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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Places
Fictitious Countries — Elliot has posted five new articles in the hoaxipedia. His theme was fictitious countries. Or rather, countries of an ambiguous legal status. The Principality of New Utopia An island "country" in the Caribbean established in 1999 by Oklahoma businessman Howard Turney, who prefers to be known as HSH Prince Lazarus. The Dominion of Melchizedek A South Pacific island country, that happens to be entirely underwater. It was founded in 1987 by California father and son Evan and Mark…
Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2008.   Comments (14)

Phantom Tent City on Roof — According to a rumor that circulates among the population of South Carolina's Hilton Head Island, there's a group of Mexican immigrants living on top of one of the local supermarkets. It may be the Bi-Lo Supermarket, or the Port Royal Plaza, or the Harris Teeter. Supposedly this tent city of roof-living immigrants tapped into the store's electricity and even diverted the air conditioning system to cool their tents. The Island Packet News is pretty sure that the story of the rooftop…
Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2008.   Comments (6)

Phallus in Football Field — In the summer of 2004 pranksters used herbicide to trace the outline of a giant phallus in the football field located inside Harman-Geist Stadium in Northeastern Pennsylvania. When the grass died, the phallus became visible. Maintenance crews did their best to hide the phallus by painting it green, but eventually the paint wore away. And now the prank has succeeded in reaching an even wider audience, thanks to satellite technology. Overhead satellite imagery of the stadium -- and…
Posted: Thu Dec 06, 2007.   Comments (2)

Porthemmet Beach — The website for Porthemmet Beach advertises that it is the best beach in Cornwall. It also claims that it's the only beach in the UK to allow topless sunbathing. So how does one find this beach? These are the directions on the website: Porthemmet is very easy to get to from anywhere in Cornwall. Head north up the A30 until you see the signs. They are very clear, you can't miss it! It should be noted that there is a private joke in Cornwall whereby locals will pretend to not know where…
Posted: Thu Sep 27, 2007.   Comments (17)


Vernon, Florida — Joe Littrell forwarded me a St. Petersburg Times article, Dismembered Again, about the town of Vernon, Florida. It was so weird that I first I thought it was one of those joke articles, the kind that magazines such as the Phoenix New Times sometimes run. But all the references in it check out, so now I'm pretty sure it's real. Vernon used to be known as Nub City, because the main source of income for town residents was dismembering themselves in order to file insurance claims. People…
Posted: Tue Sep 04, 2007.   Comments (6)

New From Elliot: Brooklyn Bridge Scams — Elliot's latest addition to the Hoaxipedia details scams involving the Brooklyn Bridge. I like this one in particular: In 1886, not long after the Brooklyn Bridge opened, another famous scam was perpetrated by a Brooklyn bookie named Steve Brodie. According to the story, Brodie’s scam originated in a bet with a Brooklyn bartender named Chuck Connors. The bookie wagered Connors that he could jump off the Brooklyn Bridge and survive the fall. Steve Brodie ultimately won the bet and wound…
Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2007.   Comments (5)

Algeria’s River of Ink — The Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society has posted an interesting geographical puzzle. An article, "The Story of Ink," in the 1930 issue of the American Journal of Pharmacy included the following statement: Iron tannin inks are sometimes formed naturally; such a phenomenon has been observed in Algeria, a country in northern Africa, where there exists a "river of ink." Chemical examinations of the waters of the streams combining to form this river revealed that one of the…
Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007.   Comments (9)

The Bermuda Triangle of Cats — Cats are disappearing from the town of Stourbridge in the West Midlands. Up to 40 lost cats have been reported so far, all from the same small neighborhood. Metro.co.uk reports: The pets disappeared from just a few streets and no signs of any of them have ever been found. Some families lost as many as three cats, one after the other. But there is one resident who, like others in the town of Stourbridge, refuses to believe it's just a coincidence. 'It really is a bit of a Bermuda…
Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2007.   Comments (12)

Moving Rocks of Death Valley — On Flickr someone with the screenname "melastmohican" has uploaded a picture of a "moving rock" located in the Racetrack Playa region of Death Valley, California. The caption reads: Deep in the heart of the California desert lies one of the natural world's most puzzling mysteries: the moving rocks of Death Valley. These are not ordinary moving rocks that tumble down mountainsides in avalanches, are carried along riverbeds by flowing water, or are tossed aside by animals. These rocks,…
Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2007.   Comments (27)

The Great Cornish Shark Hoax — Kevin Keeble stirred up a lot of excitement when he sent pictures to the Newquay Guardian showing a great white shark that he claimed to have spotted about a mile off the coast of Cornwall. At the time he said, "We were out about one mile off Towan Head and I saw this fin in the distance. We were reeling in the mackerel but I picked up my camera and caught a picture with my telephoto lens. The shark was about 100ft away. It was only there for a few seconds before it disappeared." A…
Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2007.   Comments (1)

Cerne Abbas Homer — A 180ft image of a donut-waving Homer Simpson recently appeared on a hillside in Dorchester, beside the famous Cerne Abbas Giant. The image is part of the publicity for the new Simpsons movie. However, the stunt has not pleased local pagans, who believe it to be disrespectful. Catherine Hosen, Wiltshire representative for The Pagan Federation, says, "I find it quite shocking and very disrespectful. It's just a publicity stunt for a film and we are talking about a monument which is…
Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2007.   Comments (8)

Ghetto Bus Tour — Next time you visit Chicago, consider skipping the normal city tours and instead take the "Ghetto Bus Tour." It takes tourists on a guided tour in a yellow school bus "through vacant lots and past demolished buildings on a tour of what was once one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the country." You get to see the former housing projects. The tour guide is Beauty Turner. The Chi-Town Daily News reports: Turner leads her captivated audience from site to site in a beat-up yellow…
Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2007.   Comments (11)

Quick Links: Jesus on Google Maps, etc. — Jesus on Google Maps Brian Martin claims that he saw the shape of Jesus in the clouds above Mount Sinai. (Thanks, Madmouse.) Cat Gives Birth to 'Puppy' Following on from the Japanese poodle scam hoax, this made me laugh. A cat in Zhengzhou, China has supposedly given birth to a litter of four, one of which looks like a poodle. There are no pictures to accompany the article, however. (Thanks, Robert.) Sexism in Tetris It seems a lot of people didn't realise the April 1st post on this…
Posted: Wed May 02, 2007.   Comments (6)

The Great Belgian Breakup Hoax — If I were going to draw up a list of the top ten hoaxes of 2006 (which I'm not because I don't have enough time), the Great Belgian Breakup Hoax would definitely have to be included in the list, sneaking in right before the end of the year. As has been widely reported, on Wednesday many people were briefly led to believe that Belgium had ceased to exist. An AP story summarized what happened: Suddenly and shockingly, Belgium came to an end. State television broke into regular programming…
Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2006.   Comments (29)

Bruce Lee Theme Park Patrolled by Mannequin Robots — There's word of a Bruce Lee theme park being built in China. Nothing particularly weird about that, and no reason not to believe it's true. Here's the weird part: According to local reports, the park will be patrolled by Bruce Lee “mannequin robots”, radio-controlled from within a giant statue of the late star. Also, there's going to be a rollercoaster "that emits the martial arts actor’s signature grunts and screams on high-speed bends." Sounds kind of cool. I'm guessing that the part…
Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2006.   Comments (9)

Nuclear Explosion Over Netherlands — Gerrit forwarded links to radar maps showing some extremely unusual cloud activity over the Netherlands. I managed to visit the radar sites myself in time to see the unusual clouds. However, the maps have since updated and are no longer showing the same activity. But I can vouch that, for a while, they really were displaying the sudden appearance of a mysterious ring of clouds around the Netherlands. Screenshots of the radar image have been posted here and here. Has anyone checked that…
Posted: Wed Sep 27, 2006.   Comments (28)

Quick Links: Man Bites Panda, etc. — Man Bites Panda A drunken tourist climbed in with Gu Gu the panda at Beijing zoo. When the startled panda bit him, he bit it back. "I bit the panda on its back but its fur was too thick," Mr Zhang recalled. He went on: "No one ever said they would bite people. I just wanted to touch it." Jerusalem - There's No Such City! According to a mistranslated sightseeing brochure, at least. The pamphlet, translated from Hebrew, should have read "Jerusalem - there's no city like it!". Dog With…
Posted: Fri Sep 22, 2006.   Comments (17)

New York Puppet Library — When I came across this page descriping puppet lending libraries—one in Boston and another one in New York— I thought it had to be a joke. Especially given the New York puppet library's location: inside a memorial arch. But apparently these are real. A google search brings up quite a few articles about the New York puppet library, including this one from Time Out New York Kids: A different kind of lending library makes its home in Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza Arch. A small flock of…
Posted: Fri Aug 25, 2006.   Comments (5)

Top Thrill Dragster — The following pictures of an extreme roller-coaster have been circulating around via email. Yes, the roller-coaster is real. It's the Top Thrill Dragster at the Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio. On their website they've got some cool point-of-view videos of the ride in action. Appended to the pictures of the rollercoaster is this next one, with the caption: "And this last picture says it all..." I'd be willing to bet that isn't really a picture of…
Posted: Sun Aug 20, 2006.   Comments (16)

Teddy Tourism — Teddy Tour Berlin, run by Karsten Morschett and Thomas Vetsch, cater for those who can't themselves afford to tour the German capital, but want the next best thing. Expatica.com reports that customers send their teddies and the payment details to the company, who then take the bears around sites such as Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Olympic Stadium, and remnants of the Berlin Wall. At each site, the visiting teddy is photographed in a snappy pose. "They aren't photo-montages…
Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2006.   Comments (10)

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