Hoax Museum Blog Posts: June 2008

Holotext Messaging — One day I'm sure it'll be possible to receive holographic messages on your iPhone. But not yet. Which means that this video showing (what appears to be) an iPhone displaying Holotext messages is a fake. I kept expecting Princess Leia to pop up and say, "Help me, Obi-Wan. You're my only hope."
Posted: Sun Jun 29, 2008.   Comments (5)

NOVA Quiz — NOVA interviewed Hany Farid, the world's leading digital forensics expert. If you want to know if an image is real or fake, he's the guy to ask. To accompany the interview, they posted a nine image real-or-fake challenge. Each image shows NOVA host Neil deGrasse Tyson posing with a different celebrity. You have to figure out which images are fake, and which are real. Farid then gives the answer in an audio clip and explains what clues you should have looked for. It's a good quiz. I…
Posted: Sun Jun 29, 2008.   Comments (8)

What is it? — I was working in my backyard this weekend, when I turned over a rock and discovered this creepy-crawly. Anyone have an idea what it is? I wasn't about to mess with it. Looked like it had a stinger on its tail. Update: Thanks to Robin Bobcat for identifying it as a Jerusalem Cricket. According to the San Diego Natural History Museum: "this nocturnal cricket is actually non-aggressive and possesses no poison glands, although its jaws can inflict a painful bite." Even if it's…
Posted: Sun Jun 29, 2008.   Comments (24)

Tribal Laptop — I saw this image posted on Gizmodo (who got it from pixdaus). They claim to know nothing about it, except that it shows the Dani people of Papua, New Guinea. Is it real, or has the Sony Vaio been photoshopped in? My hunch is that it's real. I'd guess that the laptop belongs to a photographer or researcher who handed the laptop to the guy with the big headdress in order to show him a picture. But that's just a guess. I debated whether the image could be considered "not safe for…
Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2008.   Comments (38)


Gloucester Pregnancy Pact — There's one final news item I've received a lot of emails about in the past week -- and so deserves a place on the front page (though it's already in the forum). The Gloucester Pregnancy Pact. Seventeen girls at Gloucester High School are pregnant. According to Time magazine, they all made a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. From Time: School officials started looking into the matter as early as October after an unusual number of girls began filing into the school…
Posted: Tue Jun 24, 2008.   Comments (13)

Fake Foot — I'm still catching up on all the recent hoaxes... So here's another one that a lot of people have emailed me about. The fake foot that washed up on a beach in British Columbia. Five human feet have washed up on beaches in British Columbia during the past year, generating a lot of media interest. After all, who do these feet belong to? It's a mystery. But a sixth foot that washed up turned out to be a hoax. From ctv.ca: A sixth foot believed to have washed ashore on Vancouver Island…
Posted: Tue Jun 24, 2008.   Comments (5)

Uncontacted tribe not so uncontacted — Thanks to everyone who emailed me about the Uncontacted Brazilian Tribe hoax that's now making headlines (and is already noted in the forum). I was at the library all yesterday, so I didn't have a chance to post anything. Anyway, to summarize: Last month the Brazilian government released photographs of an "uncontacted" tribe living in the Amazon. At the time I noted it would be very strange for a tribe to be truly uncontacted, and sure enough this week brings the revelation that…
Posted: Tue Jun 24, 2008.   Comments (6)

Hair of the Dog… or Lord Byron? — Female fans of Lord Byron would often send him locks of their hair. In return he would send them a lock of his own. But a new book claims that what Byron often sent was a lock of fur from his pet newfoundland dog Boatswain. From Times Online: John Murray VII, chairman of his family’s publishing house, which was founded in 1768 and worked with Byron, said the story had been passed down through the generations. Murray said the fans to whom Byron sent the hair would have been under the…
Posted: Sun Jun 22, 2008.   Comments (5)

Thieves Steal Fake Money — Thieves used a hammer to break open a plexiglass box being used as a Drop-A-Note donation box in the Kentucky Theatre's lobby, and they stole the money inside. Unfortunately for the thieves, the money they took was fake. From kentucky.com: "It's sad when idiots can't tell fake money from the real thing," said Steve Brown, president of Kentucky's Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ Project, a group dedicated to restoring a Wurlitzer organ and returning it to the Kentucky. Proceeds from the…
Posted: Sun Jun 22, 2008.   Comments (1)

Check-in Pseudonyms — Kate Beckinsale goes by "Sigourney Beaver." Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, when together, were "Mr and Mrs Ross Vegas." And Johnny Depp uses "Mr. Stench." These are some of the check-in pseudonyms that Hollywood stars use to remain anonymous when registering at hotels. The only time I ever use a pseudonym is when asked to fill in info for things like online surveys or grocery store cards. Then I'm always "Eric Blair." But I'm thinking of switching to Hugo N. Frye.
Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2008.   Comments (23)

A Degloving Injury — Warning: Don't look at these pictures if you're squeamish. Picture 1, Picture 2. They're the latest stomach-turners circulating around the internet. You've been warned! But if you think you can handle it, the pictures are interesting from an anatomical perspective. They show a "degloved" finger. A woman, while drunk, snagged her ring on a spiked fence, thereby peeling the skin off her finger. Her friends had the presence of mind to put the 'finger glove' in a glass of water and take…
Posted: Thu Jun 19, 2008.   Comments (8)

Ben Affleck’s Big Head — This photo of Ben Affleck is doing the rounds on celebrity gossip blogs. People are wondering if it's real or photoshopped. It is an odd picture, but I'm almost certain it's real. Affleck just happens to be posed at a strange angle, and the small size of the kids around him make his head appear unnaturally large. The picture comes from an event Affleck attended in Calgary on June 14 to support the oneXone charity. Wireimage.com has a gallery of photos of Affleck at this event. There…
Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2008.   Comments (12)

Santa Claus Currency — The Daily Record reports on a stupid counterfeit scheme that almost worked: A FORGER convinced a cashier a £20 note was real - despite Santa Claus and his reindeer being on it. Stacey Rice's self-made Santa Christmas Bank note promised to pay the bearer nothing and listed Santa as the bank's "chief operating officer" with his address as the North Pole. But Rice, 27, was still able to pass it off as genuine in an "astonishing" scam, a court heard. She duped a gullible cashier at a gym…
Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2008.   Comments (7)

Loch Ness Imposter — Threadless.com is selling a t-shirt with this picture. I thought it was cute, but I already own too many t-shirts, so I'm not gonna buy this one.
Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2008.   Comments (6)

Sewer Horse — The latest internet meme is Sewer Horse: "Sewer Horse is Watching You" I have no explanation for the image. Is it real or fake? I haven't got a clue. It seems a bit unlikely that a horse would end up in a sewer, but then he could be in a large underground tunnel that has an opening he's looking out of. Sewer Horse is so popular that he even has his own website.
Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2008.   Comments (12)

An email from SueEasy — This morning I received an email from SueEasy, a website about which I've posted previously: Hi, This is Andrew Richards, Manager Operations at SueEasy.com We would like to express our discontentment regarding your entry about our company: http://hoaxes.org/weblog/permalink/sue_easy/ We are NOT a hoax of any kind. We have several respected law firms and attorneys signed up with our service & we were hand picked by Michael Arrington (
Posted: Mon Jun 16, 2008.   Comments (15)

The Big 4-0 — I turn forty today. Getting old! Shown are two of my birthday presents: a Feejee mermaid (from my wife) and a replica of the Piltdown Man skull (from my parents). They look kind of creepy together, but I think they're cool. With all these things I'm acquiring, I'll be able to open a real Museum of Hoaxes soon!
Posted: Fri Jun 13, 2008.   Comments (26)

Is the Wii Fit girl video a covert marketing campaign? — Just as popular recently as the Office Freakout video (posted about below), has been a video titled "Wii Fit - Why You Should Buy It For Your Girlfriend." It's one minute of a girl in her underwear working out with the Nintendo Wii Fit as her boyfriend ogles her. There's been a lot of speculation that the video is a (not-so) covert marketing campaign by Nintendo. People grew even more suspicious after it was discovered that the woman in the video, 25-year-old Lauren Bernat, and her…
Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2008.   Comments (14)

Office Freakout Video Turns Out to be Fake — For the past few weeks a video (apparently Russian) of some guy freaking out at his office has been doing the rounds. Tobester posted about it in the forum, speculating that it was real. But no, it isn't. Wired reports that it was covert marketing for the upcoming movie Wanted, starring Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie: The undercover advert hit its target spot-on, amassing nearly 4 million views and almost 5,500 Diggs in the week since it was posted. The video is supposed to invoke…
Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2008.   Comments (5)

Hand with no thumb — I found this picture on Puld.net, who writes: "The sources said this is not photoshopped or edited and this person really have no THUMB at all! I wonder how he “Thumbs Up” his friends?" Update: Posted to the Hoax Photo Database.
Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2008.   Comments (7)

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