The Hoax Museum Blog
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 19, 2004
Roman Kingsley is an Australian man who has trained geese to do skywriting, or 'birdtyping' as he calls it. Impossible, you say? Not at all, according to Kingsley. As he says in this interview, "It normally takes about three months to train the birds to spell out a word. Once each bird knows the letter, they have to know where in the word that letter occurs. But I’m hoping to speed it up more in the future. The curved letters, you know, like o, c, and b take the birds a bit longer. But it’s early days." His plan is to have his birds spell out various corporate logos. Volvo…
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 18, 2004
The cicadas have returned, and with them the rumor that researchers at Johns Hopkins University will pay up to $1000 for specimens of rare blue-eyed cicadas. Unfortunately, the rumor simply isn't true. In fact, no researcher at Johns Hopkins even studies cicadas, let alone insects, though back in 1947 the university did employ a Biologist, William D. McElroy (who later moved out to UC San Diego), who announced that he would pay kids twenty-five cents for every 100 fireflies they could catch. McElroy was always criticized for this by people who said that he was somehow contributing to the depletion of the firefly population, though I doubt the kids ever…
What Badgers Eat
Posted by The Curator on Sun May 16, 2004
In case you were confused, here's what you need to know about what badgers eat. According to Jeff, who sent me the link, the site derives from an episode of The Simpsons (one that I haven't seen). I guess you could also figure out the Simpsons connection from the logo at the bottom of the screen.
Swiffer Wet Jet Pet Rumor
Posted by The Curator on Mon May 10, 2004
Teresa wrote in to ask about the truth of that email rumor going around alleging that the Swiffer Wet Jet cleaning fluid contains antifreeze and can be fatal to pets (you can read the full text of that email rumor here). Swiffer itself addresses this rumor on its corporate website, so it can be pretty easily debunked. It's totally false. But since I'm on the subject of Swiffers, I've got to note something about them that I find incredibly annoying... how you can only use Swiffer brand cleaning fluid with the Wet Jet. And, of course, the Swiffer brand fluid ain't cheap. Out of frustration, I ended up…
Diapers for Cats
Posted by The Curator on Fri May 07, 2004
Are you tired of cleaning dirty cat litter? Then "Don't change the litter. Change the cat." Get some Catch-It Diapers for Cats. Actually I had a dog that had to wear diapers for a while (really), but somehow I don't think a cat would take too kindly to these things. Which must be why Catch-It also offers a line of bandages and other first-aid supplies.
Anti Mosquito Software
Posted by The Curator on Fri May 07, 2004
Are you constantly swatting away mosquitoes as you work at your computer? Here's your solution: anti-mosquito software. A Thai computer programmer named Saranyou Punyaratanabunbhu developed it about two years ago, and it proved so wildly successful that he soon came out with version 2.0, that also promised to repel cockroaches and rats. It drives away the nasty critters by making your computer speakers emit high-pitched frequencies. But does it actually work? Well, I wouldn't bet on it. As the pest control experts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln note in their Cockroach Control Manual, "There is no scientific evidence to suggest that cockroaches (or any other…
Lion on the Loose in Gahanna?
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 05, 2004
Residents of Gahanna, Ohio have worriedly been following reports about a lion loose in their vicinity. Police have fanned out to search for the creature, but with no luck. Now some are beginning to suspect that the lion sightings were just a prank, perhaps engineered by local college seniors. Ohio is, of course, no stranger to non-existent wild beasts on the loose. Those with a long memory might remember the Paulding County Hyena that terrorized people back in 1858. But the greatest escaped-animal prank of all time was the Central Park Zoo Escape of 1874. On the other hand, the Gahanna Lion might suddenly…
Pets By Mail
Posted by The Curator on Mon May 03, 2004
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 14, 2004
Recently a four-eared cat named Lilly has been in the news. Lilly and her four ears are quite real. They're the result of a genetic defect. By contrast, the four-eyed kitten shown in the thumbnail to the right doesn't seem real at all. The top set of eyes is exactly identical to the bottom set of eyes, indicating a cut-and-paste job. (Thanks to Alicka for the picture).
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 08, 2004
BBC Ducks the Issue
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 01, 2004
I just heard about this early April Fool's Day fumble on the part of the BBC. As the Times of London reports: "Declan Curry, the intrepid television hack, broke the embargo on a fascinating British Waterways study that revealed that ducks living on canals weigh, on average, about a pound more than those living on rivers. The slow-moving canal water, so the story went, provides less opportunity for the ducks to swim and as a result they piled on the pounds. Mr Curry and the BBC should have taken note of the embargo date. April 1. The name of the academic quoted, Olaf Priol, is an anagram of April Fool." Unfortunately I can't find a link for this.
Mystery of the Three-Headed Frog
Posted by The Curator on Sun Mar 21, 2004
At the beginning of March a news story about a three-headed frog found in England swept around the internet. Experts warned that the appearance of such a mutation could be a sign of impending environmental problems. But science journalist Ray Girvan thinks we shouldn't be jumping to conclusions. To him the three-headed frog actually looks like three separate frogs clasping together, engaged in a well-documented frog mating behavior called multiple amplexus. He points out that the frog heads are different colors, which is not what you would expect if this was one frog with three heads. Not a hoax, I suppose, but a misinterpretation. Unless you consider that the frogs…
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 16, 2004
If your cat has been feeling a little down lately, then you may need to hire the services of Confuse a Cat, Ltd., the world leaders in feline bewilderment. One of their highly trained technicians will come to your house and proceed to bewilder your cat, thus restoring it to its former self.
Why you should not feed your cat table scraps
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 18, 2004
I don't know what it is about oversized domestic cats that's so endlessly fascinating, but I've got to admit that, as the owner of a rather corpulent kitty, I'm just as intrigued by this subject as everyone else seems to be. So anyway, first there was Snowball. Then along came Munchkin. And now the latest tubby tabby to do the email rounds is Scrappy, the Super-Sized Cat. This email comes with the subject line: Why you shouldn't feed your cat table scraps. I don't know if it's real or not, but at the risk of putting my reputation as a hoax expert on the line, it kind of…
Mountain Lion Email Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 06, 2004
Quite a few people have received this picture in their email showing a man holding up a giant (dead) mountain lion. According to the accompanying text, the lion was shot by the man near Leon, Kansas while he was out deer hunting, though different versions of the email list different locations. Is the picture real? It is. But the accompanying text is incorrect. According to this article on Buckmasters.com, the lion was actually shot near Seattle, Washington. The picture first appeared in Fair Chase magazine, published by the Boone and Crockett Club, before it spread to email.