The Hoax Museum Blog
Clairvoyant Gets Message From Woman Buried Alive
Posted by The Curator on Tue Feb 14, 2006
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 clairvoyant named Mario Bocca to see if his powers were real. During the test Bocca picked up a message from a dead woman calling herself Rosa Spadoni, who…
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 02, 2006
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 presence of the cryptogram at the crime scene, even though news reports didn't mention it. The question is,…
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 24, 2006
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. Following on in this vein, Paul Collins has noted that
Dog Leaps From Overpass
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 20, 2006
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 case of canine suicide... because like spontaneous human combustion, spontaneous canine suicide can strike at any time.
Mummified Mother Still Watching TV
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 11, 2006
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 Sartori, who kept the mummified body of his mother sealed up in his bedroom wardrobe so that he could keep receiving her pension check. He…
‘Who Wants To Die’ Talking Elmo
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 03, 2006
Status: Either a prank or a manufacturing defect When Angela Bolls bought an interactive Elmo book for her young daughter, Miranda, she had no idea what she would be exposing her daughter to: Family members said 16-month-old Miranda Boll's new book, "Potty Time With Elmo," was supposed to teach an interactive lesson using voice commands. However, when the book's buttons are pressed, it reportedly says something it is not supposed to -- "who wants to die?" ... Bolls said she checked another copy of the same book and found that it says something completely different; "Who wants to try to go…
La Pascualita, the Mexican Corpse Bride
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 21, 2005
Status: Urban Legend This has already been posted in the hoax forum, but it's too good to ignore. Reuters has reported on a Mexican urban legend concerning a mannequin in the window of a bridal gown store in the city of Chihuahua. Local rumor has it that the mannequin is really the embalmed body of the former store owner's daughter. The former store owner was called Pascuala Esparza. La Pascualita means 'Little Pascuala' (i.e. her daughter). According to the legend her daughter died from the bite of a Black Widow spider on her wedding day, so Pascuala embalmed her and stood her up…
Man Fulfills Short Life Prediction
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 21, 2005
Status: Self-fulfilled prophecy When Sandeep was born, an astrologer predicted that he would have a short life. Recently another astrologer, on TV, seconded this prediction. In despair (whether because of the second prediction, or for some other reason, is not clear), Sandeep took his own life, thereby fulfilling the prophecy. This isn't the only self-fulfillment of a death prophecy that I'm aware of. The more famous case was the prediction of the 16th century astrologer Girolamo Cardan, who foretold that he would die in 1576. Sure enough he did, though it seems probable he took his own life to insure the accuracy of his prophecy. Seems like an extreme way to prove a prophecy correct.
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 07, 2005
This is a request for help. The proofreader has been going through the manuscript of Hippo Eats Dwarf looking for errors. This is the final check that the book receives before it goes to print. After this, nothing can be changed. Anyway, in the final chapter of the book (about death), I include the following definition: Xenacate, v.: To kill a TV or movie character off so completely that no chance remains of bringing her back from the dead. Inspired by the TV show Xena: Warrior Princess. Its occurrence usually indicates that the actor playing the character has lost her job under unpleasant circumstances and has no hope of being rehired. The…
Hippo Eats Dwarf Sighting
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 22, 2005
Status: Dwarf-eating hippo sighting Peter Mount sent along a sighting of the Hippo Eats Dwarf story. (Not my book, the story itself.) It's turned up in a new book titled The World's Stupidest Deaths. I haven't seen the book, but this Australian review of it lists the tale as being among the stupid deaths it describes: Other "stupid deaths" include: AUSTRIAN dwarf and circus acrobat Franz Dasch, who was killed when he bounced on a trampoline into the yawning mouth of a nearby hippopotamus. DAVID Grundman, of Arizona, who in 1991 fired two shotgun barrels at a giant cactus, causing it to crash down on him. etc.
Who Buried Paul McCartney?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 08, 2005
Status: Documentary A Dutch TV station, omroep.nl (I think it's a TV station), has an interesting documentary online about the Paul Is Dead hoax. The documentary is in English, but with Dutch subtitles. I had to select the Real Player option to get the video to play. The documentary contains interviews with many of the key players in the events of 1969, including Russ Gibb (the Detroit DJ whose broadcast about the Paul is dead rumor brought it to the attention of a national audience), Tom Zarski (the kid who called Russ Gibb and told him to play Revolution 9 backwards), and Fred LaBour (the student journalist whose article first presented many of the…
The Silent Movie Actress Archive (Corporeal Memorabilia)
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 08, 2005
Status: Art Project The website of the SMA (Silent Movie Actress) Archive claims that: We are a small and dedicated organisation based in Baltimore, USA. Our aim is the ‘resurrection’ of actresses from the Golden era of silent cinema. To do this we are securing a large body of quality genetic material from a variety of sources which is subjected to rigorous testing to ensure its validity. Samples range from small tissue and blood samples to full bones and several preserved organs. Is this real? Well, the site it's located on, bonetrade.gregorywhitehead.com, is so elaborate that it would be easy to believe it was real. It delves into all…
Corpses Used As Mulch
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 29, 2005
Status: True The Telegraph reports on the latest funeral practice in Sweden: freeze-drying the corpse of your loved one using liquid nitrogen, then shattering it into a powder, picking out any metal or plastic bits, and using the powder as mulch in a garden. Says Susanne Wiigh-Masak, the inventor of this technique: "Mulching was nature's original plan for us, and that's what used to happen to us at the start of humanity - we went back into the soil." It actually seems like a pretty good idea to me. A lot of people already strew cremains in their garden.
New Orleans Euthanasia
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 13, 2005
A report in the Daily Mail claims that doctors stranded in New Orleans hospitals after Katrina hit decided to give some patients lethal doses of morphine, rather than watching them die in agony. A few bloggers are suggesting this report has all the markings of an urban legend, given that it's based on only one identified source. If so, it wouldn't be the first urban legend emerging from the disaster. However, the recent discovery of 44 dead bodies in a New Orleans hospital would seem to add credibility to this report.
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 03, 2005
I've posted before about dogs who commit suicide, so when I saw this story about a chicken who committed suicide I thought I better add it to the site: The man's son said that the chicken probably decided to kill itself being unable to lead the horrible life in the provincial village. The chicken is a vulnerable and sensitive bird that might not have the energy to handle stressful situations. Most likely, the Russian suicidal chicken has lost the will to live. The poor bird was not left hanging on the fence: it was cooked and eaten.