The Hoax Museum Blog
The True Meaning of Des Moines
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 23, 2003
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…
Lake Michigan Whale Watching
Posted by The Curator on Sun Sep 21, 2003
Moscow Subway Metrocam
Posted by The Curator on Sat Sep 20, 2003
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.
Excelsior, Minnesota: No Starbucks Allowed
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 18, 2003
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.
Buy Land on the Moon
Posted by The Curator on Sat Aug 09, 2003
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…
666 on the Alamo
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jul 24, 2003
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.
Sucker Day Cancelled
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 23, 2003
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…
San Diego Faux History
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jul 14, 2003
Whale Watching in the Midwest
Posted by The Curator on Sat Jul 12, 2003
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.
Utah town celebrates Viking origin
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jul 01, 2003
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).
Believing in Fargo
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 06, 2003
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.
The Mystery of Idaho
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 30, 2002
Posted by The Curator on Sat Sep 07, 2002
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…
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 04, 2002