The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
November 2013
News anchors brave the elements, indoors — Everyone assumed that the Duluth Northland News Center team was outside during the coverage of the "Christmas City of the North" Parade on Nov 22. After all, they were wearing heavy jackets. But it turns out they were inside, in front of a green screen. But the News Director insists there was no deception because, if you want to get technical about it, they never actually said they were outside. [jimromenesko, mix108.com]
Posted: Thu Nov 28, 2013.   Comments (0)

The Nantucket Sea Serpent Hoax of 1937 — There's a long history of sea-serpent sightings off the coast of New England. A flurry of sightings occurred in August 1817, when fishermen in Gloucester, Massachusetts witnessed a giant sea creature with a horned head ("much like the head of a turtle... and larger than the head on any dog") swimming in the ocean. A local scientific society launched an investigation and concluded that the creature might be a previously unknown species, Scoliophis atlanticus (Atlantic humped snake).…
Posted: Thu Nov 28, 2013.   Comments (1)

Shanty Town—The Unique Accommodation Experience — If you're curious about what it would be like to live in a shanty town, but you don't actually want to set foot in a real shanty town, then perhaps the Emoya Luxury Hotel & Spa's "Shanty Town" might be for you. It's a "unique accommodation experience" located near Bloemfontein, South Africa. The Emoya website says: Experience an unique stay at our Shanty Town (Mkukhu Villlage / Shack Village) where you have to use the famous "long-drop" outside toilet and make your own fire for hot…
Posted: Wed Nov 27, 2013.   Comments (0)

Invisible Girlfriend — The premise of Invisible Girlfriend is that if you need to pretend that you have a girlfriend (for instance, if a guy is trying to hide the fact that he's gay) this company will provide you with convincing proof to back up your story. Matt Homann, its founder, says, "This is the business of helping [clients] tell a lie — we’re thinking of it more as a shield — to have the excuse ready in hand and not have to be uncomfortable." [BuzzFeed] Fake girlfriend services are not new.…
Posted: Wed Nov 27, 2013.   Comments (2)


Kazimir Malevich Rejected — Someone calling himself Michael Mikrivaz (his YouTube username) made charcoal reproductions of works by the early-20th-century Russian abstract artist Kazimir Malevich (whose art now regularly sells for millions of dollars). He then took these sketches to several art academies, claiming they were his own works, and asked for an opinion on his chances of getting in. Two academies told him that, based on these works, he wouldn't get accepted. This is an example of what I call the
Posted: Wed Nov 27, 2013.   Comments (0)

World’s Largest Tortoise — The International Business Times reports that a "fake image" purporting to show the "world's largest tortoise" being transported on a flatbed truck has recently been circulating online. I think it's been circulating for at least half a year, but it's not correct to call it a fake image. It's a still from Gamera The Brave (a 2006 Japanese monster movie) that has been falsely captioned. Here's another picture of the "world's largest tortoise" in action: The question that popped into…
Posted: Tue Nov 26, 2013.   Comments (1)

Another case of a note on a restaurant receipt — Dayna Morales, a server at the Gallop Asian Bistro in New Jersey, says that a couple she recently waited on not only didn't tip her, but also left a note on the receipt criticizing her lifestyle. So Morales took a photo of the receipt and uploaded it to the facebook page of the "Have A Gay Day" organization. The photo attracted a lot of publicity and sympathetic supporters soon sent Morales almost $3000, which she says she's donating to charity. But the twist in the story: a couple…
Posted: Tue Nov 26, 2013.   Comments (4)

Tornado Photo Fakery — When tornadoes struck the Midwest last week, some unusual photo fakes managed to get past the media fact-checkers who try to catch these things before publishing or broadcasting them. The WTHR website posted a photo (submitted by an "iwitness contributor") that showed downtown Lafayette being threatened by both a fake tornado and a UFO. [jimromenesko.com] The fake — with red arrow added by reporter Eric Weddle to show the UFO The original And Chicago CBS affiliate WBBM ran a…
Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2013.   Comments (0)

The Samsung Pays Apple in Nickels Rumor — In August 2012, a jury awarded Apple over $1 billion in damages in their patent infringement case against Samsung. This sparked a rumor that Samsung had gotten its own back against Apple by paying the fine entirely in nickels — sending 30 trucks full of nickels over to Apple's headquarters. A video of a bunch of delivery trucks driving down a city street was offered as confirmation of the rumor — although the trucks in the video weren't from Samsung. A picture also circulated showing…
Posted: Sat Nov 23, 2013.   Comments (2)

eMeringue — If you need a meringue top for a pie, and you need it fast, then look no further than eMeringue.com. They're the "Internet's #1 meringue delivery service." Their fleet of eMeringue trucks are gassed up and ready to hit the highway, to deliver your meringue top directly to your door. eMeringue was an April Fool's Day hoax by the Motley Fool investment people. But it dates back to 1999, so I'm impressed that they've kept the site up all this time. If you look at the eMeringue welcome…
Posted: Fri Nov 22, 2013.   Comments (0)

Rat-Milk Cheese Redux — Back in 2005, I posted about the website of The Federation of Rodent Cheesemakers, promoters of rat-milk cheese. That website is suddenly back in the news, thanks to an article in Modern Farmer, "Rat Cheese: Internet Hoax or Future Delicacy?" The author (Sam Brasch) acknowledges that the Rodent Cheesemakers site is a spoof, but then he seriously addresses the question of how to make cheese from rat milk. He notes that you would need a lot of rats: "You’d need an army of 674 rats to…
Posted: Fri Nov 22, 2013.   Comments (0)

Clown Crime Spree — West Yorkshire police denied reports there was a sinister clown on the prowl in Bradford, "peering in windows, committing robberies and even stabbing people." A police spokesman said, "This seems like it might be a hoax. We haven't had any reports of crimes committed by a clown, I can say that much." During the past week, a photo has been circulating on facebook and twitter showing an evil clown standing outside a Bradford McDonalds. This photo has apparently helped to fuel the rumors…
Posted: Fri Nov 22, 2013.   Comments (0)

Emus Going Cheap — I posted last year about India's Great Emu Scam. Thousands of people, lured in by con artists, invested in emu farms, believing they were a sure-fire way to get rich quick. But demand for emu products never materialized, and so the investors lost their money. The fallout from all this is not only lost money, but also huge herds of homeless emus that no one can figure out what to do with. India's Revenue department is trying to sell them, but isn't finding any buyers, even though the…
Posted: Thu Nov 21, 2013.   Comments (3)

LoveRoom — The premise of LoveRoom is that it's an apartment rental service that only rents to attractive people. So if you're an attractive person with an extra bed you're willing to rent out, LoveRoom will match you with another attractive person looking for a bed to rent. Forbes calls it an "Airbnb for Hotties". After the recent debut of the LoveRoom website, quite a few media outlets wrote about the company as if it were a real thing. But Forbes reporter Kashmir Hill didn't have to do much…
Posted: Thu Nov 21, 2013.   Comments (1)

Sam Harris Takes a Stance Against the Santa Lie — Sam Harris argues that parents should never lie to their own children, even about something as seemingly innocuous as the existence of Santa, because all lies can sow the seeds of distrust between parent and child. I see his point. But if any kid asks me if Jackalopes are real, I'm going to continue to tell them they are, because that's the truth. The High Cost of Tiny Lies Sam Harris I don’t remember whether I ever believed in Santa, but I was never tempted to tell my daughter that…
Posted: Wed Nov 20, 2013.   Comments (1)

From the Archive: The Loch Ness Monster Captured, 1934 — The "Surgeon's Photo" taken on April 19, 1934 was one of the earliest (and remains the most famous) Nessie photo hoax. But three weeks before the Surgeon's Photo was taken, the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung came out with a photo-feature declaring that Nessie had been captured ("Das Untier vom Loch Ness gefangen!"). It was an April Fool's Day hoax. I recently acquired a copy of the article, so I've added it to the April Fool archive. You can see why this Nessie hoax never became as… Continue…
Posted: Tue Nov 19, 2013.   

Squirrel Rides Fawn — This unusual photo ran in numerous papers in September 1963. I can't find a linkable example in the Google News Archive, but here it is in the Binghamton Press [PDF]. (A lot of examples of it come up in a search on newspaperarchive.com, but that's a paid archive, so I can't link to any of the results.) The caption read: All the animals are pretty tame at the Percy Pangborn Ranch above Lake Wenatchee in the foothills of Washington State's Cascade Mountains, Sept 14. 1963. A golden…
Posted: Sat Nov 16, 2013.   Comments (0)

Fake Einstein Quotation Paperweight — I recently received an "Uncommon Goods" catalog in the mail and noticed an item they call the "Imagination Paperweight." It displays an inspiring Albert Einstein quotation: "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." Knowing how many fake Einstein quotations there are floating around, my suspicion was aroused. So I checked and sure enough, this Einstein quotation has been called into question by the few people who have bothered to investigate it (as opposed…
Posted: Fri Nov 15, 2013.   Comments (1)

‘Help Me, I’m German!’ — UK police are warning drivers of a new scam in which fraudsters pose as stranded motorists in lay-bys, beseeching the aid of good samaritans with pleas such as, "Help me, I'm German!" The fraudsters claim that they're out of gas and have lost their wallet. But they offer gold jewelry in return for money. The scam is that the gold jewelry is fake. [cambridge-news] When I first saw the headline I thought it was going to be about people who wake up, realize they've become German, and cry…
Posted: Fri Nov 15, 2013.   Comments (3)

Typing fake profiles causes wrist injury (maybe) — Doriana Silva says she was hired by Ashley Madison (that matchmaking service that caters to people who want to have extramarital affairs) in order to type up 1000 fake female profiles for the company's new Portuguese-language website. Doing this, she claims, led to severe wrist and forearm pain, and she now wants compensation, to the tune of $20 million. Ashley Madison admits it hired Silva, but dismisses her claims as frivolous. It points out that one of Silva's recent facebook photos…
Posted: Wed Nov 13, 2013.   Comments (0)

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