The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
July 2008
Nessie Does New York — Apexart, in New York City, is currently hosting an exhibition titled "Nessie Does New York: Monetizing Myth, Legend & Culture." It's basically a collection of Nessie, Bigfoot, and Chupacabra-related kitsch. Their downloadable exhibition brochure poses this question: Is it the marketing of myth, or the myth of marketing that keeps these creatures alive? (Who knows?) In other words, is it that we want to believe there's a small chance Bigfoot might show up on a logging road after we've…
Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2008.   Comments (4)

Farting iPhones — You've just shelled out a couple hundred bucks for a new iPhone, and now you're paying outrageous monthly service charges in addition to that. So what can you do to show off your new status symbol? How about make it fart? DoApp has introduced a whoopie cushion app for the iPhone: This app includes 10 varieties of gas sounds. The user will be able to choose the right length and power to make the proper sound effect for the moment. In order to use this application, a user has to touch…
Posted: Fri Jul 18, 2008.   Comments (4)

No tattoos in Jewish cemeteries — The New York Times debunks the myth that "If you get a tattoo, you can’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery": The eight rabbinical scholars interviewed for this article, from institutions like the Jewish Theological Seminary and Yeshiva University, said it’s an urban legend, most likely started because a specific cemetery had a policy against tattoos. Jewish parents and grandparents picked up on it and over time, their distaste for tattoos was presented as scriptural doctrine. But even if…
Posted: Fri Jul 18, 2008.   Comments (7)

An offensive ad? — I've received a few complaints about one of the ads running on the site, for Dickipedia.org. People are worried it might be a porn ad. It's actually not. According to Federated Media it's "a satirical wikipedia stye guide to celebrities who behave badly." Most of the ads on the site run through Google, and I have very little control over them. But a few run through Federated Media, and I have slightly more control over these. FM warned me this ad was scheduled to run, and I could have…
Posted: Thu Jul 17, 2008.   Comments (16)


Spiderman Tattoo — Photos of a Spiderman tattoo, showing an illusion of skin tearing away to reveal a Spiderman costume beneath, have been circulating around, prompting people to wonder if the images are real or photoshopped. They are real. The tattoo is the work of Milwaukee-based artist Dan Hazelton. Check out his site for other examples of his work. He very briefly discusses the Spiderman tattoo on his myspace page in response to a question from someone who asks, "can i get a tear out like the…
Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2008.   Comments (22)

Hippo Eats Zookeeper (almost) — It's not a hoax, but I feel compelled to note any news story even vaguely similar to Hippo Eats Dwarf. From the Rocky Mountain News: A veteran worker at the Denver Zoo suffered a hand puncture today when a hippopotamus chomped down during routine dental training. The woman keeper was bitten about 9:45 a.m. in the outdoor hippo exhibit as she and colleagues were doing desensitizing training on Mahali, a 5-year-old male, to make dental work more comfortable for the hippo. "Mahali was…
Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2008.   Comments (4)

Horse Theft Scam — Horse thievery used to be a huge problem. After the American Civil War it became so rampant in the West that it inspired the creation of a vigilante group that called itself the Anti Horse Thief Association. This group had, at one point, 30,000 members. But horse theft is something I thought became obsolete with the widespread adoption of automobiles. Apparently not. Authorities in Tennessee are warning of a modern-day horse theft scam. People are showing up at farms claiming to be…
Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2008.   Comments (4)

C. Yeager of the Phillies — Baseball fans attending the recent Fan Fest in New York City had the chance to get memorabilia signed by C. Yeager of the Phillies. The problem: there is no "C. Yeager" playing for the Phillies. The man in the Phillies uniform was really just a guy who likes to dress up as a ballplayer so that, for a few minutes, he can enjoy the adulation of kids... before the police haul him away. The Sporting Blog (who has video of the guy signing anything people stuck in front of him) writes: "He…
Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2008.   Comments (7)

The Smell of Fake Cigarettes — Now that the Dutch have banned smoking in bars, bar patrons have realized they can smell each other, and they don't like it. So a Dutch company, Rain Showtechniek, has created a machine that will create a fake tobacco smell. From The Telegraph: "There is a need for a scent to mask the sweat and other unpleasant smells like stale beer," said Erwin van den Bergh, a spokesman for the company... Unlike the real thing, the artificial tobacco smells do not have any health risks and does not…
Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2008.   Comments (10)

A Rat’s Ass — Found on eBay. Finally, you can give a rat's ass. For only $10.25! I seriously wonder about the psychology of the person who makes these -- carefully removing the posterior portion of a rat's anatomy and mounting it on a piece of wood. I wonder even more about the person who buys it. (I thought about it for a second, but then concluded that, no, the wife would kill me if I unveiled this.) It fits into the genre of gag gifts that take popular expressions literally. The only similar…
Posted: Sun Jul 13, 2008.   Comments (8)

An Unfortunate Accident — This news clipping has been doing the rounds: Is it true? It does have urban-legend qualities to it, but a search of LexisNexis reveals that it was widely reported in April 2002. English-language papers credited the story to the Danish newspaper BT. The surgeon was identified as Jorn Kristensen. The Sun had this line: Surgeon Jorn Kristensen said of the chain reaction: "No-one considered the possibility." So, given the specific details, I'm going to say that it appears to be true my…
Posted: Sun Jul 13, 2008.   Comments (20)

A Whole Bunch of Pareidolia — I've been falling behind on my pareidolia updates. So I'm lumping all the recent sightings together in one post: Spumoni Jesus Some patrons of Hatch Family Chocolates in Salt Lake City claimed to be able to see the image of Jesus in a 3-gallon bucket of spumoni ice cream. Me: I can't see it at all. Spumoni Jesus started to melt, so they ate him. (Thanks, Bob!) Face in Log This one has been getting a lot of attention. Ernest Ward, a groundskeeper at Magnolia Cemetery in Maryville,…
Posted: Sun Jul 13, 2008.   Comments (12)

Announcing Weird Universe — So here's the big announcement I mentioned in the last post. (No point in keeping the secret until Wednesday because it's already been leaked!) I'm starting up a new weblog: Weird Universe. Joining me in this questionable endeavor are fellow weird-enthusiasts Chuck Shepherd (well-known for his "News of the Weird" syndicated column) and noted science-fiction author Paul Di Filippo (of the Steampunk Trilogy fame). For a long time I've wanted a place to blog about weird, but not…
Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008.   Comments (12)

The Hoax Photo Database — Years ago I created a Hoax Photo Gallery for the site. But I recently decided that the Gallery was showing its age and needed an update. So I came up with the idea to replace it with a Hoax Photo Database. I've been working on the Database for the past two months. It's one of those projects that, if I had realized how much work it was going to be, I would have hesitated to start. But I'm too far along to stop now, so I'm going to continue at it until it's done. (Which will be never,…
Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008.   Comments (6)

Two-Headed Pheasant — The BBC is on the hunt for a two-headed pheasant, after a photo of one, supposedly taken on the grounds of Himley Hall, near Dudley, was sent to them. The problem is, there are no one-headed pheasants living at Himley Hall, let alone two-headed ones. The BBC suspects a hoax: an artist from Birmingham said the bird looked remarkably similar one of her creations. Annabel de Vetten, who used stuffed birds for the works, gave one away as a present and another has gone missing. She said the…
Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008.   Comments (4)

Faceless Aliens — This has already been posted in the forum, but I've received too many emails about it to ignore it. "Faceless aliens" have been spotted attending various high-profile events in the UK, including Wimbledon and the Harrods summer sale. The "aliens" are people wearing masks. So why are they doing this? According to the Mail Online, theories include: the possibilities that they are limelight-seeking pranksters, performance artists or that they are at the centre of a viral marketing…
Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2008.   Comments (11)

Radioactive fallout helps authenticate art — This news is about a month old, but it's new to me! Russian curator Elena Basner thinks she might have developed a foolproof way of determining whether a work of art was made before or after 1945. She tests the paint for radioactive isotopes. From the Times Online: The first nuclear bomb was successfully tested in July 1945 in New Mexico. On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and three days later a second, more powerful bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. About 550…
Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2008.   Comments (12)

Bra Explodes on NPR — NPR's Storycorps gave the air this week to 94-year-old Betty Jenkins, who tells the tale of an inflatable bra her mother gave her when she was younger. She decided to wear the bra on a plane trip to South America. Unfortunately, as she sat in the unpressurized cabin, her bra started to get bigger and bigger: "As the thing got bigger, I tried to stand up," Jenkins said, "and I couldn't see my feet." The instructions said that the bra's pads could be inflated up to a size 48. "I thought,…
Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2008.   Comments (4)

Sewer Horse 2 — I came across another picture of a horse in a sewer. I guess when it rains sewer horses, it pours. The previous sewer horse was pretty implausible. After all, you had a horse sticking its head out of a sewer, and no one was even looking at it. This sewer horse is more believable. I could imagine a horse wandering around in an open field, which happens to back into an open hole. And at least the firemen are looking at this horse. However, the shadows seem wrong. The angle of light…
Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2008.   Comments (21)

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