Hoax Museum Blog Posts: September 2014

How an 18th Century hoax is relevant to Scottish Independence — North Country Public Radio blogger Brian Mann asks, "Is fight for Scottish independence based on a literary hoax?" He concedes that if Scotland does decide for independence, there will be "many causes, many inspirations." But he notes that Scottish cultural nationalism first got a big push back in the 18th Century when James Macpherson published his Ossian poems, claiming they were a translation of epic poems written by an ancient Scottish bard. The poems gave Scots a sense of pride in having a great cultural heritage. But the truth was that Macpherson had mostly written the poems himself. (Which, in itself, was an impressive achievement, although much of the appeal of the poems lay in the idea that they were ancient).
Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2014.   Comments (1)

Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2014.   Comments ()

Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2014.   Comments ()

Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2014.   Comments (2)


Are decapitated snakes still deadly? — True or False? Decapitated snakes can still inflict lethal bites.

Unfortunately it's true. [Huffington Post]
Posted: Wed Sep 10, 2014.   Comments (1)

Posted: Wed Sep 10, 2014.   Comments ()

Bigfoot Believers Keep Believing — The Yakima Herald reports that Bigfoot believers in Washington State are keeping the faith, despite much discouraging news recently. (Such as that recent Oxford University study of suspected Bigfoot hairs, that found that all the hairs came from racoons, horses, bears, etc.) The believers note that even if all suspected Bigfoot hair samples are found to come from other (known) species, that doesn't mean Bigfoot doesn't exist. It just means that those particular hairs weren't from a Bigfoot.
Posted: Wed Sep 10, 2014.   Comments ()

Fake Vacation Plagiarism? — Turns out there's some controversy surrounding Zilla van den Born's fake vacation (see previous post). Another art student, Merel Brugman, says that Zilla stole the idea from her, because two years ago, while Merel was at the Willem de Kooning Academy, she did an art project that was almost identical. Merel's project was called "Same Same But Different" and also involved simulating a vacation in Asia via photoshopped pictures. There's an article (in Dutch) about the controversy here. And details of Merel Brugman's project are on her site.
Posted: Wed Sep 10, 2014.   Comments ()

Posted: Wed Sep 10, 2014.   Comments (1)

This Day in the History of Hoaxes: September 10

September 10, 2009: Seeking Child's Father
On this day in 2009, a video appeared on YouTube purportedly created by a Danish woman named Karen who explained that she was trying to locate the father of her child, since she couldn't remember his name. The child, she said, had been conceived in a drunken one-night stand. The video promptly went viral, but then was exposed as a hoax created by the Danish government's tourism agency in order to promote tourism to Denmark. [youtube]
Posted: Wed Sep 10, 2014.   Comments ()

This Day in the History of Hoaxes: September 9

September 9, 1991: Doug and Dave, Crop Circle Hoaxers
On this day, the British tabloid Today announced that two men from Hampshire, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, had originated the crop circle phenomenon back in 1978 as a prank. Over the years, Today said, the two had continued creating hundreds of circles using nothing more than two wooden boards, a piece of string, and a baseball cap fitted with a loop of wire to help guide them. To prove their claim, the pair created a crop circle in the presence of a Today journalist. [menwhoconnedtheworld]
Posted: Tue Sep 09, 2014.   Comments ()

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2014.   Comments ()

Record Shattering Snowfall? — Scientists have not predicted a "record-shattering snowfall" this winter. The claim going viral (over 400,000 shares on Facebook) is just more garbage from one of those fake news sites. Debunked by The Vane.
Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2014.   Comments ()

Fake Quotes About the Future — The Paleofuture blog offers a list of 7 Famous Quotes About the Future That Are Actually Fake. For instance, the Commissioner of the US Patent Office, Charles Duell, did not say in 1899 that "Everything that can be invented has been invented." Nor did Bill Gates ever say that 640K computer memory should be enough for anybody.
Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2014.   Comments ()

Error when logging in — People were reporting that when they tried to log in to the site, they received an error message. Although the login actually did work, despite the message. So I finally had the blog software people look into it, and they fiddled with some things, and it now seems to be working as it should. But if you're a site member, try logging in just to check that it works. If you still get the error message, let me know!
Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2014.   Comments (3)

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2014.   Comments (1)

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2014.   Comments ()

This Day in the History of Hoaxes: September 8

September 8, 1961: Cassius Clay Trains Underwater
The Sep 8, 1961 issue of Life magazine contained a photo feature showing 19-year-old boxer Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali) training underwater. Clay had told photographer Flip Schulke that he often trained underwater because the water resistance acted like a weight. He said it was an old trick taught to him by a Louisville trainer. In fact, Clay had never trained underwater before. He couldn't even swim. It was a tall tale he had told to fool the photographer. [Ali Underwater]
Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2014.   Comments ()

This Day in the History of Hoaxes: September 7

September 7, 1993: The Diary of Jack the Ripper
On this Day in 1993, Warner Books cancelled its planned publication of The Diary of Jack the Ripper, having concluded the diary was a hoax. The diary implicated Liverpool cotton merchant James Maybrick as Jack the Ripper. However, the handwriting of the diary did not match known samples of Maybrick's handwriting. The provenance of the diary (where it came from) was also extremely murky. It's possible it was a forgery from the 1920s or 30s that was only found in the 1990s. However, debate about the diary still continues. [wikipedia]
Posted: Sun Sep 07, 2014.   Comments ()

London’s pranks and hoaxes — Londonist offers a brief list of some of London's pranks and hoaxes. They don't include any that aren't already listed here. But they do include quite a few links back to the museum!
Posted: Sat Sep 06, 2014.   Comments ()

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