The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
According to internet rumor, Britney Spears is planning to star in a movie titled The Knoxville Carjacking Party, based on the brutal 2007 murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. Spears would play Channon Christian. The story is a hoax. More specifically, it's a case of satire mistaken as news, having apparently originated as a faux news report from "celebrity snitch, Clarence Star" on the site Ghetto Bragging Rights. Wayne Bledsoe, a columnist for Knoxnews.com, notes that the spread of the false rumor offers a case study in how misinformation is propagated by the online media. Numerous celebrity gossip sites, such as popcrunch.com, reported the false rumor as…
Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 Comments (4)

People magazine reportedly paid $14 million for the rights to publish the first pictures of the twin babies of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. But what the blogosphere is buzzing about is the suspicion that the cover photo of the twins was photoshopped. New York magazine seems to be the originator of this theory: In that cover photo, it looks like Vivienne Marcheline — clearly the Ashley half of this Olsen-like combo — is sporting a giant grin. She may even be laughing. Hold on. These babies are purported…
Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 Comments (10)

For more than two years someone has been dumping pantyhose near Geneseo Circle in Milford, Massachusetts. Residents report that new pantyhose appear three to four times per week. One day (the record, I assume) there were 43 pairs. From bostonchannel.com: Most of the pairs of pantyhose are black and "queen sized," neighbors said. Some residents are considering using video cameras and walkie-talkies to catch the culprit. I wonder if this is, in any way, related to Shoe Corner in Hanover Township, New Jersey -- the place where shoes keep mysteriously getting dumped?
Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 Comments (5)

Once again, it's time to play spot the blurry face resembling the iconic image of Jesus (or the Virgin Mary, or whatever). Cat Fur Jesus The Johnson family of Indiana recently adopted a kitten. To their surprise, they discovered that the fur on its side contains a pattern that looks like the face of Jesus. They admit that people who don't see it "might think we are weird crazy or something," but they're fine with that. I'd say they haven't quite reached the weird crazy stage yet. Maybe just a bit weird cuckoo. Cheesus
Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 Comments (12)


The story so far: A bizarre creature washed up on Ditch Plains beach near Montauk, New York on July 12. Local resident Jenna Hewitt took some photos of it. However, the body is now gone. Some guy (unidentified) supposedly has it in his backyard. In the absence of any evidence except for the photo, there are many theories about what it might be: a sea turtle, a dog, a raccoon missing an upper jaw, a creature from the government's animal-disease lab on Plum Island, or a hoax. We'll have to wait and see what transpires. Links: Newsday,
Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 Comments (34)

The Authority for Universe Ownership offers you the chance to buy your own parallel universe. They explain: Quantum physics dictates that reality is created by observation. There are an infinite number of possible realities, which can be actualised only through observation - an unlimited variety of parallel universes exist in what is known as quantum flux. In some of these universes the deeds purchased from Buy Your Own Universe will be recognised as legally binding, meaning that you really are the rightful owner of your Universe! Any day a scientific…
Posted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 Comments (6)

Back in July 1953 three pranksters left the hairless/tailless body of a monkey lying in the middle of a Georgia highway. When a policeman came along, they told him it was the body of an extraterrestrial that they had accidentally run over. Its friends had escaped moments before in a spacecraft. The prank managed to make national headlines. (I describe it in greater detail in the Hoaxipedia.) MSNBC has an article (with picture) about the Great Monkey Hoax. The occasion for it is a visit by an AP reporter to the museum of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, where the body of the monkey is…
Posted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 Comments (5)

Posted recently by Tobester in the Hoax Forum: I couldn't resist doing some research on this. Here's what I found. a) It's definitely an urban legend. b) I can't find any record of it ever appearing in the New York Times. c) The earliest mention of it I can find in print dates back to July 10, 2000, when it was discussed in the Sydney Morning Herald. Apparently, in a version circulating back then, they were identified as the source of the tale. They denied this, pointed out the tale was an urban legend, and noted that in earlier…
Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 Comments (6)

To save money, a Taiwanese army base decided to use dummies in place of real soldiers to guard a base. Locals eventually noticed that the soldiers never moved, and as word spread the fake soldiers became a tourist attraction. (via Weird Asia News) It's actually not as odd as it sounds. Ever since World War II armies have made extensive use of decoys, including fake tanks, aircraft, ships, and individual soldiers. A classic story about this phenomenon is that during WWII the Germans created an entire decoy airfield in North Africa. In response, the British sent out a single bomber who dropped a wooden bomb on it.
Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 Comments (9)

The Baines School in Lancashire has decided to ban fake tans. From The Telegraph: "The current trend for fake/spray tans does little to enhance the appearance of our young ladies," [Carol Robinson, head of the school] wrote. "We ask for your support in ensuring girls do not come to school looking varying shades of orange." She claimed that fake tan went against the principles of the school, where staff strived to "promote natural beauty and contentment with one's own looks". Her remarks have been met with cautious support with some of her more pale-skinned pupils at the…
Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 Comments (8)

That's the latest rumor. The Telegraph reports: Lieutenant Colonel Cynthia Ryan of the US Civil Air Patrol has said Fossett, whose body or plane was never found, could still be alive. She said: "I've been doing this search and rescue for 14 years. Fossett should have been found. "It's not like we didn't have our eyes open. We found six other planes while we were looking for him. We're pretty good at what we do." Some anomalies about his disappearance: Only one person saw him take off. He took no emergency equipment. He…
Posted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 Comments (12)

Surf around the web enough and you'll notice a lot of sites that have announced they're the recipients of a "Brillante Weblog Premio" award. (Google "Brillante Weblog" and you'll see what I mean.) Just to clue in anyone who might be confused -- this is not a real award. It's a viral nuisance. The gimmick is that you receive this award from a friend. Accompanying the award are these rules: 1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog. 2. Link to the person you received your award…
Posted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 Comments (6)

Not to be outdone by Christian fundamentalists, Islamic fundamentalists have come out with their own anti-evolution treatises. Among the most prominent of these is the Atlas of Creation by Harun Yahya. It's a long work (and more is on the way) consisting primarily of page after page of examples showing that modern-day species can be found in the fossil record. This is supposed to demonstrate that evolution hasn't occurred. Volume 1 contains the example of the Caddis Fly. The illustration in the book shows the modern-day fly in the foreground. Circled in red in the background is the fossil analogue, preserved in amber. (No, they don't look similar to me either).
Posted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 Comments (6)

Here's an oldie but a goodie (Thanks, Nettie!). This video from 1996 shows Hasnah Mohamed, a 12-year-old Lebanese girl who "baffled medical experts by producing crystals from her eyes." Girl Has Crystals Coming Out Of Eyes Fake? Of course. Hasnah's crystal tears were debunked by Joe Nickell in a 1997 Skeptical Inquirer article: Hasnah, who claims to produce up to seven crystals a day, showed a collection of the allegedly apported rocks. From their rhomboidal shape and other properties, I…
Posted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 Comments (44)

Product placement has reached the TV news. On the desk in front of the anchors of Las Vegas's Fox 5 TV news sit two cups of McDonald's iced coffee. McDonald's is paying for the coffee to be there. But the best part: it's not real coffee. It's just a plastic simulation of iced coffee. From the Las Vegas Sun: The anchors aren’t even supposed to acknowledge them, McDonald’s reps explain. That’s part of their genius, my little lambs! They get into your mind without you knowing it. So…
Posted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 Comments (10)

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