The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
February 2013
Lawyer who lied about her age — Soma Sengupta has recently been convicted of lying extensively about her past work experience in order to advance her legal career. She claimed that she had previously been an accomplished trial lawyer, although she hadn't been. She also forged reference letters and school transcripts. But what tripped her up was a much simpler lie. She stated on an application that she was 29, but a clerk who was reviewing the form took one look at her and couldn't believe it. Turned out she was…
Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013.   Comments (4)

The Proposal Rejection Prank — The Proposal Rejection Prank is a perennial favorite. Back in 2005 I posted about how a couple had developed a routine they were performing at basketball game halftime shows, in which the guy would propose to the girl in front of the entire crowd. But instead of saying yes, the girl would break into tears and run away. It never failed to get a reaction from the crowds. The PrankvsPrank duo recently performed the identical stunt at various locations outdoors. Their resulting youtube…
Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013.   Comments (0)

Watch For Falling Rocks! — Found on Facebook (via Not An Exact Science Show). The fact that there wouldn't be an English-language sign in a Russian-speaking area gives it away that it's fake, but it's a clever idea!
Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013.   Comments (2)

Attention NYC Residents—Something to do on Feb. 23 — I'm passing along a message from longtime friend of the Museum, Bob Pagani: A few weeks ago, I was invited by the Maccarone Gallery in NYC to come and talk about my friendship with Andy Kaufman as part of a celebration of Andy's life and work. I invited Alan Abel to stop by. He did and the two of us spent several hours talking to gallery visitors about Andy (I am the one who introduced Alan to Andy) and our experiences in the Wonderful World of Media Hoaxing. Here's a link to a NY…
Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2013.   Comments (4)


The Science of Jackalopes — As part of its coverage of the debate in Wyoming over whether to make the jackalope the state's official mythological critter, the Casper Star-Tribune profiles Prof. James Holliday, emeritus professor of biology at Lafayette College, who's perhaps the foremost expert on the biology of jackalopes. Scientific basis for the myth of the jackalope trib.com "There is a virus that causes growths on the jack rabbit," Holliday said. The virus is called Shope papillomavirus. Growths can come out…
Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013.   Comments (1)

Bill Gates Money Giveaway — Below is a picture of Bill Gates that's been circulating on Facebook. Can anyone really believe they'll get $5000 if they share the photo? Or is it being shared as a joke? Since I'm feeling charitable, I'll believe the latter. The picture is a doctored version of a picture posted by Gates during a recent AMA on reddit. Note that in addition to changing the sign he's holding, the reddit toy on the desk behind him has been replaced by what looks like a sex toy. (via David Emery)
Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013.   Comments (4)

New article about I, Libertine hoax — Matthew Callan has written a great account of Jean Shepherd's 1956 I, Libertine hoax: The Man Behind The Brilliant Media Hoax Of "I, Libertine" theawl.com Shepherd inspired fierce loyalty in his listeners who would tune in to listen to him in the middle of the night. These listeners embraced his term for them, "night people," and under his direction they would execute one of the biggest and most bizarre media hoaxes of the 20th century. The hoax was meant as a strike against their…
Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013.   Comments (0)

The Frank Zappa Frieze Prank, 1975 — Bridges Auditorium stands on the campus of Pomona College in Southern California. A frieze on the front of the building displays the names of five great composers: Wagner, Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, and Schubert. But for a few days in April 1975, Chopin's name disappeared and was replaced by that of another iconic, but more modern composer — Frank Zappa. For years, no one knew who put Zappa's name up there. But in 2012, the pranksters finally revealed themselves, submitting a dossier…
Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2013.   Comments (3)

Man fakes black mamba bite — Prosecutors say John Rosenbaum wanted to become famous as the man who was bitten by a black mamba snake and survived. Instead, he'll be famous as the guy who pretended to be bitten by a black mamba. But he really was bitten by a deadly snake (a cobra), so you have to give him credit for that! Man accused of faking bite by deadly black mamba news4jax.com John K. Rosenbaum Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., is accused of touching off a desperate search for the snake in south Georgia after…
Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2013.   Comments (2)

Woody Hayes and the turtle — Woody HayesAt a recent Ohio Coaches' Convention, Urban Meyer told an interesting story about legendary Ohio State University coach Woody Hayes. The story involved an interaction between Hayes's genitals and a turtle. Here's the story, as Meyer told it: "So I guess Ohio State had lost the bowl game, so Earl Bruce brings in Woody Hayes. I had been there just a week and I'm thinking, 'Holy, this is Coach Hayes.' I'm sitting in the back. Coach Hayes was not healthy at the time, but stands…
Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2013.   Comments (1)

If you kiss someone at Chipotle do you get a free burrito? — The rumor going around is that if you kiss someone while standing in line at Chipotle this Valentine's Day, you'll be rewarded with a free burrito. But on their facebook page, a Chipotle rep refers to this as a "a bad Internet rumor." Someone else wanted to know if they kissed the burrito itself would it be free. Chipotle says you're free to kiss the burrito, but you're still going to have to pay.
Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2013.   Comments (1)

Are the Bush bathroom paintings a hoax? — A week ago, news broke that a hacker (calling himself 'Guccifer') had broken into George W. Bush's email account. The hacker sent some of the emails and photos he found there to the Smoking Gun, which promptly published them. Three of the leaked photos showed works of art, apparently by Bush. Two of the works were self-portraits in the bathroom — Bush taking a shower and a bath. The third showed Bush working on a more traditional scene of a seaside chapel. It's the bathroom…
Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2013.   Comments (0)

Fake news already spreading about Dorner shootout — Hey, did you hear that Christopher Dorner somehow survived yesterday's shootout? Yeah, apparently the charred remains inside the cabin have been identified as female, not male! No credible news sources are reporting this, but there's a blurry TV screenshot of a CNN newscast circulating on twitter & facebook that says it, so it must be true!
Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2013.   Comments (4)

Iran’s new stealth fighter flies (with help from photoshop) — The Iranian news website Khouz News recently posted a picture of Iran's new stealth fighter, the Qaher F313. But The Atlantic Wire points out that the photo is actually a composite. The background is a photo of Mount Damavand from a stock-image site. The jet fighter was cut-and-pasted from a photo of what is apparently a plastic jet fighter (because it seems to lack exterior bolts or rivets) on display indoors. In Iran's defense, the photo could have been intended as a kind of…
Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2013.   Comments (1)

Johan Lehrer tries to understand himself — In July 2012, science writer Jonah Lehrer resigned from The New Yorker under a cloud of shame, after it was revealed that his latest book, Imagine, was full of fabricated quotations. Yesterday, he took what he may have been hoping was a first step toward rehabilitating his public image by giving a confessional talk at a Knight Foundation seminar in Miami. If image-rehabilitation was his goal, it probably didn't work, because most of the coverage of his talk was snarky and cynical…
Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2013.   Comments (0)

Sarah Palin isn’t joining the Al-Jazeera Network — File this under Satire Mistaken As News. Washington Post blogger Suzi Parker reported that Sarah Palin was going to start contributing to the Al Jazeera America news network, as a way to "stay relevant." The source for this info was an article on the humor site Daily Currant. Parker's blog post is now prefaced by a correction, and the erroneous info has been deleted. What Parker originally wrote was: Late last week Al Jazeera America announced the former vice-presidential candidate…
Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2013.   Comments (0)

No smoking, drinking, skateboarding, dogs at mall — Ipswich City councillor Andrew Antoniolli posted on facebook that this would be the new sign at the Ipswich Mall — warning people, in a visually economical way, of all the things they couldn't do there. A local radio station believed him, but it was actually just a joke image downloaded from the internet. No idea what the original source of the image was.
Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013.   Comments (0)

Dead Bodies Rising — Viewers of The Steve Wilkos Show on CBS affiliate KRTV in Great Falls had the program interrupted on Monday by an emergency alert that delivered this warning: Civil authorities in your area have reported that the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living. Follow the messages on screen that will be updated as information becomes available. Do not attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies as they are extremely dangerous. Seems that someone had hacked…
Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013.   Comments (3)

Seriously Richview Collegiate — A picture of a letter detailing a blatantly racist policy supposedly adopted by a Toronto-area high school, Richview Collegiate Institute, was all over Twitter recently. The letter reads: Dear teachers and students, As of late the safety of our students' has been brought into question. Due to a frequent increase in student robberies and fights this letter has been sent out to inform students on safety precautions that are to be taken to protect their well being. Personal belongings are…
Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013.   Comments (0)

Romance author Jessica Blair is really elderly grandfather Bill Spence — I actually find it more surprising that he's still cranking out books at the age of 89 than that he's using a female pen name. Good for him! It's inspiring! Bills and boon! 'Female' romance author Jessica Blair unmasked as 89-year-old grandfather Daily Mail The grandfather from Ampleforth, North Yorkshire, was told his books would need to be printed under a feminine moniker if he wanted them to sell - and so his pseudonym Jessica Blair was born. Bill, 89, has so far written 22 romance…
Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2013.   Comments (1)

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