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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Places
Pertannually Insubdurient — EU bureaucrats are a perpetual target for humor. Here's the latest one. Supposedly they decided to remove the word 'pertannually' from the EU constitution, having decided that it was incomprehensible and meaningless. And what did they replace it with? The much clearer term 'insubdurience'. One source for this story is John Humphrys, a political journalist who's just written a book Lost for Words, about "the demise of the language." The tale also pops up in this Guardian article. The…
Posted: Wed Dec 01, 2004.   Comments (10)

Surf Rage — Last week British journalists were all abuzz about the 'surf rage' phenomenon: vigilante Cornish surfers waging a kind of guerrilla war against out-of-town surfers. One group calling itself Locals Only! had a website in which it proclaimed it would use harassment and force to defend its surfing spots. But now a bunch of marketing and journalism students have declared that they invented the whole 'surf rage' concept to hoax the media (which, of course, willingly took the bait). The…
Posted: Wed Nov 24, 2004.   Comments (2)

Club Med, Croatian-Style — This is probably not a hoax. Just a really bad idea. Croatia is hoping to strike it rich by luring in tourists curious to see what it would be like to spend a couple of days in a hard-labor camp. So they're considering reopening a communist-era prison on a barren island in the Adriatic Sea, and offering it as a tourist destination. They envision "tourists being issued convict uniforms, pounding large stones with a sledgehammer and hauling the pieces on their backs to quarries around the…
Posted: Thu Nov 18, 2004.   Comments (8)

Weird City Names — Here's an amusing list of weird city and town names. Of course, I immediately wondered if all these names were real, so I checked a random sample in Mapquest. Nothing came up for Hornytown, North Carolina (a google search didn't turn up any offical website for it either, though there is a widespread report, probably false, that Hornytown has banned massage parlors). Nor was there a Love Ladies, New Jersey in Mapquest. That doesn't mean Hornytown and Love Ladies don't exist. It's just…
Posted: Thu Nov 04, 2004.   Comments (88)


You Are Being Watched — From the Flickr Photo Sharing site: "On a road in the middle of nowhere there are signs posted every few hundred yards warning that you are being recorded on CCTV. This is apparently an effort to stop illegal fly tippers from dumping their rubbish along the road. I had a look around for some cameras, but couldn't see any. I think it's a hoax." Although maybe there really are cameras hidden in the trees. There are speakers hidden in the trees at UC San Diego. You'll be walking along…
Posted: Mon Nov 01, 2004.   Comments (8)

Vanishing Hitchhiker on Mount St. Helens — The Tacoma Washington News Tribune reports on a Vanishing Hitchhiker legend local to Mount St. Helens. (in case you're not familiar with it, the Vanishing Hitchhiker urban legend goes like this: a guy picks up a hitchhiker who then mysteriously vanishes from inside the moving car. He realizes that the hitchhiker was a ghost.) Following the eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980, many drivers in the area swore they saw a woman dressed in white thumbing a ride by the side of the…
Posted: Fri Oct 29, 2004.   Comments (3)

Real-Life Truman Show — According to the Guardian, RTL2 TV in Germany is constructing an entire fake town outside of Hamburg which will provide the setting for their version of the Big Brother Reality TV show. It'll be just like a real-life version of The Truman Show. Residents of the artificial town will be filmed 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In addition, fans of the show will be able to visit the town "to see the residents just as if they were visiting a zoo." The German broadcasters say that the…
Posted: Tue Oct 26, 2004.   Comments (10)

The 77 Water Street Roof Runway — Is there really a building in New York City that has an airplane runway on its roof, with a biplane sitting at the end of the runway? Yup. It's the 77 Water Street Building. Here's a fuzzy satellite image. However, the biplane isn't real. It's just a mock-up. Metafilter has a thread on this unusual landmark. (via Things Magazine)
Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2004.   Comments (5)

Was That An Earthquake? — This should be filed under perfect timing: yesterday California State University, Monterey Bay had organized an earthquake drill complete with police, rescue workers, and actors to play victims. Five minutes into the drill a real earthquake hit. Reportedly "it didn't appear that anybody who took part in the drill was noticeably frightened by the real quake." Probably because they figured it was all part of the simulation.
Posted: Wed Sep 29, 2004.   Comments (6)

Fake Onsen Scandal — The Japanese love to soak in Onsen... hot springs that bubble up from the ground, often milky white or green in color, tinted by minerals in the earth. But now many have been dismayed to discover that some of the springs don't owe their color to natural minerals, but instead to far more mundane ingredients. Namely, bath salts. Japan Today notes, "In Kagoshima Prefecture, a hot spring famous for its unusual green color was revealed to be the result of dissolving household "Bath-Clean"…
Posted: Wed Aug 11, 2004.   Comments (0)

California As An Island — The Philadelphia Print Shop has a great online collection of ancient maps that contain mythical geography. Mythical geography describes "geographic features that appear on the map but not on the earth; cities where none ever were, islands where there are but waves, lakes and rivers where there is dry land, and kingdoms of non-existent kings." (I have some more information about this topic in my Medieval Travel Lies Gallery). My favorite ancient maps in the Print Shop's collection are…
Posted: Wed Aug 04, 2004.   Comments (4)

Phony Sold Signs — A British Real Estate Agency has been fined for placing phony 'sold' signs up outside the houses of its own employees. It's not quite clear to me what they gained by doing this. I assume it made them look like they were doing more business than they actually were. Still, it's odd to think that as you drive around a neighborhood and see all those 'for sale' and 'sold' signs, that the signs might bear no relationship to reality at all.
Posted: Wed Aug 04, 2004.   Comments (3)

A Few Nonexistent Places — According to reliable information that can be found on the internet, Idaho doesn't exist. Nor does Wyoming, Wisconsin, Vermont, North Dakota, France, and England. Oh, and the Moon doesn't exist either.
Posted: Mon May 24, 2004.   Comments (7)

Motorcycle Trip Through Chernobyl — A month or two ago a woman named Elena posted a travelogue on the web about her solitary motorcycle ride through the deserted area around Chernobyl. With all the eerie pictures she took of the abandoned, irradiated 'ghost town,' her travelogue quickly became one of the most linked-to sites on the net. Now there are accusations that her travelogue wasn't completely honest. Apparently she didn't go around alone on a motorcycle. She went in a car with her husband and a friend. Elena…
Posted: Fri May 21, 2004.   Comments (43)

The Nullarbor Nymph — Thirty-two years ago the tiny town of Eucla, Australia, on the edge of the Nullarbor plain, became famous when a few of its residents first sighted the Nullarbor Nymph. The Nymph was a blonde, feral, half-naked woman who lived in the bush and ran wild with kangaroos. News of this wild woman quickly spread around the world. President Nixon was asked his opinion of her (reportedly his reply could not be repeated over the air), and the Loch Ness monster sent her a telegram. Sooner or…
Posted: Tue May 18, 2004.   Comments (1)

Little-Known Attractions of Lynchburg Virginia — I've actually been to Lynchburg, Virginia, but somehow I missed the little-known attractions that it offers, such as the Fletcher Farm Rhino, the ABC Cemetery in which all the graves are in alphabetical order, Mags the headless cat (pictured), and the world's only car that runs on Kool-Aid.
Posted: Mon May 03, 2004.   Comments (5)

Bad California Weather — This picture is going around via email. It's not really a hoax at all. Just a joke. But since it's about Southern California, I couldn't resist sharing it. Here's the text that accompanies the email: With all the news on TV lately about the subzero weather and snow that the east coast and upstate NY areas are experiencing, we shouldn't forget that Southern California has it's share of devastating weather also. I've attached a photo illustrating the excessive damage caused to a home…
Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2004.   Comments (18)

Princess Juliana Airport — This is a pretty amazing picture, and it screams 'Photoshop!' After all, where in the world would planes really land that close to sunbathers on a beach? It looks like the plane is landing right on top of them. Well, the place is Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten. And the airplanes really do come in that close to the beach. A collection of shots of planes landing at Princess Juliana is circulating as a powerpoint file via email. Jozee V sent the file along to me (Thanks, Jozee!).…
Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2004.   Comments (97)

Buy Land on the Sun — There's a scam business that's been in operation for years that offers to sell land on the moon. But a new group is raising the ante by offering to sell you land on the sun! Thankfully, all money they collect goes to aid the American Cancer Society.
Posted: Wed Jan 28, 2004.   Comments (2)

How Much For That State? — In the latest hoax to hit eBay, someone attempted to auction off the state of West Virginia. Bidding hit $100 million before the auction was yanked.
Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2004.   Comments (0)

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