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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Death
How To Fake Your Death On The Internet — Status: Public Service Video A highly informative Beginner's Guide To Faking Your Death On The Internet can be viewed on YouTube. It was created by satirist and internet scholar Luke Lewis. Some of the points it covers: → Interest in your death (or the death of your alter-ego) can be measured by Heinstein's 2nd Law of the Internet, which states: I = H x W x C. Or rather, INTEREST in your character equals their HOTNESS times their camWHORE factor times the CRAZINESS of the community in…
Posted: Wed Jul 19, 2006.   Comments (2)

Did Ken Lay Fake His Death? — Status: Undetermined (I refuse to give him the benefit of the doubt) Ken Lay was reported dead on Wednesday. The medical examiner ruled the cause of death to be severe coronary disease. But almost as soon as word of his death hit the internet, the conspiracy theories started. Scott Adams summed up what many were thinking in his Dilbert Blog: Does it seem suspicious to you that ex-Enron CEO Ken Lay died right before they could put his guilty ass behind bars? I wonder how many doctors…
Posted: Sun Jul 09, 2006.   Comments (17)

Huggable Urns — Status: Weird, but real Christophe Thill sent me a link to Huggable Urns (they're teddy bears that hold cremains) along with the message: "This has to be a hoax? Right? Right?" Sorry, Christophe. I don't think so. The Huggable Urns look real enough, and if you click on the 'Buy Now' button on the products page, it takes you to a PayPal payment page, which is usually a good sign that a product is real. Actually, although the huggable urns seem a bit ghoulish and tacky, they're not…
Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2006.   Comments (20)

The Frosties Kid Is Dead — Status: Urban Legend A recent ad for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes shows a blond-haired kid dancing around singing "They're going to taste great!" I think this is a British ad. At least, I've never seen it here in America. And all the references to it I've found occur in the British press. For instance, David Whitehouse writes in the Guardian: Pity the poor Kellogg's marketing department... all they wanted to do was make an advert in which a chirpy young scamp would skip his way through the…
Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2006.   Comments (102)


The Body On A Highway Prank — Status: Prank Gone Wrong One of the rules of pranking is that you should do no harm. This means no harm to others, nor to yourself. The two Russian soldiers who thought lying down across the highway would be a funny prank, should have given more thought to this rule. As reported by MosNews.com: Two young men, private Vladislav Lunev and first class private Nikolay Chistyakov escaped from the army troops not far from Moscow, Russia, late at night, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily reported…
Posted: Wed Jun 21, 2006.   Comments (13)

Candidate Accused of Having Faked His Death — Status: Strange News I note in Hippo Eats Dwarf that if you fake your death, you need to remain dead, which means staying under the radar. Ronald Wayne Blankenship hasn't followed that advice. Instead, after allegedly faking his death backin 1990, he's now decided to run for sheriff in Jefferson County... which is a good way to bring himself to the attention of the police who now want him to come in and have his fingerprints checked. Blankenship, meanwhile, is maintaining his innocence,…
Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006.   Comments (11)

Real Body Found At Fake Crime Scene — Status: Strange but true Here's the scene: a high school criminology class on a field trip to the local park. Their teacher has created fake bodies for them to find. But wait a second. One of those bodies looks awfully real. The AP reports: Truth proved to be stranger than fiction for a high school criminology class investigating a fake crime scene after students discovered a real dead body on a field trip. Teacher Sue Messenger has been planting cardboard skeletons with bullet holes,…
Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2006.   Comments (3)

Jaleel White Commits Suicide — Status: Hoax The latest false celebrity death rumor going around concerns Jaleel White (best known for playing Urkel on Family Matters). Supposedly he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. This rumor is old. It was first posted on my site over half a year ago (in the comments to my post titled 'Is this Jaleel White?'). It's no truer now than it was then. I have no idea why it's begun circulating again, but here are the main highlights from the hoax AP report: LOS ANGELES,…
Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2006.   Comments (237)

Pet Food Salesman Ships Gallows to Libya — Status: Hoax Early last month a number of British papers ran pieces about a Norfolk farmer selling execution equipment to dictatorships. For instance, this is from the Scotsman (May 12): Norfolk farmer David Lucas has built a booming business selling execution equipment to such enlightened governments as those of Zimbabwe and Libya. For the paltry sum of £12,000 you can be the proud owner of a fine set of English Oak gallows to hang the dissident of your choice. Or, if you've got a few…
Posted: Fri Jun 02, 2006.   Comments (6)

George Lutz, RIP — Status: Obituary George Lutz of Amityville Horror fame has given up the ghost. He died of a heart attack in Las Vegas on May 8. George and his family lived in the house in Amityville, New York for four weeks in 1975 before supposedly being driven out of it by repeated paranormal occurrences (weird sounds and voices, green slime dripping from the ceiling, etc.) They left the house in a hurry, but weren't so scared that they weren't able to return and hold a garage sale. Personally I…
Posted: Fri May 12, 2006.   Comments (34)

Vote For Padre Pio — Status: Joke ballot Reuters reports on a case of a dead guy who was temporarily in the running for Italy's president: With no hope of immediately electing a president, lawmakers have been throwing away votes for the past two days while party leaders negotiate a consensus candidate. A secret ballot has allowed them to get creative. For one elector, the political deadlock offered a rare chance to vote for Padre Pio, a 20th century mystic monk who had the stigmata -- bleeding wounds in the…
Posted: Wed May 10, 2006.   Comments (5)

Human-Flavored Rum — Status: Probably an urban legend mistaken as news This could be the next big thing: Soylent Green Human-Flavored Rum. Reuters reports: Hungarian builders who drank their way to the bottom of a huge barrel of rum while renovating a house got a nasty surprise when a pickled corpse tumbled out of the empty barrel, a police magazine website reported... the body of the man had been shipped back from Jamaica 20 years ago by his wife in the barrel of rum in order to avoid the cost and…
Posted: Thu May 04, 2006.   Comments (15)

Vet Fakes Death of Dog — Status: Strange I've heard of faking the death of people, but I've never before heard of a case of someone faking the death of an animal. Until now. The Chicago Sun Times reports on this bizarre case of a Pennsylvania couple who thought the vet had euthanized their epileptic dog, but then found out he had only pretended to do so: A couple who thought they were watching their epileptic dog being euthanized actually witnessed a simple sedation procedure concocted so the veterinary clinic…
Posted: Mon May 01, 2006.   Comments (17)

Dead Man Runs For New Orleans Mayor — Status: Joke campaign Twenty-five people are campaigning to be mayor of New Orleans. One of them is legendary rhythm-and-blues musician Ernie K-Doe. His wife insists that he deserves to be mayor because "He gets the job done. The guy has soul." He also happens to be dead, which, I suppose, makes him perfect for the job (resistant to corruption-- especially if he was embalmed). Unfortunately he's not actually on the ballot, so his supporters will have to stage a write-in campaign. Though…
Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2006.   Comments (0)

Will Ferrell Dies While Paragliding — Status: Hoax An announcement of actor Will Ferrell's death in a paragliding accident was briefly posted on the wire service iNewswire today, before the service caught wind of it, realized Will Ferrell wasn't dead, and yanked it. The release read, in part: Los Angeles -- Actor Will Ferrell accidentally died in a freak para-gliding accident yesterday in Torey Pines, Southern California. The accident apparently happened somewhere near the famed paragliding site after a freak wind gush…
Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2006.   Comments (10)

Clairvoyant Gets Message From Woman Buried Alive — Status: Almost definitely an urban legend The Leicester Mercury has printed a spooky story that sounds very much like an urban legend. (Though I know some people say that true urban legends don't involve the supernatural, so I guess it would be a ghost legend.) Since I don't believe in ghosts, I'm assuming that the story is mostly b.s. But I'm curious if any parts of it are true. The story goes like this: In 1950 Dr Guiseppi Stoppolino of Camerino University was testing an Italian…
Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006.   Comments (31)

Suicide Cryptogram — Status: Undetermined (the cryptogram is probably genuine, but it's meaning is unknown) Security expert Bruce Schneier has posted an interesting item on his blog. It's a scan of a cryptogram emailed to him by someone who claims the cryptogram was left behind by a man named David Rayburn, who killed his wife and stepson with a hammer and then hanged himself. It's been confirmed that this murder/suicide did occur, and it seems likely that the correspondent is telling the truth about the…
Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006.   Comments (4)

Cremain Printing — Status: True Two weeks ago a lot of people were linking to a story about books bound in human skin that can be found in many libraries, including the rare book libraries at Brown and Harvard. This is, apparently, quite true. Often the books are old medical works, with the skin coming from patients or paupers whose bodies were bought for research. The most gruesome book, owned by the Boston Athenaeum, is an 1837 copy of the memoirs of the highwayman George Walton, bound in his own skin.
Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2006.   Comments (15)

Dog Leaps From Overpass — Status: Possible canine suicide? Charles G. Jetchick was driving along, minding his own business, when suddenly a dog crashed through his window. It had fallen from an overpass. Police don't think it was thrown. Instead, they speculate the dog fell by accident while trying to avoid a car. The police officer commented: ""We've had rocks and other stuff like that fall off of overpasses. This would be the first dog we've had." The Anomalist, however, speculates that it might be another…
Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2006.   Comments (5)

Mummified Mother Still Watching TV — Status: True Big Gary forwarded me this urban-legendesque story about the mummified body of Johannas Pope, who was "found in a chair in front of her television set 2 1/2 years after her death." Apparently she had been left there by her family, who were honoring her wish that she not be buried. They had kept the air conditioner running on full blast, thereby slowing the process of decay. Must have had a huge electricity bill. Coincidentally, also in the news is the story of Mirko…
Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2006.   Comments (9)

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