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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Places
My Trip to Willow Creek, Bigfoot Capital of the World — This weekend I returned from a two-week roadtrip with my wife through Northern California and Oregon. One of the places I made sure we stopped was Willow Creek, located in the forests of Humboldt County. I figured I had to make the effort to go there since, despite the town's tiny size (the sign you see as you enter the town lists its population as 1743), it bears the distinction of being the Bigfoot capital of the world. The history of Willow Creek is intertwined with the history of Bigfoot. It was near Willow Creek in October 1958 that road-crew worker Jerry Crew made a plaster… Continue…
Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2014.   Comments (0)

New York City Urban Legends (according to People magazine) — People magazine recently posted an article that it titled "N.Y.C.'s 8 Craziest Urban Legends Debunked." But that title is misleading, because it turns out the article only lists 3 urban legends, and then the writer must have been unable to find anything else when doing a google search for "New York urban legends," because the other 5 things on the list are random bits of NYC trivia and paranormal speculation. I guess I shouldn't have expected anything more from People magazine. To…
Posted: Thu Dec 19, 2013.   Comments (0)

Shanty Town—The Unique Accommodation Experience — If you're curious about what it would be like to live in a shanty town, but you don't actually want to set foot in a real shanty town, then perhaps the Emoya Luxury Hotel & Spa's "Shanty Town" might be for you. It's a "unique accommodation experience" located near Bloemfontein, South Africa. The Emoya website says: Experience an unique stay at our Shanty Town (Mkukhu Villlage / Shack Village) where you have to use the famous "long-drop" outside toilet and make your own fire for hot…
Posted: Wed Nov 27, 2013.   Comments (0)

Unterstitzen on the Bleiweis—the German town that was never taken — In the first months of 1945, the Allied forces began advancing rapidly on Berlin. But to the press correspondents tagging along behind the military, it seemed as if the going was actually quite slow. They had thought they would be in Berlin in a few days, but instead officers kept telling them that Berlin would be reached soon, but there was just one more stream, one more creek, one more canal, one more small river that had to be taken first. So Bill Heinz of the New York Sun joked…
Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2013.   Comments (0)


Lamppost Windmills — I haven't seen anything on English-language sites about this, but according to dichtbij.nl (with a little help from Google translate), a site calling itself "Green Light District" appeared online several months ago. It claimed that the municipality of Haarlemmermeer in North Holland was going to put small green windmills on top of 30,000 lampposts in order to generate power for the lights, thereby creating a "green light district". Any excess power would be routed to the electrical…
Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2013.   Comments (1)

DeQuincy, Louisiana—the town of hoaxes — The journalist-hoaxer Lou Stone always set his hoaxes in the small town of Winsted, Connecticut, where he lived. His most famous hoax was the time in 1895 when he sent out a report over the news wire claiming that a naked, hairy, wild man was loose in the town, causing reporters from New York City to descend upon Winsted, en masse. There now appears to be a hoaxer (identity unknown) who draws similar inspiration from the town of DeQuincy, Louisiana (population 4000), because he or she…
Posted: Wed Sep 18, 2013.   Comments (0)

The Disappearance of Rozel, 1897 — Rozel is a small town in the middle of Kansas. Population: 156. It was founded in 1886 — its main reason for existence being that it served as a stop on the Santa Fe railroad line. Throughout its history, it hasn't been in the news much. The one time it did receive national attention was back in 1897 when it supposedly disappeared, swallowed up by a giant sinkhole. The report of its disappearance went out in November 1897 and appeared in papers nationwide, including the New York Times:
Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2013.   Comments (2)

Town waits 100 years to open package — For 100 years, a package marked "May Be Opened in 2012" has been sitting in a museum in Otta, Norway. It was given to the town of Otta by a local resident, Johan Nygaard, back in 1912. There's been enormous speculation about what the package might contain. Money? A diary? Stock certificates? Finally, last Friday, the 100-year-mark arrived, and the town gathered to open the package. There was a live video feed, so the entire world could share in the excitement. The mayor carefully…
Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012.   Comments (8)

The Bethel, Alaska Taco Bell Hoax — Bethel, Alaska is a small town. Travel writer Harry Franck, writing in the early 1940s, offered this description of it: Sidewalk lounging New Yorkers would mistake Bethel at the mouth of the Kuskokwim for the end of the earth. But I found it interesting. For one thing I saw there my first Eskimos, at least in their native habitat. Bethel has a truck, too, and maybe a mile and a half of road... Then there is Bethel's boardwalk, a resounding wooden sidewalk that runs the whole length of…
Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2012.   Comments (4)

The Taj Mahal is Sinking — Apparently it's because the original architects didn't factor in the weight of all the tourists who visit it. Well, no. Not really. According to the BBC, the real reason is that, "The building's foundations require a steady stream of moisture from the Yamuna River to retain its strength - but the river is slowly drying up." But the headline immediately reminded me of the urban legend of the sinking library.
Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2012.   Comments (3)

The Fraser Island Crocodile — The Telegraph recently listed the beach on Queensland's Fraser Island as among the most dangerous in the world. The reasons: sharks, jellyfish, strong rip currents, deadly spiders, the odd saltwater crocodile, and dingoes. But people around Fraser Island disagree. They don't dispute the presence of the sharks, jellyfish, rip currents, spiders, and dingoes. (Though they don't think dingoes are dangerous). But they do insist there are no crocodiles there, except for one — which is fake.
Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2011.   Comments (4)

Disney World Urban Legends — Time magazine offers a list of the Top 5 Disney World Urban Legends: Walt Disney built a special suite for himself in Cinderella's castle at the Magic Kingdom. (Apparently this wasn't true while Disney was alive, though there is a suite there now in which special visitors can stay.)Cinderella's castle can be disassembled or made to sink into the ground to protect it from natural disasters such as hurricanes. In the case of a death at a Disney park, no one can be declared dead until…
Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2011.   Comments (10)

A fork in the road, literally — A few days ago a fork appeared in the middle of a Pasadena road. It's located, appropriately, at a fork in the road, where Pasadena and St. John avenues divide. From the Pasadena Star News: It turns out the fork is an elaborate - and expensive - birthday prank in honor of the 75th birthday of Bob Stane, founder of the Ice House comedy club, who now owns the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena... The wooden fork, is "expertly carved and painted," to look like metal, Stane said. "It's…
Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2009.   Comments (6)

Argleton, Lancashire: the town that doesn’t exist — From the BBC: Argleton appears on Google Maps as a small town furnished with amenities, but it does not actually exist, apart from a field and a few trees. Some people have described the place, nestled between Aughton and Ormskirk, as a "phantom town" that only ever appears on the online search engine. Google said: "While [most information] is correct there are... errors." Roy Bayfield from nearby Edge Hill University became so intrigued by the description that he decided to walk…
Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2009.   Comments (3)

Give Grand Marais the Bird — A fake seagull perched on a billboard outside the town of Grand Marais, Minnesota recently went missing. Residents suspect it was stolen, and they want it back. So the town has organized a "give us the bird" campaign, in which they're offering a free vacation in Grand Marais in return for information leading to the safe return of the seagull. The best story wins. A strict adherence to the truth, in this case, would seem to be irrelevant. [upi.com]
Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2009.   Comments (2)

Loch Ness as one of the 7 Wonders of Nature — Loch Ness is a finalist in a campaign to name the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Other finalists include the Amazon River, the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef, and Mount Kilimanjaro. Loch Ness is very scenic and geologically very interesting, but Willie Cameron of Loch Ness Marketing thinks that the Loch should have a leg-up on the competition because, "None of the other nominees has a legacy we know as the Loch Ness Monster. Whatever it is, it is unexplainable and that is unique." By…
Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2009.   Comments (11)

Pranksters move Loch Ness signs — Pranksters in Inverness have made it even more difficult to find Nessie by moving the road signs for Loch Ness so that they point in the wrong direction. The leading suspects are concert-goers attending the RockNess music festival. But here's the part of the article I found interesting. One resident "likened the alterations to World War II, when the authorities removed signs to prevent German soldiers from navigating their way round the country if they invaded." I didn't know that had…
Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2009.   Comments (12)

Looking for Urquhart Castle — If you visit Loch Ness, you probably won't see Nessie, but you will see a lot of confused tourists, thanks to confusing road signs that local businesses have been putting up. For instance, many tourists who are looking for Urquhart Castle wind up in the Loch Ness Monster Visitor Centre because of a large road sign for "Glen Urquhart Castle" that points toward the Visitor Centre. The word "Glen" is in tiny, small letters, and most people probably wouldn't realize that Glen Urquhart…
Posted: Fri May 29, 2009.   Comments (2)

Mystery Stones Explained — The mystery of why someone has been leaving white stones with cryptic black markings on them around Orleans, Massachusetts has been solved. The creator of the stones sent an explanatory letter to the local paper: The writer said the backward “R” and an “R” separated by three slashes on one line and an “X” book ended by two vertical lines underneath means “Remember 9-11.” He (most believe the writer is a male) said he came up with the design about two years ago “When I became…
Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2009.   Comments (11)

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)

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