The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
January 2012
Beyonce had her baby. Satan is on Earth. — On Jan. 11, TMZ posted a photo of the sign outside the Beulah Hill Baptist Church, which apparently bore a nice message inspired by the recent birth of Beyonce's baby: "BEYONCE HAD HER BABY. SATAN IS ON EARTH."
Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2012.   Comments (5)

The Case of the Spray-Painted Bird — Back in 2009, bird watchers in New Zealand began reporting sightings of a red harrier hawk. There was speculation it was a new species. But in 2010 a hawk was found dead (hit by a car) that had been spray-painted red. So bird watchers realized there was no new species. There was just someone going around spray-painting birds. Suspicion eventually focused on dairy farmer Grant Michael Teahan after a video was uploaded to youtube showing Teahan beside a bird trap covered in red spray…
Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2012.   Comments (3)

Sounds of the Apocalypse, aka Strange Sounds Heard Around the World — MadCarlotta sent me an interesting video: The premise of the video (which has over 1 million views) is that people around the world are hearing eerie groaning sounds that seem to rise up from the ground and echo through the sky. My first thought was that it sounds like the noise my tankless water heater makes on cold days. So if anyone in La Mesa is hearing eerie noises echoing through the neighborhood, I'm the culprit. Is the 'strange sounds' video a hoax? Seems to be. Some of the…
Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2012.   Comments (28)

Clay iPads — At least 10 people in Vancouver who bought iPad 2s have reported opening up the packaging only to discover it contained a slab of modeling clay, not an iPad. It's an old strategy for thieves to conceal their crime by replacing the item in the box with something of lesser value. Reminds me of the case from 2006 of the Hawaiian boy who opened an iPod box on Christmas Day, only to discover it contained a package of meat. Link: Yahoo!
Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2012.   Comments (1)


Carlingford University — Kenneth ShongI think I'll add a degree from Carlingford University to my resume. I'll list it alongside my degree in Loch Ness Monster studies from Bigfoot U. Carlingford was a fake university -- a diploma mill -- created by con artist Kenneth Shong, while he was in prison on forgery charges. He was getting his fellow inmates to enroll there, having convinced them it was real. Though one inmate became suspicious of "'poor business practices and unresponsiveness' in relation to the…
Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2012.   Comments (2)

Texas Roof Tiger — Add this to the 'Things on Roofs' file: Police in Houston, Texas received reports of a tiger sitting on the roof of an abandoned hotel. The animal was causing a bit of a traffic jam as drivers stopped to look at it. But upon investigation, it turned out to be a toy tiger. I'm assuming it was the work of a prankster, who's now out a pretty nice stuffed animal. Link: BBC News.
Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2012.   Comments (7)

Car lands on roof of house—real or fake? — About two weeks ago a story hit the news wires about a car that landed on the roof of a house in Fresno, CA. The story goes that Benjamin Tucker stole the car, was driving fast, but lost control as he was going round a corner and hit some landscaping rocks, causing the car to become airborne. And it flew through the air until it landed on the roof of a nearby house. The autoshopper blog points out that this chain of events is highly improbable: Let’s put together some relevant…
Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2012.   Comments (8)

A real-life Museum of Hoaxes — The Irish Times describes a real-life Museum of Hoaxes -- the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris: As chief curator Claude d'Anthenaise explains, it's an experimental museum that likes to baffle the visitor. "I wanted to create a museum where the visitor would feel constantly disconcerted and lose his bearings – just like someone walking in nature," he says. "In a wild setting, you're confronted with all sorts of things you don't understand. You're not on your own…
Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2012.   Comments (0)

Mitt Romney gets a shoeshine — In recent days, a photo of Mitt Romney that appears to show him getting a shoe shine as his private jet waits has been spreading around the internet. It's been popular with anyone who doesn't much like Romney because it seems to capture the swanky lifestyle he enjoys as a 0.001 percenter. But, in reality, this photo is a case of 'real picture, false caption'. The picture dates to 2008 and actually shows Romney sitting for a security check before boarding a plane in Denver, Colorado.…
Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2012.   Comments (1)

Turning Yankee dirt into gold —
Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2012.   Comments (0)

The Navalny Affair — Supporters of Vladimir Putin have been caught in a flat-footed attempt at character assassination. Wanting to smear blogger Alexei Navalny, who's been a fierce critic of Putin's government, they created a picture showing Navalny meeting with the exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky. The implication was that Berezovsky was funding Navalny. Then Putin's supporters published the picture in one of the party newspapers. But the picture was a clumsy fake. The original, undoctored version of the…
Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2012.   Comments (2)

Fake Modigliani For Sale — If you've got a spare $285,000, you can buy a piece of a famous art hoax: one of the fake Modigliani sculptures found in the city of Livorno in 1984. It's up for sale on eBay. I've noticed it up there for a couple of weeks, so evidently people aren't rushing to bid on it, even though it comes with free shipping. The backstory, briefly: There was a legend in the Italian town of Livorno that when Modigliani left there in 1906, at the age of twenty-one, he dumped a bunch of sculptures in…
Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2012.   Comments (0)

Virgin Mary seen in condom — (via reddit)
Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2012.   Comments (4)

Fotoshop by Adobé — Video created by filmmaker Jesse Rosten:
Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2012.   Comments (2)

Are there more doctors from Malawi in Manchester than in Malawi? — Charlotte McDonald of the BBC News debunks a persistent rumor that there are more doctors from Malawi in Manchester than there are in Malawi itself. Apparently the rumor has been repeated by a variety of sources including "the authors of an international study of health workers, and the head of Malawi's main nursing union." However, the rumor isn't true. She estimates there are approximately 265 doctors in Malawi (which isn't a whole lot for a country of 15 million), but there are only…
Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2012.   Comments (1)

Manhattan School Employees Behaving Badly — Two stories have been in the news recently about Manhattan school employees who were somewhat derelict in their commitment to the truth. The first was Joan Barnett, a parent coordinator, who, in order to get two-and-a-half weeks of vacation, claimed her daughter "Xinia Daley Herman" had died. Her mistake: she submitted a death certificate with weird, misaligned fonts. When busted, she initially claimed her daughter really had "died of a heart condition." But eventually she broke down…
Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012.   Comments (0)


Swearing Allegiance to the Southern Cross - A Possible Fake? — Questions have been raised about the authenticity of a valuable and historically important painting, Swearing Allegiance to the Southern Cross. And the debate about the painting is tangled up in a controversy about the so-called Eureka Flag, which is believed to be the precursor to Australia's current national flag. Story in Brief: The Eureka Flag rose to prominence in the mid-20th Century, at which time it became a symbol of Australian nationalism. But questions lingered about its…
Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012.   Comments (1)

The Continuing Troubles of Stephen Glass — Former media hoaxer Stephen Glass, whose exploits were depicted in the movie Shattered Glass, is back in the news. It seems that his career since getting fired from the New Republic has been a bit rocky. He made $140,000 from his 2003 semi-autobiographical novel, The Fabulist, but that money didn't last too long. In recent years, he's been trying to become a lawyer. According to SFGate.com, he passed the bar exam and applied for an attorney's license in 2007, but the State Bar of…
Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2012.   Comments (1)

Quantum Levitation Car Racing — A video of a race between miniature cars floating above a track by means of "quantum levitation" was recently debunked. The intro screen to the video credited it to the (fictitious) "Japan Institute of Science and Technology," but the true creator was Sony and SCE Studio Liverpool. The Business Insider says: "the video was a ploy by Sony and developer SCE Studio Liverpool to promote the Wipeout 2048 game that's coming out on the PS Vita." I'm assuming the video was inspired by a…
Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2012.   Comments (2)

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