Hoax Museum Blog: Places

The Land of Molvania — If you're looking for an interesting place to visit on your next vacation, you might want to check out Molvania. It's located over in Eastern Europe and is famous as the birthplace of the whooping cough. Also home to the Molvanian Sneezing Hound. If you want to learn even more about this little-known country then get a copy of Molvania:// A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry, by Jetlag Travel.
Posted: Sun Dec 28, 2003.   Comments (4)

Friends of Silver Lake — The Friends of Silver Lake purports to be a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in LA's Silver Lake district. Their projects include supporting the construction of a new shopping mall in Silver Lake that will be home to stores such as Wal-Mart and The Gap, because otherwise Silver Lake residents might have to drive up to ten miles to find these retailers (the horror!). Also, they're pushing a workplace diversity initiative to get more 'middle-class youngsters' employed in the food service and retail industries since, according to them, this demographic is underrepresented in these industries. Seems a little tongue-in-cheek to me. (Thanks to Chris Kelly for the link).
Posted: Sat Dec 27, 2003.   Comments ()

Mankato, Minnesota — Mankato: Welcome to Mankato, Minnesota, where you can enjoy whale watching on the Minnesota River.
Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2003.   Comments (1)

New Rotterdam — A trilogy of sites devoted to exploring the community of New Rotterdam (or New-Rot, for short). First we have the Official Site of the Town of New Rotterdam. Next there's the New Rotterdam Vocational Union High School. And last is the St. Giles School for Male Youth.
Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2003.   Comments ()


The True Meaning of Des Moines — Linguistic research has shed new light on the meaning of 'Des Moines.' Turns out it might derive from a 330-year-old practical joke. In 1673 Father Jacques Marquette met some representatives of the Peoria indian tribe near the mouth of the modern-day Des Moines River. He asked them the name of the rival tribe that lived further along the banks of the river. The Peoria told him that tribe was called the Moingoana, which became the root for the word 'Moines'. But researcher Michael McCafferty of Indiana University, while studying the now extinct Miami-Illinois language, discovered that Moingoana, translated literally, meant 's**t faces.' Evidently the Peoria were having a little fun at their rival's expense. The city of Des Moines has not yet acknowledged the true meaning of its name.
Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2003.   Comments (5)

Lake Michigan Whale Watching — Lake Michigan Whale Watching: One of the best guarded secrets of the Great Lakes
Posted: Sun Sep 21, 2003.   Comments ()

Moscow Subway Metrocam — The Moscow Subway Metrocam: It's all in Russian, but the picture you see is from a webcam located inside an underground tunnel on the Moscow subway. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll see the light of an approaching train. And yes, it is a hoax. Its creator told me so.
Posted: Sat Sep 20, 2003.   Comments ()

Excelsior, Minnesota: No Starbucks Allowed — The small town of Excelsior, Minnesota recently launched an ad campaign declaring that big retailers such as Starbucks and Home Depot were not welcome in its community. A bold position to take, especially considering that those retailers had never expressed any interest in opening up stores there.
Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2003.   Comments ()

Buy Land on the Moon — Can you buy land on the moon? According to this website you can. It's the home on the internet of the Lunar Embassy, which claims that it is "the only company in the world to possess a legal basis and copyright for the sale of lunar, and other extraterrestrial property within the confines of our solar system." And if you believe that, then I've got a bridge to sell you. Their basis for this claim is that the UN Outer Space Treaty of 1967 forbid governments from owning extraterrestrial property, but it didn't mention anything about individuals or corporations! Ah Ha! Sounds like a clever loophole. Unfortunately this argument doesn't hold water, because individuals and corporations can themselves only claim ownership of land through governments. There's a good article debunking the Buy-Land-On-The-Moon Scheme over at CNN, explaining that it's the creation of con artist/entrepreneur named Dennis Hope. The British National Space Centre also denies it's possible to own land on the moon. And Space.com has a good article about this scam as well. What it all comes down to is that for the $30 bucks you'd pay to buy a plot of land on the moon, you'll gain ownership of a piece of paper, and nothing more.
Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2003.   Comments (1)

666 on the Alamo — Is the number 666 slowly becoming visible on the front of the Alamo? And did it first appear there after Ozzy Osbourne urinated on the building while dressed as a woman back in 1982? And when the number becomes fully visible will "something terrible happen"? Yes on all counts if you believe the urban legend that's floating around. Brenda Layland gave me a skeptical heads-up about this one, and for the past fifteen minutes I've been staring at these pictures of the Alamo trying to figure out where the sixes are. I've located one of them, but the other two are still escaping me. No, wait a minute. I think I've found them all now.
Posted: Thu Jul 24, 2003.   Comments (17)

Sucker Day Cancelled — I'm incredibly depressed. Sucker Day has been cancelled this year. That's like cancelling Christmas (well, not quite, but almost). In case you don't know about it, Sucker Day is a celebration held every year in the small town of Wetumka, Oklahoma, usually in the late summer. It commemorates the day in 1950 when the entire town was suckered by the con man J. Bam Morrison. Morrison arrived in town claiming to be the advanceman for a circus that would be arriving on July 24. People would be coming from miles around to attend this circus, he promised, presenting Wetumka merchants with a potential chance to make lots of money. He claimed that if the merchants bought advertising space on the circus grounds, the circus, in return, would buy their supplies exclusively from Wetumka merchants. And he assured everyone that there would be a huge amount of supplies being purchased. Pretty soon all the advertising space was sold (cash paid directly to Morrison, of course), and then, (surprise, surprise) Morrison split town. July 24 arrived without any circus. So the residents of Wetumka, realizing they'd been taken for a ride, decided to hold their own celebration anyway, with a parade and street fair. Thus the tradition of Sucker Day was born, held every year since, until now. I called up the Wetumka Chamber of Commerce to ask why they cancelled it, and the man on the phone said it was due to a lack of sponsorship. But he promised that they'll be holding it again next year, though they're probably going to move it to the early summer. For more info about Sucker Day, check out this Sucker Day Song. Plus, here's the schedule from last year's Sucker Day, as well as a newspaper article about the day (evidently prepared before they cancelled it). If you feel like celebrating your own Sucker Day (perhaps you got suckered somehow this year... lost a bunch of money on a sure-thing investment, or realized your girlfriend/boyfriend was cheating on you), then July 25, this Friday, would be close to the historical anniversary. An appropriate form of celebration would be to drink yourself into a pleasant state of numbness as you dwell on what a sucker you are.
Posted: Wed Jul 23, 2003.   Comments (1)

San Diego Faux History — Being a San Diegan I appreciated this hoax history of San Diego from the San Diego Hysterical Society.
Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2003.   Comments ()

Whale Watching in the Midwest — A visitor pointed out to me that I had neglected to include Lake Michigan Whale Watching in my list of hoax sites. Plus, while we're on the subject of whale watching in the midwest, let's not forget the web page devoted to the wonders of Mankato, Minnesota, where the temperature never drops below 70 degrees fahrenheit, even in the dead of winter, thanks to the presence of hot springs that heat the air. Mankato boasts a thriving whale watching industry on account of the annual summer migration of the whales up the Minnesota River. And to return to Lake Michigan, who can forget the case of the Viagra spill that temporarily revived its flagging spirits.
Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2003.   Comments ()

Utah town celebrates Viking origin — Come next April (2004) the town of Cedar City, Utah will be celebrating the Festival Royale of Himmelsk, a four-day event to honor the group of Vikings who founded the town in 956 AD. The entire story of this strange festival is told here. (Thanks to Lansin Carmean for forwarding this story to me).
Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2003.   Comments ()

Believing in Fargo — Now here's an odd story. An article in the Guardian tells the tale of Takako Konishi, a Japanese girl who apparently believed that the movie Fargo was real (perhaps because it says it's a true story at the beginning, though it isn't) and went off to North Dakota to find the million dollars that one of the characters buries during the movie. Unfortunately Takako died trying to find the money. Or so everyone thought. The reporter who went to investigate finds out the real truth behind what happened to Takako.
Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2003.   Comments ()

Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2002.   Comments ()

Push, Nevada — Elaine Dutka, writing for the LA Times, notes a minor prank that occurred on ABC's 'Good Morning America' show:

Producers of ABC's "Good Morning America" inadvertently served up a plug for a new drama-reality series airing on the network, Variety reports. As weatherman Tony Perkins was chatting with folks outside the studio, he encountered some fellows who claimed to be members of the Push, Nev., hockey team. As it happened, there is no such town--except in ABC's new series of the same name, executive-produced by Ben Affleck and Sean Bailey. The athletes in question were really actors hired by ADD--a company employed by ABC to mount a guerrilla public relations campaign for the show. No one at ABC News had been advised of the prank, and Perkins was unaware of the show. "This is a show that is very different and we are trying to market it in a different way," an ABC spokesman said. "ADD didn't take into account the kinds of questions that could arise by enacting this sort of strategy within the same company."
Posted: Fri Sep 06, 2002.   Comments ()

Shoe Corner — The Mystery of Shoe Corner: "Thousands of shoes have been dumped there over the years, and residents can't figure out how or why."
Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2002.   Comments (58)

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