The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
July 2012
Magic Log Found in Cambodia — Thousands of people in Cambodia are flocking to see a "magic log" that was found at the bottom of a pond earlier this month. It's a big log (42 feet long). But what makes it magical, in the eyes of the people journeying to see it, is that it appears so well preserved for a log that's been underwater for a while. From Sky News: Battambang province local, Nem Nay, explained to Reuters why he believed the log was magical: 'What I think is, why does this log not rot, even though it stayed…
Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2012.   Comments (7)

The Problem With Being Polite — Little white lies are part of the lubricant that keeps the cogs of the social machinery running. For instance, if someone tells a bad joke, we usually smile. We don't tell them they're not funny, because that would be rude and might hurt their feelings. The problem (according to Joyce Ehrlinger, a professor of psychology at Florida State University) is that sometimes these little white lies can be dangerous if people take them too seriously and become overconfident in their abilites. In…
Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2012.   Comments (5)

Petty theft as a “social experiment” — From the Bad Excuse file: A New Jersey couple was arrested for stealing outdoor table umbrellas from restaurants around Basking Ridge. They didn't deny taking the umbrellas, but they said it was all for a good reason. You see, it was part of a "social experiment." They were doing a documentary on "doing the right thing." They even had a manila folder with them full of notes about the project. But apparently they hadn't thought through what was going to happen when witnesses "did the…
Posted: Sat Jul 28, 2012.   Comments (0)

The Fix-a-Flat Faker — When a doctor starts injecting bathroom caulk into your buttocks, I think that's a good sign he/she isn't entirely on the up-and-up. Fake Fix-a-Flat nurse arrested, charged with manslaughter in Fla. client’s death bradenton.com BROWARD — Oneal Morris, the transgender woman charged in two counties with injecting people seeking fuller figures with a toxic concoction which included Fix-a-Flat, on Thursday was charged with manslaughter in the death of a Broward County client. Morris,…
Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2012.   Comments (1)


Angry Koala — When I saw this photo online a few days ago, I thought, "that koala looks pretty vicious." It didn't occur to me that the image might be fake. But the reality, I now know, is that the image is fake. Koalas don't have wolf-life jaws. The original photo (below) was taken in January 2009 by Flickr user Oz_drdolittle, who explains that the koala was wet because he had sprayed it with water: The poor thing was really hot. (We had a long heatwave recently). I had 3 hanging around the…
Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2012.   Comments (1)

Balloon Boy Trading Card — Back in June 2011, Richard Heene, of Balloon Boy fame, tried to sell the balloon he had used in his hoax. He hoped to get $1 million for it, but ultimately had to settle for $2500. But the guy who bought it from Heene resold part of the balloon to the Topps trading card company, which has cut up the balloon into small pieces and glued them on to Balloon Boy trading cards. (link: Yahoo! Sports) It's part of a "used memorabilia" line of cards, but would also make a nice addition to…
Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2012.   Comments (0)

Bigfoot For Sale — Here's another item that would make a great addition to a real-life Museum of Hoaxes. It's a life-sized replica of Bigfoot. It was up for sale on eBay. The sellers wanted $80,000 for it, and no one came up with that much money, so the auction ended without it being sold. It's a nice piece. Would have looked great in my living room. But I have no idea how they came up with a value of $80,000 for it. Seems a bit like wishful thinking. From the auction description: In 1976, after years…
Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2012.   Comments (0)

Was Abby Farle a Chick-fil-A sock puppet? — Wikipedia defines a sock puppet as "an online identity used for purposes of deception." And it looks like the fast food restaurant chain Chick-fil-A just got caught red-handed using one. The sock puppet in question was one "Abby Farle" — whose Facebook profile picture showed her to be a teenage girl. But there were some odd things about Abby. For a start, her Facebook account was only created a day ago, and during her brief time on Facebook her sole activity appeared to be defending…
Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2012.   Comments (4)

Orange Forest: real or photoshopped? — Without knowing the context, I would have guessed this picture had been digitally manipulated in some way. But it turns out it wasn't. NPR explains: it's a single image from a single place and time — the hills of western Hungary, six months after a devastating industrial accident. In late 2010, the waste reservoir of a Hungarian aluminum oxide plant burst, releasing millions and millions of gallons of caustic red sludge. The meter-high toxic mudslide quickly moved downhill through…
Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2012.   Comments (3)

Esoteric Breast Massage — Serge Benhayon is the creator of "Esoteric Breast Massage" (EBM). He describes this as a healing technique that offers many benefits, such as possibly preventing cancer. Serge Benhayon Despite what you may be thinking, EBM is not just an excuse for him to massage lots of women's breasts. Far from it. In fact, he never does the massaging. He emphasizes that only women can perform EBM on other women. This made it a little awkward for him to teach the technique, back when he was the only…
Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2012.   Comments (3)

The Giant Egg Hoax of 1986 — On April 13, 1986, at 5:15 AM, Douglas Arling of Warwick, Rhode Island went out to the chicken coop in his yard and checked on his 9-year-old Araconda chicken. To his astonishment, he found she had laid a massive egg measuring 5x3 inches, and weighing half-a-pound. As he watched, the chicken tumbled to the floor, apparently exhausted by the effort she had just gone through. Ruth Arling (Douglas's wife) with the giant egg and the chicken she thought laid it When word of the giant egg…
Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2012.   Comments (1)

Samsung Monitor’s amazing energy-saving feature — It's hard to believe this energy-saving feature on the Samsung SA200 monitor is as revolutionary as their marketing team makes it out to be. After all, isn't it just an ON/OFF switch?
Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2012.   Comments (8)

The Mystery of the Burnley River Skull — Back in May, a Lancashire couple, Mick and Elaine Bell, found a human skull in a shallow section of the Burnley River while out walking their dogs. They gave the skull to the police, who initially suspected that rain had washed it down from a nearby cemetery. But as forensic experts examined it, they grew puzzled. The features of the skull indicated the person had been a man who was either an Australian aboriginal or from a South Pacific Island. How had he ended up buried in…
Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2012.   Comments (5)

The Coke Bag Hoax — Recently a video began circulating that appeared (despite suspiciously poor production values) to be an advertisement by Coca-Cola announcing a new "Coca-Cola-Bag." The idea was to do away with selling Coke in bottles and switch to biodegradable plastic bags made "in the unique Coca-Cola bottle shape." The video claimed the idea came from Central America where many consumers supposedly already buy Coke in plastic bags in order to avoid paying the bottle deposit. Gizmodo, Digital…
Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2012.   Comments (4)

The Origin of the Word Quiz — 'Quiz' is a relatively new word. It first came into use in the late 1700s, making it a little over 250 years old, and there's a curious story about how it came into being. The tale goes that it emerged from a wager made in 1791 by Richard Daly, manager of the Theatre Royal in Dublin. Daly bet his friends that within 48 hours he could make a nonsense word be spoken throughout Dublin — specifically, a word having no meaning nor derived from any known language. His friends took him up on…
Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2012.   Comments (0)

Samuel Shepherd: the 125-year-old Man — Samuel "Old Uncle Sam" Shepherd had a hard but interesting life. He was a slave who managed to buy his freedom, and lived on until 1909. But it's his birthdate that generates more interest than the date of his death. His grave marker in Oak Hill Cemetery (Lawrence, Kansas) lists his birthdate as 1784. This would make him 125 years old when he died. If true, he would potentially be the oldest person ever to have lived. According to wikipedia, Jeanne Calment of France holds the record…
Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2012.   Comments (3)

The Bethel, Alaska Taco Bell Hoax — Bethel, Alaska is a small town. Travel writer Harry Franck, writing in the early 1940s, offered this description of it: Sidewalk lounging New Yorkers would mistake Bethel at the mouth of the Kuskokwim for the end of the earth. But I found it interesting. For one thing I saw there my first Eskimos, at least in their native habitat. Bethel has a truck, too, and maybe a mile and a half of road... Then there is Bethel's boardwalk, a resounding wooden sidewalk that runs the whole length of…
Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2012.   Comments (4)

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