The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Animals
Shark in Lake Ontario — A video released last week showing a group of fishermen having an encounter with a shark in Lake Ontario has proven to be a hoax. The video was created by a company called Bell Media using a prosthetic model shark, as the company has admitted in a recent press release. It was "the first step of a multi-stage marketing campaign" to promote the Discovery Channel's Shark Week. Nissan is also involved in the hoax, since they're the ones sponsoring Shark Week. Apparently Nissan will have…
Posted: Thu Jul 17, 2014.   Comments (0)

Missing: Pregnant Tarantula Named Penelope — On Thursday, someone posted flyers around Brooklyn alerting everyone that their pregnant red rump tarantula named Penelope had gone missing. "I know she looks crazy scary," the flyer said, "but she's mostly harmless." (Tarantulas definitely do look scary, but their bite really isn't that dangerous. It's comparable to a bee sting.) Anyway, Penelop's owner asked that if anyone found her, to put her in a "tupperware bowl" with holes and phone him. Naturally, these signs attracted quite a bit of attention. Someone even started a Twitter account in Penelope's honor. But last night,… Continue…
Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014.   Comments (0)

Gigantic Tortoise Found on Mt. Etna — A video circulating on Italian news sites shows what appears to be a gigantic tortoise being transported on a truck. An accompanying story explains that this tortoise "of colossal dimensions" was found recently at the base of Mt. Etna. A helicopter full of Japanese tourists spotted the creature. At first they thought it was a large, dark rock, until they noticed it was moving. The helicopter pilot alerted the earthquake authorities, who arrived and discovered that it was a gigantic…
Posted: Wed May 14, 2014.   Comments (0)

The Jet Chicken of 1950 — In 1950, a very unusual UFO was reported by several people. Although UFO probably isn't the correct term to use in this case, because the flying object was identified, but it was identified as something very strange — a chicken flying at the speed of a jet. The sightings occurred in March around Toronto. Mrs. J. Wilson was visiting North Toronto from New York, and as she was driving around she saw, "a flying chicken dashing through the sky in a northeasterly direction with the speed of a jet plane." Mrs. Wilson's sighting was seconded by a "G. Fuller" who said he saw the creature… Continue…
Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014.   Comments (0)


Alaska Wilderness Myths — The Tundra Drums details some myths and hoaxes about Alaska wildlife. For instance: Eagles do not actually snatch toddlers (they're too heavy). Nor are there any credible reports of eagles snatching up pet dogs. Eagles' talons do not involuntarily lock. They can let go if they want. But often they choose not to let go, even if a big fish is dragging them through the water. The 'majestic cry' of the eagle actually sounds more like a squeaky chirp. Which is why movies often dub in the call of the red-tailed hawk. Bears can run downhill. They can also climb trees very well. Lemmings… Continue…
Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2014.   Comments (0)

Kuppies, 1937 — Laura "Mom" Bedford, owner of a roadside barbecue stand in Miami, Fla., made headlines in March 1937 when she announced what appeared to be a biological miracle. Her maltese cat had given birth to three kittens and two puppies (aka "kuppies"). Bedford explained, "I didn't pay them any mind when they were born. I was too busy. I just looked in the box under the kitchen sink and saw what I thought were five black kittens. I figured they would be all right." But two days later, she heard something that "sounded like a dog crying." She examined the litter more closely and discovered… Continue…
Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2014.   Comments (0)

The Rock-Rolling Whitefish — The rock-rolling whitefish is a little-known species of fish, whose existence has only ever been reported (as far as I know) in the June 1932 issue of Montana Wild Life magazine. Discovery of this creature was credited to Jack Boehme, a manufacturer of fish tackle. Here's the information that Montana Wild Life offered about this unusual creature: It seems that this rock-rolling Montana whitefish extolled by Jack Boehme, and organized by a taxidermist of no mean versatility, is endowed with horns. Boehme declares, to all visiting dudes, that the specimen on display was caught in… Continue…
Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2014.   Comments (0)

The Snow Snake — The above photo has recently been circulating on social media purporting to show a "snow snake". A caption provides this warning: This is the deadly snow snake. It has bitten 3 people in the state of Ohio and one in Pennsylvania. It’s been spotted in other states. It comes out in the cold weather and at this time there is no cure for it's bite. One bite and your blood starts to freeze. Scientist are trying to find a cure. Your body temperature start to fall once bitten. Please stay clear if you have see it. Please forward this and try to save as many people as we can from this… Continue…
Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014.   Comments (0)

Operation Cat Nip Confusion — In August 2011, hundreds of cats were rescued during a hoarding case, and then a team of veterinary students volunteered their time to spay and neuter the cats in order to prepare them for adoption. A photo of this mass spaying/neutering event (named Operation Cat Nip) ran in the Gainesville Sun. But about a year later that same photo began appearing on Twitter, stripped of any explanatory context, and accompanied by the caption: "Retweet if you say NO to animal testing." The…
Posted: Fri Feb 28, 2014.   Comments (4)

The Wolf of Sochi — 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…
Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2014.   Comments (0)

Alligators Clean Pipes — 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…
Posted: Fri Feb 07, 2014.   Comments (1)

The truth about chainsaw-mimicking lyrebirds — 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,…
Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2014.   Comments (2)

Giant Red Palm Weevil Larva — 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…
Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014.   Comments (0)

Is the “Hercules the World’s Biggest Dog” photo fake, as everyone has assumed? — 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…
Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2014.   Comments (2)

Giant Santa Monica Squid — 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…
Posted: Fri Jan 10, 2014.   Comments (0)

Lions at large in the Hamptons — 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…
Posted: Sun Jan 05, 2014.   Comments (2)

Dog finds way home after 8 years — "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…
Posted: Sat Dec 21, 2013.   Comments (0)

Do sharks dislike the taste of human flesh? — 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…
Posted: Wed Dec 18, 2013.   Comments (1)

Tail Lights for Horses—a case of satirical prophecy — 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…
Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013.   Comments (0)

Cat Drinks From Bottle — 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.
Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013.   Comments (0)

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