The Hoax Museum Blog
The Wolf of Sochi
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 21, 2014
Another Jimmy Kimmel hoax. His crew built a replica of an Olympic Village dorm in their LA studio, then shot footage of a wolf wandering through its hallway. They had US luger Kate Hansen post the footage on YouTube, and to her Twitter account, claiming it was a wolf outside her room. A play on all the reports of stray dogs loose in Sochi. And, of course, the footage quickly went viral. The wolf was actually a North American timber wolf that Kimmel's crew hired (a rescue wolf named Rugby). Kimmel admitted to the hoax on Twitter, and then gave a full explanation on his Thursday night show.
Alligators Clean Pipes
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 07, 2014
This brief article ran in the Feb 1938 issue of Popular Science magazine. Plumbers Use Alligators To Open Clogged Pipes Alligators kept as specimens at the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries aquarium in Washington, D.C., are being tried out as plumber's assistants to open up clogged pipes. Placed in a length of pipe that is stopped up with silt and sediment, the reptile digs his way through, opening up a small hole which water will widen by its pressure as it sweeps through. A clipping of the article was posted on the Modern Mechanix blog in April 2007, with the comment, "I guess we know now where that urban legend…
The truth about chainsaw-mimicking lyrebirds
Posted by The Curator on Mon Feb 03, 2014
The Australian lyrebird has amazing powers of imitation. In his Life of Birds series, David Attenborough demonstrated that these birds can even imitate man-made sounds such as chainsaws, car alarms, and the click of a camera shutter. The clip leads viewers to believe that lyrebirds in the wild have begun to imitate man-made sounds. But this turns out not to be true. Attenborough didn't explain that the lyrebirds he showed were not typical examples of the species. Hollis Taylor, writing for theconversation.com, explains: Attenborough peers at the bird (and the camera) from behind a tree, whispering to us about the bird mimicking "sounds that he hears…
Giant Red Palm Weevil Larva
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 24, 2014
An Italian newspaper has reported that firefighters near Naples recently discovered a giant larva of a Red Palm Weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus). The larva, which was as big as an adult pig, was still alive, and as the firefighters approached it, the thing emitted a shrill cry similar to the whinny of a horse. The larva appears to be a result of "radioactive gigantism" caused by toxic waste in the so-called "Land of Fires" region of southern Italy. It has been taken to the Naples Museum to be studied by entomologists. At least, this is what I could understand of the story with help from Google Translate. (Any corrections/additions from…
Is the “Hercules the World’s Biggest Dog” photo fake, as everyone has assumed?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 21, 2014
This photo of "Hercules, the World's Biggest Dog" is one of the best known "hoax" viral images on the Web. It started circulating in early 2007, initially on its own, but soon the Internet had supplied an explanatory caption: Hercules: The World's Biggest Dog Ever According to Guinness World Records Hercules was recently awarded the honorable distinction of Worlds Biggest Dog by Guinness World Records. Hercules is an English Mastiff and has a 38 inch neck and weighs 282 pounds. With "paws the size of softballs" (reports the Boston Herald), the three-year-old monster is far larger and heavier than his breed's standard 200lb. limit. Hercules owner Mr. Flynn says that Hercules weight…
Giant Santa Monica Squid
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 10, 2014
The latest fake news article masquerading as authentic report involves a giant squid — grown to mutant size because of Fukushima radiation — supposedly washed ashore near Santa Monica. The photo of the giant squid is circulating with hashtags such as #RadioactiveGigantism and #GiantSeaCreature. The story comes from a site called The Lightly Braised Turnip. I suppose that name is supposed to tip you off that the site is like The Onion, or aspires to be. But it's not The Onion. It's a lightly braised turnip instead. A few months ago a giant squid really did wash ashore in Spain, and the folks at…
Lions at large in the Hamptons
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jan 05, 2014
Dan's Papers, which serves the Hamptons in New York, recently reported that lions were going to be released in order to cull the growing deer population in the region. The lions would be supplied, free of charge, by a wealthy South African industrialist who had recently bought a home there. The report disturbed some of the locals. According to southampton.patch.com: "[The police] fielded anywhere between 10 and 15 calls from residents voicing their anger at the 'news,' and at least one caller claimed to have seen a lion stalking her back yard." The report was actually the latest effort from Dan Rattiner, the "hoaxer of the…
Dog finds way home after 8 years
Posted by The Curator on Sat Dec 21, 2013
"Junior"The Reid family lost Junior, their Jack Russell terrier, in 2005. He went out to "go potty" and never returned. (Evidently the Reid family didn't have an enclosed backyard). Eight years later, Junior showed up at the bottom of their driveway. They knew it was him because he was still wearing the same collar and tags. They're calling his return a miracle. [myfox8.com] Something's not right with this story. As Doubtful News says, "Is this the whole story? Is it really the same dog? Confusing." I can think of some possible explanations, though who knows what the truth really is: 1) Eight years ago, someone took…
Do sharks dislike the taste of human flesh?
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 18, 2013
Dr. Daniel Bucher, a shark expert at Southern Cross University, says that the notion they do is just a myth. So if you have a pet shark, go ahead and feed them fresh filet-o-human. Oh no ... sharks DO like the taste of human flesh The Logan Reporter According to Southern Cross University shark expert Dr Daniel Bucher it is not true sharks don't like the taste of human flesh. He said there was no evidence to support this claim, which he believed gained acceptance to allay people's fears of shark attack. "Normally they eat fish, but they don't mind red meat if they can get it," he said.…
Tail Lights for Horses—a case of satirical prophecy
Posted by The Curator on Sat Dec 07, 2013
On April 1, 1961, Milan's La Notte newspaper reported that city authorities had passed a new law making it mandatory for horses to be outfitted with signaling and brake lights while being ridden through the streets or neighboring countryside. Back then, quite a few people in the area still rode horses, so the law was going to have quite a broad impact. And, so the story goes, many people subsequently brought their horses into car mechanics to have them outfitted with the necessary lights. This is considered to be one of Italy's classic April Fool's Day hoaxes. And, as is so often the case, it's only a matter of time before reality…
Cat Drinks From Bottle
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 03, 2013
There's not a lot of info on where this photo comes from. It's listed on the website of the French National Library as having been created in 1911 by the "Agence Rol." photo agency. For 1911, it's a pretty good example of photo fakery. Also included in the same series is "Cat peers through binoculars" and "cat looks through a telescope." Found these over at retronaut.com.
World’s Largest Tortoise
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 26, 2013
The International Business Times reports that a "fake image" purporting to show the "world's largest tortoise" being transported on a flatbed truck has recently been circulating online. I think it's been circulating for at least half a year, but it's not correct to call it a fake image. It's a still from Gamera The Brave (a 2006 Japanese monster movie) that has been falsely captioned. Here's another picture of the "world's largest tortoise" in action: The question that popped into my head is whether the creature in the image is a tortoise or a turtle. The distinction between the two has…
Squirrel Rides Fawn
Posted by The Curator on Sat Nov 16, 2013
This unusual photo ran in numerous papers in September 1963. I can't find a linkable example in the Google News Archive, but here it is in the Binghamton Press [PDF]. (A lot of examples of it come up in a search on newspaperarchive.com, but that's a paid archive, so I can't link to any of the results.) The caption read: All the animals are pretty tame at the Percy Pangborn Ranch above Lake Wenatchee in the foothills of Washington State's Cascade Mountains, Sept 14. 1963. A golden mantled ground squirrel chomps away on a nut as it rides around on the neck of a fawn. The photo looks…
Snipe Hunting Kit
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 23, 2013
Star Bound magazine sells a Snipe Hunting Kit. For only $12.95 you get a Snipe Hunting Guide, a Snipe burlap bag, a Snipe permit (to be filled out by the catcher), and a flashlight for the catcher. It says that the guidebook includes a "harvest report." And, "If the harvest report is sent back to the Star Bound Magazine's office (called the Snipe Hunting Association in the guidebook) with the proper fee, we will send back a certificate that will certify the name on the report as having had their first Snipe hunt and was the one left holding the bag."
Cow Tipping Debunked Once Again
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 23, 2013
Cow tipping has been thoroughly debunked before, but Modern Farmer's recent article on the subject is interesting nevertheless. It emphasizes that cows are not easy animals to tip over because they've got a lot of mass, they're very stable on their feet, and they're difficult to sneak up on. To underscore how difficult it is to tip a cow, the author, Jake Swearingen, notes that farm vets often need to get a cow down on its side to perform a medical exam, and it's not easy to do. The process is called "cow casting." The vets use ropes and teams of highly-trained individuals, and often things still go badly wrong, as the video below shows.