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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
October 2013
The Candy Witch — In 2004, the researchers Jacqueline Woolley, Elizabeth Boerger, and Arthur Markman conducted a study at the University of Texas at Austin in which they told young children (ages 3 to 5) at a childcare center about the "Candy Witch." This was the script they used: 'Let me tell you about the Candy Witch. I have never seen the Candy Witch so I don't have a real picture of her. But somebody made a doll that looks like her, and I have a picture of that. Here it is. This is what she looks…
Posted: Thu Oct 31, 2013.   Comments (0)

The Peril of Cyber Romance — A bizarre love triangle. Wang Pai and Lili struck up a romance online, but when they first met in real life, they realized that, oops!, they were father-in-law/daughter-in-law. Even worse, Wang's son, Wang Jai, had tailed his wife to her rendezvous. The whole mess ended in a brawl, leaving Lili with missing teeth and Wang Pai with a serious head injury. This story was first reported recently by the Heilongjiang Morning Post, and then by ChinaSMACK, the Daily Mail, and a whole bunch of
Posted: Thu Oct 31, 2013.   Comments (0)

The World’s Leading Authority on Poisoned Candy — In 1985, Joel Best published an article in the sociology journal Social Problems analyzing reports of children receiving dangerous treats on Halloween (razor blades in apples, poisoned candy, etc.). After doing an extensive review of newspaper databases for all cases between 1959 and 1984, he couldn't find a single instance of a child being killed by a Halloween treat, although there were a handful of cases (18) of minor injuries, and a larger number of reports of the discovery of…
Posted: Sat Oct 26, 2013.   Comments (2)

Agatha Cunningham, the Brooklyn Library Ghost — Two years ago the Brooklyn Public Library uploaded a video to YouTube detailing the presence of a ghost in the library: On October 28, 1977 Agatha Ann Cunningham went missing during her kindergarten call trip to the Brooklyn Public Library. She was never found. The legend says that her ghost haunts the lower level decks of the Central Library. But even though the entire library administration insists that Agatha's ghost is real, the Brooklyn Daily has some questions. For instance,…
Posted: Sat Oct 26, 2013.   Comments (1)


The Screaming Ghost in Room 209 — The story here is that this video supposedly comes from security camera footage of a Sep. 14, 2003 paranormal event at a Wingate Hotel in Illinois. Though it wasn't until Sep 2012 that it was posted on YouTube. Screaming was heard coming from room 209. But no one was checked into that room. So some guy named John (a security guard?) is sent to investigate. He enters the room and reports that the carpet has been ripped up, the shower is on, and all the furniture is turned upside down.…
Posted: Sat Oct 26, 2013.   Comments (8)

Alcohol Myths — Mental Floss has an interesting, brief article on "6 Absurd Alcohol Myths People Believed During Prohibition". The myths were: Alcohol turns blood into water Merely smelling alcohol could deform unborn children Some bootleg wines were made with cockroaches Most beer drinkers die of dropsy Alcohol can give you a 25-pound liver Drunkards' brains can be used as torches The cockroach wine myth reminds me of the Army Worm Wine that I posted about back in 2005, except that Army Worm Wine was…
Posted: Fri Oct 25, 2013.   Comments (0)

The Landeshut Ghost — [Since Halloween is fast approaching, I thought I'd do some ghost-themed posts.] Back in 1935, the town of Landeshut (which at the time, I believe, was in Germany, but now is in Poland) had a bit of a problem. A ghost was scaring the residents. The specter had often been seen walking in a dark outer street near the hospital. People were getting so frightened that the town decided to take the unusual step of offering a 50 marks reward for anyone who could capture the ghost. Fifty marks…
Posted: Fri Oct 25, 2013.   Comments (0)

Elephants—Larger Than The Moon, and other Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Hoaxes — As Chris Tarrant departs from the UK version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, The Express takes the opportunity to review the history of the quiz show, including some of the hoaxes and frauds associated with it. For example, the show spawned an internet meme of screenshots of contestants getting absurdly simple questions wrong. Many of these are hoaxes, such as the most famous one which seems to show contestant Fiona Wheeler (not Kathy Evans as some email captions claim) deciding that…
Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2013.   Comments (0)

Spaceman First-Class Bob Percy — In February 1959, Bob Percy, rush chairman of the Psi Omega professional dental fraternity at the University of Southern California, was kidnapped by his own pledges and dressed in a "space helmet, toe-less tennis shoes, sweat pants and shirt with chained hands and feet." He was then taken to the airport and put on a plane, with no idea of where he was going and no money. The picture below was taken as he was boarding the plane. Halfway through the flight he figured out he was en…
Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2013.   Comments (1)

Who is Veronika Larsson? — Writing in Sweden's Metro newspaper, Jack Werner describes his effort to track down the identity of someone using a set of online aliases — TheIneffableSwede and Veronika Larsson. It started with him simply wanting to interview this person, because back in July they had left a provocative comment on a Guardian article. But as his search progressed, Werner realized that this person, over the course of the past six years, had created an elaborate fake online persona, with photos showing…
Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2013.   Comments (3)

The Mystery of the Racist Red Lobster Receipt — Red Lobster Waitress Toni Christina Jenkins shot to internet fame back in September after posting on her facebook page a picture of a receipt she claimed one of her customers left her, with a racist remark ("None N**ger") scrawled on it in place of a tip. The story received even more attention when, a few weeks later, a stranger who was moved by her story gave her a check for $10,759. But meanwhile, the guy who left the receipt insisted he didn't write that phrase. He admits he wrote…
Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2013.   Comments (1)

Drone Delivery—not yet a reality — In March 2012, TacoCopter.com appeared online, claiming to represent a SF-area startup that planned to use drones to deliver tacos. That turned out to be a hoax. And earlier this year, the French postal service claimed it was experimenting with using drones to deliver mail. That was an April Fool's Day hoax. So the idea of drone delivery has been a popular idea with hoaxers. But now, perhaps, it's going to become a reality. The emphasis is on perhaps. Australian textbook rental…
Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2013.   Comments (0)

The Oldest Ear of Corn—a fake that fooled science — From 1914 to 1934 the Smithsonian had on display an object that it described as the "oldest ear of corn" in the world. It was believed to be a piece of fossilized corn, several thousand years old, which had been acquired from a "collector of curios" in Cuzco, Peru. The fossil corn wasn't considered to be just a curiosity. It was regarded as having real scientific importance because, as G.N. Collins noted in a 1919 article about it in the Journal of Heredity, it provided "the first…
Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2013.   Comments (1)

Canine Artist Sells Work on eBay — Canine artist "Jack" is selling a work titled "Half-Chewed Cole Haan Wingtip" on eBay. So far bidding has reached $368, with 1 day of bidding remaining. This description is offered of the artist: Jack has been active for some time in the world of artistic defacement popularized by prominent figures such as Banksy. However, only recently have his works received critical acclaim through public notoriety and the rise of social media. He is a two-year-old Dalmatian mix who started his…
Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013.   Comments (0)

Telekinetic Coffee Prank — The video of the "Telekinetic Coffee Shop Prank" has gotten over 30 millions views on YouTube in 4 days. So it's definitely served its purpose, which is to promote the upcoming release of the Carrie remake. A lot of people have questioned whether the customers in the coffee shop were real or actors. But according to Andrea Morales, the actress who played the telekinetic coffee woman, the customers definitely were real. She says in an interview with the NY Daily News, "We got some…
Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013.   Comments (1)

‘Arrival Ceremonies’ Renamed — This is a bit odd. The Pentagon has admitted that many of the "arrival ceremonies," in which the remains of fallen soldiers are carried in flag-draped coffins from the planes that brought them home, are actually an elaborate bit of funereal theater. In many cases, the remains have already been in the country for months. But for the benefit of the soldiers' family and loved ones, the remains are loaded onto a grounded plane, and then, a few hours later, are carried back off again.
Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013.   Comments (0)

Invasion of the Housekeepers, 1909 — The Cowichan Valley Citizen has dug into its archives for a story about a 1909 hoax that caused a small army of housekeepers to descend upon Victoria, British Columbia, in response to a want ad that turned out to be a prank: 'Hoax' goes too far: Victoria's invasion of the housekeepers Cowichan Valley Citizen First to become aware of the invasion of foreign domestic help was V.C. Maddock, a city realtor. For days, he'd had to explain to job applicants, some of them very insistent, some…
Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013.   Comments (0)

A German Officer Strolls Through London, 1941 — In April 1941, a London newspaper pulled off a minor hoax/publicity stunt. They dressed a young man in the uniform of a German officer — after having removed the Nazi cap badge, belt, and insignia of rank — and had him walk around through central London, directly past the Houses of Parliament. They claimed to be trying to prove that "Londoners wouldn't know a German soldier if they saw one." Sure enough, the young man attracted no attention. The photo of the "German officer" posing…
Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013.   Comments (0)

Azerbaijan declares election winner, before election takes place — The Washington Post reports that the Azerbaijan Central Election Commission accidentally released, via a smartphone app, the results of the country's presidential election a day before the election took place. Oops. The commission is saying that the app's developer accidentally sent out the 2008 election results as a test. But no one is believing this since a) the results show candidates from this year, not 2008; and b) it's Azerbaijan, and everyone assumes the election there is totally…
Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2013.   Comments (0)

Lamppost Windmills — I haven't seen anything on English-language sites about this, but according to dichtbij.nl (with a little help from Google translate), a site calling itself "Green Light District" appeared online several months ago. It claimed that the municipality of Haarlemmermeer in North Holland was going to put small green windmills on top of 30,000 lampposts in order to generate power for the lights, thereby creating a "green light district". Any excess power would be routed to the electrical…
Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2013.   Comments (1)

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