The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
April 2012
Marl the Stock-Picking Robot
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 23, 2012
Accipiter already posted about this in the forum, but the story is odd enough that it deserves to be on the front page. Back in 2007, two teenage twins from North Tyneside, Alexander and Thomas Hunter, began selling a stock newsletter in which they recommended stocks supposedly selected by an AI robot named Marl. Investors could also pay to get advice through a variety of websites run by the twins, daytradingrobot.com, doublingstocks.com, and equitypromoter.com. Or would-be millionaires could get a version of Marl to run on their computer at home. The brothers advertised that "The longer Marl is allowed to run on a computer… The More Advanced He Becomes!" The reality: Marl didn't…
Categories: Business/Finance, Scams Comments (0)
Sonar Image Shows Nessie… or Algae
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 23, 2012
Marcus Atkinson, skipper of a Loch Ness tourist boat, noticed something strange on his sonar fish finder: a long, snake-like object at a depth of 75 ft. (In the image, the green line to the left of the number 25.) So he quickly snapped a picture of the sonar screen with his mobile phone. The picture recently won him bookmaker William Hill's Best Nessie Sighting of The Year Award. Of course, the scientists have to throw cold water on the excitement of all the Nessie fans. Dr Simon Boxall, of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, says: The image shows a bloom of algae and zooplankton that would exist…
Categories: Cryptozoology, Nessie Comments (1)
New Research Suggests Link Between Welsh Rugby And Papal Deaths
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 23, 2012
In December 2008, two doctors published a study in the journal BMJ investigating what they called the "urban legend" that there's a link between Welsh rugby and papal deaths. Specifically, that "every time Wales win the rugby grand slam, a Pope dies, except for 1978 when Wales were really good, and two Popes died." They found that there was indeed a "borderline significant (P=0.047) association between Welsh performance and the number of papal deaths but no significant association between papal mortality and performance of any other home nation." But despite this weak association, they nevertheless dismissed the theory of the pope-rugby link as "nothing more than an urban myth, based largely on two…
Categories: Death, Sports Comments (0)
Trojan Houses, or Mobile Homeless Homes
Posted by The Curator on Sat Apr 21, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Outraged homeless muppets to converge on Goldman Sachs NEW YORK, April 21, 2012 -- Homelessness is a great American tragedy. Our financial system and government have let us down and we, together, must take a stand to change the way the system works. With over 11 million homes underwater and millions in foreclosure, people are frightened, distressed and angry. Although not a cure, Mobile Homeless Homes (MHH) offers a temporary solution -- low cost alternative living spaces for the millions of upside-down, underwater or foreclosed homeowners who have lost their houses due to the banking crisis that caused the real estate collapse. The MHH centerpiece…
Categories: Business/Finance Comments (3)
Breast-Sucking Turtles of Namibia
Posted by The Curator on Sat Apr 21, 2012
If you happen to be a young woman in Namibia, watch out for a middle-aged Indian man who may try to strike up a friendship with you. Before too long, he may whip out his breast-sucking turtle. It happened to Lina Sames (link: informante.web.na): Sames, a domestic worker, related how the mysterious man suddenly produced a live turtle, no bigger than the average grown up's hand and pressed the reptile against the victim's right breast. "It proceeded to suck, while at the same time growing bigger. I was then forced to drink blood from the turtle," a traumatized Sames said. And this has happened before! The folklore surrounding…
Categories: Animals, Urban Legends Comments (1)
Myth-Busters of Mohali
Posted by The Curator on Fri Apr 20, 2012
Interesting article in tehelka.com about Tarksheel, the Punjab Rationalist Society, which is a chapter of the larger Indian Rationalist Society. Its members try to combat superstition by using logic and skeptical inquiry. After reading the article, it sounds like they have an uphill struggle ahead of them. Some highlights: The head of the Indian Rationalist Association, Sanal Edamaruku, spent close to 23 hours in a studio in New Delhi last year, while a sadhu invited by the news channel pranced around, muttering a curse that would supposedly end Edamaruku's life on air. This April, he faced the ire of the Organisation of Concerned Catholics when he unravelled a 'miracle' at a church in Mumbai. Edamaruku…
Categories: Paranormal, Religion Comments (2)
Canadian artist makes Bigfoot track shoes
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 18, 2012
Montreal-based artist Maskull Lasserre has designed shoes that make footprints in the ground as you walk along, instead of shoe prints. He's got a human-footprint shoe, but also a bigfoot-print shoe. He's quoted as saying: 'Living now in the city, I found a strange kind of loneliness seeing only human shoe prints in the puddles and snow. 'This project was my way of introducing a sort of mysterious possibility to the urban landscape, for those who happened upon it. 'But I admit that I just couldn't resist making a Bigfoot track.' It doesn't seem that the shoes are available for purchase because each shoe is hand-carved. He shows them at art exhibitions,…
Categories: Art, Cryptozoology Comments (0)
How a fake Mary Todd Lincoln portrait was exposed
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 18, 2012
The Chicago Tribune tells the story of the detective work conducted by conservator Barry Bauman that led to his exposure of a portrait of Mary Todd Lincoln as a fraud. Lincoln (and, by association, his wife) is one of those historical figures who's like a magnet for hoaxes. Other hoax magnets would include George Washington and Hitler. Anatomy of a fake Lincoln Chicago Tribune ...The original portrait, painted perhaps in the mid-1860s, is of a still-anonymous woman. She wore a crucifix around her neck — Mary wasn't Catholic and never would have worn one, so it had been painted out — and had a floral brooch over which was painted the Lincoln brooch.
Categories: Art Comments (1)
F*** The Diet?
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 18, 2012
Many people thought this was too weird to be true, but apparently it's real. Multinational mega-corporation Unilever is running an ad campaign in Germany for its "Du Darfst" line of food products that features the English slogan "Fuck the Diet!" It's kinda like if McDonalds were to unveil "Fuck Eating Healthy" as its new ad slogan. A Unilever spokesperson offered this explanation: "Although the current Du Darfst campaign has become a bit of a talking point in Germany -- as effective marketing should -- it is targeted specifically at German consumers and uses language that we do not believe most German consumers find offensive. This is because the…
Categories: Advertising, Food Comments (5)
The Great Twitter Girl-In-A-Noodle Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 18, 2012
Over the weekend, on Saturday night, @chicagobars posted this tweet: Word immediately began to spread around Twitter that someone was trapped inside the giant noodle sculpture across from Wrigley Field. Half-an-hour later, @chicagobars posted an update. It all seemed quite plausible. People could imagine how it might occur to a drunken reveler to crawl inside the noodle and then get stuck inside. So the news was retweeted and re-retweeted, magnified in the great Twitter echo chamber. Until finally @chicagobars admitted the truth. There was no girl trapped inside the noddle. It had all just been a joke.…
UCLA Professor Benjamin Karney thinks that online dating site eHarmony is making fraudulent claims about the scientific basis of its business. He admits it may provide a helpful service by providing access to a larger dating pool and 'weeding out the freaks.' But the company also claims that it's using "scientifically proven" methods in order to predict "happier, healthier long-term relationships." And that, Karney insists, just isn't so. UCLA Professors Say eHarmony Is Unscientific and its Customers Are 'Duped.' Here's Why. laweekly.com "If you're gonna make scientific claims, act like a scientist. Or don't make scientific claims," UCLA social psychology professor Benjamin Karney says, leaning forward in his chair in his office at…
Categories: Sex/Romance Comments (1)
The Saint of Rice Excrements
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 17, 2012
Back in ninth-century Japan, there was a religious charlatan who earned the title bei-fun-hijiri or "saint of rice excrements". Before telling how he acquired this title, I should relate how I came across his story, which was in a rather roundabout way. First, I came across a post on the Of Small Wonders & Great Wanders blog about the ancient art of self-mummification, developed by ascetic monks of the Shingon sect in northern Japan: It was initiated by Kobo Daishi (774-835), who took the decision to end his days meditating in a cave. His disciples later found that his body was mummified, which was quite mystical! The Sokushinbutsu tradition developed from there…
Categories: Death, Food, Religion Comments (0)
(Besides the fact that they're all performed by the same guy) Mozart, Sonata in D Major, Anh. 294d, mov. 3 Mendelssohn's Song Without Words, Op. posth., No. 3d. Haydn, Piano Sonata in E-flat Major, Hob. LVII:1-12 Answer: They're all hoaxes. The pieces weren't composed by Mozart, Mendelssohn, or Haydn. Last year someone going under the name 'The Mad Rhino' began uploading videos of himself playing pieces by famous composers. The videos caught the attention of classical-music fans because although the pieces all sounded pretty…
Categories: Music Comments (1)
A picture taken by Reuters photographer Rupak De Chowdhuri. The Reuters caption states: A Hindu devotee with his neck pierced with a knife attends the "Chadak" ritual at Krishanadevpur village, north of Kolkata April 13, 2012. Hundreds of Hindu devotees attend the ritual, held to worship the Hindu deity of destruction Lord Shiva, on the last day of the Bengali calendar year. The photographer was unable to check the veracity of the action of this devotee. The options are: This guy really does have a large knife sticking through his neck. In which case, he must have been in pretty bad shape whenever he pulled the knife out.…
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (10)
I noticed several odd pranks in the news: Touching women's stomachs: Tosh.0 had a segment on his show about women's reactions when you lightly touch their stomachs while they're sitting down, and he encouraged his viewers to try this during the commercial break to see what would happen. According to Time, lots of people promptly began posting videos to youtube showing themselves doing this. "I've buried the body": Over in Western Australia, many people are reporting that they're receiving a puzzling text message: "I have buried the body like you told me to. What do you want me to do now?” Police are telling them to ignore the message, and are warning the pranksters that sending such…
Categories: Pranks Comments (2)
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