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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Pranks
Trump Honors Serial Killers — Prankster Philip Bradbury tweeted Donald Trump a photo, telling him it was a photo of his parents and asking if Trump could retweet it in their memory because he was a "big inspiration" to them. Trump obliged. But it turned out the photo was actually of the English serial killers Fred and Rose West. Trump's response: "Some jerk fraudulently tweeted that his parents said I was a big inspiration to them + pls RT — out of kindness I retweeted. Maybe I'll sue." Yeah, the prank was a bit juvenile, but it's classic Trump to threaten to sue. Reminds me of April Fool's Day 1971, when the… Continue…
Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2014.   Comments (2)

The return of the Kingswinford Hoaxer? — A notice recently posted on the door of a "small building" in the village of Kingswinford has announced that the pub chain Wetherspoons will soon be opening a "Microspoons" mini-bar there, to be staffed by "a person of reduced height." The bar will only have room for 3 people (height restrictions will apply). It will only serve 1 lager, and entertainment will consist of "Sky Sports on 3-inch microscreen." The pub will be called "The Shorter Arms." Wetherspoons itself has denied any knowledge of this new bar. The Stourbridge News speculates that the sign marks the return of the… Continue…
Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2014.   Comments (0)

Futility Closet on Berners Street Hoax — The Futility Closet podcast discusses the Berners Street Hoax of 1810, in which a prankster created an enormous traffic jam in London by sending hundreds of tradesmen to make deliveries at a single, random address, 54 Berners Street. The last time I was in London I actually went to Berners Street to see if the house where this hoax happened was still there, but it wasn't. Seems that it was torn down long ago, leaving nothing to mark where the event occurred. As far as I could tell, the Sanderson Hotel now stands where no. 54 Berners Street used to be.
Posted: Thu Sep 18, 2014.   Comments (0)

London’s pranks and hoaxes — Londonist offers a brief list of some of London's pranks and hoaxes. They don't include any that aren't already listed here. But they do include quite a few links back to the museum!
Posted: Sat Sep 06, 2014.   Comments (0)


Ginger Discount Card — Richard Macrae of Aberdeen claims that he's earned more than €250 in discounts by showing stores his "Ginger Discount Card." He just shows it to cashiers and ask if they offer a ginger discount. [newstalk.ie]
Posted: Tue Sep 02, 2014.   Comments (1)

Release the Crickets! — Several students at Chartiers Valley High School in Pennsylvania are facing disciplinary action following a senior prank that involved the release of "several thousand" crickets in the school. Apparently insect release pranks have been popular lately. KDKA News in Pittsburgh notes, "Last year, seven Kentucky students were involved in a similar prank." But these recent examples of the prank don't have quite the same wit that was exhibited in a 1911 instance of it reported at the time by the Washington Post: Locusts Invade a Church New York, May 28 — For the text of his sermon… Continue…
Posted: Mon May 26, 2014.   Comments (0)

“Plan for a healthy retirement” — Spoof ads showing a doctor handing a gun to an elderly woman, beneath the headline, "Plan for a healthy retirement," have been appearing at bus shelters throughout the UK. Clear Channel, the firm responsible for bus shelter ads, has been reporting them to the police. A Clear Channel representative speculated that the ads are part of a movement called "brandalism" which "subverts advertising billboards to make political and social points." [The Oxford Times]
Posted: Tue May 13, 2014.   Comments (0)

Writing Fake Letters to Dear Abby — A few days ago, the Concourse blog posted about a recent letter to Dear Abby that clearly had to be fake. Here's the letter. DEAR ABBY: I'm the happily married mother of two teenage boys. The other day I overheard my older son (age 17) talking with a friend about "twerking." I have never heard of it and now I'm worried. Is twerking a drug term? Is it similar to "tripping," "getting high" or "catfishing"? My 17-year-old is supposed to go to Princeton next year on a sports scholarship, and I'm afraid "twerking" will derail him from his charted path. Thank you for any advice you may… Continue…
Posted: Fri May 09, 2014.   Comments (3)

Pole Brand Cigarettes — A billboard advertising "Pole Brand Cigarettes" recently appeared in Wellington, NZ, outside the Evans Bay Intermediate School. I'm guessing the students at the school may have had something to do with its appearance. Pole Brand Cigarettes is a pretty old joke, but it took some dedication to create an entire billboard for this faux brand. The Dominion Post notes, somewhat obviously, that the billboard "appears to be an obscene prank." And also that it "carries an endorsement from the fictitious 'Ministry of Smoking Pole' organisation."
Posted: Fri May 02, 2014.   Comments (1)

Abu Sharmouta and the Gag Name Prank — The classic example of the "gag name" prank is to tell a reporter your name is "Haywood Jablome" — and hope the reporter doesn't think too long about what phrase that name sounds like. Haywood Jablome digging out a snowdrift. Fargo Forum - Dec 27, 2009 An older example: back in 1930, students at Cornell made headlines by getting politicians to praise the legacy of one "Hugo N. Frye" (you go and fry), supposed founder of the Republican party in New York state. A more recent version of…
Posted: Thu Dec 19, 2013.   Comments (2)

Santa in Kinky Boots — Macy's decision to include the cast of the broadway musical Kinky Boots in its Thanksgiving Day parade was criticized by some conservative groups — since Kinky Boots features drag queens, and (so the conservatives argued) this made it inappropriate for the children watching the parade. But instead of being repentant, Macy's seemed to be doubling-down on its support of Kinky Boots when a flyer started to circulate online announcing that Macy's would be having an event in its kids…
Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2013.   Comments (0)

Spaceman First-Class Bob Percy — In February 1959, Bob Percy, rush chairman of the Psi Omega professional dental fraternity at the University of Southern California, was kidnapped by his own pledges and dressed in a "space helmet, toe-less tennis shoes, sweat pants and shirt with chained hands and feet." He was then taken to the airport and put on a plane, with no idea of where he was going and no money. The picture below was taken as he was boarding the plane. Halfway through the flight he figured out he was en…
Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2013.   Comments (1)

Telekinetic Coffee Prank — The video of the "Telekinetic Coffee Shop Prank" has gotten over 30 millions views on YouTube in 4 days. So it's definitely served its purpose, which is to promote the upcoming release of the Carrie remake. A lot of people have questioned whether the customers in the coffee shop were real or actors. But according to Andrea Morales, the actress who played the telekinetic coffee woman, the customers definitely were real. She says in an interview with the NY Daily News, "We got some…
Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013.   Comments (1)

Invasion of the Housekeepers, 1909 — The Cowichan Valley Citizen has dug into its archives for a story about a 1909 hoax that caused a small army of housekeepers to descend upon Victoria, British Columbia, in response to a want ad that turned out to be a prank: 'Hoax' goes too far: Victoria's invasion of the housekeepers Cowichan Valley Citizen First to become aware of the invasion of foreign domestic help was V.C. Maddock, a city realtor. For days, he'd had to explain to job applicants, some of them very insistent, some…
Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013.   Comments (0)

Cow Tipping Debunked Once Again — Cow tipping has been thoroughly debunked before, but Modern Farmer's recent article on the subject is interesting nevertheless. It emphasizes that cows are not easy animals to tip over because they've got a lot of mass, they're very stable on their feet, and they're difficult to sneak up on. To underscore how difficult it is to tip a cow, the author, Jake Swearingen, notes that farm vets often need to get a cow down on its side to perform a medical exam, and it's not easy to do. The…
Posted: Mon Sep 23, 2013.   Comments (0)

The Bunny Ears Prank Revisited — Rugby player Manu Tuilagi recently apologized for making bunny ears behind David Cameron's head during a photo shoot outside of 10 Downing Street. Cameron replied, "No need to apologise, I know it was just a bit of fun." [espn scrum] This got me thinking again about the history of the Bunny Ears prank, a topic I last posted about back in 2006. How old is the Bunny Ears prank? Does it predate photography? Nobody knows. After a bit of searching online, the oldest example of making…
Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2013.   Comments (1)

The Royalton’s Special Tea Blend — George Jean NathanOrson Welles was fond of telling the following story about drama critic George Jean Nathan (1882-1958) — a story which is repeated in the recently published My Lunches with Orson, Peter Biskind (ed.). [via the Legends & Rumors Blog] Orson Welles: Let me tell you a story about George Jean Nathan, America's greatest drama critic. George Jean Nathan was the tightest man who ever lived, even tighter than Charles Chaplin. And he lived for forty years in the Hotel Royalton,…
Posted: Tue Sep 17, 2013.   Comments (0)

Mystery Letterbox — A red letterbox has appeared on the side of a bridge crossing the Thames in the village of Sonning-on-Thames. It's accessible only from the river. The Royal Mail says it's "a mystery to us." What makes this story doubly strange is that spoon-bender Uri Geller happens to live in this town and was interviewed about it by the BBC. He speculates that "the ghost of a mischievous little girl" might have put the letterbox there. Uri Geller mystified by letterbox on Thames Sonning Bridge BBC…
Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2013.   Comments (3)

Bricked-in Car Prank, 1964 — October 1964: The work of pranksters. A car boxed in by brick walls on a foot bridge of the North Branch of the Chicago River in the 5000 block of North Spaulding. Source: Chicago Daily News.
Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2013.   Comments (2)

The Girl Scout Cookie Order Hoax — This is all over the news. [oregonlive, csmonitor] Some girl scouts in Portland, Oregon thought they had landed a massive sale of cookies when they received an order via email for 6000 boxes — a $24,000 order. Whoever was handling the order (a scout's mother, I assume) exchanged some emails with the buyer, and everything seemed legitimate. The buyer was even an acquaintance of the troop. So the girl scouts went ahead and processed the order, committing themselves to receiving 6000…
Posted: Mon Mar 18, 2013.   Comments (1)

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