The Hoax Museum Blog
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.
Nude Photos Required to Enter Canada
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jul 27, 2004
The Toronto Sun reports that exotic dancers applying for a visa to enter Canada are now expected to submit photos of themselves performing in the nude... to prove that they really are exotic dancers. Immigration lawyer Mendel Green claims that the rules are quite specific: "They can't be partially nude. If they don't have pictures in the nude, they are not going to wiggle their bottoms in Canada." This sounds very weird. Could the Toronto Sun be the victim of a joke? Are they pulling our leg? Or have Canadian immigration officials just figured out a great way to get their hands on lots of free pictures of naked women? I'm not sure, but given how many other…
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jun 09, 2004
Kristen sent in this picture of a Kern County police car bearing a decal with the motto, "We'll Kick Your Ass... And take your doughnuts too." The picture is doing the email rounds (it's been doing them for about a year) accompanied by a caption that explains: Kern County California police drove this car for 1 week before an officer noticed what the graphics company employee did on the passenger side of the car. The employee did this on his last day working for the graphics company before he retired. The picture is actually real (i.e. it's not photoshopped), but the caption explaining…
Citizens for a Murder-Free America
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jun 07, 2004
This is an old site, but I hadn't seen it before. It pretends to be the homepage of a lobbying group called 'Citizens for a Murder-Free America' who are campaigning for passage of 'Precrime' legislation that will help stop murders before they happen. In reality, the site is part of the publicity campaign for Steven Spielberg's movie Minority Report, which was about a future society where the police use psychics to see into the future and tell them about murders before they happen (based on a Philip K. Dick short story). It was a pretty good movie.
Fake Cop with Guard Sheep
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jun 07, 2004
I've heard of plenty of cases of people pretending to be cops, but this one takes the cake. It's the line about how "the bogus policeman used to patrol at night in company of a sheep that looks like a dog" that really boggles my mind. I'm trying to visualize a sheep that could pass for a dog, but my imagination just isn't good enough.
Fake Road Rage Takes Turn for the Worse
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jun 03, 2004
If you break down by the side of the road, what should you do? Use your cellphone to call for help, of course. Or, if you're a complete idiot, you can pretend that you and your buddy are fighting so that concerned motorists will call the police for you. A group of budding geniuses in Massachusetts chose option B, and soon ended up in jail after a policeman showed up and ordered them to the ground at gunpoint.
Horse and Hound Humor
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 19, 2004
According to Horse & Hound magazine, British health authorities have decided to make it the law that all children must wear face masks and rubber gloves while doing yard work or grooming horses. Health and Safety spokeswoman Lirap Ducek is quoted as saying, "Childhood asthma has increased three-fold in the last 10 years, and we want to ensure that children are protected against picking up bugs which can have long-term health implications." But before you send your kid out in a rubber mask, you might want to check the release date on that story: April 1. That's right, it was an April Fool's Day joke. But apparently hundreds of people in England fell for it.
Don Fulci, Terrorist Mastermind
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 11, 2004
According to US News, one day last April the FBI, acting on a tip from an informant, went on alert to track down an evil reclusive millionaire terrorist mastermind named Don Emilio Fulci who was planning chemical attacks against London and Washington DC. FBI Director Mueller was even informed about the threat that Fulci posed. Only later did someone in the White House realize that Don Fulci is the name of the crime boss in a video game named Headhunter. I wonder if that day in April happened to be April 1st? (via BoingBoing)
Fake Abductions More Common Than Most People Realize
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 13, 2004
The abduction of Audrey Seiler, and subsequent revelation that she had faked the abduction herself, has been generating a lot of media attention. But in an interview with the Newhouse News Service, Ben Radford, managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, points out that cases like this are far more common than most people realize. By his estimate, they occur about three of four times a month, but most of the cases slip under the media's radar. In the early stages of the Seiler case, when she was first found, Ben actually emailed me betting me $10 that the case would turn out to be a hoax. Luckily, I didn't take that bet.
Restaurant Strip-Search Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 30, 2004
According to the Wall Street Journal a strange prank is becoming a real problem for restaurants throughout America. A phone prankster calls up a restaurant, pretending to a police officer, and asks the manager of the restaurant to strip search the store's employees. The reason given is usually that the police are searching for stolen money or drugs. And time after time the store managers comply with the request. I've seen cases of this prank reported in the news before, and I assumed they were unrelated to each other. But police suspect that all the cases might be the work of one guy, operating out of North Florida. Tom Briggs, of the National Food Service Security Council, notes that…
Push Button for Walk Signal
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 01, 2004
I've long suspected that those buttons on corners that you're supposed to push to get a walk signal are a bizarre hoax. Just a facade created by city governments to let us pedestrians feel like we possess some small measure of control. Now this article (NY Times, reg. req.) largely confirms my suspicion. The article only discusses New York City, but I think the situation is the same throughout most of the country.
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 08, 2003
Self Arrest Form
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 27, 2003
The East Point Police, in East Point, Georgia, have come up with a novel way to reduce the costs of fighting crime. They simply invite criminals to arrest themselves. They have an easy-to-use self arrest form on their website that criminals can fill out and submit online. At first I suspected that the entire East Point Police website was a joke, but this doesn't appear to be the case. Instead, I'm guessing that this self-arrest form is just a bit of police humor, in the same vein as the decision by the police in Kokomo, Indiana to cut costs by closing the police station during the night. Emergency calls would be recorded on an answering machine and answered…