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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Religion
Jesus-Smelling Candles — Have you ever wanted to fill your home with the smell of Jesus? Now it's possible. A couple of Christian entrepreneurs have bottled the smell of Jesus and put it in a candle. They're selling these candles under the brand name "His Essence". So how do they know what Jesus smelled like? Simple. Psalm 45 mentions that when Christ returns his robes will be "fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia", so knowing a great marketing opportunity when they saw one, Bob and Karen Tosterud mixed up…
Posted: Fri Mar 18, 2005.   Comments (23)

Shroud of Turin Mystery Solved — In the debate about the Shroud of Turin, perhaps the strongest argument that the pro-Shroud side had going for it was that no one could figure out how a medieval forger could have created such a thing. How could the forger have etched a three-dimensional photo-negative image of a crucified man onto a piece of linen? Nathan Wilson has pretty much demolished this pro-shroud argument by showing that it would have been quite easy for a medieval forger to have done this. All he (or she,…
Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2005.   Comments (106)

Virgin Mary Pretzel — The latest 'spawn-of-Virgin-Mary-Grilled-Cheese-Sandwich' on eBay is the Virgin Mary with Baby Jesus Pretzel. This is a pretzel that may, if you're of the right frame of mind, look kind of like a Picasso-style rendition of the Virgin Mary holding the Baby Jesus. According to the description: "This totally unique and spiritual item was found by a 12 year old girl.  She was eating "Rold Gold" Honey Mustard flavored tiny twist pretzels, when she noticed the Virgin Mother holding Baby…
Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2005.   Comments (32)

Sometimes Sweaty Statue Says Pope Will Live — A statue of Pope Sylvester II in the Basilica of Saint John Lateran is said to become damp when a Pope is about to die. The statue ain't sweating, so that means things are looking good for John Paul II. The accuracy of the statue as a medical diagnostic tool has been confirmed by "two elderly Italian nuns", so this is a pretty definite thing. (thanks to Gary for the link)
Posted: Sun Feb 27, 2005.   Comments (8)


Mohammed (peace be upon him) — The latest rumor spreading around that has people up in arms involves an unusual requirement that exam boards supposedly place upon Religious Education students in Britain (this would involve students in the British equivalent of Junior High School). Apparently "The exam board requires that every time Muhammad is written, the letters "pbuh" in parentheses be placed after it. This is shorthand for "peace be upon him". The writer therefore prays a blessing upon him everytime his name is…
Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2005.   Comments (13)

Pigeon Religion — Pigeon Religion extolls the divine virtues of the oft-maligned pigeon. It's hard to tell if this is meant to be taken seriously. The text seems serious enough. Maybe. But the picture of a pigeon on the cross seems a bit over the top. However, I ran the phone number at the bottom of the page through a reverse phone directory and discovered that it was the number of the Companion Bird Club of Manhattan. Therefore, I'm concluding that Pigeon Religion is quite serious. (via Bifurcated Rivets)
Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2005.   Comments (2)

Nuns on Stools — I just received this photo in my email. I suppose those stools the women are sitting on are real enough, though I have no idea if the women are really nuns, or if the whole scene was staged. It looks to me like the picture was taken somewhere in Europe, based on the drinks and signs behind the bar. Update: I added the picture that Charybdis linked to, since it's evident they belong together in a series. It must have been some kind of 'nuns on stools' photo shoot. (click images to enlarge)
Posted: Wed Feb 02, 2005.   Comments (14)

Jesus on the Half Shell — Here's another image-of-God-appears-in-food story. The BBC reports that a Swiss bar manager, Matteo Brandi, has found an oyster shell that bears the spitting image of Jesus Christ, though to me it looks more like what I imagine the Sea-God Poseidon should look like. Mr. Brandi said he found the shell when "The oyster stuck to his hand as if God was calling him." He also points out that his oyster shell is unique because, unlike the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich, it is "the work…
Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2005.   Comments (21)

Face of Christ in Painting — I received this email yesterday from an artist requesting my opinion. Feel free to leave your own opinion in the comments: Being an artist, in August of 1996 I painted a picture. It was supposed to be a simple picture of a large cross on a white background. The picture is 24 x 30. The two axis of the cross are 11.5 inches wide. Roughly 28 x 22.5. The cross was made by taking a pallet of mixed colors of paint and with one vertical and one horizontal swipe nothing more. When the…
Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2005.   Comments (68)

CIA Muezzin School — The Guardian reports that a story has been spreading around Islamic websites about a CIA muezzin school in which the CIA trains agents to pose as muezzins (the men who call Muslims to prayer five days a week times a day from the minaret towers of mosques). Supposedly the CIA feels that muezzins are in a uniquely advantageous position to view everything that's going on in Muslim communities. But in reality, this is another of those satire-mistaken-as-news stories. The story of the CIA…
Posted: Tue Jan 11, 2005.   Comments (9)

Miracle M&M — I, like everyone else, should stop posting about these miracle foods that keep appearing on eBay. It's only encouraging their proliferation. But I just can't stop myself. So here's the latest one: A Miracle M&M. The seller says: Purchasing a handful of M&M from vending machine, I came across this very special M&M that I believe to be a likeness of Jesus with a crown on his head. This has been a life changing event for me. I am hoping that all of you see what I see.
Posted: Sun Jan 09, 2005.   Comments (17)

Santa in the Manger — In the same vein as the crucified Santa urban legend, here's an odd statue that would look great in any front yard. It's the Santa Kneeling by Baby Jesus Outdoor Statue. I wonder if they realize that Santa wasn't actually one of those three wise men that the Bible talks about? (via Bifurcated Rivets)
Posted: Fri Dec 17, 2004.   Comments (26)

He’s Still an Atheist — A flurry of news stories last week announced the news that a famous atheist, 81-year-old Antony Flew, had changed his mind. Apparently he now believed that there was a God, of some sort. Except that it looks like the media jumped the gun a bit. In this article in Rationalist International Flew rebuts the rumors, reassuring everyone that "I'm Still an Atheist!" He then proceeds to explain how all the confusion happened, but unfortunately his explanation succeeded in confusing me even…
Posted: Tue Dec 14, 2004.   Comments (9)

End of World Causes Bank Failure — Numerous bad loans to a polygamist sect that believes the end of the world is nigh has caused the 99-year-old Bank of Ephraim in Utah to go under. The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a small Mormon sect a small splinter sect of the Mormon church, unaffiliated with the main church) was spending money like the end of the world was around the corner... because they thought the end of the world actually was around the corner. And happily funding this spending…
Posted: Wed Dec 08, 2004.   Comments (5)

Have You Forsaken Baby Jesus? — Lots of people are linking to this floating Baby Jesus head that squeaks plaintively, occasionally moans 'WHY', and constantly demands 'WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?' One look at the URL told me that it was a spoof, because it's part of the Objective: Christian Ministries (O:CM) site, probably the most elaborate anti-fundamentalist parody site on the internet. But apparently not everyone is aware of O:CM, so they're getting creeped out thinking the floating Baby Jesus head is supposed to…
Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2004.   Comments (7)

Crucified Santa — According to urban legend there was once a department store in Japan that, shortly after the war, displayed a smiling crucified Santa at Christmas, mistakenly believing that that was how Santa was supposed to be displayed. In different versions of the legend the crucified Santa was either a small miniature or an 'enormous effigy'. There's no evidence that the Japanese crucified Santa ever existed. But people here in America have, of course, deliberately stuck Santas up on crosses.
Posted: Fri Dec 03, 2004.   Comments (18)

In the Wake of Grilled Cheese Mary — Following the $28,000 sale of that Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich, it seems like it's been loony season on eBay (if it was ever NOT loony season on eBay, that is). Among the more memorable Grilled Cheese Mary Wannabes have been the Jesus Fish Stick, the NutriGrain cereal that looks like ET, and the piece of popcorn that looks like the Virgin Mary holding Baby Jesus. Buck Wolf, in his weekly column on ABC News, points out some miracle foods from years past that have beguiled the…
Posted: Wed Dec 01, 2004.   Comments (12)

Man Lifts Planes, Elephants — Earlier this month 'spiritual teacher' Sri Chinmoy lifted a 5,322lb airplane off the ground. And the guy is 73 years old. I know there's got to be some trick here. How exactly did he lift that much weight? Was he using a lever of some kind? This weight-lifting success follows on the heels of a little 3,100 mile jog he and some of his followers did. Not a cross-country jog, mind you. No, they jogged around a city block in Jamaica, Queens. It took them seven weeks, running for 18 hours a…
Posted: Fri Nov 19, 2004.   Comments (9)

The Church of Tom Jones — This doesn't appear to be a church for those that worship Tom Jones. Instead, it's just a church for those who enjoy listening to Tom Jones music (I think the former would have been slightly more interesting). Also, I don't think it's a joke. Or maybe it is, and I don't get it. Pastor Jack, the guy who runs the church, seems to have been spooking around for quite a while. He boasts that in 1997 he was voted Strangest Person in America. That would be something to put on a resume. (via
Posted: Thu Nov 18, 2004.   Comments (10)

Virgin Mary Sandwich — The auction of a ten-year-old grilled cheese sandwich bearing the image of the Virgin Mary has been pulled from eBay. The sandwich was put up for sale by Diana Duyser who claims that in the ten years since she made the sandwich and took one bite out of it (before noticing the face of the Virgin), it has miraculously never grown any mold. eBay pulled the auction because it claims that it doesn't allow joke listings (that's news to me). Looking at the sandwich, I can definitely see a…
Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2004.   Comments (33)

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