The Hoax Museum Blog
Hippo Eats Dwarf Completed
Posted by The Curator on Sun Sep 04, 2005
On Friday I sent in the final, fully edited manuscript of Hippo Eats Dwarf to my publisher. A few small things remain for me to do. For instance, I need to write the acknowledgments page. But basically it's completed. Now the publisher needs to finish the cover art and start formatting it to look like a real book. But the book has already been listed on Amazon, which means it can now be pre-ordered. So over the next seven months I'll be bugging people to pre-order it, since the more people pre-order it, the easier it is to convince bookstores to stock it and display it prominently. And at $10, it's a bargain. Here's the catalog copy for…
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 31, 2005
I haven't been able to post for the past few days. I received the edited manuscript of my book back from my publisher and have been going through it and approving/making the changes they suggested. They've given me a tight deadline, so I've been working away at that. But once this is done, I'm totally finished with the book. Anyway, on a different topic, my friend Dave (who writes software) asked me to link to his new site, and I promised I would. His site is called we rank. It uses the same software I use to run this site (Expression Engine), but he's trying to adapt it to allow people to rank comments and…
Museum Entry Tickets
Posted by The Curator on Fri Aug 12, 2005
Here's a curious email I just received: Hallo! My name is Wojciech Krajewski. I come from Poland. I'm collecting museum entry tickets. I would be very happy if I have got in my collection ticket from Yours. I hope that my favour won't be a problem for You and that you won't leave it without answer. I give my regards to you and thank you very much. I'd really like to help this guy out. But what should I send him?
My Biography For Sale on Amazon
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 08, 2005
I was procrastinating by typing my name in the search box at Amazon.com and seeing if anything would come up besides my book. To my surprise, a biography of myself popped up in the search results. It cost $1.50 and stated that it was 540 words long. I wasn't about to pay for it, but I told my mother about it, and she couldn't resist. So she bought the thing. The 'biography' seems to be a summary of the publicity info about me that the publisher of my first book sent out to the media three years ago. I'm guessing that my mother was probably the first one to ever buy it. But here's the part about it…
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jul 19, 2005
So I'm finally back in San Diego. I had a great vacation, but it involved a lot of driving which got tiring after a while, so it's good to be home. Here are a few of the hoax-related highlights of my trip (which started in Washington DC and ended in Minneapolis): Grovers Mill This is the one thing that I got a chance to post about (see below) while I was actually on the road, because the hotel I was staying at that night in Roxbury, NY happened to offer internet connection. But that turned out to be my last chance to connect to the internet during the trip. The Cardiff Giant…
Grovers Mill, New Jersey
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 06, 2005
So I managed to finish the first draft of my book the night before I flew to Virginia to spend the 4th of July weekend with my parents. And yesterday my wife and I started off on our driving tour of the east coast. Today we arrived in Grovers Mill, New Jersey (the first stop on our 'hoax tour'), where in 1938 Martians supposedly landed, thereby launching a mass panic throughout the United States. Here I am getting out of our rented car in Grovers Mill. The first thing we went to see was the War of the Worlds Memorial, located in a…
Update About the Site and the Book
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jun 21, 2005
I thought I had reached a point where I was almost done with the book and would have more time to focus on the site again. Sadly, I was mistaken. It turned out that there was still a LOT left to do (clearing permissions for images, finishing a few chapters, editing, etc.). So that's why I haven't been posting much stuff lately. And I might as well admit that until July, I may not be able to post anything more because I really need to focus totally on the book. But come July, I have to be done, because my wife and I are going on vacation then (a long-planned vacation), and she's told me that I WILL NOT still…
Cottingley Fairy Copyright Question
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jun 02, 2005
I have the good fortune of having a site that ranks relatively high in search engines. But this also means that I have the misfortune of easily attracting the attention of anyone out there who might object to something on my site, or who might want to claim that I'm infringing their copyright by my use of some material. So, in the past, I've had National Geographic threaten me, plus I've had complaints from the Time Travel Mutual Fund and the Human-Flavored Tofu Company (see below), among others. Now the British Science and Society Picture Library…
Wanted: Contest Ideas
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jun 01, 2005
A new book about hoaxes has just come out. A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History's Greatest Hoaxes, Fakes, and Frauds by Michael Farquhar. The publisher (Penguin) sent me a free copy to help promote the book--which means that we get to have another book give-away contest! The winner gets the book. However, I can't think of a good contest to have (my brain is just too tired right now). I'm inclined to do another urban-legend/hoax haiku contest, since that was pretty fun last time. However, I thought I'd take suggestions first. If anyone can think…
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jun 01, 2005
I haven't posted for a couple of days. I was just too busy. I had to turn in something to my editor by June 1 (today), which I managed to do. So I've had a few late nights in the past week. Anyway, I now should have more time for the site again, though I'm not completely done with the book yet. I still have a few more chapters, but they're relatively easy ones.
NPR Radio Show
Posted by The Curator on Thu May 26, 2005
Tomorrow (May 26) I'm going to be a guest on an NPR show, Odyssey, which is broadcast out of Chicago. Not that I'm going all the way to Chicago for the show. I'll be in the NPR studios in San Diego. The topic of the show will be "Falling for Hoaxes": From Piltdown Man to crop circles, history is littered with hoaxes that have grabbed headlines and fooled the public. So why do we keep falling for them? (my answer: because we're idiots!) The other guest will be a historian from UC Davis, Michael Saler. The two of us will be having a discussion with the host, Gretchen Helfrich, and we'll take questions from callers…
Light Posting Ahead
Posted by The Curator on Mon May 23, 2005
I haven't been posting as much to the site lately. That's because the deadline for turning in the manuscript for my next book is fast approaching. It's due in about two weeks, so posting in the near future will probably be even lighter. I'm finding it hard to focus on the book and the site at the same time, so the site temporarily has to go on auto-pilot. But I'm not going to disappear entirely. There will be scattered posts. I just can't promise that they'll appear regularly.
Photos of the Museum of Hoaxes
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 03, 2005
Some of you have asked about the images of the Museum that appeared in the piece on CNN. They were created by Eric Schucard of Carlsbad, CA about a month ago (he was hoping I could get USA Today to run them, but no such luck). I've uploaded them so everyone can check them out. At some point (when I'm done with the book) I'll redesign my 'About the Museum' page to incorporate them.
Paula Zahn Tonight
Posted by The Curator on Mon May 02, 2005
If you watch the Paula Zahn Show on CNN tonight (monday, May 2) you'll see an interesting guest: Me! They wanted someone who could blab on about hoaxes for a couple of minutes, so I fit the part. I didn't get to speak to Paula herself. In fact, I was actually looking at the wall during the entire interview while speaking to a reporter on speakerphone. It airs 8-9pm Eastern time, and 5-6pm Pacific. I think they're going to have a segment about 2 minutes long in which they're interviewing me.
April Fool’s Day Effect
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 31, 2005
The site seems to be loading very slowly today, and a few people have reported not being able to access it at all. This is the beginning of the April Fool's Day effect. Traffic to the site increases and causes the performance of the site to nosedive. I'm guessing this will last until April 2nd. There's absolutely nothing I can do about it.