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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Health/Medicine
New Orleans Euthanasia — A report in the Daily Mail claims that doctors stranded in New Orleans hospitals after Katrina hit decided to give some patients lethal doses of morphine, rather than watching them die in agony. A few bloggers are suggesting this report has all the markings of an urban legend, given that it's based on only one identified source. If so, it wouldn't be the first urban legend emerging from the disaster. However, the recent discovery of 44 dead bodies in a New Orleans hospital would seem to…
Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2005.   Comments (19)

Liquid Oxygen Skin Cream — New Scientist has flagged a product whose promoters are guilty of making a few misleading claims. It's Neaclear facial cream, and it's advertised as containing a "powerful combination of liquid oxygen, vitamins C & E, sage, chamomile, seaweed and rosemary, coconut oil, sweet almond oil and hydroquinone." The company even boasts that they're the first company "to combine stabilised liquid oxygen into all of its products." New Scientist notes that "We have certainly never heard of a skin…
Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2005.   Comments (15)

Woman Claims to Have Diana’s Kidney — A French woman, Francoise Gaellar, had a kidney transplant two days after Princess Diana died in a car crash. She believes that she received Diana's kidney. As a consequence, she now feels urges to speak in English: "I found myself speaking English to my friends, something I don't normally do because I have no reason to," she says. "I cannot explain why I did this." Is this evidence of a fanciful nature, or an indication she had indeed received an organ from an English-speaker?…
Posted: Thu May 26, 2005.   Comments (20)

Hidden Dangers — The website of the British firm Health and Safety Management Consultants offers a list of 'hidden dangers'. For instance, did you know that 10,700 people in the UK are injured every year while putting their socks on? That two women have been killed by lightning hitting the underwiring of their bras? That more people are injured by flowerpots every year than by hedge trimmers? And that "the number of injuries inflicted by vegetables remains unacceptably high, at 13,132"? Most of these…
Posted: Sun Mar 27, 2005.   Comments (13)


The Rumor About LiveStrong Bracelets — A lot of people lately are wearing those yellow LiveStrong bracelets that help support the Lance Armstrong Foundation's efforts to fund cancer research. But the rumor going around is that if you do wear one of them, you better hope that you don't get into an accident and end up at the hospital, because the bracelets look exactly like the yellow wristbands that hospitals place on 'Do Not Resuscitate' patients. Apparently there is some truth to the rumor. Some hospitals do place yellow…
Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2005.   Comments (20)

Cure The Catch — I received this email from 'Kurto': i have been a frequent visitor of your site for some time now. Recently this bombardment of advertisements about "The Catch" has been bothering me. The ad's contain figures stating million of Canadians have the Catch, and there's no cure. I'm curious to what exactly they're referring to. The website they encourage people to visit is http://curethecatch.com i have doubts to the validity of this so called disease. See if you can dig up any dirt on…
Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005.   Comments (4)

Magnehance — Dakota Therapeutics has issued a press release announcing their exciting new product: the Magnehance. It's "a new magnetic device for erectile enhancement." The mind boggles. I don't quite understand how this thing is supposed to be worn, and (perhaps thankfully) they don't offer any illustrations on their website. But the amount of pseudo-scientific jargon they deploy is quite remarkable: the Magnehance™ is constructed of a super-flexible form of the high-energy, rare earth magnet…
Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2005.   Comments (40)

Carrot Fungus: It’ll Either Kill You or Cure Cancer — Andy sent me an email pointing out this curious article about an anti-cancer compound found in carrots. It's probably some kind of typo or poor choice of words, but if you read the first and last sentences together it sure sounds like this carrot cure is going to kill you before it has a chance to kill the cancer: Eating 400kg of carrot every day can help ward off cancer, scientists say. The recent study carried out by scientists at the University of Newcastle said a compound called…
Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005.   Comments (10)

Morgellons Disease: Is It Real? — Sufferers of Morgellons disease complain of invisible parasites biting their skin. And they get skin lesions from which sprout strange fibers. And mysterious black spore-like specks appear on their skin. Cases of this strange disease seem to be spreading, especially in the Bay area. One theory is that it has something to do with Lyme disease. Or it may be a case of mass delusion. The medical community seems to think it's mass delusion. Most people who show up complaining of these…
Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005.   Comments (607)

Knuckle Cracking — I'm not a knuckle cracker myself. In fact, I hate it when people crack their knuckles. And I've frequently told people that cracking their knuckles would cause arthritis. After all, that's what everyone says. But according to this NY Times article (republished in the Arizona Republic) it's not true. It's an urban legend. Just reading this description of what causes knuckles to crack makes me cringe: The loud pop of a cracked knuckle is caused by synovial fluid, the thick lubricant that…
Posted: Wed Feb 02, 2005.   Comments (70)

Auto-Urine Therapy — The About.com urban legends forum has a thread going about auto-urine therapy, which translates into 'drinking your own urine'. Is there really a thriving urine-drinking subculture? Well, yes. As the poster points out, all you have to do is google 'drinking your own urine' and you get all kinds of hits. The reason urine-drinking has so many fans is that it's supposed to offer numerous health benefits, including improving the immune system, giving you nice skin, acting great as a gargle…
Posted: Sat Dec 18, 2004.   Comments (72)

Top 15 Most Bizarre Reasons for Calling in Sick — According to this press release from Career Builder, over one-third of U.S. workers take fake sickies (sick days when they're not really sick). Personally I think that number is too low. The real number should be closer to 90 or 100 percent, because I don't know anyone who hasn't taken a fake sick day at some point. But then again, maybe all my friends and family members are slackers. The same press release also offers the 15 most bizarre reasons that people have offered for taking a…
Posted: Wed Oct 20, 2004.   Comments (11)

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)

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