The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Identity/Imposters
Fake Family Software — Status: Hoax-facilitating software Genealogists are in an uproar about new software that allows people to create fake (but real looking) online family trees. The program is called Fake Family. (Because of the controversy, the website of the software maker is now given over to an Open Letter to Genealogists.) Genealogists argue that the fake information created by this program could easily find its way into real family history databases. They also charge that the only purpose of the…
Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2005.   Comments (56)

Dr. Richard Chopp (unfortunate name for a urologist) — Status: Real I would think twice (and then maybe another three or four times) before going to a urologist named Dr. Dick Chopp. I would also suspect the name had to be a joke. But it doesn't seem to be a joke. It's his real name. He works at the Urology Team, based in Austin, Texas: Dr. Richard (Dick) Chopp is well known in the Austin community for performing Vasectomies. He also enjoys treating patients with metabolic evolution of kidney stone disease, male endocrine urology…
Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2005.   Comments (19)

Skype Prank — Here's a prank perpetrated on the Skype system (an internet-based phone and chat service) that proves you never know who you're talking to online: A profile is put up with a girl's name and picture, and put in "Skype me" mode. Within minutes some seedy guy will invariably try calling/chatting, and there's a little program I made running the whole time which will partner up people 2 at a time, and send messages from the first person to the second, & vice versa. This way both people…
Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2005.   Comments (10)

Piano Man Was a Hoax — Back in May I wrote an entry about the Piano Man mystery (the institutionalized piano player in England who was lacking an identity). At the time I doubted it was a hoax, but I was wrong. My wife, who immediately said his story reminded her of Princess Caraboo, was right. He was pretending to be mentally ill. (According to the article "he had previously worked with mentally ill patients and had copied some of their characteristics.") A few days ago, he suddenly started speaking and…
Posted: Mon Aug 22, 2005.   Comments (15)


Oompa Loompa Imposters — For years Ezzy Dame has been living a lie. Thirty four years ago he padded his resume with the claim that he had played an Oompa Loompa in the 1971 version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. With the release of the recent version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, reporters sought him out for his opinion, as an ex-Oompa Loompa, about the film. This caught the attention of a real ex-Oompa Looma, Rusty Goff, who outed him. Goff claims that he's aware of other "Oomposters."
Posted: Sat Aug 20, 2005.   Comments (23)

Wired Article About Peter Lynds — Wired has an article in its current issue about the amateur time-theorist Peter Lynds. Lynds and I had quite an argument going about two years ago. This argument gets mentioned in the Wired article: For a while, the question of whether instants exist was superseded by the question of whether Lynds exists. His claims were so outlandish, the scandal they provoked so fervent, and his home country (apparently) so exotic that the Internet Museum of Hoaxes briefly decided Lynds wasn't real.…
Posted: Thu May 26, 2005.   Comments (29)

The Piano Man — In the past few days the 'Piano Man' has been getting a lot of attention. He's a guy who was found "wandering on a windswept road on the Isle of Sheppey". He was dripping wet and very confused. The authorities took him to a hospital where the staff discovered that although the guy refuses to say a word, and they have no idea of his identity, he is an accomplished piano player. He's now been at the hospital for a couple of weeks, during which time he hasn't said a word, but he loves to…
Posted: Wed May 18, 2005.   Comments (28)

Kaycee Nicole in Training — Interesting letter in today's Dear Abby: DEAR ABBY: I am a 10-year-old girl who has been playing after school on a Web site for pet lovers. I like to talk to kids older than me — 14- or- 15-year-olds. A lot of the boys I've talked to have asked for my picture, so I went to Google and found a picture of a pretty blond girl around 15 years old. I have been sending this picture to all the people who have asked me for one. So this is what the future holds for us. A whole generation of
Posted: Fri Jan 07, 2005.   Comments (33)

Confessions of a New York Escort — The latest possible faux-blog gaining attention is nyhotties.com, the online diary of a twenty-something New Yorker named Alexa who quit her job as an editor's assistant at a fashion magazine a few years ago and became an escort (her blog is somewhat safe for work, R-rated language, but relatively tame images). This immediately invites comparison to Belle de Jour the supposed London call girl who kept a blog. Belle managed to secure a book deal from her true-confessions blog (her book…
Posted: Sun Jan 02, 2005.   Comments (28)

Nick Nolte’s Blog — Here's yet another possible faux celebrity blog. This time it's the blog of Nick Nolte. It's probably becoming a sign of status in Hollywood to have a faux blog... it shows that someone out there cares enough about you to want to pretend to be you. Imagine all the forgotten stars waiting desperately for someone to create a fake blog about them. Maybe they eventually break down and pay someone to pretend to be them... which would make it a faux faux celebrity blog. Lost in Technophilia
Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2004.   Comments (4)

Fake Maoists — Fake Maoists are running amok in Nepal, robbing people and extorting money from shopkeepers and businessmen. What's next? Fake Marxists holding up banks? Phony Socialists looting liquor stores? Meanwhile, the Real Maoists are fighting back against the Fake Maoists who, so they claim, are trying to ruin their reputation. For some reason this reminds me of the fake eunuchs at large in India.
Posted: Thu Oct 07, 2004.   Comments (0)

The It-Was-My-Twin-Sister Excuse — Aylar's career as a finalist for Miss Norway was about to come to a crashing end when her secret past in the adult film industry was revealed. The rules of the Miss Norway competition clearly forbid contestants from having posed nude for money. But luckily Aylar had an explanation ready at hand. That woman doing all those things in those movies wasn't her, even though it looked exactly like her. It was her twin sister. (Wasn't there an episode of Friends where this happened to…
Posted: Thu Aug 19, 2004.   Comments (7)

Dear Leader’s Weblog — The Korea Times has an article about the new weblog of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (known to his people as 'Dear Leader'). It appeared on Cyworld (which I'm guessing is like the Korean equivalent of LiveJournal) a few days ago, and already is getting a lot of attention. On the blog Dear Leader shows off his tanks and other stuff. Of course, it's a fake blog. I can't actually find the blog itself, but here's a screenshot of it. Of course, Kim Jong-Il once had a LiveJournal blog, but…
Posted: Fri Aug 13, 2004.   Comments (2)

Rance Update — I haven't visited the Rance blog in ages (in case you missed out on the Rance thing, he's an anonymous blogger who claims to be an a-list Hollywood celebrity). Now it looks like Rance has decided to call it quits, but he wants his blog to live on. So he's accepting applications for Rance 2. I guess he must be from Hollywood if he's that committed to producing a sequel. But as is always the case, you just know that the sequel is going to be worse than the original.
Posted: Tue Aug 03, 2004.   Comments (0)

Catwoman Beneath the Costume — I like Halle Berry, but I don't have any plans to see Catwoman (it just doesn't look that interesting). And anyway, turns out it isn't even Halle in that costume. It's some guy called Nito Larioza wearing red lipstick. Maybe Nito is also Mr. Six! You never know.
Posted: Tue Jul 20, 2004.   Comments (1)

Be A Celeb — Fake blogs are a growing trend on the web. Just recently we saw Plain Layne exposed as Odin Soli. But now, with the advent of an online role-playing game called Be A Celeb, the fake-blog phenomenon seems to be rising to a whole new level. The goal of Be A Celeb is to create a convincing fake celebrity blog. You can choose to be whatever celebrity you like, as long as someone else hasn't already taken the celebrity. Celebrities already in play include Clay Aiken, Jessica Biel, and
Posted: Fri Jul 16, 2004.   Comments (5)

Fake Eunuchs Run Amok — Apparently there's a tradition in India that a eunuch can show up at a house after a birth or marriage and ask for money. But nowadays more and more fake eunuchs are elbowing in on this lucrative market... much to the annoyment of the real eunuchs. The fake eunuchs are also involved in a lot of other even more criminal activities: "From extorting money to robbing shopkeepers and passengers in trains, these fake eunuchs are running a parallel network." Honestly, I never knew there was…
Posted: Wed Jul 07, 2004.   Comments (8)

Plain Layne is Odin Soli — This isn't going to mean much to anyone, but when I heard the news I was dumbfounded. Plain Layne is Odin Soli. I haven't seen Odin in years, but I know him quite well. We went to grad school together at UC San Diego, though he left before I did. I've also read a novel he wrote. It was a detective story and pretty good. We TA'ed for the same class, plus we had quite a few beers together in the campus pub. Well, this makes the entire Plain Layne saga much more up close and personal for…
Posted: Mon Jun 28, 2004.   Comments (4)

Plain Layne (and other fake bloggers) — The big news in the blogosphere last week was the revelation that a blogger named 'Plain Layne' wasn't who she said she was. Of course if you, like me, had never heard of Plain Layne before, then the news didn't mean a whole lot. But the people who thought they knew her seemed genuinely shocked. Plain Layne wrote about her life, and her life happened to be far more exciting and racy than the lives of most people, which is why she had a fairly large following. Jason Kottke has…
Posted: Tue Jun 22, 2004.   Comments (10)

Really Unfortunate Last Names — A couple of weeks ago I posted an entry about a Brazilian professor of Geology who has a rather unfortunate last name. That inspired quite a few people to chime in with other unfortunate last names they've encountered. But I think I've found a contest winner (not that there is any contest). Meet Miss Chew Shit Fun, a professor of Natural Sciences at the National Institute of Education in Singapore. As far as I can tell, that really is her name. (via The Peking Duck)
Posted: Thu Jun 10, 2004.   Comments (7)

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