The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
September 2013
The Bunny Ears Prank Revisited — Rugby player Manu Tuilagi recently apologized for making bunny ears behind David Cameron's head during a photo shoot outside of 10 Downing Street. Cameron replied, "No need to apologise, I know it was just a bit of fun." [espn scrum] This got me thinking again about the history of the Bunny Ears prank, a topic I last posted about back in 2006. How old is the Bunny Ears prank? Does it predate photography? Nobody knows. After a bit of searching online, the oldest example of making…
Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2013.   Comments (1)

It’s all about the magnets! — Sixty-two-year-old Andrew Abolafia claims to have built a "Static Field Converter" that extracts hidden energy from magnets — thereby staying true to the general rule that free-energy inventions almost always involve magnets in some way. Abolafia feels sure his invention will provide the solution to the world's need for energy, replacing our reliance on fossil fuels. But for some reason, the scientific community hasn't shown much interest. So Abolafia has been reduced to demonstrating…
Posted: Thu Sep 19, 2013.   Comments (3)

A Brief History of Triple-Decker Buses — The first motorized double-decker buses were introduced in 1923, and it was only three years later, in 1926, that the first triple-decker bus went into operation, providing transportation to Berlin's Stettiner railway station. The next significant date in multi-level buses came in 1954, with the introduction of the double-decker Routemaster bus, which, painted red, became an iconic sight in London. And, inevitably, triple-decker versions soon followed. Nowadays triple-decker buses…
Posted: Wed Sep 18, 2013.   Comments (0)

Real Simple Magazine — The Museum of Hoaxes got a nice little write-up in this month's issue of Real Simple magazine. I think they mentioned the "paranormal stuff" on the site (which, honestly, there isn't a huge amount of) because it's the October issue, and they were trying to tie it in with Halloween.
Posted: Wed Sep 18, 2013.   Comments (1)


DeQuincy, Louisiana—the town of hoaxes — The journalist-hoaxer Lou Stone always set his hoaxes in the small town of Winsted, Connecticut, where he lived. His most famous hoax was the time in 1895 when he sent out a report over the news wire claiming that a naked, hairy, wild man was loose in the town, causing reporters from New York City to descend upon Winsted, en masse. There now appears to be a hoaxer (identity unknown) who draws similar inspiration from the town of DeQuincy, Louisiana (population 4000), because he or she…
Posted: Wed Sep 18, 2013.   Comments (0)

The “Fake Dominatrix” Scam — A 35-year-old Austrian woman advertised herself as a dominatrix, promising strict discipline to clients willing to pay. It took the men who responded to her ad a week to realize that instead of getting sexy punishment, they were being made to do work around her farm (chopping wood, mowing the lawn) while dressed in black fetish gear. They were paying for the privilege of doing farm labor. [spiegel]
Posted: Wed Sep 18, 2013.   Comments (2)

The Royalton’s Special Tea Blend — George Jean NathanOrson Welles was fond of telling the following story about drama critic George Jean Nathan (1882-1958) — a story which is repeated in the recently published My Lunches with Orson, Peter Biskind (ed.). [via the Legends & Rumors Blog] Orson Welles: Let me tell you a story about George Jean Nathan, America's greatest drama critic. George Jean Nathan was the tightest man who ever lived, even tighter than Charles Chaplin. And he lived for forty years in the Hotel Royalton,…
Posted: Tue Sep 17, 2013.   Comments (0)

Red Rocks Amphitheatre Is Not Flooded — The flooding in Colorado has caused a lot of damage. However, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver is not one of the things underwater, despite what a picture that's been circulating online appears to show. [reverb.com] This is just another example of how if a suitably dramatic picture of a natural disaster doesn't exist, people will invent one. Here's what Red Rocks looks like in its normal, unflooded condition:
Posted: Tue Sep 17, 2013.   Comments (0)

Myth: Pearls are made from a grain of sand — Came across this in a Guardian article about a new exhibit opening at the Victoria & Albert Museum: V&A dissolves myths around pearls in major new show The Guardian [Marilyn] Monroe and [Elizabeth] Taylor are represented in a show devoted to pearls, opening at the V&A on Saturday. Neither probably knew the grimmer truth of what they were wearing. "The pearls are formed around the larvae from a tapeworm coming from the excrement of other animals," said the show's co-curator, Hubert…
Posted: Tue Sep 17, 2013.   Comments (2)

Bucky Badger Imposter — The University of Wisconsin-Madison has issued a press release warning the public that an imposter Bucky Badger is at large. (Bucky Badger being the university's mascot.) This imposter has been showing up at political rallies, waving protest signs. UW-Madison says that the imposter can be spotted by its "puffy features, odd coloring and sloppy sweater." But the "imposter" is fighting back, noting that Bucky costumes can be bought at the campus book store. So who has the right to say…
Posted: Mon Sep 16, 2013.   Comments (0)

Money From the Sky Scam — Two men in Dubai were offering to share a sure-fire way to get rich quick. All one had to do was buy a special juice from them and offer it to a jinn (a ghost). The juice wasn't cheap. It cost $30,000. But the jinn liked it so much, that upon receiving it he would return the favor by making $200 million rain down from the sky. However, these men made the mistake of selling their jinn-juice to an undercover police officer, who promptly arrested them. The Dubai authorities had harsh…
Posted: Mon Sep 16, 2013.   Comments (1)

Miss Uzbekistan — The Miss World Competition (set to begin Sep 28 in Indonesia) seemed quite pleased to have its first-ever representative from Uzbekistan. But perhaps not anymore, because the young woman, 18-year-old Rakhima Ganieva, is attracting more attention than any of the other contestants, and not for the right reasons. The problem is that no one can figure out how she earned the title Miss Uzbekistan. No one in Uzbekistan remembers a selection process. In fact, in her home country they're…
Posted: Sun Sep 15, 2013.   Comments (0)

Dead Dog Hoax — One of the easiest ways to attract attention online is to claim to have done something shocking or disturbing. It's also known as trolling. A case in point is a young woman (using the twitter account @illumivato) who recently claimed that she killed her dog because the British pop group One Direction wouldn't follow her on Twitter. She first sent them a tweet asking them to follow her "or I'll break my dog's neck." Then, when they inevitably ignored her, she followed this up with a…
Posted: Sat Sep 14, 2013.   Comments (0)

Massive Louvre Ticket Scam — Parisian authorities are now warily considering the possibility that thousands of Chinese tourists might be getting into the Louvre for free, after Belgian customs officials discovered fake Louvre tickets that were "perfect clones" of genuine tickets in a package sent from China. Though I assume the tourists paid someone for the tickets. They just paid the wrong person. [BBC News]
Posted: Fri Sep 13, 2013.   Comments (0)

Trout-Pig — A trout-pig hybrid, discovered in the Tet river in southeastern France. As reported by L'Indépendant, April 1, 2013. I imagine that, when cooked, this would taste like trout wrapped in bacon.
Posted: Fri Sep 13, 2013.   Comments (2)

Collage Poetry — Prize-winning Australian poet Andrew Slattery (winner, most recently, of the Cardiff International Poetry Competition, that came with a jackpot of £5000) is being stripped of many of his prizes after judges discovered that most of his poetry consists of lines lifted from the works of other poets. For instance, his poem Ransom, which won him the Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize (and potentially $10,000 — he hadn't received the money yet) was a stitched-together version of "50-odd poets'…
Posted: Fri Sep 13, 2013.   Comments (1)

Sloth Family Portrait — Gapers Block offers the full story behind the famous "Sloth Family Portrait" revealing that yes, of course, the photo was intentionally staged. And no, it wasn't photoshopped in any way. And the sloth in the foreground was stuffed, not alive. The story, summarized, is that the couple in the photo are Jim and Debbie Gallo, owners of Shangri-La Vintage, a Chicago vintage clothes store. They found the stuffed sloth at an estate sale in the early 1990s, bought it, and then thought it would…
Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2013.   Comments (0)

Questions about the Milgram experiment — Gina Perry has authored a new book about Stanley Milgram's famous obedience experiment (Behind the Shock Machine: The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments) in which she argues that Milgram fudged his data and conclusions. Boing Boing reviews it. Perry suggests the fudging happened in several ways: First, although Milgram claimed his experiment always followed a set script, Perry reviewed the original audio tapes and found this wasn't the case. Instead,…
Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2013.   Comments (0)

Abominable Science — Looks interesting. I'll add it to my reading list. An interview with the authors: The Science Behind Bigfoot and Other Monsters National Geographic There's ample circumstantial evidence for all these creatures: eyewitness accounts, blurry photographs, mysterious footprints. For many cryptozoologists—the people who search for legendary animals—that evidence is enough to confirm a monster's existence. But it will take more than shadowy sightings to convince Daniel Loxton and Donald R. Prothero that Bigfoot or any of the other monsters are real. What Loxton and Prothero want is… Continue…
Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2013.   Comments (1)

Mystery Letterbox — A red letterbox has appeared on the side of a bridge crossing the Thames in the village of Sonning-on-Thames. It's accessible only from the river. The Royal Mail says it's "a mystery to us." What makes this story doubly strange is that spoon-bender Uri Geller happens to live in this town and was interviewed about it by the BBC. He speculates that "the ghost of a mischievous little girl" might have put the letterbox there. Uri Geller mystified by letterbox on Thames Sonning Bridge BBC…
Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2013.   Comments (3)

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