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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
November 2009
A fork in the road, literally — A few days ago a fork appeared in the middle of a Pasadena road. It's located, appropriately, at a fork in the road, where Pasadena and St. John avenues divide. From the Pasadena Star News: It turns out the fork is an elaborate - and expensive - birthday prank in honor of the 75th birthday of Bob Stane, founder of the Ice House comedy club, who now owns the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena... The wooden fork, is "expertly carved and painted," to look like metal, Stane said. "It's…
Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2009.   Comments (6)

The Case of the Carbolic Smoke Ball — Clive Coleman tells the story for BBC Radio 4 of the Carbolic Smoke Ball Company. It was an 1892 case of fraudulent advertising. The case against them is "seen by some as the birth of modern consumer protection": The carbolic smoke ball was a peculiar device marketed as a cure for various ailments including influenza. It consisted of a rubber ball, filled with powdered carbolic acid. You squeezed the ball sending a puff of acidic smoke right up a tube inserted into your nose. The idea…
Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2009.   Comments (3)

io9.com accuses The Fourth Kind of being an unsuccessful hoax — The new movie The Fourth Kind tries to blur reality in the same way that movies such as Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project have successfully done. But according to io9.com, The Fourth Kind doesn't manage to pull it off convincingly: Alien abduction flick The Fourth Kind bills itself as containing "actual footage" from case histories. But this footage is so poorly faked that it insults the audience's intelligence... The movie stumbled out of the gate by hanging most of its…
Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009.   Comments (4)

Save On All Jackets! — Random banner ad. (via Reddit)
Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009.   Comments (2)


Psycho-Acoustic Beatles Simulations — BlueBeat music is being sued for illegally selling Beatles songs. Their defense: the songs are not Beatles songs, but rather "psycho-acoustic simulations." BlueBeat's lawyers claim that the Website is "entirely lawful and does not constitute piracy" and that the plaintiffs are not likely to succeed. Also, the plaintiffs are well aware that the defendants "developed a series of entirely new and original sounds that it allows the general public to purchase" and that "copyright protection…
Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009.   Comments (0)

Viagra Corporate Headquarters — The title of this image, which has been circulating widely online since at least 2009, is a joke. The building shown is not really the corporate headquarters of Viagra. Of course, Viagra isn't a company. It's a drug manufactured by Pfizer, Inc. But the joke wouldn't work if the photo was titled "Pfizer's Corporate Headquarters." However, this isn't even Pfizer's headquarters. The building is actually the corporate offices of Swagelok Northwest, located in Portland, Oregon at 815 SE…
Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009.   Comments (7)

Divining Rods for Bombs — Despite major bombings that have rattled the nation, and fears of rising violence as American troops withdraw, Iraq’s security forces have been relying on a device to detect bombs and weapons that the United States military and technical experts say is useless. The small hand-held wand, with a telescopic antenna on a swivel, is being used at hundreds of checkpoints in Iraq. But the device works “on the same principle as a Ouija board” — the power of suggestion — said a retired United…
Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009.   Comments (4)

Mr. Man on the Street Strikes Again — I wrote about Greg Packer, aka the phony Man on the Street, in Hippo Eats Dwarf: In 2003, media critics noticed that the same man kept popping up time after time in “man on the street” interviews. Greg Packer, a highway maintenance worker from upstate New York, was quoted by The New York Times, the New York Daily News, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the London Times, and other publications. He also appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox. But he was always…
Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009.   Comments (1)

Reverse Counterfeiting: The Case of the Gold Penny — Most counterfeiting takes something that is nearly worthless and turns it into something perceived to have value. Mr. Daws did just the opposite. He took value — approximately $100 worth of gold — and turned it into something perceived as nearly worthless, one cent. “It’s there, but if people don’t realize it, it’s the same as not being there,” he said. Of the 11 copper-plated gold pennies he made as part of his series, only this one was sent into the wider world... Late this summer,…
Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009.   Comments (3)

Mischief Night — I'd never heard of Mischief Night before, but then it seems to be local to northern England. From the BBC: Depending on where you live, it lands sometime around Halloween and Bonfire Night. And opinions vary on whether it is a chance for harmless fun or an excuse for anti-social behaviour. Like many native traditions, its exact origins are unknown, but Mischief Night is thought to date from the 1700s when a custom of Lawless Hours or Days prevailed in Britain... Since the 1950s,…
Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2009.   Comments (12)

Kelly Brook’s Buns Get Bigger — I find it interesting that the history of photo fakery in communist countries is all about removing unwanted political figures from photos, whereas the history of photo fakery in capitalist countries is largely about removing unwanted cleavage, nipples, wrinkles, etc. From The Sun: TELLY hottie Kelly Brook's ample cleavage has been deemed too bun-tiful for transport chiefs. London Underground's new poster campaign for the 29-year-old's stint in West End play Calendar Girls has been…
Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2009.   Comments (4)

Argleton, Lancashire: the town that doesn’t exist — From the BBC: Argleton appears on Google Maps as a small town furnished with amenities, but it does not actually exist, apart from a field and a few trees. Some people have described the place, nestled between Aughton and Ormskirk, as a "phantom town" that only ever appears on the online search engine. Google said: "While [most information] is correct there are... errors." Roy Bayfield from nearby Edge Hill University became so intrigued by the description that he decided to walk…
Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2009.   Comments (3)

Halloween Animal Myths Debunked — Late for Halloween, but still an interesting three-minute diversion. On this Good Morning Yahoo video, a zoo educator from Connecticut's Beardsley zoo debunks some Halloween animal myths: Can the horned owl turn its head all the way around? (No) Are tarantulas deadly? (No) Do bats get caught in your hair? (No, but they do fly close to people's heads to catch mosquitoes.) Are black widows deadly? (No, but they do have strong venom) Do scorpions glow in the dark? (Yes) (Thanks, Big Gary!)
Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2009.   Comments (2)

The Lunar Effect — There's a full moon tonight (had a great view of it here in San Diego). This has inspired WSAW in Wisconsin to phone up a local Professor and quiz him about the "lunar effect": A common superstition says accidents, natural disasters, and bizarre crimes increase during a full moon. One Psychology professor says there is no scientific evidence to support a connection between the moon and our moods. The UW-Marathon County Professor has worked in the Psychology field for more than 20…
Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2009.   Comments (9)

Wanted: Serial Fake Student Gary Stearley — From First Coast News: Notre Dame law students were sent an e-mail from Notre Dame officials on Friday stating a person identifying himself as Gary Stearley is posing as a law student and is not actually enrolled at the university... Gary Stearley has been involved in fake identity scams before and Notre Dame police suspect this is the same person... Stearley was arrested back in 2001 in Jacksonville, Florida for impersonating a physician's assistant, as well as trespassing and…
Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2009.   Comments (2)

Man Sues Over Lack of Axe Effect — A news story is circulating claiming that an Indian man, 26-year-old Vaibhav Bedi, has sued Axe deodorant (aka Lynx in Europe) because he failed to land a single girlfriend after using their product for seven years. It's in The Australian and the Daily Record, among other news sources. This is an example of satire being mistaken as news. According to Asylum.com: Axe spokesperson Heather Mitchell sent Asylum this statement: "We've been following the news reports from India where a…
Posted: Mon Nov 02, 2009.   Comments (2)

RIP Robert Rines — Nessie Hunter Robert Rines died of heart failure yesterday in his Boston home. From Boston.com: He was 87 and had spent the past 37 years lending his hefty intellectual bona fides to the search for a creature in the waters of Loch Ness. "It looked like the back of an elephant," he told the Globe in 1997, recalling that moment in 1972 when he looked out the window of a friend's house in Scotland during a tea party and watched the curve of something he couldn't identify repeatedly…
Posted: Mon Nov 02, 2009.   Comments (3)

Blessed Virgin Apparitions in Knock — Visions of the Virgin Mary have been predicted in Knock, Ireland. From the Irish Times: some 5,000 people gathered [in Knock] in the hope of seeing an apparition of Our Lady, following the prediction by Dubliner Joe Coleman, who describes himself as “a visionary of our Blessed Mother and a spiritual healer under the energy of the Holy Spirit”. A video posted on YouTube of the sun breaking through the clouds at Knock on October 11th, with a voiceover by Coleman, has to date attracted…
Posted: Mon Nov 02, 2009.   Comments (0)

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