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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Health/Medicine
Malawi Ousts Fake AIDS Healers — Lawmakers in Malawi have decided to crack dawn on quacks peddling phony cures for AIDS. The "cures" generally involve having sex with a virgin, an albino, or a disabled person. The legislation is only in draft form right now, but if passed it will require traditional healers to register with the health ministry. I'll have to ask my sister what she knows about this, since she's been in Malawi for the past four years working on promoting AIDS education. That's why I visited Malawi last…
Posted: Sun Mar 09, 2008.   Comments (9)

Viagra-Inspired Food — Trifter.com has collected examples of foods that have either been made to look like Viagra, or have been renamed after it. The list includes Viagra Gelato, Viagra ice cream, Viagra spam mousse, Viagra cake, and Viagra musubi. The Viagra spam mousse seems particularly appropriate, since the drug is such a favorite topic of spammers.
Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2008.   Comments (2)

Obay — Recently strange ads for a drug called "Obay" began appearing around Toronto. The ads were pretty obviously satirical, but who was responsible for them? The Church of Scientology was an early suspect, since they're well known for their anti-psychiatry stance. But it turned out they had nothing to do with the ad campaign. The Torontoist tracked down the real culprit. It's an advocacy group called Colleges Ontario, which represents twenty-four colleges in Ontario. The Torontoist writes:
Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008.   Comments (7)

Woman claims to be 120 — Mariam Amash, who lives in the village of Jisr a-Zarka in Israel, claims that she is 120 years old. Her claim recently surfaced when she applied for a new Israeli identity card. She might be telling the truth. Apparently she has a birth certificate issued by Turkish authorities, who ruled Jisr a-Zarka back in 1888 when Amash says she was born. She also has eleven children, the eldest one being in her late 80s. So assuming that her children aren't lying about their ages, Amash would…
Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008.   Comments (2)


Real-Life Kidney Thieves — A kidney transplant ring has been busted in India. Hundreds of poor people were forced into having their kidneys removed. ABC News reports that victims were promised a job, then taken to a private house and forced at gunpoint to sell their kidneys. One victim's story sounds just like the kidney-transplant urban legend: "I was approached by a stranger for a job. When I accepted, I was taken to a room with gunmen," Mohammed Salim told India's local NDTV television channel. "They tested…
Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008.   Comments (4)

Huffing Hand Sanitizer — A 14-year-old student at Killian Middle School in Lewisville picked up a bottle of hand sanitizer from the desk of his reading teacher, rubbed the gel on his hands, and then smelled it. According to the teacher, he "inhaled heavily." The student said he sniffed it because it "smelled good." But the school authorities claimed he sniffed it because he was trying to get high. They gave him an in-school suspension, and then proceeded to file criminal charges against him. WFAA.com reports:
Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008.   Comments (22)

Prank Call Leads to Electric Shock Treatment — Prank phone calls and electric-shock gadgets are perennial favorites of pranksters. So I guess what happened at the Judge Rotenberg Education Center was just a novel combination of the two: Call up and order electric-shock treatment for someone. It's actually kind of scary to think that it's that easy to order treatment for a patient. Boston Herald reports: State officials are investigating complaints that staff at the Judge Rotenberg Education Center gave three people — including two…
Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007.   Comments (2)

Quick Links: Nov. 27, 2007 — Ocean's 11 Conman "It was one of the most audacious jewel thefts in history. In the middle of a crowded room, the famed Star of the Empress Sisi was stolen from its high-security case and replaced with a replica." (Thanks, Joe) Turkey Mystery Turkeys mysteriously show up in a town, and then wander away. "After entertaining residents of Harborview Drive on Thanksgiving morning, 15 turkeys departed - in single file - about 1 p.m. Thursday and have not been seen since, residents said…
Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2007.   Comments (4)

Jenkem! — The Collier County Sheriff's office in Naples, Florida has issued a strange bulletin warning that American kids are experimenting with a new way to get high. It's called Jenkem, and it involves sniffing the fermenting gas from human sewage. You put the sewage in a bottle topped with a balloon to catch the gas. You then inhale the gas which gives you a euphoric high. In other words, you're sniffing fermenting human feces. Jenkem appears to be real. Back in 1999 the BBC reported that…
Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2007.   Comments (12)

Zeolite Natural Cellular Defense — "George" writes: "I would appreciate your opinion about waiora's zeolite "natural cellular defense" for treating cancer (www.waiora.com). do you think there's something to it or is it just a scam?" I don't actually see where Waiora claims that their "Natural Cellular Defense" product can be used to treat cancer. In fact, their website states, "These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease." However, what they do claim sounds rather dubious to me:
Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2007.   Comments (18)

Woman finds toothbrush in her nose — The Mumbai Mirror reports that doctors in India removed a three-inch piece of a broken toothbrush from a woman's nose. The woman claims she's not sure how it got there: So how did it get there? The woman claims she is not sure. She says, “Around two months ago as I was brushing my teeth, my husband accidentally pushed me and the toothbrush in my hand broke. I was left holding the lower portion of the brush but couldn’t locate the rest of it. Soon after, I started bleeding profusely from…
Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2007.   Comments (8)

Laughter Yoga — What do you get when you combine yoga and fake laughter? Laughter Yoga! The Ventura County Star has an article about this new twist on yoga. Groups of people get together and just start laughing. At first they fake the laughter, but after about ten minutes, apparently most people are laughing for real. Googling the term "laughter yoga" reveals that this seems to be a pretty popular new form of yoga. The article explains that the technique was created by yoga instructor Madhuri Kataria…
Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2007.   Comments (8)

Fake Acupuncture Better Than Medicine? — A study conducted in Germany found that "fake" acupuncture worked almost as well as "real" acupuncture, and that both performed better than conventional care (which included painkillers, massage, and heat therapy). Reportedly, 47 percent of patients receiving real acupuncture to treat lower back pain improved, as did 44 percent of the fake acupuncture group, but only 27 percent of the usual care group got relief. The study has been published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, which…
Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007.   Comments (12)

Fake Holy Water Warning — Health officers in Britain have issued a warning to consumers to be on the lookout for fake holy water. From the BBC: The water is advertised as coming from the sacred well of Zam Zam in Mecca, the most holy city in Islam, and demand increases during Ramadan. The warning does not cover genuine Zam Zam, which is sourced from the Well of Zam Zam, located within the Masjid al Haram in Mecca. Councillor Audrey Lewis was concerned Muslims may be exploited into buying counterfeit Zam Zam…
Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2007.   Comments (7)

Best of the Forum - 24th August 07 — Due to personal circumstances, this week's Best of the Forum post is brought to you by guest writer and board moderator Madmouse. Unauthorised Reincarnation Banned in Tibet (MadCarlotta) China has banned Buddhists from reincarnating without permission, in an apparent attempt to have the next Dalai Lama chosen by the Chinese government. From the news article: "According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month…
Posted: Fri Aug 24, 2007.   Comments (11)

Best of the forum - 17th August 07 — Well, after my holiday, my laptop went down, and it's only this week that I'm back online. I do extend my apologies for the lack of 'Best of the Forum' posts for the last few weeks. Receive the Holy Oil! (Transfrmr) Forum member Transfrmr found a rather... interesting advertisement in a local free newspaper. The advertisement (see above link) shows the text: "I heard voices calling my name but saw nobody. Sometimes the voices told me to throw myself under a car. To top it off I also…
Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007.   Comments (10)

Malaysian Man Masquerades as Dentist — An unidentified Malaysian man ran a dental practice out of his home for 29 years -- without any kind of dental training. He learned his trade by carrying the bags of an army dentist for sixteen years. But apparently while he was carrying bags he was also observing closely, because he later figured he could do what the dentist did. And the truth is, after 16 years of watching the guy, he might have been right. The fake dentist charged 20 ringgit for extractions and 130 ringgit for…
Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2007.   Comments (1)

Dentist Implants Fake Boar Tusks — While operating on one of his employees, Dentist Robert Woo temporarily implanted fake boar tusks in her mouth and took photos of her. The boar tusks, he claimed, were merely a practical joke -- an allusion to the pot-bellied pigs her family raises. He hoped the joke would help foster a "friendly working environment." Unfortunately, the employee wasn't amused when she later saw the photos. She sued him for outrage, battery, and invasion of privacy. Woo asked his insurance company to…
Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2007.   Comments (10)

Chinese man cooks fish with his bare hands, cures arthritis — I guess with over one billion people, it's inevitable that China would produce its share of kooks, quacks and crazies. This 71-year-old man who claims to let 220 volts flow through his body as a form of exercise and says he can cook fish in his bare hands in two minutes fits into at least two of those categories. Oh, he can cure arthritis, too. I just upped him to all three categories. Chinese man cures arthritis with electricity
Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2007.   Comments (7)

Best of the Forum – 8th June 07 — Man blames health drink for unwanted erection (Bebelicious) New Yorker Christopher Woods underwent surgery in 2004 for severe priapism – an erection that would not subside. Now he’s suing pharmaceutical company Novartis AG, claiming that their nutritional drink, Boost Plus, was the cause of his condition. Can’t remember the name of a song? Try tapping it on your keyboard! (DJ_Canada) This programme allows you to tap the melody of a song using your space bar to try to identify it.…
Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2007.   Comments (10)

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