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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Religion
The stegosaurus on the temple — A carving on the ancient Ta Prohm temple in Cambodia has become a favorite of creationists, because it looks kinda like a stegosaurus. And, of course, if there's a carving of a stegosaurus on an ancient temple, that supports their belief that dinosaurs and humans once lived together. However, as Brian Switek points out on the Smithsonian blog, two other explanations are more likely: a) The carving is something other than a stegosaurus: If viewed directly, the carving hardly looks…
Posted: Fri Mar 13, 2009.   Comments (19)

Pareidolia Roundup: December 2008 — It's been a while since I've done a pareidolia roundup, so a few of these are a couple months old. Virgin Mary in Salsa Stain "Elvia Alvarez was recently using her blender to make salsa in her kitchen. Some of the salsa splattered onto the wall, creating what Alvarez says is the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since this happened. Alvaraz says it's a sign that people need to be nicer to each other." Funny. I thought it was a sign she needs to be more careful when making salsa. Jesus…
Posted: Wed Dec 03, 2008.   Comments (12)

Pareidolia Roundup: September 2008 — Coffee Stain Christ Four years ago Sam Marinos had a cup of coffee with his wife. When he was done he turned the cup upside down to allow the grounds to run down the side of the cup -- which is some kind of tradition in his family. He was then "stunned" to see that the grounds had formed what looked to him like the face of Jesus. He's now considering selling the Jesus cup on eBay. Drywall Jesus Omar Craddock was doing some work in a client's kitchen when he spotted the image of a face…
Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008.   Comments (29)

Is Roger Ebert a Creationist? — Yesterday the film critic Roger Ebert posted an article to his website that reads very much like an endorsement of creationism. It starts: Questions and answers on Creationism, which should be discussed in schools as an alternative to the theory of evolution: Q. When was the earth created? A. Archbishop James Usher, working out a chronology from the Bible, calculated in 1654 that the earth was created on the night of October 23, 4004 B.C. Other timetables reach back as far as 10,000…
Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2008.   Comments (14)


Poe’s Law and TrueChristians.com — Poe's Law, coined by Nathan Poe on the Christian Forums site, states: in general, it is hard to tell fake fundamentalism from the real thing, since they both sound equally ridiculous. The law also works in reverse: real fundamentalism can also be indistinguishable from parody fundamentalism. Cranky Media Guy recently submitted an example: truechristian.com. It contains passages such as: So God put Adam to sleep and ripped out one of his ribs and behold, we find out that women…
Posted: Wed Sep 17, 2008.   Comments (5)

Pareidolia Roundup: August 2008 — It's time for the monthly pareidolia roundup: Toronto Virgin Mary Christopher Moreau was having a beer in his garden, when he realized that scarring on a tree limb in his yard looked kind of like the Virgin Mary. His neighbor is a bit skeptical, but doesn't really care as long as the religious sightseers stay out of her yard. JC in Cell Phone Pensacola resident Linda Square thinks an image stored on her cell phone shows her in silhouette with Jesus Christ beside her. She swears that…
Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2008.   Comments (13)

Cursed By Allah — There was an interesting post on alt.folklore.urban discussing several examples of Muslim hoaxes alleging there have been people who were recently cursed by Allah, for one reason or another, and transformed into bizarre animals. For instance, Arabic newspapers ran one story about a girl who threw the Quran at her mother and was transformed into a large, rat-like creature. (The story became a popular video as well.) An image (below) accompanied the story, showing what the girl had…
Posted: Wed Aug 27, 2008.   Comments (41)

Shroud of Turin Update — The 1988 radiocarbon results that dated the Shroud of Turin to the Middle Ages have long been a thorn in the side to the True Believers. But they may get the chance to have new tests conducted, thanks to the efforts of John and Rebecca Jackson of Colorado. From the LA Times: Jackson, 62, is getting his chance to challenge the radiocarbon dating. Oxford University, which participated in the original radiocarbon testing, has agreed to work with him in reconsidering the age of the shroud.…
Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2008.   Comments (20)

Pareidolia Roundup — Once again, it's time to play spot the blurry face resembling the iconic image of Jesus (or the Virgin Mary, or whatever). Cat Fur Jesus The Johnson family of Indiana recently adopted a kitten. To their surprise, they discovered that the fur on its side contains a pattern that looks like the face of Jesus. They admit that people who don't see it "might think we are weird crazy or something," but they're fine with that. I'd say they haven't quite reached the weird crazy stage yet. Maybe…
Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008.   Comments (12)

The Fishing Lures of Faith — Not to be outdone by Christian fundamentalists, Islamic fundamentalists have come out with their own anti-evolution treatises. Among the most prominent of these is the Atlas of Creation by Harun Yahya. It's a long work (and more is on the way) consisting primarily of page after page of examples showing that modern-day species can be found in the fossil record. This is supposed to demonstrate that evolution hasn't occurred. Volume 1 contains the example of the Caddis Fly. The…
Posted: Thu Jul 24, 2008.   Comments (6)

No tattoos in Jewish cemeteries — The New York Times debunks the myth that "If you get a tattoo, you can’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery": The eight rabbinical scholars interviewed for this article, from institutions like the Jewish Theological Seminary and Yeshiva University, said it’s an urban legend, most likely started because a specific cemetery had a policy against tattoos. Jewish parents and grandparents picked up on it and over time, their distaste for tattoos was presented as scriptural doctrine. But even if…
Posted: Fri Jul 18, 2008.   Comments (7)

A Whole Bunch of Pareidolia — I've been falling behind on my pareidolia updates. So I'm lumping all the recent sightings together in one post: Spumoni Jesus Some patrons of Hatch Family Chocolates in Salt Lake City claimed to be able to see the image of Jesus in a 3-gallon bucket of spumoni ice cream. Me: I can't see it at all. Spumoni Jesus started to melt, so they ate him. (Thanks, Bob!) Face in Log This one has been getting a lot of attention. Ernest Ward, a groundskeeper at Magnolia Cemetery in Maryville,…
Posted: Sun Jul 13, 2008.   Comments (12)

Rapture Check — RaptureCheck.org allows you to check the probability that the rapture has happened -- just in case you look out your window, see no one there, and get worried. Right now the rapture is listed as "Getting Close." Here's how it determines the imminence of rapture: I made an assumption that the people who would regularly check RaptureCheck would be dispensationalist Christians concerned about the rapture. I further assumed that many, if not most, of these people would be raptured when and…
Posted: Wed May 21, 2008.   Comments (6)

Holy Potato — Cranky Media Guy wants to know "Who in the press can we implore to PLEASE MAKE THIS NONSENSE STOP?" He's referring to the most recent finding of a holy potato. From thelocal.de: A potato destined for the fryer has become a holy relic to some Berliners after a woman cut it open only to find an image of a cross inside. Birgül Balta, 49, was cutting potatoes for French fries at her home in Berlin's Charlottenburg district when the cross-shaped cavity inside one of the spuds stopped her…
Posted: Thu May 08, 2008.   Comments (11)

Jesus Baking Tin — Hudson Pace writes: "I was scraping out a baking tin when I discovered this Face of Jesus on the bottom! I thought of putting it on Ebay, but then I thought, I don't need the money, so why not cut out the middleman and send the picture straight to the Museum of Hoaxes? Hope you like it." Very nice. Thanks, Hudson. And it's made me think that I really should create a Pareidolia Gallery to better categorize all these image-bearing baking tins, trees, pieces of toast, etc.
Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008.   Comments (20)

Priest investigated for fake exorcisms — Father Francesco Saverio Bazzoffi, a priest in Florence, is being investigated for fraud for performing "fake exorcisms." From the Catholic News Agency: Prosecutors alleged that Father Francesco Saverio Bazzoffi would “stage shows” before crowds of more than 400 people at the House of the Sainted Archangels, an organization he founded. According to prosecutors, the priest’s associates would “pretend to be possessed by demons” and Father Bazzoffi would allegedly exorcise them using…
Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2008.   Comments (7)

Toast Appears on Jesus Christ — John Ordover sent this in. He was looking at a picture of Jesus (or rather, an artist's interpretation of what Jesus might have looked like) when he realized a piece of toast had miraculously appeared on it. I think this must be a message from John's toaster! But can we be sure that actually is a piece of toast? It kinda looks like a granola bar to me.
Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2008.   Comments (64)

Cheesus and Mary — Two examples of religious pareidolia have made headlines recently. The first is "Cheesus" -- a Jesus-shaped Cheeto found by Steve Cragg, a youth director at Memorial Drive United Methodist Church in Houston. He actually found it a couple of years ago, but decided to unveil it recently in honor of Easter. The second is the Virgin Mary on an Easter egg. KGBT reports: "Veronica Cervera said she was making "cascarones" by dyeing hollow eggshells on Good Friday when an image suddenly…
Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008.   Comments (9)

Palm Leaf Mary — And now for your daily pareidolia. (Well, weekly pareidolia, at least.) Manny Duenas of Sacramento was cutting down some old palm leaves in his yard -- on Palm Sunday, no less -- when he happened to look at one of the leaves in his hand and saw an image of the Virgin Mary cradling baby Jesus in her arms. Duenas says: "God is out there and maybe these are one of the messages that they send." Actually, I don't so much see the Virgin Mary figure, but I definitely see an outline of the…
Posted: Thu Mar 20, 2008.   Comments (7)

Jesus in the Door — Ten years ago Wendy Divock felt a touch on her cheek. She thought it was her husband touching her, but when she turned around, he wasn't there. What she saw instead was an image of a face in her closet door. Initially Wendy and her husband called the image the "guy in the door," but after doing some research on the internet they decided that it was Jesus. The pastor across the street assures them that the image is "very significant and that it's authentic." The Dovicks have created a…
Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2008.   Comments (23)

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