The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Military
Giant French Invasion Raft, circa 1798 — I think this prisoner may have been telling a bit of a tall tale. "An Exact representation of a raft, and its apparatus, as invented by the French for their proposed invasion of England — from a drawing of a prisoner who has made his escape from France" Source: Bibliotheque Nationale de France via Retronaut
Posted: Fri Jan 31, 2014.   Comments (1)

A German Officer Strolls Through London, 1941 — In April 1941, a London newspaper pulled off a minor hoax/publicity stunt. They dressed a young man in the uniform of a German officer — after having removed the Nazi cap badge, belt, and insignia of rank — and had him walk around through central London, directly past the Houses of Parliament. They claimed to be trying to prove that "Londoners wouldn't know a German soldier if they saw one." Sure enough, the young man attracted no attention. The photo of the "German officer" posing…
Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013.   Comments (0)

Secret Crosse and Blackwell Aircraft — Dan Townend, writing in the Express, discusses the surprising camaraderie that often existed between British and German soldiers during World War I. Prisoners of war were, many times, treated with great decency and compassion. Of course, this show of kindness could have ulterior motives. The Germans, for instance, liked to "soften up" their prisoners to get them to reveal military secrets. But the British prisoners weren't so easy to gull. Thanks to one British prisoner, the Germans…
Posted: Sun Aug 18, 2013.   Comments (0)

Ukrainian Attack Dolphins — Word got out this week that the Ukrainian military had lost three dolphins in the Black Sea after the dolphins swam away from their trainers, apparently to search for mates. The problem: these were trained attack dolphins "equipped with firearms." The source of the story was a document that appeared online that seemed to be a scan of a letter from the head of a Ukrainian military research institute to naval command warning of the dolphin escape. The story took off when it got picked…
Posted: Fri Mar 15, 2013.   Comments (0)


Iran’s new stealth fighter flies (with help from photoshop) — The Iranian news website Khouz News recently posted a picture of Iran's new stealth fighter, the Qaher F313. But The Atlantic Wire points out that the photo is actually a composite. The background is a photo of Mount Damavand from a stock-image site. The jet fighter was cut-and-pasted from a photo of what is apparently a plastic jet fighter (because it seems to lack exterior bolts or rivets) on display indoors. In Iran's defense, the photo could have been intended as a kind of…
Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2013.   Comments (1)

Fake WWI Spy Trees — An unusual example of military deception! The Army's special branch: How bizarre fake spy trees appeared in no-man's land during WWI (and killed hundreds of soldiers) Daily Mail Artists in the Royal Engineers were tasked with meticulously selecting a real tree on the battlefield by measuring and photographing it extensively. The ideal tree was dead and often it was bomb blasted. The photographs and sketches were then sent to a workshop where artists constructed an artificial tree of…
Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2013.   Comments (0)

Divining Rods for Bombs — Despite major bombings that have rattled the nation, and fears of rising violence as American troops withdraw, Iraq’s security forces have been relying on a device to detect bombs and weapons that the United States military and technical experts say is useless. The small hand-held wand, with a telescopic antenna on a swivel, is being used at hundreds of checkpoints in Iraq. But the device works “on the same principle as a Ouija board” — the power of suggestion — said a retired United…
Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009.   Comments (4)

Did Robert Capa fake the ‘falling soldier’ photo? — Robert Capa's photo of a soldier falling backward from the impact of a shot to his head is one of the most famous images in the history of photography. But for decades people have argued that Capa staged the shot. In the hoax photo archive I have a brief summary of the controversy. I come down on the side of those who feel the photo wasn't staged. Adding new fuel to the controversy, a Catalan newspaper now claims to have found evidence that Capa staged the shot. From The Independent:
Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2009.   Comments (2)

Hello Kitty Taser — The Hello Kitty Taser raised the ire of Justin Yu at CNET who wrote: The existence of this Hello Kitty taser gun makes me want to open it up and point it at my head. You have to question the intentions of these designers...is the gun supposed to make little girls less fearful about attacking their in-store competition? Maybe it's meant to fool criminals into thinking their victims are unarmed, only to be met with 50,000 volts of adorable electricity. Only subsequently did he realize…
Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009.   Comments (9)

Another case of a phony veteran — Jack Livesey claimed he was in the Parachute regiment of the British Army, did five tours of duty in Northern Ireland, and won a military medal. He was a guest of honor at the 25th anniversary commemorations of the Falklands War. But the British Ministry of Defense says, "Jack Livesey (DOB 15/05/54) only served in the British Army in the Army Catering Corps from December 1971 until April 1974." Livesey also claims he was a miltary adviser to Saving Private Ryan, though he wasn't paid…
Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2009.   Comments (4)

Richard Strandlof, phony veteran — Another case of a phony veteran. Rick Duncan claimed he survived the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon, that he survived a roadside bomb in Iraq, and that he had a metal plate in his head. None of it was true. Not even his name, which was really Richard Strandlof. He also says that he's not a pathological liar. But then, what else would a pathological liar say? link: CNN
Posted: Fri Jun 12, 2009.   Comments (2)

Too Many Fake Soldiers — German politicians are upset by all the fake soldiers hanging around the Brandenburg Gate. The fake soldiers are there trying to make a buck from the tourists, who want their picture taken with someone in a Cold War-era uniform. But the politicians are worried that the Brandenburg gate is deteriorating into a miniature Disneyland and may go the route of Checkpoint Charlie which has become "a tacky tourist trap unworthy of its historical significance." I was in Berlin just a few months…
Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009.   Comments (2)

Dolphins vs. Pirates — China's official news agency, Xinhua, is claiming that thousands of dolphins spontaneously decided to protect a fleet of Chinese merchant ships that were being attacked by Somali pirates: The Chinese merchant ships escorted by a China’s fleet sailed on the Gulf of Aden when they met some suspected pirate ships. Thousands of dolphins suddenly leaped out of water between pirates and merchants when the pirate ships headed for the China’s. The suspected pirates ships stopped and then turned…
Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009.   Comments (4)

Fake soldiers guard base — To save money, a Taiwanese army base decided to use dummies in place of real soldiers to guard a base. Locals eventually noticed that the soldiers never moved, and as word spread the fake soldiers became a tourist attraction. (via Weird Asia News) It's actually not as odd as it sounds. Ever since World War II armies have made extensive use of decoys, including fake tanks, aircraft, ships, and individual soldiers. A classic story about this phenomenon is that during WWII the Germans…
Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2008.   Comments (9)

Pukey sentimental hoax or real event? — Gill forwarded me the following email and wrote in the subject line, "pukey sentimental hoax (I hope it's not real)." Will you give this to my Daddy? Last week I was in Atlanta, Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen. Moving thru the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they…
Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2008.   Comments (37)

Space Pistols May Be Fake — Two hundred years ago General Ignacio Alvarez, commander of a South American region that would later become Argentina, sent James Madison a pair of duelling pistols forged from the iron of a meteorite. It was a pretty cool gift -- assuming the guns were real. But recent tests performed at the ISIS neutron source in the UK have revealed that the guns were cheap fakes. From BBC News: The machine was used to compare Monroe's pistols to a fragment of a meteorite from the Campo del Cielo…
Posted: Mon Jun 02, 2008.   Comments (2)

The Puppy Over the Cliff Video — Many of you have probably already seen the "puppy being thrown over a cliff" video that's been all over the internet in the past week. If you haven't, here it is, but be warned. It's disturbing. The Honolulu Advertiser offers this description of it: Two Marines are seen in combat gear smiling as one holds a white-and-black puppy by the scruff of its neck. The dog seems to be about 8 weeks old and is motionless as it is held. "Cute little puppy, huh?" says one Marine as he smiles…
Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008.   Comments (40)

The Filipino Monkey — Following up on last week's post about the confrontation between US and Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf, the mysterious threat that the U.S. ships received -- the one in which they heard someone say "I am coming to you... You will explode after... minutes" -- is now being attributed to the "Filipino Monkey." The Filipino Monkey is apparently a prankster who interjects obscenities and threats into ship-to-ship radio communications in the Persian Gulf. Or rather, it's many…
Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2008.   Comments (9)

Gulf of Tonkin vs. Persian Gulf — In 1964 North Vietnamese forces supposedly attacked a US destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin. President Johnson used this incident to obtain approval for the Vietnam War from Congress. But on Tuesday the National Security Agency declassified documents revealing -- to almost no one's surprise -- that the Gulf of Tonkin incident never happened. Also on Tuesday, by an odd coincidence, the US military released video of an incident in a different Gulf... the Persian one. The video shows…
Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2008.   Comments (4)

Suicidal Teens Welcome — An image showing a "suicidal teens welcome" sign in the window of an armed forces career center has recently been circulating again. The image is at least six months old. And no, it's not real. The sign is a reference to an episode of The Simpsons in which a similar sign was shown in the window of an army recruiting center. The only question is whether the image is photoshopped, or did someone surreptitiously stick the sign in the window of the recruiting center and then snap the…
Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2007.   Comments (8)

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