The Hoax Museum Blog
Trump Honors Serial Killers
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 30, 2014
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…
The return of the Kingswinford Hoaxer?
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 29, 2014
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 Kingswinford Hoaxer, who was active about a decade ago. Some of the…
Futility Closet on Berners Street Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 18, 2014
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.
London’s pranks and hoaxes
Posted by The Curator on Sat Sep 06, 2014
Ginger Discount Card
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 02, 2014
Release the Crickets!
Posted by The Curator on Mon May 26, 2014
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 today the…
“Plan for a healthy retirement”
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 13, 2014
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]
Writing Fake Letters to Dear Abby
Posted by The Curator on Fri May 09, 2014
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 have. —…
Pole Brand Cigarettes
Posted by The Curator on Fri May 02, 2014
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."
Abu Sharmouta and the Gag Name Prank
Posted by The Curator on Thu Dec 19, 2013
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 the prank occurred earlier this year when San Francisco station KTVU reported that the pilots of the crashed Asiana…
Santa in Kinky Boots
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 16, 2013
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 department hosted by a Santa in kinky boots: "Bring your whole family to see Santa wearing a glittery addition to his traditional outfit!" Both Harvey Fierstein (who stars in Kinky…
Spaceman First-Class Bob Percy
Posted by The Curator on Wed Oct 23, 2013
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 route to Las Vegas, by overhearing a passenger. Once in Vegas, he called the Las Vegas Sun,…
Telekinetic Coffee Prank
Posted by The Curator on Fri Oct 11, 2013
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 awesome reactions. Some people got really into it. A constructor worker actually came toward me to calm me down, saying everything was going to be okay."
Invasion of the Housekeepers, 1909
Posted by The Curator on Fri Oct 11, 2013
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 of them in tears, all of them frustrated and mystified, that he wasn't the "H. Maddock" who'd placed an ad in the Seattle Times. A steady stream…
Cow Tipping Debunked Once Again
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 23, 2013
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 process is called "cow casting." The vets use ropes and teams of highly-trained individuals, and often things still go badly wrong, as the video below shows.