The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
   
The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Psychology
Does Email Cause IQ Loss? — A widely reported story last week stated that a study conducted by Hewlett Packard found that "Workers distracted by email and phone calls suffer a fall in IQ more than twice that found in marijuana smokers." Sounded like bad news for people like myself who are constantly checking email. But Mind Hacks has examined the study a little more closely and found its results aren't all they're cracked up to be. What the test actually found is that people do worse on IQ tests if they're…
Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2005.   Comments (6)

Fake Smiles and Women’s Intuition — A study conducted by Professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire and the Edinburgh International Science Festival has found that women may not be as intuitive as they think they are. In fact, men may be more intuitive than women. Study participants "were asked to look at ten pairs of photographs showing smiling faces. One of the smiles in each pair was genuine and the other was fake, and people had to spot the genuine smile." You can take this fake-smile test yourself…
Posted: Sun Apr 17, 2005.   Comments (31)

Paul Harvey Riddle — Gary C. sent me this riddle which has been doing the rounds on email for quite a while, though I had never seen it before. As Gary pointed out, the interesting thing about this is not whether it really is a Paul Harvey riddle (I have no clue), or even the riddle itself. It's the claim that 80% of kindergarten kids got the answer while 83% of Stanford graduates were unable to. Instead of trying to track down whether or not a group of Stanford graduates ever has been tested with this…
Posted: Sat Feb 12, 2005.   Comments (214)

War Widow By Proxy — Sarah Kenney said that her husband died in Iraq when he dove in front of a bullet that would have hit a child. Her story attracted the sympathy of a group called Homefront Heroes, which then told the media about it. But it turns out that Kenney's husband didn't die in Iraq. He's still alive and well here in America. He isn't even a soldier. Kenney had made the entire thing up. This sounds like a case of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, in which people attract attention by inventing…
Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005.   Comments (8)


Morgellons Disease: Is It Real? — Sufferers of Morgellons disease complain of invisible parasites biting their skin. And they get skin lesions from which sprout strange fibers. And mysterious black spore-like specks appear on their skin. Cases of this strange disease seem to be spreading, especially in the Bay area. One theory is that it has something to do with Lyme disease. Or it may be a case of mass delusion. The medical community seems to think it's mass delusion. Most people who show up complaining of these…
Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005.   Comments (607)

Sleep Messaging — Richard Griffiths has a problem. He sends text messages in his sleep. The messages seem to be inspired by whatever he's dreaming about. I'm actually perfectly willing to believe this case is real. I'm pretty sure I could type in my sleep, if I were the sleep-walking/sleep-talking type, which I'm not. However, I still refuse to believe that the sleep-sex woman was for real.
Posted: Sun Feb 06, 2005.   Comments (4)

Online Gamers Anonymous (Status: Not A Hoax) — I came across the On-line Gamers Anonymous (OLGA) site recently and can't make up my mind whether or not it's a hoax. It's a site "of, by, and for on-line gaming addicts." Some of the stories shared on its message board seem a bit farfetched. Take, for example, the tale of Tommy, a former EverQuest addict. Tommy complains that: Before EverQuest I used to have nearly a perfect life, I was living the american dream if you will. I hade a wonderfull job, a great house, a beautiful and…
Posted: Wed Jan 12, 2005.   Comments (38)

Prebirth Experiences — At RoyalChild.com Sarah and Brent Hinze investigate Prebirth Experiences. They define these as when "a parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, or grandparent, etc., receives communication from a child before she is born, or in many cases, before he was even conceived." I hadn't heard of this particular variety of psychic (or spiritual) phenomenon before. It seems like a strange offshoot of past-life communication... except that instead of talking with people who once existed, you're communicating…
Posted: Wed Dec 22, 2004.   Comments (173)

Imaginary Friends — In a recently published study, researchers at the Universities of Washington and Oregon have reported finding that two-thirds of children invent imaginary friends. I, of course, never had an imaginary friend as a child. That ten-foot-tall rabbit who lived in my closet was very real.
Posted: Wed Dec 08, 2004.   Comments (26)

The ESP Game — Do you think you have ESP? Test your skills with the ESP game. It's a bit addictive. You're paired with a random partner on the internet, then you're both shown a series of images. You each have to guess what word the other person is typing to describe the image. I ranked as a novice.
Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2004.   Comments (2)

Wakerich Asylum for the Criminally Insane — This one almost had me believing that it was real. It's Wakerich Asylum for the Criminally Insane. It all looks very official and real, right down to the phone numbers, staff bios, and maps to the asylum. It only starts to become fishy when you notice that the complete records of all the patients are accessible online. The supposed explanation for this is that "Patient information is being made available to the public after a ruling by The New York State Appellate Court in a Freedom of…
Posted: Wed Oct 20, 2004.   Comments (9)

The Dream Machine — The Dream Machine, from Takara USA, "is designed to stimulate the user at the appropriate times during REM sleep to increase the likelihood of dreaming a particular desired dream." It involves incense, soothing background music, and a pre-recorded statement repeated over and over in your ear as you sleep. My guess is that it works about as well as cramming for a test by sleeping on a textbook would work.
Posted: Tue Oct 19, 2004.   Comments (16)

Sleep Sex — Australia's The Age reports on the strange nocturnal exploits of a middle-aged woman living with a steady partner. "By night, she crept out of their house to seek random sex with strangers. But the woman was unaware of her own double life, which was conducted while she was asleep." The doctor who is treating her, Dr. Peter Buchanan, claims that she is suffering from a rare syndrome known as 'Sleep Sex', which he's hoping will soon be officially recognized as a legitimate sleep disorder.…
Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2004.   Comments (9)

Are You Superstitious? — Do you think you're not superstitious? Then test it using this simple little experiment devised by John Stilgoe: Stilgoe's Law: to test if you are really NOT superstitious. Bring a photograph of your romantic partner, or of a son or daughter to a meeting. Here is an ice pick. Will you poke out the eyes in the picture? Will you poke out the eyes for ten dollars? Most students will not do this, the image has the power of a voodoo doll. -- suggested by Professor John Stilgoe,…
Posted: Sat Sep 04, 2004.   Comments (15)

Animal Psychics — I never realized that the pet psychic industry had grown so large. Should you have a need for someone to peer into your pet's thoughts, you now have a wide range services to choose from. There's Animalstalk.com, run by Barbara Morrison (her company motto is 'I talk to the animals!'). Then, of course, there's tv personality Sonya Fitzpatrick. But my favorite is Terri Diener, owner of Petspeak.com. She tells us that communicating telepathically with animals is "similar to turning on a…
Posted: Thu Aug 19, 2004.   Comments (9)

Real Pictures, False Memories — A recent study has shown how surprisingly easy it is to convince people that they remember things that never happened to them. 27.3% of the college students who participated in the study were able to be persuaded to 'remember' a fictitious event that supposedly happened during their childhood. But when a picture was produced to help jog their memory, that figure rose to 65.2%. So the next time you want to remind someone of that money they owe you, bring along a picture.
Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2004.   Comments (1)

Fake Abductions More Common Than Most People Realize — The abduction of Audrey Seiler, and subsequent revelation that she had faked the abduction herself, has been generating a lot of media attention. But in an interview with the Newhouse News Service, Ben Radford, managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, points out that cases like this are far more common than most people realize. By his estimate, they occur about three of four times a month, but most of the cases slip under the media's radar. In the early stages of the Seiler case,…
Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004.   Comments (0)

Memory Erasure — Lacuna, Inc. is a company that will erase troubling memories from your mind using a "painless non-surgical memory erasing process." But the site is actually part of the advertising campaign for an upcoming movie, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, starring Jim Carrey.
Posted: Thu Jan 01, 2004.   Comments (0)

Bizarre Phobias — Tom wrote to ask about the reality of a site called The Phobia Clinic. At first glance, the site definitely looks like it represents a real business that's selling a program to help people overcome their fears. The strangeness comes when you dig into some of the fears that they claim they can cure, and you have to wonder... do such fears or anxieties really exist? For example, they can cure you of Arachibutyrophobia (that's a fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth),
Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2003.   Comments (449)


Page 3 of 4 pages  < 1 2 3 4 > 
All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.