The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Health/Medicine
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)

Best of the Forum – 1st June 07 — Botched Fax Prompts “Terrorism” Scare (MadCarlotta) Police shut down a strip mall in Boston on Wednesday after a branch of Bank of America received a faulty fax. The fax, which had been sent out by the bank's corporate office, had left off some of the text, leaving some dubious clip art. The plaza was evacuated for around three hours. Roswell Theme Park (Madmouse) Roswell city officials plan a UFO-themed amusement park that could open as early as 2010. Local shopkeepers base a large…
Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2007.   Comments (9)

Myexcusedabsence.com — Way back when -- almost four years ago -- I posted a brief entry about a doctor who was providing people with fake doctor notes. I titled the entry "Fake Doctor Notes," and soon, for some reason, that post became the number one result on google for the keywords "fake doctor notes." As a result, the comments began to fill with people asking me to provide them with fake notes. This went on for years. I'm sure the moderators remember it well. It only ended when we finally disabled…
Posted: Thu May 31, 2007.   Comments (21)

Quick Links: Belly Dancer Has Half Her Bottom Removed, etc. — Belly Dancer Has Half Her Bottom Removed German belly dancer Julia 'Cleopatra' Meyer went to a private clinic to get liposuction on her thighs. Unfortunately, the surgeon removed fat from her right buttock instead. She was awarded the equivalent of £12,000 - twice what she had asked for in compensation. (Thanks, Sophie.) Imposter at Stanford For eight months, Azia Kim lived on campus, studied with friends, and ate in the cafeteria. Trouble is, she wasn't actually a student there.
Posted: Tue May 29, 2007.   Comments (5)

Mirror-Magnified Moonlight — A couple out in Arizona, Richard and Monica Chapin, have built a moonlight magnifier (or, as they call it, an "interstellar light collector"). Exposure to concentrated lunar rays, they claim, can have all kinds of positive medical benefits. They hope it may even heal cancer. It cost them over $2 million to build the thing. According to their website, starlightuses.com, here's how the machine works: The Interstellar Light Collector rotates a full 360 degrees, and can be aligned with…
Posted: Sat May 12, 2007.   Comments (18)

Centrifuge Growth Treatment — Why do people fall for stuff like this? A woman is suing a Tokyo-based chiropractor over pricey but ineffective treatments that involved spinning her in a centrifugal device to make her taller... The chiropractic center told her the treatments using centrifugal force would make her taller at a cost of 1.05 million yen per 1 centimeter gained... According to the suit, the center said her leg bones had grown by a little over 3 cm, showing X-rays taken before and after the treatments. The…
Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2007.   Comments (6)

Havidol — Havidol.com is a pharmaceutical website touting a solution to Dysphoric Social Attention Consumption Deficit Anxiety Disorder (DSACDAD). Havidol (avafynetyme HCI) comes in both tablet and suppository form, and should be taken indefinitely. The site is very well made and, frankly, looks more professional than some legitimate websites. Whilst the names of the drug are the first sign that this site shouldn't be taken seriously, there are other signs scattered throughout the site. For…
Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2007.   Comments (6)

Yemeni Man Grows Horns from Head — 102-year-old Saleh Talib Saleh says he had had dreams when he was younger of growing horns from his head. At the age of 77, he started noticing a hard patch on his scalp. It wasn’t really bothering him and, since at the time there were no local medical facilities, he just ignored it. Gradually, the hard patch grew into what looked like a horn. The growth reached 1.6 feet before the stress on it, due to everyday life, caused it to weaken and fall off. Almost immediately, a second…
Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2007.   Comments (23)

Jesus in an Ultrasound — Following hot on the heels of the chocolate Virgin Mary (which, as many people pointed out, looked more like the Maltese Falcon) comes: Jesus as seen on an ultrasound picture. Seven months through her pregnancy, Laura Turner went for a routine ultrasound. She already knew that her son had a cleft lip, and she and her partner had been told there was a possibility of the child having Down's Syndrome. She says that she didn't notice anything particularly odd about the scan until a friend…
Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2006.   Comments (12)

Quick Links: 3D Crop Circle, etc. — 3D Crop Circle Seeming to look down on skyscrapers, experts are impressed by what is being touted as the world's first 3D crop circle. Swiftly followed by: Pig Circle A pig-shaped crop circle measuring more than 250m across has been discovered in a field in the English countryside. Two-faced Kitten A kitten with two faces has been born in Ohio. Man Wins Lawsuit Over Decade-long Erection Charles "Chick" Lennon has won his $400,000 lawsuit after his steel and plastic penis implant…
Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006.   Comments (6)

Mock Marijuana — Status: Unusual product Want some marijuana? Of course, here in America it's illegal to buy the real thing, but you can buy mock marijuana... lifelike marijuana plants made out of silk and wood. It would be a pretty cool conversation piece to have sitting in the corner, especially if the police ever show up unexpectedly. The mock marijuana is sold by New Image Plants, operated by pro-pot activist Joseph White. It's a small business. Most of his customers, ironically, are…
Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2006.   Comments (24)

Bolibao - The Breast-Plump Pill — Status: Beauty Product Scam Chinese women are reportedly flocking to buy Bolibao ('Stay Fit' in English), a pill that, according to its manufacturer, can transfer body fat from a woman's hips to her breasts. Therefore it supposedly slims your hips and boosts your bra size at the same time. It's being heavily marketed on Chinese TV despite the fact that a) it doesn't work, and b) it causes a variety of negative side effects. The brazenness of the scam is pretty remarkable. The Shanghai…
Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2006.   Comments (4)

Email Warns of Inflammatory Breast Cancer — Status: True I warn in Hippo Eats Dwarf that "Unsolicited e-mail is not a reliable source of information—about anything" (Reality Rule 7.4). This is especially true of all those random health-related claims that circulate via email warning of flesh-eating bananas, poisonous perfume, toxic tampons, etc. So it's refreshing to find an example of a health-related email warning that's actually true. On May 7, Seattle's KOMO 4 News ran a segment about Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC), a…
Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2006.   Comments (3)

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