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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Death
Dead Bodies Rising — Viewers of The Steve Wilkos Show on CBS affiliate KRTV in Great Falls had the program interrupted on Monday by an emergency alert that delivered this warning: Civil authorities in your area have reported that the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living. Follow the messages on screen that will be updated as information becomes available. Do not attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies as they are extremely dangerous. Seems that someone had hacked…
Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013.   Comments (3)

Tortoise Survives in Closet for 30 Years — The latest news from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is that a tortoise was found alive after being locked in a closet for 30 years. The story goes that the Almeida family lost their tortoise, Manuela, 30 years ago. They looked everywhere for her, but eventually concluded that she had run away. But when the father of the family, Leonel, died recently, the kids (now adults) were clearing out his room, and there, in the closet, was Manuela. Somehow she was still alive. [telegraph.co.uk] How could…
Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2013.   Comments (2)

Samuel Shepherd: the 125-year-old Man — Samuel "Old Uncle Sam" Shepherd had a hard but interesting life. He was a slave who managed to buy his freedom, and lived on until 1909. But it's his birthdate that generates more interest than the date of his death. His grave marker in Oak Hill Cemetery (Lawrence, Kansas) lists his birthdate as 1784. This would make him 125 years old when he died. If true, he would potentially be the oldest person ever to have lived. According to wikipedia, Jeanne Calment of France holds the record…
Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2012.   Comments (3)

Was John Travolta replaced by a double in 1991? — According to this theory John Travolta died in 1991 and was replaced by a look-alike, German singer Roy Black. John Travolta (left) -- Roy Black (right) The corollary to this theory would be that Roy Black didn't die of heart failure in 1991, but actually survived and, for some inexplicable reason, took over Travolta's career. The theory doesn't explain how Travolta died. This is a very minor conspiracy theory. I'm guessing it was inspired by someone noticing that Roy Black and John Travolta look somewhat similar. But it made me curious about how many celebrities have… Continue…
Posted: Wed May 23, 2012.   Comments (8)


A Global Warming Hoax from 1874 — I periodically receive emails from people who insist I need to add global warming to the site because it's the "biggest hoax in human history." I don't agree with that. Actually, I think global warming is something that definitely merits being worried about. However, I did just add a global warming hoax to the hoax archive, which might make the global-warming-is-a-hoax crowd happy. Except that this hoax occurred in 1874. It's a story that appeared in U.S. newspapers in February 1874.…
Posted: Mon May 21, 2012.   Comments (0)

Death by Gatorade Shower — In his column on latimes.com, Brian Cronin examines the legend that Hall of Fame football coach George Allen got sick and died after being doused in gatorade by his team following a winning season. Did a Gatorade shower kill George Allen? latimes.com After three straight losing seasons, Allen led the Long Beach 49ers to a season-ending victory over the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on November 17, 1990 that secured them a winning season. Allen's team gave him a Gatorade shower…
Posted: Fri May 18, 2012.   Comments (0)

RIP Mike McGrady — Mike McGrady was the mastermind behind the Naked Came the Stranger hoax of 1969. His aim was to show that any book with enough sex scenes, even if lacking in any other merit, could sell well. And the book he created to prove this point did sell well. Although its sales had a lot to do with the fact that McGrady's sister-in-law, the attractive Penelope Ashe, posed as its author. Which shows that the good looks of an author can definitely sell books. And, of course, the book sold even…
Posted: Thu May 17, 2012.   Comments (0)

Was Junior Seau’s death predicted on Craigslist? (of course not) — The death last week of former Chargers linebacker Junior Seau was big news here in San Diego. But then, as deadspin.com reports, a rumor began circulating that his death had been predicted on Craigslist. Specifically, on May 1, a day before Seau died, this post apparently was posted on San Diego Craigslist: The solution to this is simple. Someone must have edited the post after the fact to turn it into an accurate prediction. Either that, or Nostradamus has come back from the grave…
Posted: Mon May 07, 2012.   Comments (0)

Controversy over Egyptian ‘Farewell Intercourse Law’ — Late last week a strange story emerged alleging that Egypt's parliament was considering a 'Farewell Intercourse Law' to make it legal for Egyptian husbands to have sex with their dead wives for up to six hours after death. Why six hours? I assume to make sure the tender last moments are wrapped up before rigor mortis fully sets in. Though according to Wikipedia, rigor mortis begins after 3 to 4 hours, so that might be a bit awkward. Naturally a lot of news orgs ran the story without…
Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2012.   Comments (2)

New Research Suggests Link Between Welsh Rugby And Papal Deaths — In December 2008, two doctors published a study in the journal BMJ investigating what they called the "urban legend" that there's a link between Welsh rugby and papal deaths. Specifically, that "every time Wales win the rugby grand slam, a Pope dies, except for 1978 when Wales were really good, and two Popes died." They found that there was indeed a "borderline significant (P=0.047) association between Welsh performance and the number of papal deaths but no significant association…
Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2012.   Comments (0)

The Saint of Rice Excrements — Back in ninth-century Japan, there was a religious charlatan who earned the title bei-fun-hijiri or "saint of rice excrements". Before telling how he acquired this title, I should relate how I came across his story, which was in a rather roundabout way. First, I came across a post on the Of Small Wonders & Great Wanders blog about the ancient art of self-mummification, developed by ascetic monks of the Shingon sect in northern Japan: It was initiated by Kobo Daishi (774-835), who took…
Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012.   Comments (0)

Bank of America Declares Man Dead — If you're declared dead on twitter, it doesn't mean much anymore — especially if you're Justin Bieber. But if a major bank declares you dead, that can really screw up your finances if you happen to still be alive. This happened to Arthur Livingston (who lives, oddly enough, in a town called Prosperity). Bank of America reported him dead. Livingston only found this out when he tried to get a new mortgage. But no one would loan him money because he was supposed to be dead. It cost…
Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2012.   Comments (0)

The Fake Death of Cheetah the Chimp — As far as death hoaxes goes, this is a strange one, both because it involves a chimp and also because it's a fake death report of someone who died long ago. The story began last week, around Christmas, when it was reported that Cheetah, the chimp who played Tarzan's sidekick in the 1930s Tarzan films, had died at the ripe old age of 80. He had apparently spent the last decades of his life at the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Florida. The cause of death was kidney failure. I remember…
Posted: Sun Jan 01, 2012.   Comments (1)

RIP Geoffrey Crawley — Geoffrey Crawley, who played a role in debunking the Cottingley Fairy hoax, died recently on October 29. The New York Times ran an interesting article about his life. From the article: From the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, Mr. Crawley was editor in chief of the magazine British Journal of Photography. His 10-part series exposing the Cottingley fairy photographs as fakes appeared there in 1982 and 1983. Mr. Crawley had been asked to determine the authenticity of the photos in the late…
Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010.   Comments (7)

Martin Smid; he’s still not dead! — November 17 was the 20th anniversary of the Czech "velvet revolution." One of the events that triggered it was the spread of a rumor alleging that mathematics student Martin Smid had been beaten to death by police. Smid, however, was very much alive, and he still is. To this day, he has no idea how his name got attached to the rumor. From agonist.org: After a bloody crackdown on a non-violent student march in Prague on November 17, 1989, a woman falsely claimed that the riot police had…
Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2009.   Comments (5)

Treasure hunt prank, from beyond the grave — Patty Henken found a small envelope in a rocking chair she bought at auction. In the envelope was a key and a note giving her directions to where $250 in U.S. gold coins was supposedly buried in a lead chest. The note was signed "Chauncey Wolcott." There was also a request to contact the State Journal-Register newspaper of Springfield, if the treasure was found. The Associated Press tells the rest: With help of a donated backhoe, Patty Henken tore up a vacant lot in Springfield, Ill...
Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2009.   Comments (12)

Matt Damon reacts to false rumors of his death — From The Globe and Mail: "All my wife said was, well, that's weird," recounts Damon, shaking his head. "Then she reminded me that the same thing had happened to George [Clooney] a few years ago. What amazed me even more was that the calls we were getting were from [news groups] that were very reputable. I asked them did you even read the story on the Internet? It read like the lyrics to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. The truth of the matter is all these mother [expletive] are lazy [and…
Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2009.   Comments (11)

Jackson Video a Hoax Experiment — A short video that appeared on youtube a week ago showed someone resembling Michael Jackson getting out of the back of a coroner's van. Evidence perhaps that Jackson faked his death? Nope. German television station RTL subsequently admitted they faked the video as an experiment "to show how easily users can be manipulated on the Internet with hoax videos." An RTL spokesman said: "Unfortunately, many people believed it was true, even though we tried to create the video in a way that…
Posted: Wed Sep 02, 2009.   Comments (6)

Michael Jackson’s Nose, the legend continues — A rumor is circulating alleging that a) Michael Jackson wore a prosthetic nose, and b) someone has stolen that nose from the Los Angeles morgue. The rumor about Jackson wearing a prosthetic nose dates back to at least 2002, when Jackson appeared in Santa Maria Superior Court wearing a large bandage on his nose. But this latest addition to the rumor means that Michael Jackson's nose joins that select group of human body parts that acquire a life in legend following the death of the…
Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2009.   Comments (7)

Margaret’s Stain — A stain, shaped like a human body, can be found on the concrete floor of the Athens Mental Health and Retardation Center in Athens Ohio. According to legend, this stain marks the location where the body of a patient, Margaret Schilling, lay undiscovered for several weeks back in 1979. A team of forensic scientists recently tested the stain to determine whether it's a genuine human decomposition stain, or if it was created artificially. They published the results of their investigation…
Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2009.   Comments (10)

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