The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
March 2012
Creepy April Fool Masks
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 21, 2012
I came across these creepy April Fool masks from 1930 on eBay. Or rather, it's an auction for an article from 1930 about April Fool masks. I've never heard of mask-wearing being part of April Fool's tradition in any country. But I'm sure it would freak people out if you showed up somewhere, such as work, wearing one of these things. Especially that pig mask.
Categories: April Fools Day Comments (1)
The Human Birdwings Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 21, 2012
Jarno Smeets claims to be a mechanical engineer from the Netherlands who's attempting to build a machine (Human Birdwings) to let people fly with flapping wings like a bird. It's not human-powered, per se. As you can see in the video, Jarno flaps his arms, and his arm motions are read by a Nintendo Wii controller and an Android smartphone which interprets them into mechanical commands. That's the theory, anyway. Is this fake? It seems to be. Wired did some digging into Smeets' background, and basically everything he said he did before the human birdwings project (attending Coventry University, working at a variety of…
Categories: Technology Comments (4)
Why Do You Taste Wine In Restaurants Before It’s Served?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 20, 2012
The traditional explanation is that you taste the wine to make sure it's not corked, but this explanation never made a lot of sense to me. First of all, wine doesn't get corked all that often — I've received corked wine maybe three times in years of eating at restaurants. Second, you could figure out it was corked after it was poured. Why the necessity to taste it first? And third, waiters go through the tasting ceremony even if it's a screwtop bottle or plastic cork, which means the wine isn't going to be corked. But I recently came across an alternative explanation in Benjamin Walker's Encyclopedia of Esoteric Man: …
Categories: Food Comments (9)
Burnt Toast With Image Of Romney Shaking Hands With Satan
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 19, 2012
This auction managed to generate some attention from the internet — enough to get it pulled from eBay. Try as anyone might, no one could see the image the seller claimed was there. And the guy wanted $88.40 just for shipping. Apparently the auction was really just a thinly veiled anti-Mormon diatribe. Link: gawker.com.
Categories: Pareidolia, Politics, Religion Comments (1)
Post-Rapture Pet Adoption
Posted by The Curator on Sat Mar 17, 2012
For over three years, Eternal Earth-Bound Pets has been offering peace of mind to Rapture believers. Should the Rapture come, and the devout are whisked away up to Heaven, this service will take care of their pets that are left behind — for a small fee of $135 per pet. But now Bloomberg News is reporting that the business was all just a hoax concocted by Bart Centre, a retired retail executive in New Hampshire, in order to promote his book, The Atheist Camel Chronicles. Bloomberg quotes him as saying: The entire thing was a hoax. What we call on the Internet a poe, a spoof, a parody, a complete fiction.…
Categories: Animals, Religion, Websites Comments (2)
TV Screen Jesus
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 15, 2012
This might be in the running for the stupidest pareidolia ever. Floridian Guerda Maurice was watching the Bachelor on TV when she saw a design she wanted to take a picture of. (A design? I have no idea what she means by that.) So she picks up her phone and takes a picture of the TV screen. Later she looks at the picture she took and sees "Jesus picture". That is, there was a reflection on the screen that she thought looked like Jesus. She was so excited that she made a locket out of TV Screen Jesus. Link: wtsp.com. (Thanks, Bob!)
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion Comments (2)
In my article about the origin of April Fool's Day, which I wrote a few years ago, I noted that the first explicit reference to April 1st being a day for pranks can be found in a poem written in late-medieval Dutch (around 1561) by Eduard De Dene. The title of the poem is "Refereyn vp verzendekens dach / Twelck den eersten April te zyne plach." Marco Langbroek kindly translated this for me as: "Refrain on errand-day / which is the first of April." But it recently occurred to me that although I knew about the poem, and had the title translated, I had never seen the full text of the poem itself. And in fact,…
Virus-Noise-Reducing Cable
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 14, 2012
Add this to the list of bizarre and dubious claims made by the manufacturers of audio and computer cables. The manufacturer of the Xbox 360 Elite HDMI 2.5m Basic Cable claim that their product includes "anti-virus protection to reduce virus noises." I'm glad someone is finally doing something about those awful virus noises! (via reddit)
Categories: Technology Comments (5)
Bank of America Declares Man Dead
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 14, 2012
If you're declared dead on twitter, it doesn't mean much anymore — especially if you're Justin Bieber. But if a major bank declares you dead, that can really screw up your finances if you happen to still be alive. This happened to Arthur Livingston (who lives, oddly enough, in a town called Prosperity). Bank of America reported him dead. Livingston only found this out when he tried to get a new mortgage. But no one would loan him money because he was supposed to be dead. It cost Livingston thousands of dollars to sort out the mistake. Bank of America has apologized, but of course, it hasn't offered him any compensation for its screw-up. Link:
Categories: Business/Finance, Death Comments (0)
Face of ET Found in a Log
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 13, 2012
Ken Dobson of Chiseldon was sawing logs with a chainsaw for firewood when he saw the face of ET staring back at him from the log he just cut. Dobson doesn't say anything about believing the face to be a message from extraterrestrials. (So by American standards he's clearly nuts! Isn't it obvious this is a sign from ET?) Nor does he have plans to sell this on eBay. Instead he wants to have a professional slice more pieces from the log to see if he can get a couple more faces out of it to give to his sons. Link: BBC News. (Thanks, Hudson!)
The Taj Mahal is Sinking
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 13, 2012
Apparently it's because the original architects didn't factor in the weight of all the tourists who visit it. Well, no. Not really. According to the BBC, the real reason is that, "The building's foundations require a steady stream of moisture from the Yamuna River to retain its strength - but the river is slowly drying up." But the headline immediately reminded me of the urban legend of the sinking library.
Categories: Places, Urban Legends Comments (3)
The Great Tide Crime Wave
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 13, 2012
M.L. Nestel, writing for thedaily.com, reports that Tide detergent has become the hot new item targeted by thieves. He calls it a "Grime Wave." Nestel writes: Theft of Tide detergent has become so rampant that authorities from New York to Oregon are keeping tabs on the soap spree, and some cities are setting up special task forces to stop it. And retailers like CVS are taking special security precautions to lock down the liquid. According to Nestel, Tide has become a form of currency on the street, where it's known as "liquid gold." People trade it for drugs. A recent drug sting turned up more Tide than cocaine. Apparently, thieves…
Categories: Law/Police/Crime Comments (6)
Why Am I Still Getting Emails About Midget Rentals?
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 12, 2012
Apparently it's true that the internet never forgets. Seven years ago I posted about a company claiming to rent midgets for parties. In that post I didn't say I was renting midgets. I simply said there was a business claiming to rent them. In fact, I thought the idea sounded so odd that I had some doubts about whether the business was real. (And I probably shouldn't use the term 'midget.' I think 'little person' is now the preferred term.) Anyway, soon after making that post, I started getting email queries from people interested in renting little people. In 2008 I first noted I was getting these strange emails, and I'm still getting them today,…
Categories: Miscellaneous Comments (4)
That chicken you’re eating… it ain’t chicken
Posted by The Curator on Sat Mar 10, 2012
Perhaps everything tastes like chicken because the chicken you get in supermarkets has a little bit of every other animal in it. This is a BBC documentary, but I'm sure what they talk about holds true for every other country in the world.
Categories: Food Comments (0)
Baby Yoga, or Swinging Your Kid Around Your Head
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 09, 2012
Infant learning and development is a field full of dubious theories, because there are so many desperate parents willing to try anything that might give their kids a slight edge-up in life. So the stage is set for Baby Yoga, aka "dynamic baby gymnastics," aka 'swinging your baby around your head.' Its practitioners claim that if you're not doing this, then you're depriving your child of an important developmental opportunity. Check out the video below which shows Elena Fokina demonstrating some Baby Yoga moves. Warning: if the sight of kids being swung energetically around might disturb you, then you probably want to skip the video. Previous videos of Baby Yoga posted on youtube have been banned…
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