The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
   
The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Law/Police/Crime
Suspicious MARC Poster — David Emery gave me a heads up about this soviet-style poster that has supposedly been sighted on the MARC trains that go between Baltimore and Washington DC. It urges passengers to: "Report any unusual activities or packages to the nearest conductor. WATCH, RIDE, AND REPORT." The poster seems so Big-Brother-like that a lot of people suspect it must be a hoax. David Emery comments: "the logo on the poster reads "MARC Marshals" which, as far as I can tell, don't exist. MARC trains are…
Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2005.   Comments (10)

Fake Bulletproof Vests — Apparently the latest fashion with kids is fake bullet-proof vests. They're called 'Raid Vests'. According to the Boston Globe, "Some parents are even buying the $50 faux vests for their toddlers and their dogs." The vests come in suede, nylon, and denim. Personally it wouldn't make me feel very safe to wear one, because I would worry that someone would think they could take a shot at me.
Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2005.   Comments (32)

Wal-Mart Cracks Down on Parody — Wal-Mart has threatened to sue a student who designed a parody web page that used some images from the Wal-Mart Foundation's website. The student has taken the images off his page. He's just 20 years old. What is he going to do to fight off Wal-Mart? However, I don't think he should have removed the images. He's in the right. The law gives very specific protections to parody, since parody inevitably depends upon borrowing elements of the original. I think the guy should put the images…
Posted: Fri Apr 29, 2005.   Comments (5)

Give Me Whatever’s In The Bag — This comes via News of the Weird. The incident occurred in San Diego, but somehow I missed hearing about it on the local news: Urban Legend Come to Life: A San Diego Union Tribune report of a March 28 attempted robbery seems accurate, though reminiscent of reports that have been hoaxes (including one, from The Dallas Morning News, that News of the Weird fell for in 2002). A 32-year-old woman reported that a robber accosted her and her dog in an upscale San Diego neighborhood that…
Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2005.   Comments (3)


The Case of the Stolen Laptop — A video is going around that shows a UC Berkeley professor detailing the mess a student got into by stealing his laptop (Boing Boing links to various copies of the video). The student thought he was just going to be stealing a copy of an exam. What he didn't know was that he was also stealing industrial trade secrets, which will send various federal agencies searching for him. It's a great speech by the professor. The question is, how much of it is real, and how much of it is bluff?
Posted: Thu Apr 21, 2005.   Comments (16)

Gnome Defense — Big Gary sent me this story, knowing that it would be a suitable contribution to the fast-growing Garden Gnome Wing of the museum (one of these days I'll actually get around to creating a gnome category): LONDON - A grandmother stopped an intruder from entering her home by lobbing a heavy garden gnome at him, police said Friday. Jean Collop was woken early on Tuesday morning by the sound of an intruder on the roof of her home in Wadebridge, southwest England. "I grabbed the first…
Posted: Sun Apr 17, 2005.   Comments (10)

Mushroom Licenses — Are you soon going to need a license to pick wild mushrooms in Illinois? That was what an email press release that circulated around last week stated. The email claimed that mushroom hunters would have to get a license from the same vendors that sell hunting and fishing licenses, and that revenue from the license sales would benefit biological and archaeological research in Illinois. The email prompted dozens of people to call the Illinois Natural Resources Department to complain. Today…
Posted: Tue Apr 05, 2005.   Comments (4)

Bombing — I've heard that there's a new internet fad called 'Bombing' which involves internet users getting together to phone in fake emergencies to the police. I have no idea whether or not this is really happening (though it did immediately make me think of the Not-So-Great Internet UFO Hoax, which involved an internet community trying to coordinate calling up authorities with a phony UFO sighting). Has anyone ever heard of this new fad? Is it real? Update: This question arises because a Texas…
Posted: Thu Mar 24, 2005.   Comments (24)

Welcome to the World of AIDS — Here's an old news story (from Dec. 2003), but it's still interesting from an urban legend perspective. An 18-year-old youth in South Africa claims that three women forced him at gunpoint to have sex with them. "The youth claims that after this the women said welcome to the world of Aids." It seems like the police didn't believe his story. They just laughed at him, which isn't surprising considering that his story is exactly like that urban legend about someone who wakes up after a…
Posted: Thu Mar 17, 2005.   Comments (11)

Hitman Professional Killings — Status: Hoax website If you're ever shopping around for a contract killer, look no further than HITMAN, "The most trusted name in professional killings." They conveniently take Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. Plus, they offer "discounts for packages of three hits or more, as long as the marks are all grouped together in one geographic location, and as long as our services have to be rendered all within the same timeframe." I'm impressed by their list of 'greatest hits' that…
Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2005.   Comments (37)

No Cell Phones While Pumping Gas — A Connecticut senator, Andrea Stillman, has introduced a bill into the state legislature to impose a $250 fine on anyone who uses a cell phone while pumping gas. She sees it as a public health issue. Here's her reasoning: Stillman said there are already warnings pasted on gas pumps informing people that a cell phone in the proximity of a gas pump could cause an electrical charge that might ignite the pump. However, she said, there are no penalties. Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought that…
Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2005.   Comments (44)

MPAA Ratings Crackdown — Archives of fanfiction on the net have traditionally grouped stories according to rating (i.e. X, R, PG-13, PG, and G), so that everyone knows what to expect before they read a story. But it turns out that their use of the rating system may be illegal. A few fanfiction writers have apparently begun receiving cease-and-desist notices from the MPAA demanding that they stop using the rating system since it's the intellectual property of the MPAA. The people receiving these notices can…
Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2005.   Comments (21)

Is the Eiffel Tower Copyrighted? — Has the city of Paris really copyrighted the Eiffel Tower as it looks lit up at night, meaning that anyone (including a tourist) who takes a picture of the Eiffel Tower at night has to get permission and pay a fee before publishing that picture? As bizarre as it sounds, apparently this is true. Even if you wanted to post your holiday photos of the 'Eiffel Tower by night' on the web, you would technically have to get permission first. The Eiffel Tower itself was built in 1889, and…
Posted: Thu Feb 03, 2005.   Comments (14)

Connecticut Evacuated — Residents of the entire state of Connecticut were ordered to evacuate yesterday, after someone in the state emergency management department accidentally "pressed the wrong button" and sent out the evacuation message to broadcasters (thanks to Gary for forwarding the story). Even though TV and radio listeners were told that the state was being evacuated, nobody paid any attention. The police didn't even receive any calls about it. Obviously Connecticut needs to revise its emergency…
Posted: Wed Feb 02, 2005.   Comments (12)

Happy Slappers — The Sun reports that British rowdies have embraced a new hobby: happy slapping. Here's what the Sun says: A VIOLENT craze in which thugs slap strangers across the face and record it on video phone is sweeping Britain. The so-called "happy slappers" attack while an accomplice captures it to post on the internet or send to another mobile. But what started as a schoolkids' prank has escalated into more serious assaults - including fly-kicking strangers' spines - and robberies. This…
Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2005.   Comments (29)

Aural Policing — According to an article in the Economist, quoted here by the Washington Monthly blog, a British grocery store chain has been successfully deterring rowdy youths from hanging around their stores by playing classical music. Mozart and Pavarotti appear to be especially potent at warding off juvenile delinquents. The same technique has been working in underground stations. Something about this strikes me as a bit odd. Why would it work? Just because the kids don't like having to listen to…
Posted: Tue Jan 11, 2005.   Comments (26)

Anonymous Lawyer — The Anonymous Lawyer blog makes clear that it's the diary of a "fictional hiring partner at a large law firm". However, as this NY Times article notes, many people who had become fans of the blog and its account of the "soulless, billable-hours-obsessed partners, the overworked BlackBerry-dependent associates and the wrecked families that are the dark underside of life at his large firm in Los Angeles" were convinced that it had to be written by a real-life "Big Law insider". As it…
Posted: Tue Dec 28, 2004.   Comments (4)

PhotoBlocker Spray — The makers of PhotoBlocker spray claim that their product will make your license plate invisible to photo radar, red light cameras, and infrared and laster cameras. Special crystals in the spray will reflect back the flash (or light source) used by these cameras, making your license look like a bright blur. Would this actually work? Would it be legal if it did? They say that the spray is invisible to the naked eye, which means that it won't be of much use if a cop pulls you over.…
Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2004.   Comments (222)

Aliens Made Me Do It — The BBC reports that the staff of the Northumbria Safety Camera Partnership have come up with the 10 stupidest excuses drivers have come up with to explain why they were speeding. Number one is: "I passed out after seeing UFOs." Not only stupid, but illogical (unless you passed out and somehow jammed your foot on the accelerator). A few of the other excuses are: A jet over-head, not me, triggered the camera I had a severe bout of diarrhoea A gust of wind pushed me over the limit I…
Posted: Fri Dec 03, 2004.   Comments (4)

A Visit from the Secret Service — A couple of stories about writers receiving visits from the Secret Service have been getting a lot of attention in the blogosphere, and a lot of people have been wondering if they're real or fake. The first case involves fanfic writer Annie Sewell-Jennings who posted an entry on her blog in which she satirically prayed that Bush would die. A couple of weeks later, according to her, "the Secret Service showed up on my mother's front door to talk to me about what I said about the…
Posted: Mon Nov 01, 2004.   Comments (11)

Page 8 of 10 pages ‹ First  < 6 7 8 9 10 > 
All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.