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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Exploration/Travel
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)

Quick Links: Demon Coin, etc. — Demon Coin Sold A Winnipeg coin collector has sold an American penny for $170 on eBay. He claims the coin bears the image of the devil. Personally, I'm having a hard time seeing it. But at least it's not another image of the Virgin Mary.Pretend To Be An Illegal Immigrant Experience all the thrill and danger of illegally crossing the border from Mexico into the United States... without really being in any danger at all. A Mexican park is offering tourists the opportunity to pretend that…
Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2006.   Comments (13)

Teddy Tourism — Teddy Tour Berlin, run by Karsten Morschett and Thomas Vetsch, cater for those who can't themselves afford to tour the German capital, but want the next best thing. Expatica.com reports that customers send their teddies and the payment details to the company, who then take the bears around sites such as Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Olympic Stadium, and remnants of the Berlin Wall. At each site, the visiting teddy is photographed in a snappy pose. "They aren't photo-montages…
Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2006.   Comments (10)

Optical Illusion As Traffic Control — Status: Weird News Chicago's transportation department has announced that they're going to try an interesting experiment to try to get people to slow down on a notoriously hazardous curve. They're going to use an optical illusion: The yellow warning signs mounted along the road in recent years telling drivers to take the curve at 25 m.p.h. have had little or no effect. So the city has decided to try something new. In a few weeks, dozens of new pavement stripes will be laid down. At…
Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2006.   Comments (15)

Inflatable Passenger — Status: Weird News Sheilas’ Wheels, a UK-based auto-insurance company that caters to women, has announced the invention of a "buddy on Demand": "a blow up man that inflates at the flick of a switch if and when a passenger is needed to be used whenever a woman driving alone after dark needs an instant passenger." It doesn't sound like a bad idea, and it would be very useful for carpool lanes as well. I suspected the whole thing was a joke since I couldn't find any picture of this…
Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2006.   Comments (15)

Mouse-Infested Plane — Status: Weird (but true) news First I should note that I didn't title this post 'Mice On A Plane', since it seems that everyone else in the world who's written about this has already used that joke. The same with noting that the cure for mice on a plane is snakes on a plane. Anyway, the story here is that an American Airlines plane was recently grounded because of a mouse infestation. I know that my parents (who live out in the countryside in Virginia) often have problems with mice…
Posted: Wed Jul 19, 2006.   Comments (9)

Book A Fake Vacation — Status: Weird News The Los Angeles Times reports about a Russian travel agency, Persey Tours, that sells fake vacations: For $500, nobody will believe you weren't sunning yourself last week on Copacabana Beach, just before you trekked through the Amazon rain forest and slept in a thatched hut. Hey! That's you, arms outstretched like Kate Winslet on the bow of the Titanic, on top of Corcovado! Persey Tours was barely keeping the bill collectors at bay before it started offering fake…
Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006.   Comments (23)

Marvin’s Marvelous Museum Video — This will be the last video I post of one of my trips (for now). I took this one last year, sometime in July, at Marvin's Marvelous Museum in Farmington Hills, Michigan (right outside of Detroit). I was visiting Marvin's Museum because it contains a fake copy of the Cardiff Giant, but the real attraction there is all the bizarre mechanical marvels and coin-operated machines on display. (Though the museum seems to make most of its money from video games.) This video shows Marvin…
Posted: Wed May 24, 2006.   Comments (2)

Cardiff Giant Video — I'm getting a little carried away with the newfound ability to upload videos to YouTube, but bear with me. I've only got a few of them to share. Here's a video I took last year (July 2005) at the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, New York, current home of the Cardiff Giant. The guy in historical dress was an actor/storyteller giving a dramatic account of the Cardiff Giant hoax to the school children you can see gathered around. At one point during the video I pan left and you can see a…
Posted: Wed May 24, 2006.   Comments (0)

Nessie Hunting Video — Here's a short video I shot at Loch Ness, showing the Museum of Hoaxes group aboard the Nessie Hunter on Loch Ness. It's not a thrilling video, but unfortunately it's the only one I took the entire trip. Most of the time it never occurred to me to use the movie option on my digital camera, because in the past videos I've taken have ended up sitting in my hard drive never viewed. But I just realized how easy it is to upload videos to YouTube and share them. If I had realized this while…
Posted: Wed May 24, 2006.   Comments (4)

The Great Edinburgh Adventure — Tomorrow (Monday) I'll be flying to Edinburgh to participate in an exciting experiment: the first face-to-face meeting of Museum-of-Hoaxers. We'll be coming from all corners of the earth: Australia, America, and Europe. Will we be able to tolerate each other in real life (as opposed to virtual life)? Will we all end up in jail? Stay tuned. I hope to post some reports from Edinburgh. I should note that this adventure wasn't my idea. The credit goes to a group of regulars who hang out…
Posted: Sun May 14, 2006.   Comments (11)

Camera Unlost, But Not Quite Found — Status: True Earlier today I read (via blogdex) the tale of a woman named Judith and her camera that was lost, then found, but still (paradoxically) remains lost. I thought it was interesting, but didn't consider it might be a hoax. However, several people have emailed me about it, so I thought I'd take a closer look at it. Here's the jist of the tale. Judith lost her camera while on vacation in Hawaii. Back home she decided to create a photo blog of her vacation using pictures found…
Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2006.   Comments (14)

Message In A Bottle Crosses Atlantic — Status: Undetermined The story of Harvey Bennett and his ocean-crossing bottle has been widely reported during the past week. The basic facts are as follows: Harvey Bennett, the owner of a tackle shop in Amagansett, New York, has for years been throwing messages-in-bottles into the Atlantic. He usually never sees the bottles again. But on January 24 he received a package in the mail containing one of his discarded bottles which, apparently, had floated all the way to Bournemouth,…
Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006.   Comments (9)

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