Hoax Museum Blog Posts: October 2014

October snow in New Jersey?

An article headlined "Large snowstorm could slam N.J. next week" recently went viral on Facebook, gaining thousands of shares and causing many people to express concern. The post linked to an article on the site of the New Jersey Star-Ledger, which was a legitimate article. But it had been written 18 months ago in March 2013. When the Star Ledger realized that people were mistaking the article for a current weather forecast, they posted an editor's note at the top of it, pointing out that it was an old article. But this made no difference, because people on Facebook were generally…

Posted: Thu Oct 02, 2014.   Comments (0)

Sasquatch Watching a Passing Train

A photo supposedly showing a "Sasquatch watching a passing train" recently began doing the rounds online, after it appeared as the Photo of the Day on the website of Coast to Coast AM, where it was submitted by "Ricky B". A caption with the photo read, "Picture was taken on a cell phone from a moving train near Hayden Lake, Idaho. 8-19-2014. [The creature is enlarged in the square on the right]" However, the community of Bigfoot advocates managed to expose this as a hoax on their own, figuring out that the photo did indeed show a Sasquatch watching a train. However, it wasn't a…

Posted: Thu Oct 02, 2014.   Comments (0)

Feejee Mermaid For Sale

For £800, you can purchase this genuine Feejee Mermaid from Pyewackett & Pecke, makers of curios, oddities, & artefacts. But UK delivery only, due to its fragility. If you buy it, you may also be able to negotiate inclusion of the "Automated Sideshow Teller" and have yourself an exhibit.

Posted: Thu Oct 02, 2014.   Comments (0)

Artist makes millions selling invisible art

CBC Radio's satirical This is That show recently ran a segment about artist Lana Newstrom, who is supposedly making millions by selling invisible art. The show quotes Newstrom as saying, "Art is about imagination and that is what my work demands of the people interacting with it. You have to imagine a painting or sculpture is in front of you." The show's web page for the segment included a photo of art enthusiasts staring at blank walls in a gallery, apparently admiring Newstrom's paintings and sculptures. The image was actually a doctored version of a photo taken by Adriano…

Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2014.   Comments (0)


Emergent — An article in the NY Times briefly profiles Emergent, a new website created by Craig Silverman which aims to track the dissemination of rumors online. It records how many shares a rumor has received, and also assesses whether the rumor is true, false, or unverified. Looks like a very useful site! The NY Times article notes that the problem with false rumors is that "they're often much more interesting than the truth." Therefore, they get more widely shared. The challenge, says the Times, "is to make the facts as fun to share as the myths they seek to replace." Nice goal, but I don't see it ever happening. The false rumors can endlessly transform themselves to appeal to our deepest hopes and fears. Whereas the facts always have to remain boringly factual.
Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2014.   Comments (0)

Asahi Shimbun Corrects Itself — The Asahi Shimbun (circulation 7.6 million) recently issued some corrections. It was not true, despite previous statements, that writer Seiji Yoshida had kidnapped 200 women during World War II to act as "comfort women." Apparently Yoshida made up his claims. Nor was it true that workers at the Fukushima plant had disobeyed orders and fled the plant during the nuclear disaster. The newspaper misinterpreted documents. Finally, it wasn't true that the paper had interviewed the president of Nintendo. The paper had lifted responses from an interview published on the Nintendo website and passed them off as an Asahi Shimbun interview. iMediaEthics
Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2014.   Comments (0)

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