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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Places
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)

Agloe, New York — A case of a fake that became real. In this case, a fictitious town that, for a while, achieved actual existence. The town of Agloe, New York was a "copyright trap" placed on Esso Maps during the 1930s. (That is, it was a nonexistent town whose purpose was to reveal if rival mapmakers were blindly copying the information on Esso maps.) The name was a scramble of the initials of Otto G. Lindberg (the company founder) and his assistant Ernest Alpers. They located the town at a dirt-road…
Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2009.   Comments (20)

Can you see Half Dome from the Central Valley? — This may be of interest only to Californians, but so be it... On February 18 the Patterson Irrigator posted a picture that appeared to show the Half Dome in Yosemite, visible from Patterson. (It's a little hard to see, but if you look closely it's there.) The thing is, Patterson is in the Central Valley, about 100 miles from Yosemite. So the photo met with a very skeptical reaction. A lot of people simply refused to believe that Half Dome could be seen from that far away. There was…
Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2009.   Comments (19)

Dildo Boulevard — First there was Shoe Corner (the place in New Jersey where shoes kept mysteriously getting dumped); next there was Pantyhose Corner in Massachusetts. Now we have Dildo Boulevard. That's the name that's been given to the street in Darwin, Australia where 30 sex toys were inexplicably found lying in the road. Where did they come from? Nobody knows: One theory is that it is an elaborate - and expensive - practical joke. Another school of thought is that they fell off the back of a…
Posted: Mon Feb 09, 2009.   Comments (4)

Scottish Urban Legends — Dani Garavelli, writing for Scotsman.com, examines the psychology of urban legends. The article doesn't offer any new insights into urban legends. There's the standard observation: urban legends "hold a mirror up to our culture, giving us an often unflattering reflection of our preoccupations and prejudices." But what I found interesting is that the article listed some urban legends specific to Scotland: For several days, [north-east Scotland] was gripped by a rumour that pop star and…
Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008.   Comments (9)

Fake Taj Mahal — A film director in Bangladesh has announced plans to build an exact replica of the Taj Mahal. He's going to use the same marble and stone as the original, but to save time he's using machinery (rather than thousands of peasant workers) to construct it. His reason for building it: "Everyone dreams about seeing the Taj Mahal but very few Bangladeshis can make the trip because it's too expensive for them." All of this has upset officials in India who have threatened to sue for copyright…
Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008.   Comments (6)

World’s Largest Lamb Sculpture — Some guy named Bill Veall claims to have discovered the world's largest rock sculpture. It's somewhere in the Peruvian Andean mountains, and it's in the shape of a "sacred lamb". He says he found it by using satellite imaging techniques to search for ancient shapes and formations. I guess that rules out any possibility he's just seeing what he wants to see. (sarcasm) From Sky News: "Mr Veall, who studies the relationships between astronomy and archaeological monuments, has faced a…
Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2008.   Comments (25)

Waterboard Thrill Ride — Visitors to New York's Coney Island amusement park now have the opportunity to try the "Waterboard Thrill Ride." As the sign outside proclaims, "It don't Gitmo better!" According to Reuters: A man with a black hood pours water on the face of a prisoner in an orange jumpsuit strapped to a table... The scene using robotic dolls is an installation built by artist Steve Powers to criticize waterboarding, a simulated drowning technique the United States has admitted using on terrorism…
Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2008.   Comments (4)

The Smell of Fake Cigarettes — Now that the Dutch have banned smoking in bars, bar patrons have realized they can smell each other, and they don't like it. So a Dutch company, Rain Showtechniek, has created a machine that will create a fake tobacco smell. From The Telegraph: "There is a need for a scent to mask the sweat and other unpleasant smells like stale beer," said Erwin van den Bergh, a spokesman for the company... Unlike the real thing, the artificial tobacco smells do not have any health risks and does not…
Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2008.   Comments (10)

Uncontacted Brazilian Tribe — The Brazilian government released some dramatic pictures of one of South America's last remaining uncontacted indigenous tribes. It says it took the pictures to prove that the tribe existed, because there apparently were some people who doubted this. When I saw the pictures, I couldn't help but be reminded of the Stone Age Tasaday from the Philippines. The Tasaday were a tribe that was discovered in 1971. Unlike the Brazilian tribe (who are seen shooting arrows at the helicopter taking…
Posted: Fri May 30, 2008.   Comments (14)

Grand Teton and Wildflowers — The image to the right is available for purchase on webshots.com. The photographer is listed as Adam Jones. It's titled "Grand Teton and Wildflowers, Wyoming." The image has become quite popular and has slowly been circulating around the internet. One person on the webshots message board writes: What a wonderful blend of colours and God’s creation. At the present time I live in Beijing and in the smog I often look at this picture and remember how beautiful the world can be. But the…
Posted: Thu May 22, 2008.   Comments (14)

SpongeBob Vandalism — A chimney is all that remains of the cabin that used to be the home of the manager of the Forest Service tree nursery in Pike Forest. It's considered a historically significant remain. That didn't stop pranksters from refashioning it, with the help of some paint, into a monument to SpongeBob Squarepants. From gazette.com: Some people might find humor in a 10-foot tall likeness of the cartoon character SpongeBob Square-Pants painted onto a crumbling chimney in the middle of the woods.…
Posted: Wed May 21, 2008.   Comments (11)

Colorful Coastal Village — This looks like it would be a great place to visit. It's Cinque Terre in Italy. Unfortunately, it's not quite so colorful in real life. (via City Comforts)
Posted: Wed May 07, 2008.   Comments (6)

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