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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Health/Medicine
Prozac in the Water? — A week or so ago reports that trace amounts of Prozac had been found in the UK's drinking water got a lot of coverage in the blogosphere. No wonder. The idea that Prozac poppers were excreting the drug into the sewers and thereby contributing to the mass medication of the entire population was creepy, to say the least. But it turns out the reports aren't quite true. It's more a case of something that theoretically could happen, rather than something that actually is happening. In a…
Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2004.   Comments (6)

The Human Magnet — Malaysian farmer Tan Kok Thai claims that he's a human magnet. Anything will stick to him including plastic bottles, bananas, biscuits, books, remote controls, knives, tubes of toothpaste, and rocks. The pictures of him showing off of his ability are quite amusing, especially this one of him with a giant boulder stuck to his chest. It looks to me as if he's leaning quite far back, which alone could explain why the objects aren't falling to the ground. Friction could explain the rest of…
Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2004.   Comments (11)

Butt Candles — Ear Candling is an ancient home remedy in which wax and other impurities are supposedly drawn out of a person's ear canal by sticking a burning hollow candle in their ear. The theory is that the hollow candle creates a vacuum that sucks everything out. Butt Candling, by extension, is the same procedure, only with the candle placed... well, you can guess where it's placed. As the ButtCandle site (which is safe for work) puts it: "In length and diameter, [the butt candle is] similiar to…
Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2004.   Comments (19)

Faking AIDS — Perhaps the worst possible pick-up line has to be 'I've got AIDS!' Especially if you don't actually have AIDS. Yet apparently many young men in Malawi are boasting that they have the disease, even though they're uninfected. They think having AIDS is a sign of sexual prowess. Kind of sad, really. I was especially interested in this story because my sister has been living in Malawi for the past year, helping design an AIDS education program there. I'm planning to visit her there next…
Posted: Thu Jul 22, 2004.   Comments (4)


Green Sweat — Here's a strange medical case from China. It seems a bit odd, but it's in the Shenzhen Daily, so I guess it must be true. Why make something like this up? Doctors treated a man whose sweat had turned green. As the article describes: "On the evening of May 28, he noticed green stains on his shirt. At first he thought the stains had probably come from some dye he had accidentally touched. However, when he was helping a friend move furniture Sunday morning, he was shocked to see green…
Posted: Wed Jun 30, 2004.   Comments (23)

Jesus Christ Online Pharmacy — Karl Marx did say that religion is the opium of the masses. Well, now it's also a direct supplier of Prozac, Wellbutrin, and Zoloft. Yes, you can get all this and more over at JesusChristRx.com. You can even order up a whole bunch of cheap Viagra from the Son of God himself, if that's your thing. I really don't know what to make of the site. It appears to be a genuine online pharmacy. The Presurfer (whose site I found the link at) notes that it's some kind of knock-off of
Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2004.   Comments (2)

Quarantine — What would you be willing to do for a brief shot at fame? Would you embarrass yourself on national TV? Of course, who wouldn't nowadays. But would you lock yourself in a lab and allow yourself to be exposed to all manner of infectious diseases? That sounds a bit dodgy, but this was the premise of the new reality TV show, Quarantine, recently advertised in the Daily Mirror. Remarkably, hundreds of people applied to be on it, and the applications are still rolling in. Thankfully the whole…
Posted: Tue May 11, 2004.   Comments (1)

The Girl With X-Ray Eyes — Natasha Demkina, a young girl living in Saransk, Russia, began to receive a lot of media attention around the middle of last month. It started with an article in Pravda, which hailed her as the 'Girl with X-ray vision'. You see, Natasha possesses the unusual ability to peer through human flesh and spot diseases and injuries that are lurking unseen within people's bodies. Or, at least, this is what Pravda claimed. It didn't take long for more newspapers to catch onto the story. The…
Posted: Tue Feb 03, 2004.   Comments (710)

Cannabis Window — This UK website offers you the chance to buy cannabis online. No seeds. No hydroponics. Just cannabis itself, delivered to you by a special courier. Sounds like a stoner's dream. But if you actually try to place an order, it's all revealed to be a joke. (Thanks to Paul Farrington for the link).
Posted: Tue Feb 03, 2004.   Comments (2)

RYT Hospital — The RYT Hospital-Dwayne Medical Center has been on the forefront of recent medical advances. They've developed a transgenic mouse with the cognitive abilities of a human. They've helped a man give birth. They've even developed nano-robots to deliver gene therapies and repair tissue. Pretty amazing stuff. And they've got a very slick website. Too bad none of it is real. (Thanks to Ross Harvey for the link).
Posted: Mon Jan 19, 2004.   Comments (24)

Death by Lizards — I'm not sure whether or not this is a hoax, but it's definitely strange. Back in 1910 a young woman died in Akron, Ohio and the local doctor reported that the cause of her death was lizards living in her stomach. Common sense would say that this couldn't have been the case. Lizards couldn't survive for an extended period in the acid of a person's stomach. So did the doctor really believe lizards were the cause of the woman's death, or was he purposefully trying to make an outrageous…
Posted: Thu Dec 11, 2003.   Comments (0)

Gas Be Gone — Dan wonders if these 'Gas Be Gone' flatulence filter seat cushions are real or a joke. I've never actually seen one of these, but I've been aware of them for quite a while, and I think they're real. But the maker of them does appear to acknowledge the humor inherent in a flatulence filter.
Posted: Wed Nov 12, 2003.   Comments (1)

Tattoo Medical Alerts — Miami company sells tattoo-like stickers to elderly people, claiming that the stickers will function as high-tech medical alert devices. But it turns out that the stickers weren't high-tech at all. They were just stickers.
Posted: Wed Sep 17, 2003.   Comments (1)

Cough CPR Update — A visitor named Lewy sent in a link to this ABC News story about 'Cough CPR' following up on my post about the subject below. It turns out that a Polish researcher, Dr. Tadeusz Petelenz, published some results just a few weeks ago suggesting that vigorous coughing could help people experiencing cardiac arrest remain conscious long enough to get help. But the jury still seems to be out on the subject. The UK Resuscitation Council says that there's no evidence coughing is going to help.…
Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2003.   Comments (0)

Will coughing help ease a heart attack? — An email has been going around claiming that vigorous coughing can help you survive a heart attack. I received it, and to be honest I thought it sounded pretty believable. I should have known better. According to heart specialists, coughing won't make a heart attack any worse, but it's also not going to make it any better. Just another example of why you shouldn't believe medical advice you get from forwarded emails. The proper thing to do if you think you're having a heart attack is to…
Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2003.   Comments (0)

Fake Doctor Notes (are not available here) — Need a fake note from a doctor to get a day off from work or school? Visit this doctor. Update: If you've arrived here via Google, or some other link, realize that I can't actually provide anyone with a fake doctor's note. I simply linked to an article about a guy who was writing fake notes, and because of that my site is now #1 on google when you type 'fake doctor notes'. I have no idea where fake doctor notes can be obtained.
Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2003.   Comments (888)

Goat-Gland Brinkley — Great article in the New York Press detailing the career of Dr. 'Goat-Gland' Brinkley, the man who made a fortune during the 1920s and '30s by selling a quack cure for male impotence that involved the implantation of goat glands. Incidentally Brinkley became so popular and such a powerful figure in American culture that he ran for governor of Kansas and would have won if the Democrats and Republicans hadn't rigged the election.
Posted: Fri May 30, 2003.   Comments (0)

Medical Imposters — Interesting story in the Toronto Star about a man who was practicing medicine with fake credentials. But he didn't receive a single complaint about his practice. He was only exposed when the Ontario College of Physicians did a thorough check of the credentials of all medical practitioners in the area. It recalls the case of the Great Imposter, Ferdinand Waldo Demara, who once posed as a naval surgeon named Dr. Joseph Cyr and actually performed a lung operation on an injured soldier,…
Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2002.   Comments (1)

CDC Website — The Center for Disease Control has a Health Related Hoaxes and Rumors page. Worth checking out.
Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2002.   Comments (0)

Cow Urine Cures AIDS — From the files of medical quackery: cow urine as a cure for AIDS.
Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2002.   Comments (1)

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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.