The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Identity/Imposters
Another case of a phony veteran — Jack Livesey claimed he was in the Parachute regiment of the British Army, did five tours of duty in Northern Ireland, and won a military medal. He was a guest of honor at the 25th anniversary commemorations of the Falklands War. But the British Ministry of Defense says, "Jack Livesey (DOB 15/05/54) only served in the British Army in the Army Catering Corps from December 1971 until April 1974." Livesey also claims he was a miltary adviser to Saving Private Ryan, though he wasn't paid…
Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2009.   Comments (4)

Woman insists she isn’t a man — Shifa Patel wore a full-length robe and hijab to her job as a secretary at a Muslim Girls' school in Lancashire. This concealed her features. But when pictures of her dressed in a shirt and trousers began to circulate at the school, concerned parents thought she looked like a man and demanded she be fired. Patel insisted she wasn't faking her gender, that she really was a woman, and even had a doctor's certificate to prove it. But to no avail. The complaints continued, and she…
Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2009.   Comments (4)

Castro’s son hoaxed by fake woman — Fidel Castro's son, Antonio Castro, has learned the hard way the truth of the saying, "On the internet, the men are men, the women are men, and the children are FBI agents." A cuban exile, Luis Dominguez, created a fake online persona -- "Claudia, a 27-year-old Colombian sports journalist" -- and used it to conduct an online relationship with Castro's son. He did it, he said, to expose the opulent lifestyle of the Castros. From the BBC: Claudia made contact with Antonio and they…
Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2009.   Comments (3)

Online Pseuicides — Howard Swains recently reported in Wired on the phenomenon of fake online deaths. He writes: Many online tales of death and suffering are works of complete fiction, "pseuicides" dressed up as real-life catastrophes. Some are contrived to titillate or garner attention, some result from something more serious, and some are the result of a uniquely modern psychiatric disorder known as Munchausen by internet. And: In two investigations between 2007 and 2009, I encountered countless…
Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009.   Comments (7)


The Next Mr. Rogers? — 18-year-old Michael Kinsell has a dream of being the next Mr. Rogers. Last year he started telling people at his school that he was filming a show called Michael's Enchanted Neighborhood, and that it was going to be aired on PBS. The show was modeled closely on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. From pointweekly.com: Each show will begin much as Mr. Rogers' did, with Kinsell singing a song, "It's a Lovely Day Today to Play," as he puts on a sweater and sneakers. Then a "neighbor," such as an…
Posted: Fri Jun 05, 2009.   Comments (3)

Disgusting Fake Doctor — A man has been arrested in Spain for posing as a fake doctor. He was performing breast and buttock augmentations in his home, which was reported to be filthy (full of numerous pets). Plus, he was using veterinary tools to inject liquid silicone. The reason real surgeons haven't used liquid silicone since the 1960s is because it can cause discoloration, open sores, and gangrene. [metro.co.uk]
Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2009.   Comments (11)

Homeless Decoys — The City of Toronto plans to pay 100 people $100 each to pose as homeless people for a day. Each person will first attend a 30-minute training seminar on how to convincingly look homeless. The reason: the decoys will act as a "control measure" during the city's upcoming survey of the homeless population. I guess I don't sufficiently understand the methodology of conducting surveys, because this doesn't make any sense to me.
Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2009.   Comments (16)

The Dalai Lama Twitters and then is gone — February 1: The Dalai Lama joins the micro-blogging service Twitter and starts posting updates, which soon almost 20,000 people are following. February 9: Twitter announces that the Dalai Lama's account is a fake and cancels it. This explanatory message was posted on the Twitter blog: One of the essential doctrines of Buddhism is Impermanence. The word expresses the notion that everything we can experience through our senses is in flux, constantly changing, and ceasing to be—nothing…
Posted: Wed Feb 11, 2009.   Comments (4)

New York Times Hoaxed — The NY Times apologized for printing an email from the Mayor of Paris in which he criticized Caroline Kennedy's bid for Clinton's senate seat. You see, it's easy to put a fake email address in the "From" field, so it's the Times's policy to always check that the person who seems to have sent them an email actually did so. But they didn't do that in this case, and now the Mayor is denying he wrote the email. The Times is "reviewing procedures" to make sure something like this doesn't…
Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2008.   Comments (2)

Fictitious McCain Adviser Exposed — Martin Eisenstadt, who describes himself as a former campaign adviser to John McCain and a Senior Fellow of the Harding Institute, has been in the news a lot lately. First it was for outing himself as the guy who leaked the story about Palin not knowing Africa was a continent. Now it's for being non-existent. The NY Times has the details. Turns out that Eisenstadt is a fictitious character created by two filmmakers, Eitan Gorlin and Dan Mirvish. Media outlets fooled: MSNBC, The New…
Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008.   Comments (8)

McElhone in movie about James Barry — The Guardian reports that Natasha McElhone is slated to play Dr. James Barry in an upcoming film to be titled Heaven and Earth. Barry was the nineteenth-century British woman who disguised herself as a man in order to become a doctor. (See my post from earlier this year.) The film is apparently focusing on the rumored romance between Barry and Lord Somerset: James Purefoy, recently seen as Mark Antony in the TV series Rome, will play Lord Somerset, a diplomat who sacrifices his…
Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2008.   Comments (1)

Pietro Psaier: Real or Hoax? — Pietro Psaier was an artist whose works fetch thousands of dollars. He was said to be a friend of Andy Warhol, which helps his saleability. But the question now perplexing the art world is whether Psaier ever actually existed. This, from the Telegraph, is the little that's known about his life: Information provided by an agent for the artist's estate states that Psaier was born in Italy in 1936 and died in the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka. He left Italy as a young man and went to…
Posted: Wed Sep 17, 2008.   Comments (1)

C. Yeager of the Phillies — Baseball fans attending the recent Fan Fest in New York City had the chance to get memorabilia signed by C. Yeager of the Phillies. The problem: there is no "C. Yeager" playing for the Phillies. The man in the Phillies uniform was really just a guy who likes to dress up as a ballplayer so that, for a few minutes, he can enjoy the adulation of kids... before the police haul him away. The Sporting Blog (who has video of the guy signing anything people stuck in front of him) writes: "He…
Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2008.   Comments (7)

Check-in Pseudonyms — Kate Beckinsale goes by "Sigourney Beaver." Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, when together, were "Mr and Mrs Ross Vegas." And Johnny Depp uses "Mr. Stench." These are some of the check-in pseudonyms that Hollywood stars use to remain anonymous when registering at hotels. The only time I ever use a pseudonym is when asked to fill in info for things like online surveys or grocery store cards. Then I'm always "Eric Blair." But I'm thinking of switching to Hugo N. Frye.
Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2008.   Comments (23)

Woman discovers the guy she met online wasn’t really a Sonics star — Another case of an impostor is in the news. A woman in Somerville, Mass. thought she was dating Jeff Turner, a former basketball player for the Washington Seattle Sonics. Turns out she was actually dating an impostor named Ronnie Craven. Craven's cover was blown when the woman became suspicious, tracked down the real Jeff Turner, and called him. Craven admits to the hoax, but says he only did it to impress the woman. In other words, he claims he was only trying to benefit sexually, not…
Posted: Thu Jun 05, 2008.   Comments (7)

Woman discovers husband isn’t a doctor — Tammi Parteet was worried since she hadn't heard from her husband. So she decided to call him at Piedmont Hospital, where he worked as a doctor. WSBTV.com relates what happened next: She called him on his Piedmont cell phone, the one he told her was for emergencies. A staff member picked up. "I said, 'I'm trying to locate my husband, Dr. Perteet.' And she said, 'Dr. who? We don't have a Dr. Perteet.' And she says, 'Are you talking about the guy that had this cell phone?' And I said…
Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008.   Comments (9)

Carrollton Mayor’s Questionable Singing Career — Becky Miller, Mayor of Carrollton in Texas, claims that she once sang backup for Linda Ronstadt and Jackson Browne, and was once engaged to Don Henley. Problem is, none of these people have ever heard of her. She also claims that her brother was killed in Vietnam. However, her father says that her brother is still alive in Maryland and was never in the service. And Western Kentucky University can't find any record of her attendance, despite her insistence that she was a student there.
Posted: Thu May 08, 2008.   Comments (11)

Wrong Hillary — From the March 19th edition of the Mahoning Valley Tribune Chronicle: It was incorrectly reported in Tuesday’s Tribune Chronicle that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton answered questions from voters in a local congressman’s office. Reporter John Goodall, who was assigned to the story, spoke by telephone with Hillary Wicai Viers, who is a communications director in U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson’s staff. According to the reporter, when Viers answered the phone with ‘‘This is Hillary,’’ he believed…
Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008.   Comments (8)

Dr. James Barry, aka Margaret Bulkley — Stephanie Pain has an interesting article in this week's New Scientist about Dr. James Barry, a nineteenth-century British doctor who may have been a woman. She writes: MYSTERY, intrigue, romance... the story of Dr Barry has them all. The tale is so compelling it's been told countless times, yet no one has ever solved the central mystery: who was Barry, the pint-sized physician with the sandy curls and squeaky voice? The doctor was both caring and quarrelsome, dainty yet dashing. He…
Posted: Wed Mar 12, 2008.   Comments (19)

Yet Another Literary Hoax — One week after Misha Defonseca confessed that she didn't really grow up with wolves, as she claimed in her memoir of her childhood in war-torn Europe, another literary hoax has surfaced. Love and Consequences, by Margaret B. Jones, purports to be a non-fiction memoir of the author's life "as a half-white, half-Native American girl growing up in South-Central Los Angeles as a foster child among gang-bangers, running drugs for the Bloods." In reality, as the NY Times reports: "Margaret…
Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008.   Comments (9)

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