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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Animals
Horse Theft Scam — Horse thievery used to be a huge problem. After the American Civil War it became so rampant in the West that it inspired the creation of a vigilante group that called itself the Anti Horse Thief Association. This group had, at one point, 30,000 members. But horse theft is something I thought became obsolete with the widespread adoption of automobiles. Apparently not. Authorities in Tennessee are warning of a modern-day horse theft scam. People are showing up at farms claiming to be…
Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2008.   Comments (4)

Two-Headed Pheasant — The BBC is on the hunt for a two-headed pheasant, after a photo of one, supposedly taken on the grounds of Himley Hall, near Dudley, was sent to them. The problem is, there are no one-headed pheasants living at Himley Hall, let alone two-headed ones. The BBC suspects a hoax: an artist from Birmingham said the bird looked remarkably similar one of her creations. Annabel de Vetten, who used stuffed birds for the works, gave one away as a present and another has gone missing. She said the…
Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008.   Comments (4)

Sewer Horse 2 — I came across another picture of a horse in a sewer. I guess when it rains sewer horses, it pours. The previous sewer horse was pretty implausible. After all, you had a horse sticking its head out of a sewer, and no one was even looking at it. This sewer horse is more believable. I could imagine a horse wandering around in an open field, which happens to back into an open hole. And at least the firemen are looking at this horse. However, the shadows seem wrong. The angle of light…
Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2008.   Comments (21)

What is it? — I was working in my backyard this weekend, when I turned over a rock and discovered this creepy-crawly. Anyone have an idea what it is? I wasn't about to mess with it. Looked like it had a stinger on its tail. Update: Thanks to Robin Bobcat for identifying it as a Jerusalem Cricket. According to the San Diego Natural History Museum: "this nocturnal cricket is actually non-aggressive and possesses no poison glands, although its jaws can inflict a painful bite." Even if it's…
Posted: Sun Jun 29, 2008.   Comments (24)


Sewer Horse — The latest internet meme is Sewer Horse: "Sewer Horse is Watching You" I have no explanation for the image. Is it real or fake? I haven't got a clue. It seems a bit unlikely that a horse would end up in a sewer, but then he could be in a large underground tunnel that has an opening he's looking out of. Sewer Horse is so popular that he even has his own website.
Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2008.   Comments (12)

Horse at School — I'm not sure if this is a prank, or just a case of bizarre willfulness. Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut warned a father and daughter not to bring their horse to school. They brought it anyway, so the school has charged them with breach of peace. From nbc30.com: Police were called Friday morning when a Westport man and his daughter walked a horse onto the campus of Staples High School, police said. School officials became concerned when a large group of students gathered…
Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2008.   Comments (6)

Big Cow — He looks too big to be real, but apparently he genuinely is a giant cow. His name is Chilli, and he lives at the Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Somerset. From the Daily Mail: Chilli dwarfs most horses, is the same height as a small elephant and casts a shadow over his cattle companions who are about 5ft in height "He now stands at 6ft 6ins from the floor to the top of his shoulder and he is massive when he holds his head up. "We have made an application to Guinness Book Of Records and we…
Posted: Fri May 30, 2008.   Comments (21)

Malaysian Sea Monster — In an email with the subject "Giant Fish - Caught in Malaysia? Apparently...," Joshua Penley asks: "What the HELL is this?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!" This sounds like a question for Big Gary, the museum's Deputy Curator in Charge of Fish. I would simply note that the guys in the photos don't look particularly Malaysian, making it a case of "real picture, fake caption." The bottom picture reminds me of a picture of a (fake looking) sea monster, taken in 1906 on the beach at…
Posted: Thu May 15, 2008.   Comments (18)

Brunus edwardii — I recently received a nice letter from a reader in England: Dear Mr. Boese, I have enjoyed the Museum of Hoaxes greatly. I do not know if you want any more examples, but if not just throw this away. The Veterinary Record is the weekly journal of the Veterinary Profession, and I did the index for 36 years. So on 1st April 1972 I met some observations on the diseases of Brunus edwardii (Species Nova), Vet. Rec. (1972) 90, 382-395. It reads like a perfectly authentic scientific paper…
Posted: Wed Apr 30, 2008.   Comments (14)

PETA’s Million-Dollar Fake Meat Prize — PETA recently offered a $1 million reward to the first company that can produce In Vitro meat in commercially viable quantities by 2012. (AussieBruce posted about it in the forum.) But Daniel Engber, writing for Slate.com, explains why PETA's prize has so many strings attached that it's basically a bogus offer. 1) According to the contest guidelines, the fake-meat must be sold in stores to qualify for the prize. Engber writes: "Fake-chicken entrepreneurs have to demonstrate a…
Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2008.   Comments (10)

Emory University Zebra Prank — Neil Steinberg's classic advice about college pranks was that "If at all possible, involve a cow." The zebra (named Barcode) that was found locked inside Seney Hall at Georgia's Emory University this morning is a novel substitute. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Campus police were still trying to find out who put the zebra on the third floor of Seney Hall sometime Tuesday night... Putting animals inside Seney Hall has passed for a dry wit on the Emory at Oxford campus for…
Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2008.   Comments (34)

Animal Candidates — The "I Can Has Happy" blog has posted a list of animal candidates. That is, animals (and one plant) who have been nominated as political candidates. The list includes Tião, a "bad-tempered chimpanzee" who was a candidate for mayor of Rio de Janeiro in 1988; Junior Cochran, a black lab who is mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky; Bosco, a black Labrador-Rottweiler who was mayor of Sunol, California for ten years; Molly the Dog, who is currently running for President of the United States; and…
Posted: Wed Mar 12, 2008.   Comments (4)

The Puppy Over the Cliff Video — Many of you have probably already seen the "puppy being thrown over a cliff" video that's been all over the internet in the past week. If you haven't, here it is, but be warned. It's disturbing. The Honolulu Advertiser offers this description of it: Two Marines are seen in combat gear smiling as one holds a white-and-black puppy by the scruff of its neck. The dog seems to be about 8 weeks old and is motionless as it is held. "Cute little puppy, huh?" says one Marine as he smiles…
Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008.   Comments (40)

Why does the Kremlin want 3200 white mice? — Russia's Federal Guard Service (the Russian equivalent of the American Secret Service) has apparently placed an ad on a government website for 3200 "white, female, laboratory mice... between sixteen and eighteen grams" to be delivered by the end of the year. This ad has generated a flurry of international media speculation. Why, everyone wants to know, does the Russian Guard Service want these mice? One theory is that the mice will be used for experiments -- perhaps to test substances…
Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008.   Comments (4)

Chicken Plays Billiards — A lot of people have posted this video to youtube in the past month, but no one identifies where the clip comes from. My question is: How was the shot created? The table looks like it's tilted to help the balls roll towards the pockets. Also, I'm assuming the egg is not real.
Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008.   Comments (5)

The Art of Pierre Brassau — I received an email from Maria in Sweden who reports that when her mother recently passed away she became the owner of a painting by Pierre Brassau, the monkey artist. (See the article about Pierre Brassau in the hoaxipedia. To sum up the story: in 1964 a Swedish reporter placed some paintings drawn by a monkey in an art show, claiming they were the work of an avant-garde French artist, Pierre Brassau. After critics praised the paintings, he revealed the hoax.) Apparently Maria's…
Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2008.   Comments (9)

Transparent Fish — Following up on my post three months ago about "Brazilian Invisible Fish" (also see the hoaxipedia article), it looks like scientists have engineered a real transparent fish. It's not quite an invisible fish, because the internal organs are visible, but it's close. The Telegraph reports: [Dr. White] created the transparent fish by mating two existing breeds. Zebrafish have three pigments in their skin-reflective, black, and yellow. Dr White mated a breed that lacks reflective pigment,…
Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2008.   Comments (4)

Rogue Taxidermy — Nate Hill describes himself as a rogue taxidermist. He rummages through trash looking for dead animals: fish, dogs, cats, etc. Whatever he finds, he stitches together to form a bizarre new creature. From a recent AP article about him: "I'm totally self-taught," he said. "To put it simply, what I do is cut up the animals, I sew them together in a different way, and then I submerge them in rubbing alcohol to preserve them." He considers himself a member of a loosely defined group of…
Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2008.   Comments (8)

Kitler Cat Controversy — A poster created by the German Green Party in Saxony and Hesse shows a cat that looks like Hitler with the tagline "you can't always recognize Nazis at first glance." The poster is meant to be a swipe at their extreme-right opponents. But the poster has provoked criticism from an unlikely source. Catsthatlooklikehitler.com has given it a paws down, complaining that it shows a photoshopped Hitler-resembling cat, instead of a real one. They write: the German Green Party have elected to…
Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008.   Comments (3)

Sheep Circle — About 100 sheep in Kington, Herefordshire spontaneously formed a ring in a field. Apparently they did this entirely on their own. A photographer was on hand who captured the strange scene. The Daily Mail interviewed Dan Seaborne, farm manager at Herefordshire College of Technology, who speculated: "I just think they've been fed with dry feed in that shape - you can get snacker feeders now and you tow behind a quad and it drops pellets on the ground. I would imagine that's what's…
Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2008.   Comments (4)

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