The Hoax Museum Blog
The Burial of E.T.—a legend confirmed
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 28, 2014
It's long been rumored that there were millions of copies of an Atari video game, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, buried in the New Mexico desert. But the rumor seemed so bizarre that it was often dismissed as an urban legend. The story goes that back in the early 1980s Atari developed the game as a tie-in with Steven Spielberg's movie. But game designer Howard Warshaw was given only five and a half weeks to create it in time for Christmas, and as a result, the game turned out to be awful. Reviewers panned it, and consumers didn't buy it. Atari took a huge loss on the game, leading to a massive devaluation of its stock. The…
Hurt Locker, the (fake) musical
Posted by The Curator on Sat Apr 26, 2014
The audience at the recent Broadway premiere of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" found playbills beneath their seats for a completely different production, "Hurt Locker: The Musical." However, there is no musical stage version of The Hurt Locker (nor any stage version of it at all). The fake musical was the creation of Hedwig's producers. The NY Daily News explains: "Hedwig" is being performed at the Belasco Theatre — and to maintain the illusion of a late-night one-off show by an East-German transgender pop-rocker — producers littered the floor with Playbills from a show that opened and closed on the same night. Enter "Hurt Locker" Fauxbills.
Every day is Back to the Future Day!
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 27, 2014
A Tumblr blog titled "Today is the Day Marty McFly Went to the Future" posts a new photo every day, indicating that today is the day McFly arrives in the future, as indicated by the Delorean's onboard time monitor in Back to the Future Part II (1989). It's the latest take on the perennial return of Future Day (an ongoing internet prank in which people claim that the date of McFly's arrival is closer at hand than it really is). The actual date of McFly's arrival is October 21, 2015.
Elephants—Larger Than The Moon, and other Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Hoaxes
Posted by The Curator on Thu Oct 24, 2013
As Chris Tarrant departs from the UK version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, The Express takes the opportunity to review the history of the quiz show, including some of the hoaxes and frauds associated with it. For example, the show spawned an internet meme of screenshots of contestants getting absurdly simple questions wrong. Many of these are hoaxes, such as the most famous one which seems to show contestant Fiona Wheeler (not Kathy Evans as some email captions claim) deciding that an elephant is larger than the moon. In reality, Wheeler was asked "What is the everyday name for the trachea?" (Breastbone, Windpipe, Kneecap, or Heelbone). And…
Tom Woottwell, Mock Strong Man
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 16, 2012
Tom Woottwell had an interesting career. He was a "mock strong man," performing to crowds during the late nineteenth century. From The Strand magazine, July 1897: The show indicated in the photo here reproduced was screamingly comic. First, as to the costume of the mock "strong man." he is dressed in dilapidated old tights, which are supposed to be strained almost to bursting point at the arms and calves, owing solely to the abnormal muscular development of those parts. The calves are particularly funny far less sinew than sawdust, however. And observe the showman's leer as he strikes an attitude for the great feat of breaking a…
io9.com accuses The Fourth Kind of being an unsuccessful hoax
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 05, 2009
The new movie The Fourth Kind tries to blur reality in the same way that movies such as Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project have successfully done. But according to io9.com, The Fourth Kind doesn't manage to pull it off convincingly: Alien abduction flick The Fourth Kind bills itself as containing "actual footage" from case histories. But this footage is so poorly faked that it insults the audience's intelligence... The movie stumbled out of the gate by hanging most of its fear power on a fundamental dishonesty. There is no "archival footage." There are no "actual…
Jon & Kate Plus Fake
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jun 24, 2009
I've purposefully avoided watching "Jon & Kate Plus 8," and on a personal level I couldn't care less about what happens to Jon & Kate, but in recently filed divorce papers Kate Gosselin states that she and her husband have lived "separate and apart" for the last two years. [Link] This is interesting because, apparently, on last season's show they made a big deal out of renewing their wedding vows in Hawaii. Evidently the whole thing was staged. And so they become another footnote in the ongoing history of fake reality TV. As I wrote in Hippo Eats Dwarf: "As long as there’s been TV, there’s been reality TV. And as long as there’s been…
Does Robert Pattinson paint on his abs?
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jun 24, 2009
Here's a question the world needs answered: Did Robert Pattinson (star of Twilight) have makeup artists use liquid body paint to make it appear as if he had six-pack abs for a scene in the forthcoming New Moon? Well, that's the rumor. Given that it was for a scene in a movie, I think it would be more surprising if makeup wasn't used. But for chiselled abs it's actually more important to be really skinny than to workout a lot. And the guy looks like he's genuinely skinny.
Fake Air France Footage
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jun 23, 2009
Posted by Peter in the forum: TV station airs Lost as Air France crash footage A BOLIVIAN television news channel has been left red-faced after falling for a hoax that saw it claim pictures from the hit TV show Lost were actually the last moment of Air France flight AF447 before it plunged into the ocean on June 1. Source This confirms my theory that should a suitably dramatic picture of a major event not exist, one will be created. It's because our culture craves visual images. And hoaxers are always ready to supply what we crave. For more examples of this phenomenon, see the…
Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Bum Attack” Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jun 02, 2009
The highlight of Sunday night's MTV Movie Awards came when Sacha Baron Cohen, dressed up as Austrian fashion reporter Bruno, floated across the room on wires, but then somehow fell and landed face down in Eminem's lap (his butt in Eminem's face). Subsequently Eminem stormed out of the show. The award show's head comedy writer, Scott Aukerman, is now admitting it was not a spontaneous mishap. The entire scene was choreographed and rehearsed. In fact, Paris Hilton had reportedly been Cohen's first choice of victim, but she declined to participate. I can't imagine this revelation will surprise anyone. It would only have been a surprise if the stunt wasn't staged.
Goldfinger Urban Legends
Posted by The Curator on Tue Feb 03, 2009
The authors of The Science of James Bond note that the movie Goldfinger has spawned two enduring urban legends: 1) That if you shoot out the window of a plane flying at 35,000 feet, the resulting depressurization will create enough force to suck a person through the hole. Not true! The authors say the airflow wouldn't even be enough to lift a person. 2) It is possible to suffocate by completely covering yourself in gold paint. Therefore, professional dancers who paint themselves know to leave a small bare patch of skin for air. Again, total myth. The authors state that the only danger of being covered with gold paint is "pores being clogged…
Megan Fox to play Wonder Woman?
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 06, 2008
The site wonder-who.com claims to reveal that Megan Fox will be starring in a new Wonder Woman movie. The site looks professionally made. Someone obviously put some effort into it. But according to JoBlo.com, Warner Brothers has issued a denial, insisting that no such movie is planned. So why did someone spend so much time creating the site? I have no idea. A really over-eager Megan Fox fan perhaps? Or maybe a studio was testing the response to the concept? Links: pfunn.com, io9.com.
Ken Campbell and the Royal Dickens Company
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 11, 2008
Ken Campbell recently died at the age of 66. The Telegraph's obituary describes him as "an actor, writer and director of wilful eccentricity" who worked in experimental theater. However, he was perhaps best known for a hoax he pulled off in 1980, when he sent around letters announcing that the Royal Shakespeare Company was renaming itself the Royal Dickens Company. I couldn't find a good description of this hoax online (and, unfortunately, I've never gotten around to writing one up... so many hoaxes, so little time). So here's an account of the hoax from Nick Yapp's book Great Hoaxes of the World:
Britney Spears to play a killer lesbian stripper?
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 06, 2008
Back in January 2008 Variety published a rumor, citing unnamed sources, that Britney Spears had agreed to play a killer lesbian stripper in Quentin Tarantino's next movie, a remake of Russ Meyer's 1965 film Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. Seven months later, there's no indication this rumor is true. For instance, there's no listing of such a project on IMDB. Nevertheless, the rumor is circulating again. It was reported recently in The Telegraph and on popcrunch. It appears that the January rumor is simply being reported again, with no attempt to check the facts. Taken together with the recent rumor that Spears was to star…
The Knoxville Carjacking Party
Posted by The Curator on Tue Aug 05, 2008
According to internet rumor, Britney Spears is planning to star in a movie titled The Knoxville Carjacking Party, based on the brutal 2007 murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. Spears would play Channon Christian. The story is a hoax. More specifically, it's a case of satire mistaken as news, having apparently originated as a faux news report from "celebrity snitch, Clarence Star" on the site Ghetto Bragging Rights. Wayne Bledsoe, a columnist for Knoxnews.com, notes that the spread of the false rumor offers a case study in how misinformation is propagated by the online media. Numerous celebrity gossip sites, such as popcrunch.com, reported the false rumor as…