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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Con Artists
How to break into a museum
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jun 04, 2008
This story is a great example of the truism that no security system can be better than the people operating it. Thieves broke into a museum at the University of British Columbia and stole gold artwork worth over $2 million. They got around the security system simply by calling the guards, pretending to be from the alarm company, and telling them to ignore any alarms that might go off that night. From cbc.ca: Four hours before the break-in on May 23, two or three key surveillance cameras at the Museum of Anthropology mysteriously went off-line. Around the same time,…
Brother Roshan Wants Your Donations!
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 24, 2008
Canadian police are searching for two men who "falsely represented themselves as a spiritual healer and his assistant." Which raises the question: what counts as a real spiritual healer? The healer guy advertised himself on the radio as Brother Roshan. He used a magic trick to con his victims out of money. CTV.CA reports: Roshan wrote the names of each of his client's family members on each egg. He then placed the eggs in a covered pot of boiling water. Once they were cooked, he took out each egg and broke them open. When he opened the…
Categories: Con Artists, Religion Comments (2)
Fake Fishmongers Terrorize Edinburgh
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 16, 2007
Here's a case for the Streater sisters to tackle. Scotsman.com reports that: FAKE fishmongers are continuing to operate in Edinburgh, targeting residents in Newington and Fairmilehead in the past week, according to Trading Standards. It seems that these scam artists are wrapping Vietnamese catfish in polystyrene and cling film, then labeling it as "monkfish fillet," and using high-pressure sales techniques to get random people on the street to buy the phony fish. Up to three of them might surround a customer at a single time. Reportedly, "a person in Newington paid £90 for fish, while another paid almost…
Categories: Con Artists Comments (5)
Hypnotist Robbers
Posted by The Curator on Tue Oct 02, 2007
A New Hampshire convenience store clerk claims that he was robbed. However, the thieves didn't use any weapons or threats. Instead, they used hypnosis and mind control to make the clerk not notice that they were taking more than $1000. First coast news reports: It started with a simple mind game. Think of a wild animal, they say, and we'll write down what's in your mind. but it escalates quickly to very personal information about a former girlfriend, and finally, says Patel, mind control. Even investigators are persuaded. Patel says that the…
New From Elliot: Brooklyn Bridge Scams
Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 30, 2007
Elliot's latest addition to the Hoaxipedia details scams involving the Brooklyn Bridge. I like this one in particular: In 1886, not long after the Brooklyn Bridge opened, another famous scam was perpetrated by a Brooklyn bookie named Steve Brodie. According to the story, Brodie’s scam originated in a bet with a Brooklyn bartender named Chuck Connors. The bookie wagered Connors that he could jump off the Brooklyn Bridge and survive the fall. Steve Brodie ultimately won the bet and wound up becoming a major New York City celebrity and legend. It was discovered years later that Brodie had actually pushed…
Categories: Con Artists, Places Comments (5)
Fake Money For Strippers
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 27, 2007
Damon Armagost probably thought he had a pretty good scam going. He had printed up some fake $100 bills from an image he downloaded off the internet. He was then using this counterfeit money to pay for lap dances at a strip club. He must have thought the strippers would never notice the money was fake. Unfortunately for him, they did and alerted the police, who arrested Armagost and charged him with manufacturing and passing counterfeit currency. Carl Sifakis, in his book Hoaxes and Scams, reports on a similar scam called "tishing a lady." It involves paying a prostitute with tissue paper instead…
Glass-Eaters Sentenced
Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 16, 2007
Here's a couple that were making a career out of the inappropriate things found in food scam. Ronald Evano and his wife Mary would go to a restaurant, purposefully eat glass, get themselves hospitalized, and then threaten to sue the restaurant. They did this at least a dozen times and collected over $200,000 in compensation. The AP reports: Evano said in court that he and his wife ate the glass because they needed money. "We would go to a restaurant, and I'd say I had glass in my food," Evano said. "Then I would go to the hospital…
Categories: Con Artists, Food Comments (4)
Perpetual motion machine introduction delayed
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Thu Jul 05, 2007
Steorn is an Irish company which has announced that it's developed a "free energy" machine. "Free energy" is another name for "perpetual motion." As you may recall from high school physics, perpetual motion is theoretically impossible according to the known laws of physics. "Pshaw" says Steorn (figuratively, anyway). So, time for the Big Unveiling came...and went. "Technical problems" says Steorn. Gee, you'd think that a company which has a paradigm-shattering technology would make sure that everything was ready to go before announcing a demo, wouldn't you? No worries, though, they're going to unveil it on the Fifth. I'm sure that every oil company executive will be anxiously sitting in front of his computer, terrified of the machine…
A “faster Internet” scam/hoax
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Mon Jul 02, 2007
So, this guy tells people he has a "revolutionary" technology that speeds up downloading from the Internet by a factor of maybe a hundred times or more. With it, you can download a full-length movie in seconds. He's had meetings with the President and vice-President about it and is working on ways to use it to beef up national security. Who wouldn't invest in a thing like that? He even wheedles money out of his relatives and his wife's family. OK, you can see where this is going, right? The thing's a fake, a phony, a fraud. To be honest, I kind of hesitate to post stories like this since this site concerns itself with hoaxes; this,…
Elizabeth Albanese
Posted by Boo on Mon Jun 25, 2007
The Press Club of Dallas has been a much-respected institution for years, offering the annual Katie awards to journalists for high quality work. Recently, though, the organisation’s reputation has been dealt a crippling blow, with the news that their recent president, Elizabeth Albanese, has been falsifying the award results for at least the past two years. Albanese became involved with the Katies in 2003, the year she first won prizes, and has been reportedly tampering with the results every year since. For the 2003 awards, unlike following years, a list of judges for the awards was provided. However, it appears that Albanese…
JT LeRoy, phantom author (Updated!)
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Mon Jun 25, 2007
This is a weird one. A book allegedly written by a young man, JT LeRoy, made a sensation recently. JT was a truck stop hooker, got involved with drugs, was possibly transgendered and generally had a pretty screwed-up life. The book was billed as non-fiction, supposedly the true story of JT's life. Naturally, it sold very well. Oprah loved it, the movie director Gus VanSant and other Hollywood types were interested in it. Then the JT LeRoy saga started coming apart. Funny story, turns out there is no such person as JT LeRoy. Even funnier, also turns out that more than one person, some of them female, portrayed JT at book signings and other…
Best of the Forum – 22nd June 07
Posted by Boo on Fri Jun 22, 2007
Flowers growing from a steel pipe (NEO) A Chinese man has found what he believes to be a patch of white flowers growing from a steel pipe in his vegetable garden. Ding has consulted his neighbours, who believe the flowers are the legendary Youtan Poluo flower, which blossoms only once every 3,000 years. “No soil, no water. These flowers can bring me good luck,” he added. Forum members suspect, however, that the 'flowers' are lacewing eggs (see pictures to compare.)
God Metal Scam
Posted by The Curator on Sat Jun 09, 2007
Swindlers conned a Vietnamese businessman into buying $25,000 worth of "God Metal." Apparently, the existence of God Metal is an old folk legend in Vietnam. According to Thanh Nien News: ‘God metal’, also known as ‘black copper’, is almost a myth in Vietnam. Those who claim to have seen it say it is extremely heavy but floats in an iron bucket of water. In its vicinity glass shatters, matches and lighters do not ignite, iron nails are repelled, and gold turns white. The mark for the scam thought he could resell the God Metal for millions of dollars. But first he wanted…
Fake Tree Doctors
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 30, 2007
Residents of Ashford, England have been warned of a nefarious scam being practiced in the area. A "bogus caller" claiming to be a tree surgeon will knock on a person's door. The caller tells the person they have a problem tree in their yard that needs some work. Borough tree officer Mark Symonds warns that, "Sadly, some have been taken in and had prize trees ruined by shoddy workmanship. No reputable local tree surgeon would call unannounced in the hope of finding work.” The Kent News reports: Mr Symonds warned people not to be taken in by doorstep callers claiming connections with…
Categories: Con Artists Comments (5)
Computer Programme Debunks Pianist
Posted by Boo on Tue Feb 20, 2007
English pianist Joyce Hatto had risen to some prominence over the year preceding her death. Whilst she never played in public, recordings of her performances of works by artists such as Liszt, Schubert, Rachmaninov and Dukas, produced by her husband from a private studio, had her hailed as an unknown genius. However, an iTunes programme that compares recordings with an online database has thrown her abilities into doubt. A critic for the classical music magazine Gramophone was surprised to find that, when he loaded into his computer a recording of the pianist playing Liszt, the programme identified it as the work of the pianist Laszlo Simon on…
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