Hoax Museum Blog Posts: June 2009

Fake Air France Footage — Posted by Peter in the forum: TV station airs Lost as Air France crash footage A BOLIVIAN television news channel has been left red-faced after falling for a hoax that saw it claim pictures from the hit TV show Lost were actually the last moment of Air France flight AF447 before it plunged into the ocean on June 1. Source This confirms my theory that should a suitably dramatic picture of a major event not exist, one will be created. It's because our culture craves visual images. And…
Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009.   Comments (1)

Yup, she was lying — A Belgian girl who claimed 56 stars were tattooed on her face while she slept has admitted she lied and that she willingly asked for the striking design. Kimberley Vlaeminck said she "initially adored" the tattoos, but when her father reacted furiously she had decided to lie about it and blame the tattooist, London's Telegraph said. Source Related entry: Tattoo Horror Story
Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009.   Comments (0)

Woman insists she isn’t a man — Shifa Patel wore a full-length robe and hijab to her job as a secretary at a Muslim Girls' school in Lancashire. This concealed her features. But when pictures of her dressed in a shirt and trousers began to circulate at the school, concerned parents thought she looked like a man and demanded she be fired. Patel insisted she wasn't faking her gender, that she really was a woman, and even had a doctor's certificate to prove it. But to no avail. The complaints continued, and she…
Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2009.   Comments (4)

Sex Pistols Forgery — Punk rock is supposed to celebrate anti-commercialism and anarchy. Which makes a case of forgery in the market for punk-rock memorabilia somewhat ironic. A flyer for a 1978 Sex Pistols show at Randy's Rodeo in Texas, which was being auctioned by Christie's, has been found to be fake. Sex Pistols fans noticed that the letters forming "land" in "England" were written with Microsoft Comic Sans font, which only became available in 1995 with the release of Windows 95. The fans notified…
Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2009.   Comments (0)


More news from Iran — Catching up on all the stuff coming out of Iran in the wake of the election: The Minister's Secret Letter Photocopies of a letter allegedly from the Iranian minister of interior to Iran's Supreme Leader have been circulating throughout Iran. The letter discusses "your orders for Mr Ahmadinejad to be elected president," and states "for your information only, I am telling you the actual results." Supposedly, the actual results show that Ahmadinejad lost badly, getting only 5,698,417…
Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2009.   Comments (2)

Suspicious Number Counts in Iran’s Election — Cognitive psychologists have found that people have trouble inventing truly random numbers. Invariably their numbers will have more of some digits than others. Armed with this observation, a couple of political scientists examined the numbers from Iran's election and found that they aren't random. They found too many 7s and not enough 5s in the last digit. Also, people have a tendency to prefer adjacent digits when creating strings of numbers (i.e. they prefer 123 to 926). Sure enough,…
Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2009.   Comments (0)

Virginity restored six times? — I've posted before about hymen repair, aka Virginity Restoration Surgery. Inevitably, someone has taken what was a stupid concept to begin with and made it even more ridiculous by taking it to an extreme. Mosnews.com reports that a Russian woman, "Natalia K", restored her virginity a total of six times. Only a life-threatening infection stopped her: When the husband confessed he was upset about her losing her virginity before the wedding and with another man, Natalia decided to make…
Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2009.   Comments (7)

Honesty Cafes — As part of an ongoing effort to battle a culture of corruption, the Indonesian government is opening Honesty Cafes, designed to teach people the value of honesty. Snacks and drinks are available, and you pay on the honor system, putting your money into a clear plastic box. From the NY Times: The attorney general’s office says the honesty cafes will nip in the bud corrupt tendencies among the young and straighten out those known for indulging in corrupt practices, starting with civil…
Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2009.   Comments (5)

Barbecued Cats? — After receiving a complaint that some residents of a Houston apartment complex were barbecuing stray cats, the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Control investigated but determined the complaint was a hoax. But their conclusion isn't that reassuring, because after analyzing bone fragments from nearby dumpsters, the bureau did find that "There are animals that have been consumed that are similar to the size and structure of a cat." So, if not cats, what were these animals that were…
Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2009.   Comments (11)

Castro’s son hoaxed by fake woman — Fidel Castro's son, Antonio Castro, has learned the hard way the truth of the saying, "On the internet, the men are men, the women are men, and the children are FBI agents." A cuban exile, Luis Dominguez, created a fake online persona -- "Claudia, a 27-year-old Colombian sports journalist" -- and used it to conduct an online relationship with Castro's son. He did it, he said, to expose the opulent lifestyle of the Castros. From the BBC: Claudia made contact with Antonio and they…
Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2009.   Comments (3)

Burglar chews through steel bars — A news story (credited to the Chongqing Business Daily) is circulating about a recently apprehended burglar whose method of operation was to gain access to homes by chewing through steel window bars. From Ananova: Detectives in Nanjimen region, Chongqing, were puzzled by continuous reports of break-ins through caged windows. "Through our investigations, we found the grids had been cut but with deep tooth prints," a local police spokesman told the Chongqing Business Daily. Eventually,…
Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2009.   Comments (1)

Tattoo Horror Story — Something seems wrong with this girls' story. Eighteen-year-old Kimberley Vlaminck says she asked the tattoo artist for three small star tattoos on her face, but he evidently misunderstood her, and then she fell asleep while he was tattooing her. When she woke up, there were 56 stars on her face. The tattoo artist says she definitely asked for 56 stars, and that it's simply a case of tattoo regret. The Daily Mail, among others, has the story. I imagine it would be hard to sleep while…
Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2009.   Comments (29)

China’s Fountain of Youth — ABC News has a report on the village of Bama, "China's Fountain of youth." People there are said to live unusually long lives. Out of the population of 500, six people are over 100 years old. The locals attribute this longevity to pure water (which is "a striking blue because of low alkilinity"), simple home-grown food, and a special magnetic field. Bama has become a big tourist destination in China. Billboards promote its special powers. New hotels are being constructed there. And…
Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2009.   Comments (9)

The Barrel Monster — Proof that the art of the student prank hasn't quite died. N.C. State University student Joseph Carnevale has been arrested and is facing misdemeanor charges for damage to property after creating a "barrel monster" that menacingly pointed its finger at motorists on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh. The creation of the monster is documented at nopromiseofsafety.com. I couldn’t get it out of my head. Its that itch, that need to make real an idea that has rolled around in one’s head for…
Posted: Fri Jun 12, 2009.   Comments (8)

Sprinkler System Activated — A telephone caller, posing as a representative of a fire alarm company, convinced employees of a Comfort Suites Hotel to activate the sprinkler system, which resulted in thousands of dollars worth of damage. (tricities.com) This type of prank is definitely a recurring theme (see the rectal exam prank call, strip-search prank call, and satellite medical exam call), but I'm not sure what to call it. Maybe the "manipulative phone call prank," though that's not very catchy.
Posted: Fri Jun 12, 2009.   Comments (5)

Little April Rose — Recently a woman who identified herself only as "April's Mom" started blogging about how her unborn child had been diagnosed as terminally ill. And yet she had decided to go through with the pregnancy anyway. Her blog quickly became popular with the anti-abortion crowd. On Sunday "Little April Rose" was born, but died soon after. But skeptics noticed something strange about the picture of Little April that April's Mom posted on her site. Little April looked exactly like a reborn doll…
Posted: Fri Jun 12, 2009.   Comments (8)

Diversity, Toronto Style — Another case of cut-and-paste diversity. The city of Toronto wanted to feature a racially diverse assortment of people on the cover of its summer Fun Guide. Unable to find a photo that met that criteria, it created one via photoshop. The original is on the left, the altered cover on the right. (That's a really bad photoshop job.) The alteration was noticed by a graphics editor at the National Post. The most famous case of cut-and-paste diversity was the cover of the 2001-2002…
Posted: Thu Jun 11, 2009.   Comments (8)

Richard Strandlof, phony veteran — Another case of a phony veteran. Rick Duncan claimed he survived the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon, that he survived a roadside bomb in Iraq, and that he had a metal plate in his head. None of it was true. Not even his name, which was really Richard Strandlof. He also says that he's not a pathological liar. But then, what else would a pathological liar say? link: CNN
Posted: Thu Jun 11, 2009.   Comments (2)

Journal Accepts CRAP — Cornell grad student Philip Davis describes on Scholarly Kitchen an experiment he designed to test the peer-review process at Bentham Science, a publisher of "open-access" journals. (Open-access journals charge authors for publication, but make the articles available for free.) He used software to create an article full of computer-generated nonsense, such as, "we discuss existing research into red-black trees, vacuum tubes, and courseware [10]. On a similar note, recent work by…
Posted: Thu Jun 11, 2009.   Comments (5)

Frivolous (fake) lawsuits — The Lebanon Daily News confesses to coming down with a bad case of the Gullibility Virus. In a recent article they whipped themselves into a state of righteous indignation about a series of frivolous lawsuits. They had read about the lawsuits in an email. (Best part: they titled the article "Sad but true"). A reader later wrote to them: Austin woman awarded $80,000 for tripping over her own son in store? Fabricated. Los Angeles man trying to steal hubcap gets $74,000 when target…
Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2009.   Comments (14)

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