The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
   
The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Mass Delusion
Syringe Attacks in China: Did they actually happen? — Last week there were mass demonstrations in the Chinese city of Urumqi following what were described as a wave of "politically motivated syringe attacks." But now people are questioning how many syringe attacks actually happened, and were any of them politically motivated? From the Toronto Star: The government said more than 500 people claimed to have been attacked, but only 170 show any signs of injury. Of those, 22 were being monitored and none were expected to suffer repercussions,…
Posted: Tue Sep 08, 2009.   Comments (1)

Penis Theft Panic in Congo — Penis-melting Zionist Robot Combs have struck in the Congo. Minus the Zionists and the Robot Combs. From Reuters: Rumours of penis theft began circulating last week in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo's sprawling capital of some 8 million inhabitants. They quickly dominated radio call-in shows, with listeners advised to beware of fellow passengers in communal taxis wearing gold rings. Purported victims, 14 of whom were also detained by police, claimed that sorcerers simply…
Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2008.   Comments (11)

Speaking of urban legends in the Third World… — A young Indian boy is claiming to be the reincarnation of an American scientist. According to the article linked below, he speaks mostly gibberish with a few "scientific" words mixed in. Proof enough for me! I especially like the next-to-last paragraph of the article. [Thanks to the reader who submitted this story] Indian boy claims to be reincarnation of American scientist
Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2007.   Comments (18)

Yet another urban myth from Iraq — On the heels of the "American troops eat babies" myth comes the story of the Giant, Man-eating Badgers of Basra: Ferocious British badgers an urban myth in Iraq
Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2007.   Comments (7)


American troops eat babies? — Among the many difficulties American troops are encountering in Iraq (I won't get all political here by listing them), one is a little bit more bizarre than others. It seems that some Iraqis believe that American soldiers carry poison-tipped bullets and eat babies. Kinda tough to win hearts and minds when you're dealing with people who think you dine on infants, I would imagine. I wondered if this story itself was a hoax until I followed the link I found and saw that it lead to Stars…
Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2007.   Comments (17)

Oregon townfolk see penises everywhere — My wife says this isn't a hoax so she doesn't think it belongs on MoH. She may be right, but it's just so damn wacky, I felt I should share it with you all. The city of Keizer, Oregon, a suburb of Oregon's capital, Salem, spent $20,000 to install some run-of-the-mill concrete pillars, designed to keep cars from killing pedestrians should drivers lose control and veer onto the sidewalk. So far, so good. The trouble started when some unspecified people decided that the pillars looked…
Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2007.   Comments (32)

Faces in Trees — I was inspired by the news story about the mayor's face in a tree to search out other examples of faces in trees. I knew that stories about faces in trees pop up regularly in the news, but to my knowledge no one had ever collected these stories together in one place. So it seemed like an appropriate thing to waste a couple of hours doing. I posted the results in the hoaxipedia. It's more faces in trees than you can shake a stick at.
Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2007.   Comments (0)

Killer Mobile Phone Virus — I'm a bit late with this, but I see (via Fortean Times) that last month Reuters reported that rumors were spreading around Pakistan and Afghanistan alleging that: a deadly virus was being sent through mobile phones, and that anyone answering phone calls from some certain numbers would contract a fatal illness. The rumours claimed that "as soon as you answer your phone blood comes out of your mouth, nose and ears and you die" The local phone companies were trying to calm people down,…
Posted: Fri May 18, 2007.   Comments (30)

The Case of the Ghostly Pigeon — Status: Phony Ghost For the past month villagers in West Bengal have been terrorized by a ghost that took the form of a floating skull with fiery red eyes. A number of people have suffered scratch marks when attacked by this ghost. Now police have taken a suspect into custody, "A pigeon with a miniature plastic skull dangling around its neck and with glowing red bulbs in the eye sockets." The police don't know who outfitted the pigeon in this way, but suspect that their sole motive was…
Posted: Tue May 30, 2006.   Comments (6)

‘Devil Calls’ Cause Exploding Phones — Status: Insane rumor Panic has struck mobile phone users in India as word spreads of "devil calls" that cause your phone to explode: "People started turning off their handsets after a rumour swept Orissa state of phones exploding like bombs killing their owners when they answered the calls. The random "devil calls" supposedly started Sunday from phones with 11 to 14 digit numbers instead of the regular 10, said an official from India's state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam phone company."
Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2006.   Comments (18)

Branston Pickle Panic — A fire at the only factory that produces Branston Pickle reportedly sparked panic buying of the popular brown relish, spurred on by a comment from Premier Foods (its manufacturer) that within two weeks stock levels would run out. So sellers of Branston Pickle began asking as much as £16 or £25 for the stuff on eBay (a jar usually sells for less than £1). For Americans who don't know what this stuff is, it's kind of like a savory brown chutney, very popular in Britain, and often spread…
Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2004.   Comments (3)

Gullibility Quiz — I just discovered a Gullibility Quiz at Ofesite.com. According to them, I am almost 100% non-gullible. That's a relief to hear. But I found the picture part of their quiz a bit confusing. For instance, they show you three pictures of flying saucers and ask you to select which one of them is real. So how do you select 'none of the above'? You can't. Therefore I just picked one at random. I still can't figure out which picture the non-gullible person would have chosen.
Posted: Thu Oct 07, 2004.   Comments (10)

Killer Phone Calls — Here's a new penis-melting-zionist-robot-comb-type rumor that's spreading through Africa. Agence France Presse is reporting that many mobile-phone users in Nigeria are terrified that if they receive a phone call from one of two numbers, either 0802 311 1999 or 0802 222 5999, it will cause them instant death. A spokesman for the Nigerian mobile-phone company is trying to squash the rumor by assuring people that, "from an engineering point of view, it is absolutely impracticable, and…
Posted: Tue Jul 20, 2004.   Comments (5)

Penis-Melting Zionist Robot Combs — The phrase 'penis-melting Zionist robot combs,' while not widely known, does seem to be growing in popularity. The phrase refers to a mass panic that swept through Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, in September 2003. The people of Khartoum feared that a Satanic foreigner was going around shaking hands with Sudanese men and thereby causing their penises to melt upwards inside their body. In one case a man reported that he was approached by a stranger at the market. The stranger handed him…
Posted: Mon Jun 14, 2004.   Comments (14)

Weeping Mary Returns — About a year and a half ago I posted an entry about a statue of the Virgin Mary in Perth that was weeping rose-scented tears. Critics and church officials dismissed it as a hoax created by filling the statue with some kind of oil. Now that same statue is back in the news again, crying even more publicly. The Archbishop of Perth has cautioned people that "the case for a miraculous happening has not been proved."
Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004.   Comments (0)

The 1938 Panic Broadcast Revisited — The Toronto Star has an article about the 1938 War of the Worlds panic (the anniversary of which is today)... and they quote me in it! The article argues that the mass panic was much smaller than is popularly thought. I'm inclined to agree with this. My reasons are: being familiar with the way in which stories about hoaxes are told, I know that the impact hoaxes make is often exaggerated in order to tell a better story. So it sounds a lot more dramatic to say that one million people…
Posted: Thu Oct 30, 2003.   Comments (0)

Return of the Monkey Man — The Monkey Man has returned in India, after an absence of about a year. Reports are that a "monkey-like machine" is attacking people as they sleep on rooftops and in open places.
Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2002.   Comments (0)

All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.