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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
July 2009
Dissolvable Bikini — In 1940 Curtis MacDougall wrote in his book Hoaxes about a journalistic hoax involving dissolving bathing suits: Webb Miller in I Found No Peace revealed that the story from the French Riviera of a British millionaire who embarrassed his guests by inducing them to swim in bathing suits which dissolved in salt water was a pure fake. The reporter inventing it was ordered by his managing editor to ship several of the suits to the United States; he complied with an hermetically sealed box…
Posted: Fri Jul 31, 2009.   Comments (8)

Michael Jackson in Clouds — New Michael Jackson pareidolia (jackodolia). A 43-year-old builder from Stafford "who happens to be a bit of a skeptic" took this picture of his car. He intended to send the picture to a car sales magazine, until he noticed the image of Michael Jackson formed by the reflection of clouds on its hood. (youtube)
Posted: Fri Jul 31, 2009.   Comments (8)

Kuda Bux and Eyeless Vision — On the Raffaele De Ritis' Novelties and Wonders blog I found an old video of Kuda Bux, a performer who claimed to have x-ray eyes. He would cover his eyes with putty, cotton wool, and gauze bandages. Then he would challenge people to write any word, in any language, on a blackboard, and he would be able to magically reproduce what they had written. Kuda Bux claimed it was psychic ability that allowed him to see while blindfolded, and according to Wikipedia his act inspired Roald Dahl…
Posted: Wed Jul 29, 2009.   Comments (16)

Acupuncture Exam — DC's Improbable Science has posted a pdf file of the exam given to those studying medical acupuncture at the University of Salford. Fans of acupuncture have long been lobbying for it to get more respect from the medical community, but as the DC Science blog points out, this exam appears to be nothing but gobbledygook. Here are several of the questions that exam takers must answer:
Posted: Wed Jul 29, 2009.   Comments (14)


Are women getting more beautiful? — The Times Online reports on a recent study by University of Helsinki researcher Markus Jokela, who found that women are getting more beautiful: Scientists have found that evolution is driving women to become ever more beautiful, while men remain as aesthetically unappealing as their caveman ancestors. The article doesn't mention where Jokela published his study, so I'll have to go by the article's description of his work. But on the basis of that, his claim is absurd. Beauty isn't…
Posted: Tue Jul 28, 2009.   Comments (13)

Man claims to be allergic to Wifi — DJ Steve Miller claims that he is allergic to Wifi. Being caught near a Wifi connection causes him agonizing pain. From the Daily Mail: The condition, known as electromagnetic sensitivity, affects two per cent of the population, and this is set to grow as more people opt for wireless internet signals. Steve navigates normal daily chores with the help of a ‘wi-fi detector’ which spots areas he should avoid. But the sensitivity has made moving house a real mission for Steve, who has…
Posted: Tue Jul 28, 2009.   Comments (14)

Michael Jackson’s Nose, the legend continues — A rumor is circulating alleging that a) Michael Jackson wore a prosthetic nose, and b) someone has stolen that nose from the Los Angeles morgue. The rumor about Jackson wearing a prosthetic nose dates back to at least 2002, when Jackson appeared in Santa Maria Superior Court wearing a large bandage on his nose. But this latest addition to the rumor means that Michael Jackson's nose joins that select group of human body parts that acquire a life in legend following the death of the…
Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2009.   Comments (7)

Margaret’s Stain — A stain, shaped like a human body, can be found on the concrete floor of the Athens Mental Health and Retardation Center in Athens Ohio. According to legend, this stain marks the location where the body of a patient, Margaret Schilling, lay undiscovered for several weeks back in 1979. A team of forensic scientists recently tested the stain to determine whether it's a genuine human decomposition stain, or if it was created artificially. They published the results of their investigation…
Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2009.   Comments (10)

Top 10 Hoaxes List plagiarizes me — Cranky Media Guy drew my attention to a list of the "Top 10 Hoaxes of all time" posted by Kelvin Lynch on examiner.com. Cranky asks: "Haven't we seen this exact list before... recently, in fact?" I can't recall if this list had been posted elsewhere recently, but as I was reading through it, I felt that a lot of the language was strangely familiar. And then I realized why this was so. Much of the text has been lifted directly from the print version of The Museum of Hoaxes, published…
Posted: Fri Jul 24, 2009.   Comments (20)

Did Robert Capa fake the ‘falling soldier’ photo? — Robert Capa's photo of a soldier falling backward from the impact of a shot to his head is one of the most famous images in the history of photography. But for decades people have argued that Capa staged the shot. In the hoax photo archive I have a brief summary of the controversy. I come down on the side of those who feel the photo wasn't staged. Adding new fuel to the controversy, a Catalan newspaper now claims to have found evidence that Capa staged the shot. From The Independent:
Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2009.   Comments (2)

Another fake cancer victim — Yet another cancer hoaxer unmasked. Jonathan Jay White claimed to be a 15-year-old from Idaho suffering from Anaplastic Astrocytoma (a kind of brain cancer). He gained a lot of supporters online, including Lance Armstrong, who sent him a number of gifts. But it now appears that Jonathan Jay White never existed. Details at news.sky.com and jonthanjayisafraud.blogspot.com.
Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2009.   Comments (1)

The Manhattan Airport Foundation — The Manhattan Airport Foundation is a hoax site purporting to promote the conversion of New York's Central Park into an airport. Clues that the site is a hoax: a) it's registered anonymously; and b) the foundation lists its address as "233 Broadway, 58th Floor, New York, New York." 233 Broadway is the Woolworth Building, which only has 57 floors. Apparently, the Huffington Post didn't realize the site was a joke, and posted a link on its front page about the plan to build an…
Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2009.   Comments (4)

The Vinland Map, the controversy continues — Every few years I post an update about the Vinland Map (a map, supposedly from the early 15th century, showing part of North America). In 2002 I posted that an analysis of the map's ink proved it was a fake, but in 2003 I wrote that a new study indicated it might be genuine. And in 2004 I linked to a Scientific American article that described historian Kirsten Seaver's theory that the map was created in the 1930s by a German Jesuit priest, Father Josef Fischer, in order to tease the…
Posted: Mon Jul 20, 2009.   Comments (5)

Vinayak Gorur, sous chef — On May 13, 2009 the Ahwatukee Foothills News ran an article about Vinayak Gorur, a local guy who, at the age of 21, had become the youngest ever sous chef at the upscale Compass Restaurant in downtown Phoenix. But a few days ago, the paper ran an apology, admitting that Gorur wasn't really a sous chef at the Compass. Gorur had invented the entire tale. Why isn't clear. A few things evidently went wrong in the paper's fact checking process. First, they never called the Compass…
Posted: Mon Jul 20, 2009.   Comments (14)

No Flesh-Eating Robots — About two weeks ago, rumors began to spread online about a flesh-eating robot created by the military. The robot, named the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR™), would be a reconnaissance droid that could survive for long periods behind enemy lines by foraging for fuel. This fuel would include virtually any kind of biomass: twigs, branches, apple cores, stray cats, or even human bodies. The robot, it turns out, is real, but the claim that it will be able to feed on human…
Posted: Mon Jul 20, 2009.   Comments (6)

One Million Years B.C. Bigfoot — On Cryptomundo, Loren Coleman notes a similarity between Patty (the Bigfoot that stars in the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film) and the ape creatures that appear briefly in the 1966 film One Million Years B.C. (starring Raquel Welch). In the images below, Patty is on the left, and one of the One Million Years B.C. creatures is on the right. Lots of people have suggested a link between 1967's Planet of the Apes and the Patterson-Gimlin film, but a link to One Million Years B.C. is a new…
Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009.   Comments (4)

40th Anniversary of Paul Is Dead Rumor (almost) — Magazines have begun to note the 40th anniversary of the Paul is Dead rumor (although they're two months early... the rumor began to circulate widely in September 1969). Contact Music managed to get a quotation from McCartney about the rumor. He claims to still be laughing it off. But interestingly, he also get the details wrong about how the rumor started: MCCartney's barefoot appearance in the photo [on the cover of Abbey Road] sparked wild rumours the rocker had died in a car…
Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009.   Comments (10)

Loch Ness as one of the 7 Wonders of Nature — Loch Ness is a finalist in a campaign to name the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Other finalists include the Amazon River, the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef, and Mount Kilimanjaro. Loch Ness is very scenic and geologically very interesting, but Willie Cameron of Loch Ness Marketing thinks that the Loch should have a leg-up on the competition because, "None of the other nominees has a legacy we know as the Loch Ness Monster. Whatever it is, it is unexplainable and that is unique." By…
Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2009.   Comments (11)

The Photoshopped Refugee? — 11points.com has posted a list of 11 photos where black people were awkwardly photoshopped in or out. Most of them I've seen before. A few of them I even have on this site. But there was one I hadn't seen before. It's titled "Photoshopped diversity in a Lebanon refugee camp." 11points provides this description: In the summer of 2006, this photo ran in the New York Times and is a very important lesson about photojournalism. If you're going to Photoshop a black guy into a Lebanese…
Posted: Mon Jul 13, 2009.   Comments (27)

Golf Trick Shot — The latest viral video going around is titled "Hot Girl Pulls Off Insane Golf Trick Shot." Is it real? I'm not sure, but I don't see why it couldn't be. The trick doesn't seem that insane to me.
Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2009.   Comments (17)

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