The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
About a year and a half ago I posted an entry about a statue of the Virgin Mary in Perth that was weeping rose-scented tears. Critics and church officials dismissed it as a hoax created by filling the statue with some kind of oil. Now that same statue is back in the news again, crying even more publicly. The Archbishop of Perth has cautioned people that "the case for a miraculous happening has not been proved."
Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 Comments (0)

On the Fighting Talk weblog journalism student Patrick Crewdson gives an example of how hoaxes can make the leap from being fiction into becoming fact. He once edited a journal called Critic that published a joke article about "New Zealand's least-known musician": rapper MC Emu. Of course, MC Emu was fictitious, but now references to this rapper have begun to appear in serious histories of New Zealand music... references that seem to credit MC Emu with being a real character.
Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 Comments (1)

Alex Knight sent in a link to this picture from Yahoo! News, which is one of those images that looks fake, even though it's real (warning: the full-sized image may definitely make you cringe). It reminds me of the 'finger through the nose and out the eye' picture which was going around about a year ago, and which was definitely fake.
Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 Comments (3)

Back in 1987 'Baby Jessica' became famous when she fell down a well and was saved following a dramatic rescue operation. Stuff Magazine is now featuring a photo of 'Baby Jessica' all grown up and posing by a well, but is that really Baby Jessica? Makeup and lighting will do a lot (as will digital touch-up work), but the woman in the photo doesn't look that much like Jessica as she appeared a few years ago in this picture. Here's a link to a hi-res scan of the Stuff article. Note that they refer to Baby Jessica as Jessica McClain, even though her actual name is Jessica McClure. Innocent…
Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 Comments (10)


The ID Sniper Rifle is a high-powered rifle, produced by Empire North, that supposedly can implant a GPS-microchip into a person, allowing the military to track them wherever they go in the world. Here's the description from Empire North's website: The microchip will enter the body and stay there, causing no internal damage, and only a very small amount of physical pain to the target. It will feel like a mosquito-bite lasting a fraction of a second. Given the low-tech feel of Empire North's website, I'd have to say this is a hoax. Plus, is it really possible to hit someone from a long-distance with a microchip and a) have the microchip survive the impact, and b) have the…
Posted: Mon Apr 12, 2004 Comments (6)

Stephen Wagner, over at About.com, is sponsoring a contest to create a paranormal photo hoax. You have until April 30 to submit your entries. The prize is a copy of Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings.
Posted: Mon Apr 12, 2004 Comments (3)

Bimpco offers a variety of ingenious products that will help you to keep your cellphone bills under control. The site is really a front for Cricket Wireless, but it's amusing.
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2004 Comments (1)

Are you getting a little pale and pasty sitting inside all day staring at your computer screen? Then head over to the sunnysite periodically and catch a few rays. Warning: you may want to wear protective eyewear. (via Bifurcated Rivets)
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2004 Comments (0)

Buying imaginary girlfriends is the trendy new thing nowadays. So this entrepreneur figured he'd shake things up a little and sell imaginary mail-order brides. Unfortunately, the guys who shelled out $1500 a piece for the brides weren't very thrilled that they were just imaginary.
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2004 Comments (0)

If spiders scare you, then definitely look no closer at this picture of some spiders that a soldier in Iraq found in his sleeping bag. Yes, despite their size and ugliness, they're real. They're Camel Spiders.
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2004 Comments (29)

Check out the lavabrator. A vibrator that doubles as a lava lamp. Great idea. Unfortunately, it's a joke. (safe for work).
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2004 Comments (0)

When I first saw this I thought it had to be a hoax, because it reminded me of the Floral Sculpture Clinic. But this appears to be legitimate. Dutch surgeons have figured out a way to implant small decorative pieces of jewelry in people's eyes. Here's a link to the Clinic where you can get this done.
Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2004 Comments (3)

Kelli wrote in with a question about this strange photo showing a woman impaled by a long, yellowish-looking stick. The photo comes with an explanatory caption: This unfortunate woman was found dead on parkland in Yorkshire, England. She's believed to have been pierced by a shaft of frozen urine which had fallen from a leak in a toilet facility of an overhead plane. Kelli wants to know if it's real. Well, of course it's not. This photo has actually been floating around the internet for quite a while. As explained over at the Darwin Awards, it comes from a spoof news program aired in Britain called The…
Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2004 Comments (7)

'Malbec' is running a competition on his LiveJournal page: Make up a fact that's totally untrue, but sounds like it might be the case. For example: "All Ikea flat-pack furniture can be stably constructed using only 3 of the supplied screws."
Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2004 Comments (0)

New York artist 'Shishaldin' has announced her intention to marry the French poet, Isidore Ducasse. The one catch is that Ducasse has been dead for 134 years. But in France the President is allowed to approve marriages between the living and the dead thanks to a law that was passed following a case where a woman's fiancee died right before they could get married and the grief-stricken woman pleaded with the President to allow the marriage to proceed anyway. My one question here is that, okay, say Shishaldin gets married to the dead poet. What if she later changes her mind? How does she then go about getting a divorce? I…
Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2004 Comments (0)

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