The Hoax Museum Blog
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 02, 2005
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 evacuation message. Something more along the lines of 'the state has been invaded by Martians' proved quite effective in nearby New Jersey in 1938. Yesterday's incident recalls the time on February 20, 1971 when the National Emergency Warning Center…
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 26, 2005
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 sounds suspiciously like an urban legend. I can definitely believe the part about random street attacks, but the part about recording it all on video and posting it on the internet sounds…
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 11, 2005
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 classical music? Could it really be that easy? Perhaps it is.
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 28, 2004
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 turns out, it's not. The author of the blog is Jeremy Blachman, a third-year Harvard law student who simply wanted to "post as a hiring partner and be believable."
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 07, 2004
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. Personally, I've always thought someone should make a stealth car, made out of the same material as the stealth airplanes. That would…
Aliens Made Me Do It
Posted by The Curator on Fri Dec 03, 2004
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 had to rush my dying hamster to the vet's.
A Visit from the Secret Service
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 01, 2004
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 President, as what I said could apparently be misconstrued as a threat to his life. After about ten minutes of talking to me and my family, they quickly came to the…
Man Tries to Kill Wife to ‘Save Marriage’
Posted by The Curator on Fri Oct 29, 2004
If there was an award for stupid excuses, this guy would get one. William Dahlby threw a live electrical wire into his wife's bath, and when she tried to jump out, he pushed her back in. But he says that he's innocent of trying to kill her because he only did it to "save the marriage." He was hoping the near-death experience would jump-start their flagging relationship, so to speak. Apparently William didn't realize that the old saying about the quickest way to a woman's heart being with a knife is just a joke... and incidentally, I've heard that joke applied to both women and men. But really, did this guy seriously think that such a pathetic excuse…
Posted by The Curator on Wed Oct 20, 2004
If you're searching for unusual thrills, why not try getting kidnapped? Extreme Kidnapping promises that it will allow you to "customize your own kidnapping!" Yup. For the right price, women in fishnet stockings will show up unannounced at your door, whisk you away, and keep you bound and gagged in their basement for a few days. As weird as this sounds, I actually think it's real, mainly because I've heard of this before. Back in 2002 a guy called Brock Enright was in the news for staging 'Designer Kidnappings'. Enright commented that even though all his abductions occurred in broad daylight, in front of witnesses, no one had ever intervened to help the faux victim. Everyone…
Posted by The Curator on Thu Oct 07, 2004
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.
Game Show Sting
Posted by The Curator on Tue Oct 05, 2004
If you're a wanted criminal you may want to think twice about showing up to appear on a TV game show. British police created a fake game show, Great Big Giveaway Show, to which they invited twenty people on their wanted list. Seventeen of them were arrested. I guess no one can resist a chance to be on TV. (Thanks to Andrew Nixon for the link)
Posted by The Curator on Tue Oct 05, 2004
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 04, 2004
Normally I ignore things like bomb hoaxes, but this one was too good to pass up. Security officials at Mackay Airport went on high alert and evacuated the terminal when a "rubbish bin started humming furiously." Upon inspection, they discovered a vibrating sex toy "emitting a lively buzzing sound" inside the trash can. A sheepish 26-year-old man stepped forward and admitted the device was his. He had thrown it away before boarding because he didn't want to go through security with it. "But instead of remaining discreetly discarded, it somehow managed to turn itself on."
Preparing for Emergencies
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jul 30, 2004
The British government recently put up a website, preparingforemergencies.gov.uk, filled with advice (most of it fairly obvious) on what to do in case of an emergency. In response York University student Thomas Scott put up this website, preparingforemergencies.co.uk, that looks almost identical but instead offers advice on what to do in situations such as being attacked by a zombie (destroy their brain), or alien invasion (negotiate using sign language). Anyone can see that Scott's site is a spoof... anyone, that is, except the British government, which promptly ordered him to take it down. Scott called their bluff and refused, and it looks like Scott is going to win. The government
Fake Washing Suds
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 28, 2004
Consumers in England have been alerted to be on the lookout for fake washing suds. Rogue boxes of 'Bold 2in1' are masquerading as the real thing. A government official is quoted as saying: "Consumers are aware of counterfeit DVDs and computer games but fake washing powder is unusual and goes to show the length that counterfeiters will go to deceive the public." I certainly wasn't aware of this problem. I think I could use washing powder for years without ever noticing that it was fake, because I tend to just dump the stuff in the machine and walk away. I never hang around to check out if it's sudsing up.