The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
September 2011
Recreating the Cardiff Giant — Syracuse-based artist Ty Marshal has created a replica of the Cardiff Giant, according to its original size specifications (ten-feet tall). His replica is going to be buried in Syracuse's Lipe Art Park and then unearthed on October 16, the anniversary of the date on which the Giant was first "found" on William Newell's farm back in 1869. After being unearthed, Marshal's giant will remain on display in the park, under a tent, for one week. Visitors will be allowed to view it for 25…
Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2011.   Comments (2)

Disappearing Political Cleavage — Usually when politicians become the victims of photo retouchers it's because they've become undesirable to someone in power, and so they're summarily removed from the photo. It's far less common for their images to be retouched in order to desexualize them. This is usually the fate of actresses and models. But this is what happened recently to Rathika Sitsabaiesan, a young Canadian MP. Her cleavage was erased from the image of her that appears on the House of Commons website. The…
Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2011.   Comments (2)

The Case of the Honest Trader — On Monday (Sep 26) an "independent stock trader" named Alessio Rastani appeared on an interview with the BBC to discuss the Eurozone debt crisis. As the interview progressed, it became apparent that Rastani was far more blunt and cynical than most people from the financial community are when talking in public. For instance, in response to the question, "What would make investors more confident?" he came out with this: I'm a trader. If I see an opportunity to make money, I go with that.…
Posted: Wed Sep 28, 2011.   Comments (2)

The Egg-Laying Dog of Vienna — Recently I read Jan Bondeson's new book, Amazing Dogs: A Cabinet of Canine Curiosities. Bondeson is one of my favorite writers because he's a master at finding incredibly obscure but truly bizarre oddities from history, and he doesn't disappoint in this book. I plan to discuss the book more in a future post, because he's collected a lot of urban legends and hoaxes concerning dogs. For instance, he reveals the story of Greyfriar's Bobby to be a hoax (LaMa has posted about this in the…
Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011.   Comments (3)


Coning: A Strange New Prank — Coning (or cone-ing) involves ordering an ice-cream cone at a fast-food drive-thru window, and then taking it by the ice cream instead of the cone when it's handed to you. If you do a search for coning on youtube, you can see a lot of examples of it. Even Justin Bieber is a fan of coning. It's a strange prank because it inverts the typical logic of pranking. Usually pranks involve humiliating or one-upping a victim. For instance, a victim sits on a whoopee cushion, prompting everyone…
Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011.   Comments (7)

Sussex Zebras — Unidentified pranksters broke into the Sussex Horse Rescue Trust in Uckfield, East Sussex and transformed "Ant" the donkey into a zebra by spray-painting stripes on him (express.co.uk). Ant wasn't hurt in any way, though the spray paint reportedly had a strong, unpleasant smell. The RSPCA condemned the prank: "It's shocking people would think it was funny to spray-paint a donkey in this way. We take reports of animals being painted very seriously." This prank immediately reminded me of…
Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011.   Comments (2)

The Script Kiddies Strike Again — There's a long history of hoaxers finding ways to slip fake stories into newspapers. Back in 1864 Joseph Howard tried to manipulate the New York stock market by sending fake Associated Press telegrams to newspaper offices. The telegrams claimed Lincoln had decided to conscript an extra 400,000 men into the Union army. Several papers printed the fake news. The stock market panicked, because the news suggested the Civil War was going to drag on for a lot longer, and Howard (who had…
Posted: Mon Sep 12, 2011.   Comments (1)

A Fake Pregnancy Experiment — Here's a slightly different spin on the old fake pregnancy prank. (Reality Rule 1.1 in Hippo Eats Dwarf is "Just because a woman looks pregnant, it doesn't mean she is." As a social experiment, the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol made one of their operatives appear to be pregnant. Then they sent her to the state fair and had her stand around in full view drinking beer. They wanted to see if anyone would say something to her about how she shouldn't drink alcohol while pregnant.…
Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2011.   Comments (7)

The Secret Meaning of Hanging Shoes and Hats — Here's an example of how people can interpret what is basically the same phenomenon in very different ways. Yesterday, kcautv.com (Sioux City, IA) reported that the Sioux City police were concerned about shoes hanging from power lines, noting that far from being just a harmless prank, the dangling shoes have a sinister meaning. They "give the alert that there is drug activity here. That you can find your drug needs at this location or in this area." (I've blogged about Secret Powerline…
Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2011.   Comments (6)

CLOO: The Socially Networked Toilet — The brilliant (or incredibly stupid) idea behind CLOO is to use social networking to make it easier to find somewhere to pee in big cities. The CLOO website explains: CLOO' is based on one simple truth— we all have to pee. Though in urban cities finding a clean, available restroom is difficult & frustrating. That’s where CLOO' comes in. CLOO' is a community of registered users who choose to share their bathrooms and make city-living easier, while earning a small profit. Using…
Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2011.   Comments (3)

UST Development Phony Invoice Scam — Over the weekend I received the following letter in the mail from UST Development, Inc.: I had no idea who this company was, or why I owed them money. Nevertheless, my first reaction was to assume that the invoice must somehow be related to one of the contractors I've had work on my house during the past year -- and that I should therefore probably pay it. But then my more suspicious instincts kicked in, and I decided to google the company. The first result that popped up was
Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2011.   Comments (3)

Plastic Caps for Cancer — The collecting-junk-for-charity hoax must be at least a century old by now. It resurfaced most recently in Orangeburg, South Carolina, where members of a church had been collecting plastic bottle caps, thinking the caps would somehow help pay for chemotherapy treatment for a sick child. One of the church members, when she learned the truth, had this to say about the hoax: "It's a form of terrorism because it disrupts your day-to-day life and prevents you from doing the things you want…
Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2011.   Comments (3)

Pareidolia Round: September 2011 — Virgin Mary Sea ShellFelicia Avila of Rio Grande Valley found a sea shell that she says bears the image of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus. valleycentral.com Virgin Mary RockTammy Tollett was vacationing in Lake Tahoe when she found a rock that she believes looks like the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus. She says this is the real deal (unlike, presumably, all those other phony pareidolia). orlandosentinel.com Concrete Jesus FaceThe face of Jesus materialized on Mary Vasquez's concrete…
Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2011.   Comments (2)

Krispy Kreme sponsors creation science? — I was walking through La Mesa last night (La Mesa, where I live, is a suburb of San Diego), when I came across a flyer for the Creation & Earth History Museum, which is down the road in Santee. At the bottom of the flyer, as you can see, is a list of sponsors. Scantibodies, NOTW, 1:1, Christian Examiner, and KSDW didn't surprise me. They're all christian organizations. (The founders of the Creation Museum were also the founders of Scantibodies. KSDW is a bible radio station, and I…
Posted: Fri Sep 02, 2011.   Comments (22)

MOH chosen as one of America’s Kitschiest Roadside Attractions — It's official. American Express's Travel and Leisure Magazine has chosen the Museum of Hoaxes as one of America's Kitschiest Roadside Attractions. We're honored to be recognized in this way!
Posted: Thu Sep 01, 2011.   Comments (9)

Did Dempsey load his gloves? — Brian Cronin has an article posted on the LA Times site discussing the question of whether Jack Dempsey "loaded" his gloves during his title fight against Jess Willard on July 4, 1919. Apparently this has been a lingering controversy in boxing ever since the fight itself, inspired by the fact that Dempsey didn't just defeat Willard, but absolutely pummeled him senseless, knocking him down seven times in the first round alone. There are two theories of how Dempsey might have loaded his…
Posted: Thu Sep 01, 2011.   Comments (2)

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