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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
JL wants to know if Banana Guard is real or a hoax. But first, what is the Banana Guard? From the website, it's a "unique, patented device [that] allows for the safe transport and storage of individual bananas letting you enjoy perfect bananas anytime, anywhere." In other words, it stops your banana from getting bruised. It's available in a variety of colors such as Mellow Yellow and Glow in the Dark. So to answer JL's question: Yes, JL, there is a Banana Guard. It was invented by two Vancouver ER doctors, Drs. Sunil Mangal and David Agulnik, over ten years ago. Agulnik noted in a 2003 Toronto Star article about their…
Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 Comments (4)

If you're a regular reader of Blogdex, as I am, then you'll recognize the name Hot Abercrombie Chick (aka Amanda Doerty). For some reason her weblog keeps rising to the top of Blogdex's index. I've never been able to figure out why. Her posts just don't seem that interesting or relevant. To be honest, I find them boring. Apparently other people have had the same thought, because now she's being accused of gaming Blogdex. But that's not all. Julia Set reports receiving an inside tip that Hot Abercrombie Chick isn't a chick at all. According to Julia, "Hot Abercrombie Chick is really a male college student capitalizing on…
Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 Comments (4)

Kevin Spacey has recanted on his claim that he was mugged in a London park at 4 am and had his cellphone stolen. What he meant to say was that he voluntarily handed over his phone to someone who asked if they could use it to call their mother, but instead ran away with it. Then Spacey tripped over his dog and cut his head. Not quite the same. But saying you were mugged sounds a little more respectable than admitting you fell for what is, quite literally, the oldest con in the book (the origin of the term con, or 'confidence scam,' dates back to the 1840s when a swindler named William Thompson would approach gentlemen on the…
Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2004 Comments (3)

BoingBoing linked to this webpage, 1c4.net, advertising a 1995 web-hosting service. Back then you could apparently get a website hosted for the bargain price of $250 a month. That may seem a lot, but when you figure that you got a whopping 3mb of storage space with that, it suddenly seems more reasonable. Times sure have changed, but actually I don't think that this overpriced web host was ever real. First of all, did they have .net suffixes in 1995? Maybe they did, but I don't remember that. Second, the webpage 1c4.net was itself only created in 2003, according to its registration info. Finally, I just don't remember web hosts ever being that expensive, though in 1995…
Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2004 Comments (9)


For almost a century Huntley & Palmers biscuit tins have been seen on the tea tables of well-to-do Brits. What few of those Brits realized is that the tins contained a surprise... not in the biscuits themselves, but in the illustration on the outside of the tin. Apparently a rogue employee, early in the twentieth century, hid various sexually explicit scenes in the illustrations. For instance, a tin now up for sale at Lawrences Auctioneers in Somerset shows two dogs having sex in the flowerbed, if you look very carefully. Reuters has rather pruriently prudishly blurred the cover of the tin in the picture accompanying their article, so you can't see the dogs, but luckily Lawrences' itself has a picture…
Posted: Sun Apr 18, 2004 Comments (24)

BBC News has a good summary of the Shroud of Turin controversy, in light of the second face that was discovered on the backside of it. "Does this mean it is real after all? Or does it mean it's an even better hoax than was previously thought?" The answer: no one really knows. I noted in my book that the debate about the shroud rages on and likely will for the foreseeable future. The emergence of new evidence has simply made that more true than ever.
Posted: Sun Apr 18, 2004 Comments (24)

I talked about the Godsend Institute (the website of a cloning lab that's really a promo for an upcoming movie of the same name) a few days ago. I said that I really didn't think the site was that convincing. But maybe others have been fooled by it because someone started an online petition to ban the Godsend Institute. Of course, I'm not above suspecting that the petition was started by the movie studio itself as a way to generate faux controversy. This was a favorite ploy of P.T. Barnum. Back in 1835 he was exhibiting Joice Heth, an elderly black woman whom he claimed was the 161-year-old former nurse of George Washington. When attendance at the…
Posted: Sun Apr 18, 2004 Comments (1)

Wired News has an article about a guy, Julian Dibbell, who almost succeeded in making a living from trading in imaginary goods, namely virtual items from the game Ultima Online. Of course, it doesn't seem that extraordinary to me that someone could earn a good living from trading imaginary things. After all, isn't there a trillion dollar industry devoted to just this... i.e. the financial derivatives market? I mean, options and other financial instruments may have real value to people, but they're no more real, in a material sense, than the items from Ultima Online are.
Posted: Sun Apr 18, 2004 Comments (1)

The Register has posted a great Nigerian Bank Scam email that it received. I get these emails all the time, and typically they come from people claiming to be either relatives of (or bankers of) deposed third world leaders who have huge amounts of money trapped in a bank account somewhere. They need your help to move the money out of the country. But this email that the Register received claims to come from a relative of a Nigerian astronaut trapped in space. He has a huge amount of back-pay accrued, and just needs your help to access the cash in order to get home. Very inventive. I wonder if the author of the letter actually expected to snare…
Posted: Sun Apr 18, 2004 Comments (0)

Fake Faces is a UK look-alike agency that represents a huge number of celebrity impersonators. It's kind of fun to browse through its catalog. As John Robinson of Sore Eyes notes, some of the look-alikes are really, really bad. But some are surprisingly good. For instance, would you be able to tell if that's really Joanna Lumley (of Ab Fab fame) in the thumbnail? It's not. (via Sore Eyes and I Love Everything)
Posted: Sat Apr 17, 2004 Comments (2)

I guess this site really isn't a hoax since it delivers exactly what it promises: furniture porn. Still, when you think of porn this isn't what most people have in mind. Very safe for work, unless images of pieces of furniture posed provocatively offend you. (Thanks, Goo)
Posted: Sat Apr 17, 2004 Comments (2)

Sam Nujoma, President of Namibia, eagerly waited for the arrival of Michael Jackson, whom he believed was launching a 12-day tour of Africa in his country. Unfortunately, he waited and waited, and Jackson never showed up. In fact, Jackson never had any plans to visit Africa. Nujoma was the victim of misinformation. Jackson isn't even allowed to travel abroad until the case against him is settled.
Posted: Sat Apr 17, 2004 Comments (0)

Despite the claims of this faux news story, Michael Jackson isn't dead.
Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2004 Comments (1)

Celebrity body parts seem to be the thing to sell on eBay. A few weeks ago George Best's liver was up for sale. Now we have Paris Hilton's pubic hair. According to the description on the auction, "This bundle of Pubic Hair was taken from Paris Hilton's bathroom sink at one of her hotels when she visited Australia late last year, Surprise!!!!!!!!!!!!! She isn't a natural blonde!!!!!!!!!!!!" The auction was yanked by eBay soon after it was put up, confirming that it was almost definitely a hoax. But a screenshot of it can be seen over at Fleshbot (safe for work). I just watched American Wedding which has a scene involving pubic hair in a hotel bathroom, and…
Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2004 Comments (8)

The phone number 135 8585 8585 recently went up for sale on the Chinese internet auction site EachNet.com, and fetched the staggering price of $1.1 million. The appeal of the number is apparently that when spoken in Chinese it sounds similar to the phrase "let me be rich be rich be rich be rich." Well, whoever shelled out that much for the number is going to be a little bit poorer now (though it looks like the phrase worked for the previous owner). But you have to suspect that it was a hoax bid.
Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2004 Comments (1)

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