The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Paranormal
Zimbabwe Witch Hoax — New Zimbabwe reports that two witches who crash-landed in a suburb of Harare — after flying around in their winnowing baskets, which is the preferred method of transportation of Zimbabwe witches — were not actually witches. It was all an "elaborate hoax." As part of their witch disguise, one of the women had an owl with her — apparently having an owl is a sure sign of being a witch in Zimbabwe — but this owl had been bought "from a man who captured it in a grinding mill building." The…
Posted: Mon Sep 23, 2013.   Comments (0)

Sylvia Browne admits ‘mistake’ — Sylvia Browne admits she was "mistaken" about claiming back in 2004 that she had communicated with the ghost of Amanda Berry. Since, ya know, it now turns out Berry wasn't dead. But did Browne make a mistake (i.e. she somehow misinterpreted what spirit was talking to her), or was she just making it all up? Does she understand the difference? Sylvia Browne: fans lash out at 'psychic' over false Ohio abduction prediction guardian.co.uk One of the world's most recognizable self-proclaimed…
Posted: Fri May 10, 2013.   Comments (7)

Miniature Amityville Horror house — Artist Tracey Snelling has created an installation which she calls Last House on the Left. It consists of 4 miniature houses from horror films (The Birds, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and the Amityville Horror. It's the Amityville Horror Dutch Colonial that caught my eye. If I ever did have a brick-and-mortar hoax museum, it would make a great addition! Snelling's miniature houses feature sound effects as well as tiny LCDs that play clips from the films when you look through…
Posted: Wed Mar 06, 2013.   Comments (0)

Magic Log Found in Cambodia — Thousands of people in Cambodia are flocking to see a "magic log" that was found at the bottom of a pond earlier this month. It's a big log (42 feet long). But what makes it magical, in the eyes of the people journeying to see it, is that it appears so well preserved for a log that's been underwater for a while. From Sky News: Battambang province local, Nem Nay, explained to Reuters why he believed the log was magical: 'What I think is, why does this log not rot, even though it stayed…
Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2012.   Comments (7)


The Angel in the Shopping Mall — Over at livescience.com, Ben Radford analyzes a video that supposedly shows an angel falling to the floor of an Indonesian shopping mall. The video is said to have been taken on Sep 11, 2011. Radford concludes that whoever created the video (and he's sure it's a fake) got the lighting all wrong when they inserted the animated angel. Light sources near the top of the frame are clearly reflected in the polished, semi-glossy floor (which appears to be painted and sealed concrete),…
Posted: Fri May 18, 2012.   Comments (2)

Fairy Kidnappings and Fairy Shysters — Fairies have a pretty good public image. They're widely regarded as good creatures, since they're small, delicate, and magical. But in European folklore, they were often considered quite malevolent. The wikipedia article on fairies notes the belief in fairy kidnapping: Any form of sudden death might stem from a fairy kidnapping, with the apparent corpse being a wooden stand-in with the appearance of the kidnapped person. Consumption (tuberculosis) was sometimes blamed on the fairies…
Posted: Fri May 04, 2012.   Comments (1)

The Mermaids of Zimbabwe — Ginny Stein reports for Australia's ABC News on the mermaids of Zimbabwe. Although Zimbabwe is landlocked, it's apparently home to many mermaids. And these aren't the friendly Disney kind of mermaids. These are evil, nasty creatures that live in ditches and creeks, kidnap people, and hold them prisoner for years. No Myth - Scourge of mermaids in Zimbabwe abc.net.au A mermaid is very mysterious creature. You can't really say what complexion it is, what colour it is. It can be like a…
Posted: Sat Apr 28, 2012.   Comments (1)

The ghost of Janis Joplin attends a party — Posted by "klove614" on reddit: "Going through pictures from the other night...holy shit" Reddit users quickly pointed out that the ghost in the background bears a strong resemblance to this poster of Janis Joplin:
Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012.   Comments (1)

Myth-Busters of Mohali — Interesting article in tehelka.com about Tarksheel, the Punjab Rationalist Society, which is a chapter of the larger Indian Rationalist Society. Its members try to combat superstition by using logic and skeptical inquiry. After reading the article, it sounds like they have an uphill struggle ahead of them. Some highlights: The head of the Indian Rationalist Association, Sanal Edamaruku, spent close to 23 hours in a studio in New Delhi last year, while a sadhu invited by the news…
Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2012.   Comments (2)

Russian Girl Floats Up Into The Air — Either it's a hoax, or a muggle wandered across a wizarding lesson. (via HuffPost)
Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2012.   Comments (1)

The Owlman of Mawnan — This Is Cornwall has a brief article about the "Owlman of Mawnan." They write: The first sighting occurred in April of that year. Don Melling, who was holidaying in the area, said that on April 17 his young daughters, June and Vicky, were walking through woods near Mawnan church when they saw a "half-man half-owl" hovering above the church. The incident is suspected to be a hoax because Tony "Doc" Shiels became involved. He was the first person Melling told about the sighting, and then…
Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2012.   Comments (1)

Strange Metal Boxes Washing Up On Beaches — In the past two weeks, various blogs have been reporting that "strange metal boxes" have been washing up on beaches in Oregon, Washington, and northern California. In some versions of the reports, these boxes make humming and screeching noises, are seamless, and can't be moved, even by trucks. The boxes are said to have appeared after UFO sightings. Theories about what these boxes may be (besides the theory that they're the lost luggage of UFOs) include the speculation that they're…
Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2012.   Comments (1)

Woman-Turns-Into-Snake Rumor — Social networking sites in Nigeria have been ablaze with the rumor that a woman turned into a snake at the Hotel Excel in Warri. The proprietor of the hotel, Chief Moses Odeh, has been doing everything he can to put out the rumor, but once these stories get started, they acquire a life of their own. (informationnigeria.org) African rumors still have true strangeness to them. Here in America, the majority of twitter and facebook rumors are fake reports of celebrity deaths... which get…
Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2012.   Comments (7)

Sounds of the Apocalypse, aka Strange Sounds Heard Around the World — MadCarlotta sent me an interesting video: The premise of the video (which has over 1 million views) is that people around the world are hearing eerie groaning sounds that seem to rise up from the ground and echo through the sky. My first thought was that it sounds like the noise my tankless water heater makes on cold days. So if anyone in La Mesa is hearing eerie noises echoing through the neighborhood, I'm the culprit. Is the 'strange sounds' video a hoax? Seems to be. Some of the…
Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2012.   Comments (28)

Is Nessie a Phantimal? — An article by Nick Redfern on mania.com discusses the theory that the Loch Ness Monster (and Bigfoot) may be "phantimals". That is, "the spirits or ghosts of creatures that became extinct thousands of years ago." This theory is promoted by paranormal expert Joshua P. Warren, author of Pet Ghosts, who argues that "the world’s most famous lake-monster, Nessie, might actually represent some form of 'ghostly plesiosaur,' rather than a literal, living animal or colony of animals." Nice…
Posted: Wed Aug 31, 2011.   Comments (8)

Swami Sleeps on Fire — Maybe this guy is wearing an asbestos robe. From the Times of India: When even a match stick singes the skin, is it possible for a human being to lie on fire for four hours, fully clothed and emerge unscathed, body and robe? Even fall asleep in the process? Ramababu Swamiji, 80, from Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu,ostensibly did precisely that on Sunday morning when he slept on a homa fire and prayed for the well-being of the society, say his devotees at the Ghanagapur village in northern…
Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2009.   Comments (5)

The Ghost of Babinda Boulders — According to legend, the ghost of Babinda Boulders in Australia lures young men to their death. (I think Babinda Boulders is also called Devil's Pool.) A recent visitor to the site took a photo in which a "ghost face" appeared. Or so she claims. I can't see anything. Can you? Link: Cairns.com
Posted: Fri Nov 13, 2009.   Comments (9)

Kuda Bux and Eyeless Vision — On the Raffaele De Ritis' Novelties and Wonders blog I found an old video of Kuda Bux, a performer who claimed to have x-ray eyes. He would cover his eyes with putty, cotton wool, and gauze bandages. Then he would challenge people to write any word, in any language, on a blackboard, and he would be able to magically reproduce what they had written. Kuda Bux claimed it was psychic ability that allowed him to see while blindfolded, and according to Wikipedia his act inspired Roald Dahl…
Posted: Wed Jul 29, 2009.   Comments (16)

Britains Got Talent… and Ghosts — People who spend far too much time staring closely at the TV have identified an extremely small, blurry dark shape that appears to move rapidly across the stage during a semi-final performance on Britains Got Talent. (Embedding is disabled on this video, so you've got to go to YouTube itself.) It took me a while to even be able to see the "ghost." It starts at 0:51, at the right side of the stage. By 0:53 it's gone, darting off the left side of the stage. (Warning: it's really, really…
Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2009.   Comments (8)

Sued for Fake Ghost Rumors — The book Weird Ohio and accompanying website claimed that the oldest grist mill in Ohio was haunted. But so many ghost hunters started visiting the mill that its owners felt compelled to spend thousands of dollars on security measures. Then they decided to sue the website for spreading false rumors. The judge recently delivered his verdict. The website isn't responsible for the owners' emotional distress, nor is it responsible for the people trespassing on the property, but it does owe…
Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2009.   Comments (3)

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