary on an Easter egg. KGBT reports: "Veronica Cervera said she was making "cascarones" by dyeing hollow eggshells on Good Friday when an image suddenly…
Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008.   Comments (9)

Food Advertising vs. Reality — The German website pundo3000.com has assembled a collection of 100 food products and compared what each one looks like, as shown on the packaging, to the actual product. In the majority of cases the difference is quite dramatic. But a few of the food products hold up pretty well in real life. For instance, the Milka chocolate bar looks almost exactly the same as it does on the packaging. But the roll (shown below) looks pretty unappetizing. Funtasticus.com has collected all the images…
Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008.   Comments (12)

Wrong Hillary — From the March 19th edition of the Mahoning Valley Tribune Chronicle: It was incorrectly reported in Tuesday’s Tribune Chronicle that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton answered questions from voters in a local congressman’s office. Reporter John Goodall, who was assigned to the story, spoke by telephone with Hillary Wicai Viers, who is a communications director in U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson’s staff. According to the reporter, when Viers answered the phone with ‘‘This is Hillary,’’ he believed…
Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008.   Comments (8)

Thief Hypnotizes Checkout Staff — The BBC reports that police in Italy are searching for a thief who hypnotizes checkout staff and orders them to hand over money. In every case, the last thing staff reportedly remember is the thief leaning over and saying: "Look into my eyes", before finding the till empty... A female bank clerk reportedly handed over nearly 800 euros (£630)... Italian police believe the suspect could be of Indian or North African extraction. The BBC has a video of the thief in action. It's…
Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008.   Comments (9)

Shig-Shag Day — Since April 1st is fast approaching, I've been doing a lot of research into the origins of April Fools Day in order to supplement the info I already have on the site. In the course of this research, I came across references to an old English holiday called Shig-Shag Day, celebrated on May 29, that has some similarities to April Fools Day. Shig-Shag Day is also called Shick-Shack Day or (more boringly) Oak Apple Day. Celebrants would place sprigs of apple oak in their hats or lapels to…
Posted: Sat Mar 22, 2008.   Comments (6)

Palm Leaf Mary — And now for your daily pareidolia. (Well, weekly pareidolia, at least.) Manny Duenas of Sacramento was cutting down some old palm leaves in his yard -- on Palm Sunday, no less -- when he happened to look at one of the leaves in his hand and saw an image of the Virgin Mary cradling baby Jesus in her arms. Duenas says: "God is out there and maybe these are one of the messages that they send." Actually, I don't so much see the Virgin Mary figure, but I definitely see an outline of the…
Posted: Thu Mar 20, 2008.   Comments (7)

Google Nessie — Tom Spring, writing for Computer World, describes many of the jokes and tricks hidden in Google's various websites and programs. One that I wasn't aware of is that Nessie regularly surfaces on iGoogle: set your alarm to 3:14 a.m. and your browser to the beach-themed iGoogle page. At precisely that time each day, Nessie surfaces for 60 seconds, then takes a deep breath and dives back under the dark loch's surface. Why that time of the morning? Well, according to programmers' lore,…
Posted: Thu Mar 20, 2008.   Comments (13)

Quick Links: Mar. 18, 2008 — Excuse of the Year "A German lorry driver escaped a rap for driving while using a mobile phone - after claiming he was using it as an ear warmer." Woman foretells future with asparagus "Jemima Packington throws asparagus on the floor and makes her predictions based on the pattern. She said that some years ago she made a prediction that came true based on an asparagus pattern and realized she was on to something." Seems to me like it's as good a method as anything else. Nostradamus…
Posted: Wed Mar 19, 2008.   Comments (1)

Eating spaghetti while wearing a burqa — This video of a burqa-wearing woman very awkwardly trying to eat spaghetti is doing the rounds. It's titled "Why Italian Restaurants Failed in Dubai." All you have to do to find out it's fake is read the comments on youtube, where quite a few people have pointed out that the footage comes from a British comedy show, "3 non-blondes." It's a candid-camera style show, in which the performers pull various bizarre stunts in public to see how the people around them will react. Wikipedia…
Posted: Wed Mar 19, 2008.   Comments (6)

Jesus in the Door — Ten years ago Wendy Divock felt a touch on her cheek. She thought it was her husband touching her, but when she turned around, he wasn't there. What she saw instead was an image of a face in her closet door. Initially Wendy and her husband called the image the "guy in the door," but after doing some research on the internet they decided that it was Jesus. The pastor across the street assures them that the image is "very significant and that it's authentic." The Dovicks have created a…
Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2008.   Comments (23)

Padded Lampposts Protext Text-Messagers — A few weeks ago a story was going around about a street in London where the lampposts had been padded in order to protect text-messaging pedestrians. Neo posted about it in the forum. The story sounded pretty ridiculous, and sure enough it turns out to have been a publicity-stunt hoax. The padding was placed on the lampposts by a pr firm, and it was only there for a day and a half. The Press Gazette reports: Journalists across the world reported that Britain’s first “safe text” street…
Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2008.   Comments (4)

Sperm For Tickets — Donate your sperm and get a ticket to a music festival. That's the deal offered by Sperm for Tickets. Or rather, that was the deal. If you visit their site now, they state that the response far exceeded expectations, so they're temporarily calling a halt to the invitation. But I'm pretty sure the offer never was for real. Not that the idea of giving tickets in exchange for sperm is that outlandish. Instead, it's the delivery method that seems bogus. The site claimed donors could send…
Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2008.   Comments (1)

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