The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
October 2011
Smith College Goes Vegetarian — This one goes into the 'hoaxes as educational stunt' file. Last week a rumor raced around the campus of Smith College in Massachusetts, alleging that the administration was planning to ban meat from the campus, as well as any food not grown in New England. It was going to become a vegetarian/locavore campus. There were protests on campus, and counter-protests. Students posted their thoughts on facebook and twitter. Some wrote them in chalk on the sidewalk. A lot of students said they…
Posted: Thu Oct 27, 2011.   Comments (0)

The Fraser Island Crocodile — The Telegraph recently listed the beach on Queensland's Fraser Island as among the most dangerous in the world. The reasons: sharks, jellyfish, strong rip currents, deadly spiders, the odd saltwater crocodile, and dingoes. But people around Fraser Island disagree. They don't dispute the presence of the sharks, jellyfish, rip currents, spiders, and dingoes. (Though they don't think dingoes are dangerous). But they do insist there are no crocodiles there, except for one — which is fake.
Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2011.   Comments (4)

Cows In The Library — Apparently Bethel College in Kansas has a history of pranks. Enough so that there's now a website dedicated to collecting all the pranks perpetrated there. The site has a great name: CowsInTheLibrary.com. The name refers to an actual prank at Bethel, but also (perhaps unintentionally) gives a nod to Neil Steinberg's classic book about college pranks, If At All Possible, Involve A Cow. Bethel's most famous prank is Herman Bubbert, a fictional student "who began appearing on class rolls…
Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2011.   Comments (1)

Cyclops Shark — An albino, one-eyed shark, an image of which started circulating online back in July, has been confirmed by scientists to be real. (Link: livescience.com). Which shouldn't have been a surprise. Like the case of Cy the one-eyed kitten (from back in 2006), the mutant shark suffered from cyclopia. According to messybeast.com, this is a genetic abnormality in which, "the eyes are fused into a single enlarged eye that is placed below the nose (the nose may or may not form, if it forms it…
Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2011.   Comments (3)


Sons of Clovis — There's a new hoax-related book out that sounds interesting: The Sons of Clovis: Ern Malley, Adore Floupette and a Secret History of Australian Poetry by David Brooks. From the Sydney Morning Herald review: At the heart of the book is the famous Australian hoax, the Ern Malley affair, in which two young, still-forming poets, McAuley and Stewart, fabricated the raw, working-class identity Ern Malley, only to have him die tragically young, leaving behind his book of experimental poems,…
Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2011.   Comments (4)

The Case of the Monster Slipper — An article recently appeared in various British newspapers telling the story of one Tom Boddingham who ordered a size 14.5 slipper from Monster Slippers. But due to a translation error, the factory in China that makes the slippers sent a size 1450 slipper instead. Polly Curtis at the Guardian thought the story smelled a bit fishy. And with the help of some people on Twitter, she soon figured out that "Tom Boddingham" coincidentally looked identical to Joseph Jennings, the online…
Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2011.   Comments (5)

Beyonce Baby Bump Controversy — Singer Beyonce Knowles announced she was pregnant in August. But video of a recent interview with her on an Australian TV show has led to rumors that she's faking her pregnancy, because as she walked out and sat down for the interview her stomach appeared to bend and fold in a weird way. The theory is that she's wearing a prosthetic baby bump, while a surrogate mother carries the actual child. This way, Beyonce will avoid the stretch marks and discomfort of pregnancy — and she'll…
Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2011.   Comments (3)

Cardiff Giants Invade Pasadena — I use Google news alerts to find out whenever various keywords I'm interested in appear in news stories or on websites. One of these keywords is "Cardiff Giant". This particular keyword search doesn't usually generate many results. Perhaps one or two a week. But on friday night my patience was rewarded when I got a google news alert about the creation of a new site: cardiff1869.com. The site is the creation of a Pasadena-based artist who chooses to remain anonymous, using the alias…
Posted: Sun Oct 09, 2011.   Comments (9)

Dobrica Cosic Doesn’t Win the Nobel Prize — Serbian media reported Thursday that one of their own countrymen, writer Dobrica Cosic, had won the Nobel Prize for Literature. However, he hadn't. Soon after, the Swedish Academy announced the real winner: Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer. The Serbian media reported Cosic as the winner because they had all received an email, seeming to come from the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences, announcing Cosic as the winner. The email linked to a website, nobelprizeliterature.org, that seemed…
Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011.   Comments (0)

Imaginary Girlfriends — The Huffington Post reports that FakeGirlfriend.co is a texting service that has joined the ranks of fake-girlfriend providers: you need to save the Fake Girlfriend number into your phone under her fictitious name. Then, when you're out with friends or a woman you're trying to make jealous, just text that number. You'll shortly get a text and then a pre-recorded call. In a similar vein, Cloud Girlfriend is a service that allows you to create a fake Facebook girlfriend. I wrote a bit…
Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011.   Comments (3)

$16 Muffins — The legend of Out-Of-Control Government Expenditures is alive and well. Back in the 1980s, reports of the US government paying $400 for a hammer and $600 for a toilet sparked outrage. And now, late last month, came the news that the Justice Department had paid $16 a piece for muffins at a 2009 conference. But just as the hammer and toilet weren't really as expensive as they seemed, it turns out that the price of the muffins was an artifact of accounting. The $16 included the entire…
Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011.   Comments (2)

Disney World Urban Legends — Time magazine offers a list of the Top 5 Disney World Urban Legends: Walt Disney built a special suite for himself in Cinderella's castle at the Magic Kingdom. (Apparently this wasn't true while Disney was alive, though there is a suite there now in which special visitors can stay.)Cinderella's castle can be disassembled or made to sink into the ground to protect it from natural disasters such as hurricanes. In the case of a death at a Disney park, no one can be declared dead until…
Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2011.   Comments (10)

Live Forever Juice — Live Forever Juice is a fake product that was created for educational purposes by FDAImports, a consulting company that specializes in advising companies how to comply with FDA regulations. The idea was to make a food product whose packaging was full of illegal claims, then walk people through why the claims are illegal. (via: The Food Watchdog). The company handed out samples of Live Forever Juice at a recent trade fair in Baltimore. They also have an accompanying website,
Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2011.   Comments (1)

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