The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
May 2008
Uncontacted Brazilian Tribe — The Brazilian government released some dramatic pictures of one of South America's last remaining uncontacted indigenous tribes. It says it took the pictures to prove that the tribe existed, because there apparently were some people who doubted this. When I saw the pictures, I couldn't help but be reminded of the Stone Age Tasaday from the Philippines. The Tasaday were a tribe that was discovered in 1971. Unlike the Brazilian tribe (who are seen shooting arrows at the helicopter taking…
Posted: Fri May 30, 2008.   Comments (14)

Big Cow — He looks too big to be real, but apparently he genuinely is a giant cow. His name is Chilli, and he lives at the Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Somerset. From the Daily Mail: Chilli dwarfs most horses, is the same height as a small elephant and casts a shadow over his cattle companions who are about 5ft in height "He now stands at 6ft 6ins from the floor to the top of his shoulder and he is massive when he holds his head up. "We have made an application to Guinness Book Of Records and we…
Posted: Fri May 30, 2008.   Comments (21)

Scorched Crotch Prank — If you need a reminder of the human race's capacity for stupidity, consider this story, from SanLuisObispo.com: Pillers, Keiffer and friend Elliot Tuleja were drinking at a house in Grover Beach on Jan. 18 when Tuleja passed out. Pillers and Keiffer decided to play a practical joke on him... “They were drinking, and one of the guys passed out. So (the other two) said, ‘Let’s do something. I’m going to look for rotten fruit to (put) up in his socks.’ “The other guy found a bottle of…
Posted: Thu May 29, 2008.   Comments (5)

The Perfect Woman — Ai Robotics claim to have developed the "Perfect Woman." Her face is shiny and her movements jerky, but she does housework. From perfect-woman.com: The company AI ROBOTICS was founded 2 years ago by Etienne Fresse and Yoichi Yamato, both robotics specialists working on developing cutting-edge technologies. During the last 3 years the two founders have dedicated all their time and energy to their project “robot woman LISA” which thanks to the support of numerous foreign investors will…
Posted: Thu May 29, 2008.   Comments (18)


The World’s Largest Drawing — I'm very late with this one, but I thought it was worth including on the front page. I'll defer to David B. who posted about it a few days ago in the forum: A Swedish artist, Erik Nordenankar, recently made more that a few waves by claiming to have drawn the biggest picture in the world, a portrait of himself constructed of a single line 110 thousand km long. Nordenanker said his amazing drawing had been sketched out, not in ink or paint, but by the movements of a special briefcase…
Posted: Thu May 29, 2008.   Comments (4)

Was Shakespeare a Jewish Woman? — There are many theories about the true identity of Shakespeare. A new one (at least, new to me) is that Shakespeare was actually a Jewish woman named Amelia Bassano Lanier. This argument is made by John Hudson, author of a forthcoming biography of Bassano (who was the first woman to publish a book of poetry in England). Haaretz reports: The theory rests largely on the circumstances of Bassano's life, which Hudson contends match, much better than William Shakespeare's did, the content…
Posted: Wed May 28, 2008.   Comments (11)

Back from Virginia — I returned last night from Virginia, where I spent Memorial Day Weekend with my parents. Their dog, Falcon, never ceases to amaze me. He's huge. Every picture of him looks surreal, as if it's been photoshopped to increase his size, but he really is that big. At 200 lbs, he's heavier than I am. You don't sit with him on the couch, so much as you try to squeeze in beside him.
Posted: Wed May 28, 2008.   Comments (10)

Punishing linkbaiters? — On May 9, money.co.uk published a story alleging that a 13-year-old kid in Texas had stolen his dad's credit card and used it to rent a motel room and some prostitutes. The cute/quirky part of the story was that the kids simply played Xbox with the "$1,000 a night girls." The story quickly spread throughout the media, appearing in The Sun, The Daily Telegraph, and Fox News, among others. But a few days later it was exposed as a hoax, since the police had no record of such an incident.…
Posted: Sat May 24, 2008.   Comments (16)

Why do casinos have ugly carpets? — There are many rumors about casinos. One I posted about earlier is the belief that casinos pump in oxygen to encourage people to gamble more. (It's not true). Another rumor focuses on the carpets in casinos, which are often noticeably ugly. The theory is that there must be some diabolical reason why they're so ugly. David Schwartz, a historian of gambling, writes, "Casino carpet is known as an exercise in deliberate bad taste that somehow encourages people to gamble." He's collected an…
Posted: Fri May 23, 2008.   Comments (24)

Todd Davis’s Social Security Number — Todd Davis, CEO of LifeLock, claims his company offers such a high level of identity-theft protection that he's willing to advertise his own social-security number. (It's 457-55-5462.) He's that sure no one is going to be able to steal his identity. Many criminals are quite happy to take him up on the challenge. From Yahoo! News: Davis acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press that his stunt has led to at least 87 instances in which people have tried to steal his identity,…
Posted: Thu May 22, 2008.   Comments (11)

Grand Teton and Wildflowers — The image to the right is available for purchase on webshots.com. The photographer is listed as Adam Jones. It's titled "Grand Teton and Wildflowers, Wyoming." The image has become quite popular and has slowly been circulating around the internet. One person on the webshots message board writes: What a wonderful blend of colours and God’s creation. At the present time I live in Beijing and in the smog I often look at this picture and remember how beautiful the world can be. But the…
Posted: Thu May 22, 2008.   Comments (14)

Altered Yearbook Photos — When students at McKinney High School recently received copies of their yearbook, they noticed that many of their photos had been altered. From dallasnews.com: The problem photos are obvious. One girl's arm is missing. Another girl is missing her clothing – and was left with a blurred chest. Multiple students have the same body and clothes. Some shirt colors were changed, while patterns and wording on other shirts were wiped out. At least 34 students had someone else's body. Officials…
Posted: Thu May 22, 2008.   Comments (9)

Rapture Check — RaptureCheck.org allows you to check the probability that the rapture has happened -- just in case you look out your window, see no one there, and get worried. Right now the rapture is listed as "Getting Close." Here's how it determines the imminence of rapture: I made an assumption that the people who would regularly check RaptureCheck would be dispensationalist Christians concerned about the rapture. I further assumed that many, if not most, of these people would be raptured when and…
Posted: Wed May 21, 2008.   Comments (6)

The Museum of Fakes — Smithsonian Magazine has an article about the Museum of Fakes, located in southern Italy. (Thanks, Joe.) It's like a real-life Museum of Hoaxes, but devoted exclusively to art fakes. Thanks to a special arrangement with the Italian police, it has become the repository for all counterfeit works of art confiscated in Italy (and there are a lot of them). Its director, Salvatore Casillo, is a sociologist who has spent 20 years studying counterfeits. My favorite detail in the article:
Posted: Wed May 21, 2008.   Comments (3)

SpongeBob Vandalism — A chimney is all that remains of the cabin that used to be the home of the manager of the Forest Service tree nursery in Pike Forest. It's considered a historically significant remain. That didn't stop pranksters from refashioning it, with the help of some paint, into a monument to SpongeBob Squarepants. From gazette.com: Some people might find humor in a 10-foot tall likeness of the cartoon character SpongeBob Square-Pants painted onto a crumbling chimney in the middle of the woods.…
Posted: Wed May 21, 2008.   Comments (11)

Panic Buy Carrots — On May 15th thousands of people around the world went to their local grocery store to panic buy carrots. They were members of the facebook group called "On May 15th 2008, everybody needs to go out and panic buy carrots." From northernnews.com: What started out as a prank Facebook group called "On May 15th 2008, everybody needs to go out and panic buy carrots," with just a handful of the creator's friends as members, has exploded online and now has 231,000 worldwide supporters on the…
Posted: Tue May 20, 2008.   Comments (9)

Child Trader — If you're tired of your kid, why not swap him or her for another? Childtrader.com makes this possible. From the site: Child Trader is now the nations 4th largest child exchange network and as such, has brought happiness to more than 1623 American households who otherwise had very few options in creating a more loving family and home life when realizing their child wasn’t the right fit for them. Child Trader Child Exchange Network isn’t about not loving childing [sic]. Its about finding…
Posted: Thu May 15, 2008.   Comments (15)

Malaysian Sea Monster — In an email with the subject "Giant Fish - Caught in Malaysia? Apparently...," Joshua Penley asks: "What the HELL is this?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!" This sounds like a question for Big Gary, the museum's Deputy Curator in Charge of Fish. I would simply note that the guys in the photos don't look particularly Malaysian, making it a case of "real picture, fake caption." The bottom picture reminds me of a picture of a (fake looking) sea monster, taken in 1906 on the beach at…
Posted: Thu May 15, 2008.   Comments (18)

Plant Rights — An ethics panel commissioned by the Swiss government has determined that the arbitrary killing of plants is morally wrong. From The Weekly Standard: A "clear majority" of the panel adopted what it called a "biocentric" moral view, meaning that "living organisms should be considered morally for their own sake because they are alive." Thus, the panel determined that we cannot claim "absolute ownership" over plants and, moreover, that "individual plants have an inherent worth." This means…
Posted: Wed May 14, 2008.   Comments (16)

Organic Tomatoes — Posted recently on Yahoo! News: "A farmer tends organic tomatoes at a greenhouse in Langfang, Hebei province, near Beijing, China, February 6, 2007." It's not photoshopped. It's an example of forced perspective. (via Snapshots from my world)
Posted: Mon May 12, 2008.   Comments (4)

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