Hoax Museum Blog Posts: July 2009

Wave of Hotel Pranks — As noted by Beasjt in the forum, there's been a case of a phone prankster tricking a couple into smashing up a hotel room by telling them there's a gas leak. I reported a case of an identical prank in April. The Boston Herald describes these incidents as part of a "wave of hotel pranks": The Monday incident follows others from around the country: In Arkansas, a caller posing as a sprinkler company employee convinced a motel employee to do more than $50,000 in damage to a motel as…
Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2009.   Comments (9)

Oscar Mayer Wiener Jet

Unfortunately there never has been an Oscar Mayer Wiener Jet. This image is a fake. One of the earliest online references to the image dates back to Jan 15, 2007, when it was posted to the forum of philskies.net. The poster (whose profile identified him as a 2D and 3D animator) wrote, "I probably shouldn't post this pic, but it's in good fun. This was doing the email rounds internally when they were coming up with a livery for it." This suggests the image may have been a joke created by the graphic designers whom Boeing commissioned to create the livery for the 747-400 Largo Cargo…

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009.   Comments (12)

Thieves steal fake phones — Not the brightest thieves in the world: Employees at a Telefonica Movistar cell-phone store in Morelia, Mexico say they arrived Tuesday morning to find that the store had been broken into. An examination of the shop revealed the only items missing were hollow replica phones for display that are completely useless for making calls. Employees say the clueless thieves overlooked real cell phones and cash in another part of the shop.[Associated Press]
Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009.   Comments (2)

USB-Powered Chainsaw — A new hoax website advertises the World's First USB-powered Chainsaw: Current materials used on bodies of chainsaws are too heavy for office use. Lighter materials, however, could cause the vertical axis of the guide bar to shift when pressure is applied onto the saw chain. Research and development introduced several innovations to offer an optimal blend of tough plastic and lightweight alloy. It's said to be shipping in September. The real question is who created this page and why.…
Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009.   Comments (12)


Happy 07/08/09! — USA Today points out that a "rare time/date alignment" occurs on July 8, 2009 at 4:05 a.m. and 6 seconds. The exact date then will be: 04:05:06 07/08/09. Does this mean anything? Well, if you ask a tarot card reader, it does. And, of course, that's who USA Today asks: Although the alignment may not mean anything specific, it could be a good day to do something for yourself and others, said Betsy Carlson, a Palm Springs tarot card reader and numerology expert. "It's a good day to make…
Posted: Tue Jul 07, 2009.   Comments (18)

Jackodolia — More Michael Jackson pareidolia, or "Jackodolia". The Edison family of Brazil prepared a roast last Saturday, but neglected to do the dishes for a day. Then they noticed that the face of Michael Jackson had mysteriously appeared in the roasting pan. Link: terra.com.br via ceticismoaberto
Posted: Tue Jul 07, 2009.   Comments (11)

Hello Kitty Taser — The Hello Kitty Taser raised the ire of Justin Yu at CNET who wrote: The existence of this Hello Kitty taser gun makes me want to open it up and point it at my head. You have to question the intentions of these designers...is the gun supposed to make little girls less fearful about attacking their in-store competition? Maybe it's meant to fool criminals into thinking their victims are unarmed, only to be met with 50,000 volts of adorable electricity. Only subsequently did he realize…
Posted: Tue Jul 07, 2009.   Comments (9)

Geographical distribution of Bigfoot same as Black Bear — In its current issue, the Journal of Biogeography has published an article whose authors use ecological niche modelling software to predict the distribution of Sasquatch in western North America. The authors write: We were stimulated to write this piece as a tongue-in-cheek response to the increasing prevalence of ENMs in the literature and in papers presented at professional meetings. As in any rapidly developing field with the promise of exciting applications, there is the potential…
Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2009.   Comments (11)

Woman “prank calls” her own grandmother — Calling a store and asking "have you got Prince Albert in a can" is a prank call. Calling your grandmother 45 times and saying "You're going to die" is not a prank call. It's a sign of serious psychological issues. [google] A 21-year-old woman faces felony charges after allegedly prank-calling her 69-year-old grandmother 45 times in one day, threatening to kill her. The woman faces five felony counts including harassment. A criminal complaint said she told police she was "bored" and…
Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2009.   Comments (3)

Michael Jackson seen all over — The guy may be dead, but he's showing up all over the place. Michaeljacksonsightings.com has a few blurry pictures of the back of someone who vaguely resembles Jackson. They offer this as proof that Jackson faked his death. A family in Stockton, California have noticed an image of Michael Jackson in a tree stump in their front yard. They swear the image only appeared on the day he died. (I'm not seeing anything at all.) Then there's the ghost of Michael Jackson, which you can see in…
Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2009.   Comments (10)

Did Da Vinci create the shroud of turin? — A new theory about the Shroud of Turin: Lillian Schwartz, a graphic consultant at the School of Visual Arts in New York, thinks Leonardo da Vinci created it. Her reasoning is that "the face on the Turin Shroud and a self portrait of Leonardo da Vinci share the same dimensions." The self-portrait of da Vinci and the face on the shroud do look similar, but I thought it was pretty well established that the shroud dates back to at least 1355, which would make it too old for da Vinci to…
Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2009.   Comments (11)

116-year-old Basketball Shoes — Two days ago Boing Boing posted about the discovery of a pair of 116-year-old basketball shoes: The shoes were manufactured by the Colchester Rubber Company which shut down in 1893. Vintage clothing dealer Gary Pifer paid 50 cents for them at an estate sale in Vista, California. From CafeTerra: "In a instant, I knew this discovery would be re-writing basketball and sneaker history, as these sneakers are 25 years older than the 1917 Converse All-Stars", added Pifer. The Colchester…
Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2009.   Comments (6)

The Con Artist Hall of Infamy — A new site debuted three days ago: The Con Artist Hall of Infamy. It's tagline is: Finally there is a place to induct the champions of greed and deception. As interesting as the site itself is the fact that it's being bankrolled by two billionaires, Warren Hellman and Arthur Rock, who decided that there needed to be a site devoted to offering the big picture on fraudsters and con artists. Billionaires with an interest in promoting knowledge about the history of deception! In my…
Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2009.   Comments (1)

Urban Legend Awards Announced — It's not what you think it is. The Urban Legend Awards will honor "contributions made by volunteers, local leaders, businesses, churches, partners and community members to the urban AIDS response in Swaziland." Maybe the term "urban legend" doesn't mean the same thing in Swaziland that it means in the US and UK. [Swazi Observer]
Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2009.   Comments (2)

Another case of a phony veteran — Jack Livesey claimed he was in the Parachute regiment of the British Army, did five tours of duty in Northern Ireland, and won a military medal. He was a guest of honor at the 25th anniversary commemorations of the Falklands War. But the British Ministry of Defense says, "Jack Livesey (DOB 15/05/54) only served in the British Army in the Army Catering Corps from December 1971 until April 1974." Livesey also claims he was a miltary adviser to Saving Private Ryan, though he wasn't paid…
Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2009.   Comments (4)

Connecticut woman almost runs over Sasquatch — A Connecticut woman driving along Unquowa Road told police that she "almost hit Sasquatch." Upon investigation, the police discovered that Sasquatch was really "a 16-year-old boy dressed in a gorilla-like costume." He was standing at the corner in his costume, waving at cars as they passed. (news times) Reminds me of the Little Blue Man Hoax of 1958.
Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009.   Comments (3)

The Great Death Rumor Craze of 2009: An Analysis — The glut of celebrity death hoaxes during the past week has been a textbook case of how rumors spread. It's a great example of collective behavior in action. As such, the death rumors provide an opportunity for journalists to discuss some of the things scholars have learned about the spread of rumors during the past fifty years of research. Unfortunately, the insights of social psychologists don't seem to be getting much coverage. Instead, journalists are focusing on the rumors as an…
Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2009.   Comments (3)

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