Hoax Museum Blog Posts: December 2013

New York City Urban Legends (according to People magazine) — People magazine recently posted an article that it titled "N.Y.C.'s 8 Craziest Urban Legends Debunked." But that title is misleading, because it turns out the article only lists 3 urban legends, and then the writer must have been unable to find anything else when doing a google search for "New York urban legends," because the other 5 things on the list are random bits of NYC trivia and paranormal speculation. I guess I shouldn't have expected anything more from People magazine. To…
Posted: Thu Dec 19, 2013.   Comments (0)

Haunted Whitstable Shop — Back in July, security camera footage of supposed paranormal activity in a Whitstable shop (boxes floating off shelves and hovering in the air) did the rounds on paranormal websites. Turns out the paranormal activity was manufactured by a pair of magicians for a new UK TV show, The Happenings. The premise was to try to convince a town "via trickery and fakery" that it's haunted. Doubtful News points out that the show didn't do very well in the ratings. Therefore, "more saw the You…
Posted: Thu Dec 19, 2013.   Comments (0)

The Belen Miracle Window — Here's a case of pareidolia from 1927. That was the year Mrs. Baca of Belen, NM glanced up at the window that had recently been installed in the attic of her family's house and noticed "an image of Christ ascending into heaven" on the windowpane. [miracles of intervention blog] Soon thousands of people were flocking to see the "miracle window". The Christ figure could only be seen during daylight, and only from the ground. If you stood in the attic, the window looked perfectly…
Posted: Wed Dec 18, 2013.   Comments (0)

Man emerges from Y2K bunker after 15 years — The news of Norman Feller's emergence from his underground bunker has gone viral. The story is that Feller went into the bunker shortly before January 1, 2000, convinced that the Y2K virus was going to bring about the collapse of civilization. He finally came out because he was curious if the world really had ended. However, the source of the story is the CBC's satirical This is That radio show. The show has a history of these spoof pieces that get mistaken for real news. The last one…
Posted: Wed Dec 18, 2013.   Comments (4)


Do sharks dislike the taste of human flesh? — Dr. Daniel Bucher, a shark expert at Southern Cross University, says that the notion they do is just a myth. So if you have a pet shark, go ahead and feed them fresh filet-o-human. Oh no ... sharks DO like the taste of human flesh The Logan Reporter According to Southern Cross University shark expert Dr Daniel Bucher it is not true sharks don't like the taste of human flesh. He said there was no evidence to support this claim, which he believed gained acceptance to allay people's fears…
Posted: Wed Dec 18, 2013.   Comments (1)

The Myth of Holiday Suicide — According to urban legend, the holiday season sees a spike in suicides. But Scientific American notes that November and December actually have the lowest rates of suicide. The reason is perhaps because "The increased emotional and social support during holiday time temporarily dims the feelings of despair and anguish for many depressed children and adults." But unfortunately the holiday lull is followed by a peak of suicides in the Spring: "As winter thaws into spring, there is the…
Posted: Tue Dec 17, 2013.   Comments (0)

Have you lost a jackalope? — Police in Edmonton recently launched a pinterest page on which they display "unique" lost and stolen items they've acquired. If anyone recognizes an item as their former possession, and can provide "specific details" that identify it, they'll be reunited with it. One of the items is the mounted head of a jackalope. I wonder what kind of specific details they need to identify this? I could say that it enjoys whiskey and is sometimes called the "warrior rabbit." But I don't think…
Posted: Tue Dec 17, 2013.   Comments (2)

A 9-year-old student was NOT suspended for wishing his atheist teacher a Merry Christmas — The War on Christmas! Looks like some people are taking seriously this spoof National Report article about a 9-year-old kid being suspended for wishing his atheist teacher a Merry Christmas. National Report is one of the many satirical news sites that are now online. Although you have to search its site for a while before finding its disclaimer ("National Report is a news and political satire web publication"), because they don't post it on the bottom of every page, which can easily…
Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2013.   Comments (1)

Christmas Tinner Update — Thanks to "anonymous" who posted a comment to my recent post about "Christmas Tinner" (the entire Christmas day meal in a tin), alerting me to this video in which "steviejacko" has a can of the stuff, opens it up, and eats it. This suggests that, at the very least, someone created a prototype of this product. In the youtube comments, steviejacko says: "The one shop where it is available in basingstoke is sold out, it was done as a trial to see how much interest there was, it wont be…
Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2013.   Comments (2)

Santa in Kinky Boots — Macy's decision to include the cast of the broadway musical Kinky Boots in its Thanksgiving Day parade was criticized by some conservative groups — since Kinky Boots features drag queens, and (so the conservatives argued) this made it inappropriate for the children watching the parade. But instead of being repentant, Macy's seemed to be doubling-down on its support of Kinky Boots when a flyer started to circulate online announcing that Macy's would be having an event in its kids…
Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2013.   Comments (0)

Bottled Fresh Air — DUPÉ sells bottled fresh air, as well as other products such as bottled moon light, positive thoughts, and "eco-friendly little rays of sunshine." The site (and storefront) were part of a spoof campaign launched a few months ago by Yarra Valley Water, providers of tap water to the Melbourne area. If you try to buy any of DUPÉ's fresh air, you get a message telling you: "Buying bottled air doesn't make sense. It's just like buying bottled water." (Thanks to Patty on WU for the…
Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2013.   Comments (3)

Witchdoctor Protest — A unique way to express frustration at having been conned: Man conned by fake witchdoctor protests in the nude standardmedia.co.ke KENYA: A middle-aged man, in his desperate attempt to stage a one-man protest, stripped in Mlolongo town. This was after it dawned on him that a fake witchdoctor had conned him Sh25,000. The long protracted mid-morning drama left shocked onlookers wagging their tongues... The money was for some concoction, which he was to collect later and smear it at the…
Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2013.   Comments (0)

Snow-Covered Sphinx

Photos of the Sphinx covered in snow have recently gone viral, on the heels of reports of the first snowfall in Cairo for 112 years. These photos haven't been digitally manipulated. However, they don't show THE Sphinx in Egypt covered in snow. Instead, what they show is a miniature model of the Sphinx located in the Tobu World Square theme park in Japan. The theme park has miniature models of many other famous attractions from around the world. (You can actually see the Eiffel Tower poking up behind the pyramid in the bottom photo.) Here's a photo that shows just how small the…

Posted: Sat Dec 14, 2013.   Comments (2)

Posing with Mandela — The Mandela-themed hoaxes continue. Kenyan senator Mike Sonko recently posted to his facebook page a photo of himself posing with Nelson Mandela. It's such an awful photoshop job, that it's hardly even worth debunking. Still, for what it's worth, the original image that he doctored was one of Mandela posing with Muhammad Ali. [telegraph.co.uk]
Posted: Sat Dec 14, 2013.   Comments (0)

Empty Force — Wikipedia defines the martial arts technique of Empty Force as "the expression of force without making physical contact." This technique claims to harness the power of qi, the "body's vital energy", enabling masters of the art to defend themselves against opponents without making physical contact. However, "Some proponents of martial arts are skeptical about demonstrations of empty force and dismiss them as tricks." Recently a Finnish empty-force master, Jukka Lampila, gave a…
Posted: Sat Dec 14, 2013.   Comments (1)

Fake Mandela Corpse Photo — On Thursday, an image purporting to be a death photo of Nelson Mandela began circulating online. The photo — a greenish-tinged shot of Mandela with his eyes closed — was originally posted on twitter by someone with the username @nQOW_bee. IOL news reported: "In between tweets about the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial at FNB Stadium on Tuesday, which is her sexiest body part, and how she can’t stick to a healthy diet, she posted a picture of Mandela with…
Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2013.   Comments (0)

Squirrel Meat For Sale — These North Omaha homeowners keep signs outside their home advertising fresh meat (squirrel, raccoon, fish, etc.). But no one seems to have ever bought the meat. So are they really selling it? Or are the signs just there to give their home a little curb appeal? Health Officials Worry Rabbit And Squirrel Meat Are Being Sold Illegally kptm.com Fish, raccoon, and squirrel are now on the menu, but who's buying it? "It hasn't come from a USDA approved plant to where it's been processed…
Posted: Thu Dec 12, 2013.   Comments (0)

Fake Sign Language Guy — It doesn't seem that the 'fake sign language guy' (Thamsanqa Jantjie) at Mandela's memorial service was a prankster, as some speculated. Instead, it looks like he was a poorly qualified guy who cracked under the pressure and started signing nonsense. Or perhaps he was communicating with extraterrestrials. From the BBC: the man's signing seemed to have no grammatical base and kept repeating sign patterns when it was clear that the speaker was not using repetitive words. UK deaf news…
Posted: Thu Dec 12, 2013.   Comments (0)

Naked Came the Post-Postmodernist — I doubt that the 1969 "Naked Came The Stranger" literary hoax was the first collaborative novel, but it certainly popularized the genre, inspiring a long line of homages, all of which nod to the original by including the phrase "Naked Came The..." in their title. Examples include Naked Came the Manatee, Naked Came the Phoenix, and Naked Came the Sasquatch. The latest one is "Naked Came the Post-Postmodernist," which is a collaborative novel by 13 undergraduate students at Sarah…
Posted: Tue Dec 10, 2013.   Comments (0)

Glued to the toilet — Abduction hoaxes are very common (in which a person runs away and then claims they were abducted), as are hate-crime hoaxes (in which a person falsely claims to have been a victim of a hate crime), but this is the first potential superglue hoax that I've heard of. The details: a woman was found glued to a toilet seat in a Georgia mall, and police now suspect she must have glued herself to the seat, because they reviewed the mall's video footage and didn't see anyone else who had…
Posted: Mon Dec 09, 2013.   Comments (1)

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