The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
Gawker has reported a rumor -- the tale of the pooping intern -- that has all the earmarks of an urban legend. The rumor, about an unnamed person, comes from an unnamed source, and it details the kind of too-awful-to-be-true scenario that's the stock-in-trade of urban legends. Which isn't to say that the story isn't true. I have no idea. I'm just saying it sounds like an urban legend. The story, to summarize: A young woman had recently taken a trip to Israel where she caught a stomach bug. After the vacation she shows up at NBC for the first day of her summer internship. But disaster strikes when she's overcome by sudden-onset diarrhea. She…
Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 Comments (14)

From YouTube: A Boeing 747 being struck by lightning. It's been circulating around for a while, but it's new to me, and apparently it's real. (No reason to doubt it's not.) I haven't been able to find out exactly where and when this video was taken, but some versions of the video on YouTube state that it was an All Nippon Airways (ANA) flight leaving Osaka, Japan. Update: Accipiter tracked down some info about this video (see the comments). The plane was taking off from Kamatzu Air Force Base on the coast of the Sea of Japan during the…
Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 Comments (4)

Last week I predicted that the discovery of Bigfoot's body was bound to be a hoax. Score one for me. I also said the "body" looked like a Bigfoot costume. Score another one for me. In all fairness, it was like shooting fish in a barrel. The Bigfoot Body farce was so obviously a hoax that I'm surprised it gained as much traction as it did. But then, the media can be relied upon to eat up a good Bigfoot story. Meanwhile, Bigfoot promoter Tom Biscardi, who paid Georgia "Bigfoot trackers" Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer $50,000 for the body, is trying to pass himself off as the victim of a…
Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 Comments (20)

The 1988 radiocarbon results that dated the Shroud of Turin to the Middle Ages have long been a thorn in the side to the True Believers. But they may get the chance to have new tests conducted, thanks to the efforts of John and Rebecca Jackson of Colorado. From the LA Times: Jackson, 62, is getting his chance to challenge the radiocarbon dating. Oxford University, which participated in the original radiocarbon testing, has agreed to work with him in reconsidering the age of the shroud. If the…
Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 Comments (20)


Bidding ended today on eBay Australia for an "EMPTY CONDOM PACKET & A PHOTO OF 'THE TART'S' KNICKERS." The winning bid was US $303.00. The story was that a woman was selling a picture of black lacy underwear she had found in her bed after catching her husband having an affair. From Reuters: The woman says she returned from work after receiving a romantic text message from her husband of 22 years that was clearly misdirected to find him at home watching a DVD and discouraging…
Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 Comments (9)

Kenyan men like women with large hips. So Kenyan women eager for male attention are flocking to beauticians who are selling artificial hips. The hips consist of foam padding held on by skin-tight bike shorts and covered by cotton fabric. The Kenya Standard reports: Ready-made shape boosters (not their original name) go for as much as Sh250. Those who bring their own bikers pay Sh100 for hips only and Sh150 for all that goes on the backside. However, the hips do have some potential problems:
Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 Comments (5)

Small, round, orange stickers are appearing on objects all over downtown Appleton, Wisconsin. The stickers are stamped with the phrase "art object" and a price (ranging from one cent to $10,000). They're appearing on park benches, fire hydrants, store windows, etc. No one seems to know who's responsible for the stickers or what their purpose is. From the Appleton Post-Crescent: Police Lt. Steve Elliott said putting stickers on public or private objects without the owner's consent falls under the same local ordinances governing graffiti. "Definitely, it is against city ordinances. If…
Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 Comments (2)

Reuters has posted an article claiming that some Olympic volleyball players are wearing glasses with no lenses during games. It's all about money, of course: beach volleyball players at the Olympics took to the court wearing frames with no lenses. "The lenses fog up because of the humidity, so you can't wear the glasses without popping out the lenses," U.S. men's volleyballer Phil Dalhausser told reporters on Monday. High humidity is a regular feature of the weather in Beijing at this time of year. Several beach volleyball players wear glasses at night to reduce the glare of floodlights or…
Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 Comments (4)

Most people, when they lose their dog, put up flyers around the neighborhood. When Dov Charney, founder of American Apparel, lost his dog recently, he placed two billboards at Sunset and Alvardo in LA to let people know. The billboards showed his dog, HedKayce, dressed in American Apparel fashions. This made everyone suspicious that the billboard was some kind of publicity stunt. In fact, there were rumors that his dog may have been missing since April. But as of yesterday, the billboard has been altered to say "Found Dog." So that's the end of the story, I guess. But it still doesn't…
Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 Comments (4)

On Friday Aug 15 a press conference is scheduled in Palo Alto to present evidence suggesting that the corpse of a Bigfoot has been found in Georgia. DNA evidence and photo evidence will be presented. (Thanks to everyone who emailed me about this.) I'd just like to go on record before the press conference to predict that it's going to be a hoax. Bigfoot hasn't been found. Why? Because if a Bigfoot species existed in North America, it would have been found long ago. To remain hidden this long, the Bigfoot species would need to have supernatural abilities. The evidence that's been leaked so…
Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 Comments (49)

Desperate for free porn A man entered an adult novelty store, told the clerk that he was a detective with the Longmont Police Department's "age verification unit," and demanded that the clerk provide him with pornographic videos so that he could verify the ages of the actors in them. The Longmont Police have no age verification unit. The clerk turned him away, and then the manager called the real police. (Thanks, Bob!) Cheesecake Box Bomb A man entered a movie rental store, placed a box on the counter, and told a clerk it was a bomb that he would detonate unless he was given cash. The clerk refused and the man…
Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 Comments (4)

1) The school child who walked at the front of the Chinese team during the opening ceremonies (he was a survivor of the Sichuan earthquake) was carrying an upside-down Chinese flag. Why is debatable. Maybe it was an innocent mistake, or maybe it was a coded message of "great distress" (as upside-down flags mean in nautical convention). Whatever the reason, the Chinese media cropped the upside-down flag out of the photos they showed Chinese audiences. 2) The opening ceremonies included a massive fireworks display. But what was shown to television audiences was a pre-recorded, computer-generated shot of…
Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 Comments (6)

It's been the feel-good story in the news during the past few days: 93-year-old Lorna Page was living in a retirement home small apartment until she secured a large advance for her thriller, A Dangerous Weakness. Amazingly, it was her first book! The money has allowed her to buy a five-bedroom house, and she's invited some of her friends from the living in a retirement home to come live with her. But Ray Girvan of Apothecary's Drawer Weblog asks a good question. Where did this huge advance come from, given that AuthorHouse is a self-publishing firm? They don't pay huge advances.…
Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 Comments (7)

Police responded to an emergency call to find 26 cheerleaders stuffed inside an elevator: The group of 14- to 17-year-olds was inspired to test an elevator’s maximum capacity while attending cheerleading camp at the university, The Dallas Morning News reported. When the elevator stalled en route from the fourth to the first floor, several girls panicked. The girls “managed to wiggle a few cell phones free to call for help,” the paper reported. Police and fire crew responded, but it took an elevator repairman 25 minutes to extricate the squad. The fad of telephone booth stuffing (which this…
Posted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 Comments (8)

Customers at Apple's online iPhone store recently had the opportunity to buy a program called "I Am Rich." True to its name, it cost $999.99. The program, created by Armin Heinrich, a German software developer, displayed a large red ruby on the iPhone's screen. And that's it. Nothing else. The product description read: "The red icon on your iPhone always reminds you (and others when you show it to them) that you were able to afford this. It's a work of art with no hidden function at all." Eight people actually purchased the program before…
Posted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 Comments (13)

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