The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
April 2008
Brunus edwardii — I recently received a nice letter from a reader in England: Dear Mr. Boese, I have enjoyed the Museum of Hoaxes greatly. I do not know if you want any more examples, but if not just throw this away. The Veterinary Record is the weekly journal of the Veterinary Profession, and I did the index for 36 years. So on 1st April 1972 I met some observations on the diseases of Brunus edwardii (Species Nova), Vet. Rec. (1972) 90, 382-395. It reads like a perfectly authentic scientific paper…
Posted: Wed Apr 30, 2008.   Comments (14)

Three Pranks — Three pranks that recently made headlines: Riding the elevator Elizabeth M. "Betsy" Ormsby's state Supreme Court lawsuit against Michael W. Behling, her former supervisor at the Washington Street office building, continues. Mrs. Ormsby, wife of Jefferson County Legislator Barry M. Ormsby, alleged she was duct-taped to a chair while working at the building in April 2006 and then, while bound, sent to several floors on an elevator. She claimed she complained about the incident to Mr.…
Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2008.   Comments (10)

PETA’s Million-Dollar Fake Meat Prize — PETA recently offered a $1 million reward to the first company that can produce In Vitro meat in commercially viable quantities by 2012. (AussieBruce posted about it in the forum.) But Daniel Engber, writing for Slate.com, explains why PETA's prize has so many strings attached that it's basically a bogus offer. 1) According to the contest guidelines, the fake-meat must be sold in stores to qualify for the prize. Engber writes: "Fake-chicken entrepreneurs have to demonstrate a…
Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2008.   Comments (10)

Emory University Zebra Prank — Neil Steinberg's classic advice about college pranks was that "If at all possible, involve a cow." The zebra (named Barcode) that was found locked inside Seney Hall at Georgia's Emory University this morning is a novel substitute. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Campus police were still trying to find out who put the zebra on the third floor of Seney Hall sometime Tuesday night... Putting animals inside Seney Hall has passed for a dry wit on the Emory at Oxford campus for…
Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2008.   Comments (34)


Alan Abel in Gelf — Gelf Magazine has an article about Alan Abel, who will be speaking at Gelf's Non-Motivational Speaker Series on Thursday, April 24 in New York City. The article gives a quick overview of Abel's career: The Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, his obituary in the New York Times, Citizens Against Breastfeeding, etc. One interesting part at the end, which I've heard people speculate about before, is how Abel funds himself: This subject is the only one which he's vague about in the…
Posted: Wed Apr 23, 2008.   Comments (10)

House Split in Half — From Secret Thoughts of Stuffed Animals, the following photo and accompanying caption: Many years ago, two brothers inherited their father's house. The brothers were not on good terms, in fact they didn't speak to each other and wanted nothing to do with one another. They could not come to agreeable terms over the disposition of their father's house. Neither brother wanted to sell, nor did they wish to live together. Taking a cue from King Solomon, they did the only logical thing.…
Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2008.   Comments (10)

Ticketmaster Creates Fake Facebook Friends — From the Wired music blog: "It appears that the company [Ticketmaster] hired someone or something to create fake Facebook friends in order to look more popular to other Facebook users." I can understand why Ticketmaster would need to create fake friends. I recently bought tickets to see The Cure. After paying $35 for each ticket, I found out I also had to pay a $20 "convenience charge" to Ticketmaster, which didn't make me feel very friendly toward them.
Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2008.   Comments (9)

Penis Theft Panic in Congo — Penis-melting Zionist Robot Combs have struck in the Congo. Minus the Zionists and the Robot Combs. From Reuters: Rumours of penis theft began circulating last week in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo's sprawling capital of some 8 million inhabitants. They quickly dominated radio call-in shows, with listeners advised to beware of fellow passengers in communal taxis wearing gold rings. Purported victims, 14 of whom were also detained by police, claimed that sorcerers simply…
Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2008.   Comments (11)

Bigfoot Potato Chip — Don't miss out on this gem on eBay. The seller says: "I have here for auction one ruffled potato chip that looks like Bigfoot. Just for fun, let's call him Chipfoot. The chip is in very good/stable condition and should ship quite nicely." I'd make a bid, but at $3 it's already too pricey for me.
Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2008.   Comments (12)

Sue Easy — One of the big problems in modern America is that there are simply not enough lawsuits. A new website promises to end this. It calls itself "Sue Easy," because it makes it so easy to sue someone. The concept is that instead of litigants trying to find a lawyer, which is the traditional way these things are done, the lawyers should seek out the litigants. So if you have a case, or even just an idea for a case, list it on SueEasy, then wait for attorneys to contact you. The site promises…
Posted: Fri Apr 18, 2008.   Comments (12)

Abortion as Art — Yale undergraduate Aliza Shvarts' senior art project has created a little bit of controversy. She has apparently created "a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself 'as often as possible' while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages." That's just lovely. (Already posted by whoeverur in the forum, but so bizarre it warrants being on the front page.) Shvarts insists that her project was not designed for "shock value."…
Posted: Fri Apr 18, 2008.   Comments (15)

Marilyn Monroe Sex Tape — Marilyn Monroe seems to attract hoaxes, in the same way that Hitler, Bigfoot, and Paris Hilton do. I guess it's because any news about Marilyn is guaranteed to get attention, which is what many hoaxers are looking for. The latest Marilyn news is that a sex tape starring her was sold for $1.5 million to an anonymous wealthy businessman, who swore he would never make it public. The tape is said to be a copy of a film that has been kept classified by the FBI. The promise of the…
Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2008.   Comments (23)

Who authors drug studies? — A disturbing article in the most recent issue of JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) suggests that the practice of ghostwriting medical studies is widespread. How it works is that a big drug company writes a study touting the merits of its latest drug. Then the company hands off the study to a prestigious researcher who agrees to be listed as the author. This adds a veneer of scientific credibility to what is basically corporate propaganda. The dupes in this entire…
Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2008.   Comments (15)

Mysterious Ghost Boy in Photo — A few days ago The Sun posted this article: THIS spooky image of an unknown boy gave Angie D'Arcy the shivers when she had her photos developed. She took the picture in 2003 in Evercreech, Somerset, but only just got round to having the disposable camera film printed. Angie, 40, of Shepton Mallet, cannot remember anyone being in the shot when she took the snap and said the figure, dressed in old-style country clothing, remained a mystery. "I don't believe in ghosts but I just can't…
Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008.   Comments (16)

101-year-old Man Completes Marathon — On Monday (April 13) Buster Martin completed the London marathon in a time of approximately ten hours. What made this remarkable was his age. Martin claims to be 101-years-old. If true, this would make him the oldest person ever to complete a marthon. (The former record holder was 98-year-old Dimitrion Yordanidies who completed the Athens marathon in 1976 with a time of 7.5 hours.) But Martin's age has been called into question. Martin says he was born on September 1, 1906. The British…
Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008.   Comments (9)

It’s a cab, innit — Many British papers have reported the humorous story of a young woman who called the operator trying to order a cab, but instead had a cabinet delivered to her home. Her problem was too much Cockney, and too little Queen's English. From Ananova: the Londoner, 19, wanted a taxi to take her to Bristol airport, and first used the Cockney rhyming slang "Joe Baxi". When the operator told her she couldn't find anyone by that name, the teen replied: "It ain't a person, it's a cab, innit." The…
Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008.   Comments (14)

Kobe Bryant Jumps Over a Car — The latest viral video going around shows Kobe Bryant jumping over a moving Aston Martin. Is it real? I doubt it, though I can't definitively prove it's fake. Think about it. Why would he risk his career by trying to jump over a car? That's what special effects are for. A better quality version of the video can be seen at Bryant's website.
Posted: Fri Apr 11, 2008.   Comments (47)

Jesus Baking Tin — Hudson Pace writes: "I was scraping out a baking tin when I discovered this Face of Jesus on the bottom! I thought of putting it on Ebay, but then I thought, I don't need the money, so why not cut out the middleman and send the picture straight to the Museum of Hoaxes? Hope you like it." Very nice. Thanks, Hudson. And it's made me think that I really should create a Pareidolia Gallery to better categorize all these image-bearing baking tins, trees, pieces of toast, etc.
Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008.   Comments (20)

Libraries and the Weight of Index Cards — Paul Collins has an interesting article in New Scientist about the Mundaneum, a mid-twentieth century effort to create a vast, interlinked archive, like a "proto-internet," using index cards. But what caught my eye was the first paragraph: UNLIKELY as it sounds now, the hottest thing in information technology was once the index card. In the US, for instance, the War Department struggled with mountains of medical files until the newfangled method of card filing was adopted in 1887. Soon…
Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008.   Comments (17)

Does Bigfoot Use Microwaves? — Backyard Phenomena has posted an interesting speculation about why some witnesses report receiving telepathic messages from Bigfoot: If we skip the old "they're crazy" idea, then perhaps we can look to science for an answer...strange-but-true science. A newly declassified report released by the U.S. Army under the Freedom of Information Act describes technologies which can induce similar effects to those reported by some Bigfoot witnesses (and some UFO witnesses). What is the…
Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008.   Comments (3)

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