The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
February 2012
Mitt Romney and False Memory Syndrome — Mitt Romney recently displayed an example of what I termed "false memory syndrome" in Hippo Eats Dwarf. It's the tendency of politicians to have memories of events that never happened to them. In Romney's case, he recently told an audience how he remembered being at Detroit's Automotive Golden Jubilee, in which his dad served as grandmaster. The problem is, the Golden Jubilee took place on June 1, 1946, nine months before Mitt was born. (link: thestar.com) Other examples of the…
Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2012.   Comments (4)

Icelandic Worm Monster — Earlier this month, Icelandic resident Hjörtur E. Kjerúlf was having coffee in his house near Lake Lagarfljót, when he spotted something moving in the water. He immediately picked up his camera and started recording (link: Iceland Review). Below is the video he took. Is it evidence of the existence of the Lagarfljót Worm -- the giant worm monster said to live in Lake Lagarfljót? Or is it just a piece of fishing net floating in the water? The worm monster, or …
Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2012.   Comments (5)

Ghetto Hikes — The author of "Ghetto Hikes," which is a twitter feed and accompanying website, offers this description of it: I'm 28. I have a full time job leading urban kids (of all races) on nature hikes. I simply write down shit they say. It's kind of obvious that it's a parody in the style of "Shit My Dad Says," but the Village Voice confirms it isn't real: Looks like Ghetto Hikes is a parody account -- and an unfunny one at that. According to a just-released tweet, Men's Humor and Ghetto Hikes…
Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2012.   Comments (0)

The Owlman of Mawnan — This Is Cornwall has a brief article about the "Owlman of Mawnan." They write: The first sighting occurred in April of that year. Don Melling, who was holidaying in the area, said that on April 17 his young daughters, June and Vicky, were walking through woods near Mawnan church when they saw a "half-man half-owl" hovering above the church. The incident is suspected to be a hoax because Tony "Doc" Shiels became involved. He was the first person Melling told about the sighting, and then…
Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2012.   Comments (1)


The Great Banana Smoking Hoax of 1967 — Brooke Kroeger and Cary Abrams have an article in the Local East Village analyzing the Great Banana-Smoking Hoax of 1967 -- in which a rumor spread alleging that you could get high by smoking bananas. Or rather, get high by smoking "bananadine," created by scraping the inside of a banana peel, boiling the residue, then drying out the residue and rolling it into a joint. They try to get to the bottom of who started the rumor. One contender is the staff of the East Village Other
Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2012.   Comments (4)

Clayton Sotos, Fartographer — Someone has gone to a bunch of trouble to make it seem as if Dell produced an ad featuring "Visual Innovator" Clayton Sotos. The ad has high production values, and there's an accompanying website showcasing some of Sotos's work. The joke is that Sotos photographs people farting. Dell insists they're not responsible for the ad. They posted this statement on their twitter page: "This video is in no way affiliated with Dell, but it's great to see creative professionals get inspiration…
Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2012.   Comments (0)

Strange Metal Boxes Washing Up On Beaches — In the past two weeks, various blogs have been reporting that "strange metal boxes" have been washing up on beaches in Oregon, Washington, and northern California. In some versions of the reports, these boxes make humming and screeching noises, are seamless, and can't be moved, even by trucks. The boxes are said to have appeared after UFO sightings. Theories about what these boxes may be (besides the theory that they're the lost luggage of UFOs) include the speculation that they're…
Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2012.   Comments (1)

Woman-Turns-Into-Snake Rumor — Social networking sites in Nigeria have been ablaze with the rumor that a woman turned into a snake at the Hotel Excel in Warri. The proprietor of the hotel, Chief Moses Odeh, has been doing everything he can to put out the rumor, but once these stories get started, they acquire a life of their own. (informationnigeria.org) African rumors still have true strangeness to them. Here in America, the majority of twitter and facebook rumors are fake reports of celebrity deaths... which get…
Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2012.   Comments (7)

Sea Captain Date—real or fake? — As far as niche dating sites go, you can't get much more niche than SeaCaptainDate.com. It describes itself as "the only place for Sea Captains to connect with men and women who share a love of the ocean." Now I'm willing to believe that there are niche dating sites out there, but SeaCaptainDate.com seems a little too weird to be real. Is it really just an elaborate joke? I'm not the first to ponder this question. The site first attracted attention back in Jan 2011, when articles…
Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2012.   Comments (3)

The Buxton Mermaid — An old mermaid was recently found, stored in the archives of the Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, and a research team from the University of Lincoln decided to examine it. So far they've discovered that its hair is human, its upper body is constructed of wood and wire, its teeth are carved bone, and its eyes are mollusc shell. Future tests will determine what fish its tail came from. (link: BBC News) At first I thought it looked like the Bloomsbury Mermaid (pictured below). But no,…
Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2012.   Comments (6)

Should disclaimers be required for photoshopped ads? — Rep. Katie Hobbs has introduced a bill into the Arizona state legislature that would require advertisers to put the following disclaimer on advertisements if the image in the ad was "photoshopped" (link: zacentral.com): "Postproduction techniques were made to alter the appearance in this advertisement. When using this product, similar results may not be achieved." Similar legislation has been introduced in the UK and France, its purpose being to try to counteract the social pressure on…
Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2012.   Comments (3)

The Society for Insulting Women and Frightening Children — The Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1873 includes an article about the mathematician/inventor Charles Babbage. In this article, there's a page-long footnote discussing some hoaxes, and at the end of this footnote, there's a brief reference to the existence of a curious group that called itself the "Society for Insulting Women and Frightening Children": What is this Society? I haven't been able to find it mentioned anywhere except in…
Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2012.   Comments (2)

The Hoaxing Hitchhiker, 1941 — Source: eBay In 1941, Tommy Graham employed a clever, but slightly duplicitous, technique to get rides as he hitchhiked from Maryland to California. He used an oil can as a suitcase, so that drivers thought his car had broken down and stopped to help him out. I wonder if this technique would work today. Do people even pick up hitchhikers anymore? from The Bradford Era, Nov. 4, 1941
Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2012.   Comments (4)

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