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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Exploration/Travel
Gravity-Defying Message in a Bottle — Looks like another case of the old Message in a Bottle hoax. Two years ago 4-year-old Libbi Wallace threw a bottled message into the Kennebec River, inspired by her dad's tales of doing so as a kid. According to Maine's The Times Record, she recently received a reply from someone who claimed to have found her bottle while kayaking on Lake Erie. Her correspondent chose to remain anonymous, identifying themselves only as "Surprised in Cleveland." But as Brian Bienkowski of the Great…
Posted: Wed Aug 31, 2011.   Comments (5)

The Hotelicopter — The premise: According to Hotelicopter.com, a giant helicopter (a Soviet-made Mil V-12) has been transformed into a flying hotel: The Hotelicopter features 18 luxuriously-appointed rooms for adrenaline junkies seeking a truly unique and memorable travel experience. Each soundproofed room is equipped with a queen-sized bed, fine linens, a mini-bar, coffee machine, wireless internet access, and all the luxurious appointments you’d expect from a flying five star hotel. Room service is…
Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2009.   Comments (10)

Man mails himself from New York to Las Vegas — Doing some catchup here on hoaxes I've missed: Wade Whitcomb claimed he squeezed himself into a cramped wooden crate and mailed himself via UPS from New York to Las Vegas. Because this would violate a number of laws, it attracted the attention of the FBI, who interviewed Whitcomb, who then promptly admitted he had made the entire thing up. "We have no further interest in this," said the FBI spokesman. And nor, frankly, do I. (Thanks, Bob!)
Posted: Fri Mar 13, 2009.   Comments (0)

Is “Where the Hell is Matt” a hoax? — Time magazine listed the Where The Hell Is Matt? video (which shows Matt Harding doing an odd little dance in various locations around the world) as the #1 viral video of 2008. But at a conference on December 11, Harding confessed that the video was just a hoax. He said the whole thing had been shot in front of a green screen, and that animatronic mannequins had been used to make it look like people were dancing with him. Check out the full video of his confession: Now, when I watch…
Posted: Wed Jan 07, 2009.   Comments (13)


Gays must leave the plane — Posted recently by Tobester in the Hoax Forum: I couldn't resist doing some research on this. Here's what I found. a) It's definitely an urban legend. b) I can't find any record of it ever appearing in the New York Times. c) The earliest mention of it I can find in print dates back to July 10, 2000, when it was discussed in the Sydney Morning Herald. Apparently, in a version circulating back then, they were identified as the source of the tale. They denied this, pointed out the…
Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2008.   Comments (6)

Fly Derrie-Air — Derrie-Air claims to be the world's only carbon-neutral luxury airline. From its website: Welcome to Derrie-Air, the world's only carbon-neutral luxury airline, where you don't have to choose between living the high life and saving the planet. Nine out of ten scientists agree—we need to reduce our carbon emissions or perish from the face of the earth. Air travel is one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions and global warming. Derrie-Air will be the only airline that plants trees…
Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2008.   Comments (7)

Diesel Trees — With the price of gas going through the roof, there's been a lot of interest in alternative fuel supplies. For instance, various schemes to use water as a fuel have been getting renewed interest. But a new idea (at least, new to me) is the Diesel Tree. This is a tree that directly produces diesel fuel. All you have to do is tap the tree (just as you would tap a maple tree for its syrup), then fill up your tank with the oil, and you're good to go. From treehugger.com: the Brazilian…
Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2008.   Comments (4)

The Bus Stop to Nowhere — This is a little sad, but odd. There's a bus stop located outside the Benrath Senior Centre in Dusseldorf. People occasionally walk up to the stop and stand there, waiting for a bus, but a bus never comes. In fact, the stop is on no bus route. It's a faux bus stop, purposefully created by the local department of transportation as a lure designed to deceive Alzheimer's patients from the senior centre. From telegraph.co.uk: “It sounds funny,” said Old Lions Chairman Franz-Josef Goebel,…
Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2008.   Comments (11)

Uncontacted Brazilian Tribe — The Brazilian government released some dramatic pictures of one of South America's last remaining uncontacted indigenous tribes. It says it took the pictures to prove that the tribe existed, because there apparently were some people who doubted this. When I saw the pictures, I couldn't help but be reminded of the Stone Age Tasaday from the Philippines. The Tasaday were a tribe that was discovered in 1971. Unlike the Brazilian tribe (who are seen shooting arrows at the helicopter taking…
Posted: Fri May 30, 2008.   Comments (14)

Man Makes Fake Moon Dirt — Dr. James L. Carter has a weird job. He manufactures fake moon dirt. His company, ETSimulants, produces tons of it every year. His primary customer is NASA, who needs fake moon dirt to test machines that might need to operate on the moon. In an interview with Pegasus News Dr. Carter explains: "When you land on the moon, all this dry, dry dust blows into the space craft’s engines. The astronauts’ safety rests on this substance being correct. There can be no mechanical failures once…
Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008.   Comments (5)

Is the Antarctic IceCube Telescope really an Alien Receptor Centre? — Down in the Antarctic researchers are building an "ice cube telescope" to detect neutrinos. It's one of the stranger telescopes ever built. Popular Science provides this description of it: Using a five-megawatt jet of hot water, technicians are melting two-foot-wide holes 1.5 miles into the Antarctic ice near the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Before the water refreezes, they insert a cable strung like a set of Christmas-tree lights with globular camera housings. By the time the…
Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2008.   Comments (7)

Gnome goes to Antarctica — Jerome Angus Graham III, a 25-centimeter-tall garden gnome, has been all around the world. But he hasn't been to Antarctica. Nor apparently, has any other gnome. But that's about to change. Jerome is heading to Antarctica, thanks to an invitation from Belgian travel firm Asteria Expeditions. Jerome will become "the first gnome to set foot on the frozen continent." The adventures of Jerome can be followed at travellinggnome.net. Earthtimes.org also reports that last year Jerome become…
Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2008.   Comments (3)

The Flight to Nowhere — Cranky Media Guy forwarded me this fascinating article about a new concept in travel. You pay your money, get on a plane, and then go nowhere. You just pretend that you're going somewhere. Meanwhile a stewardess serves you drinks and the "pilot" makes announcements such as "We will soon be passing through a zone of turbulence," and "We are about to begin our descent into Delhi." This concept is the idea of Indian entrepreneur Bahadur Chand Gupta, and it's proving quite popular. His…
Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2007.   Comments (8)

Man Meets Wife Via Message-in-a-Bottle — An email correspondent asked me if the following story could be true: Paolina and Ake Viking were married in Sicily in the autumn of 1958, thanks to a far-traveling bottle. Two years earlier Ake, a bored young Swedish sailor on a ship far out at sea, had dropped a bottle overboard with a message asking any pretty girl who found it to write. Paolina's father, a Sicilian fisherman, picked it up and passed it to his daughter for a joke. Continuing the joke, Paolina sent off a note to the…
Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2007.   Comments (10)

Algeria’s River of Ink — The Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society has posted an interesting geographical puzzle. An article, "The Story of Ink," in the 1930 issue of the American Journal of Pharmacy included the following statement: Iron tannin inks are sometimes formed naturally; such a phenomenon has been observed in Algeria, a country in northern Africa, where there exists a "river of ink." Chemical examinations of the waters of the streams combining to form this river revealed that one of the…
Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007.   Comments (9)

Do babies born on buses get free rides for life? — About a week ago Lydia Irvin gave birth to a daughter while riding on a New York City Transit bus. Apparently it even specifies on the baby's birth certificate that she was born on a bus. So now Ms. Irvin is hoping that her daughter will qualify for free bus rides for the rest of her life. She'll just have to wave her birth certificate at a driver, and be able to go wherever she pleases. After all, according to urban legend that's the freebie that bus-born babies get. However, the…
Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2007.   Comments (2)

Quick Links: Baby Nessie, etc. — Baby Nessie Fossil Found in Antarctic Found on an Antarctic island. Rather far away from Scotland. "The five-foot-long animal would have resembled Nessie, the long-necked creature reported to inhabit Scotland's Loch Ness." Let blind hunters use lasers Texas legislation will allow blind hunters to use laser sights that will guide them as they aim at the animal. This sounds very weird to me. Why would a blind person even want to hunt? What's the point? I'm just not seeing it. (Thanks,…
Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006.   Comments (18)

Quick Links: The Apostles of O’Neill, etc. — The Apostles of O'Neill A group of college kids living in a Washington DC house were informed that they were violating zoning laws that allowed only six people to live in one house. But they did some homework and discovered that 15 people are allowed per house, if it's a residence for a "religious community." Therefore, they've filed paperwork incorporating themselves as a nonprofit religious organization. They call themselves the Apostles of O'Neill. Nessie could not have been a…
Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006.   Comments (17)

Another Message In A Bottle Hoax — In February 2003 12-year-old Emily Streight tossed a message in a bottle into the creek near her home in Carlton, Oregon. She gave her name, her age, her height (which she described as 6-foot-2, a slight exaggeration), listed two boys she had a crush on at school, and added, "If this is a guy who finds this, send a picture." In October of this year she got a response from 16-year-old Keoni in Hawaii. Somehow her bottle had traveled down Panther Creek, into the North Yahmill River, then…
Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2006.   Comments (7)

High-Speed Message in a Bottle — In the news over the weekend was this report of a message-in-a-bottle that traveled all the way from the north-east coast of Scotland to New Zealand... in 47 days. That means it traveled at a continuous rate of 18 miles per hour. It really didn't have any time for detours. It must have made a beeline straight to its destination. The sender of the message was six-year-old Keely Reid, and it was discovered by six-year-old James Wilson. This all sounds too perfect to be believable. Even…
Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2006.   Comments (8)

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