The Hoax Museum Blog

This Day in the History of Hoaxes: July 11

July 11, 1947: Twin Falls UFO Hoax
The FBI, Army Intelligence, and police all responded to a report of the discovery of a "flying saucer" in the yard of Mrs. T.H. Thompson of Twin Falls, Idaho. The saucer was discovered by her neighbor who heard a "thudding noise" at about 2:30 am, ran outside, and found a large metallic disk on the lawn. The authorities spent a day trying to figure out what the object was, as townsfolk worried whether they were being invaded by extraterrestrials, before four teenage boys admitted they had made it as a prank. It had taken them several days to make the saucer which was replete with "a plexiglass dome, radio tubes, burned wires, and glistening sides of silver and gold."
Posted: Fri Jul 11, 2014.   Comments (0)

The Rat Wrap

Photos of a rat found in a wrap ordered from Chop't (a New York sandwich and salad restaurant) have recently caused quite a stir on Twitter. Naturally, people are wondering if this is some kind of hoax, since claiming to find gross things in your food is a time-honored way of trying to shake down restaurants. (Remember the lady who found the severed finger in her chili at Wendy's!) Gothamist has been in touch with people at the law firm where the "rat wrap" was delivered to, who insist that there's no hoax on their end. And Chop't is saying that it doesn't believe this is the work…

Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2014.   Comments (0)

29 (lip-synced) celebrity impressions in one song — A video of musician Rob Cantor doing 29 Celebrity impressions in one song got over 7 millions views on youtube since July 1. But now Cantor has admitted that he was lip-syncing the impressions as a way to get people to listen to the song. The process of creating the impressions that he lip-synced to turns out to have been quite elaborate, and he's released a new video showing how it all worked. And that video is also going viral. So this guy really knows how to use social media to…
Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2014.   Comments (0)

This Day in the History of Hoaxes: July 10

July 10, 1969: Donald Crowhurst's boat found
Crowhurst was a competitor in a round-the-world, non-stop, solo sailing race. But as he lagged further behind the other competitors, he devised a scheme to fake his way into the lead by remaining in the Atlantic while the other boats circumnavigated the globe, so that upon their return it would appear as if he was in the lead. But apparently realizing that he was doomed to be found out, and possibly having succumbed to insanity, he jumped overboard instead, leaving his boat empty. [wikipedia]
Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2014.   Comments (0)

Holy Eggplants

Line cook Jemarcus Brady, who works at Gino's restaurant in Baton Rouge, LA., was recently slicing through an eggplant, when he realized that the seeds spelled the word 'GOD'. Brady said that seeing that word in the eggplant was like God himself "showing me, hey, I'm real." However, this isn't the first time the name of God has appeared in an eggplant. The phenomenon has a long history. Back in 2007, Felicia Teske of Pennsylvania also found the word "GOD" in an eggplant. Before that, in 2003, a woman in Mendhasalis, India sliced into an eggplant and found that its seeds spelled…

Posted: Wed Jul 09, 2014.   Comments (0)

The Disappearing Redhead Gene

Marie Claire notes on its blog that the idea that the gene for red hair could soon become "totally extinct" is just a hoax. [The disappearing redhead gene is a variant of the old disappearing blonde gene urban legend.] Nevertheless, Marie Claire does warn that global warming could cause "a dramatic increase in people born with auburn hair." It's getting this from The Daily Record, which in turn is getting it from a Dr. Alistair Moffat who works at a genetic testing company. Moffat's reasoning is that "red hair in Scotland, Ireland and the north of England is adaptation to the…

Posted: Wed Jul 09, 2014.   Comments (5)

Selfie taken by a ghost

Gina Mihai of Romania claims that on her cell phone she received a selfie taken by her grandmother, who happens to be dead. Gina says, "I was making doughnuts at the time and didn't want to get the phone dirty so I put it in my pocket, and when I took it out there was the image on the phone." Logically, it must be a picture of her grandmother, rather than a blurry shot of Gina herself, since Gina had failed to take any food to her grandmother's grave, per Romanian custom, and this is her grandmother's way of reminding her to do so. [Daily Mirror]

Posted: Wed Jul 09, 2014.   Comments (1)

This Day in the History of Hoaxes: July 9

July 9, 1986: Cruise Control as Autopilot Legend
On this day in 1986, the Wall Street Journal reported what it described as a strange insurance claim paid off by Allstate. A woman, it said, had been cruising along a highway in the Washington DC area in her new van when her baby started crying from the back. So she turned cruise control on, believing this would allow the van to "drive itself," and left the wheel to check her baby. A multiple car-crash ensued. Allstate later clarified that it had never actually paid such a claim, though it conceded that the story of this supposed incident was frequently shared among its claims managers.
Posted: Wed Jul 09, 2014.   Comments (1)

This Day in the History of Hoaxes: July 8

July 8, 1953: The Great Monkey Hoax
Three young men reported running over a space alien on a rural Georgia highway. What made this case unusual is that the body of the alien was lying on the highway to prove their tale. The incident quickly made national headlines. But when scientists from Emory University examined the 'alien,' they determined it was actually a Capuchin monkey with its tail cut off and fur removed with depilatory cream. The boys confessed they had created it as a prank. More…
Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2014.   Comments (0)

My Lips Are For Blowing

It seems pretty obvious, if you think about it, that the album "My Lips Are For Blowing" by Svetlana Gruebbersolvik cannot be a real album. After all, even if you assume that the name of this album might have been an awkward translation from a Russian original, why would Tamla records (aka Motown) have put out an album of a Russian recorder player? Nevertheless, the image of this album cover has circulated widely, and a lot of people seem to be under the impression that it's an actual album. For instance, it recently popped up on the "History in Pictures" twitter feed, with no…

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014.   Comments (4)

Bible Didn’t Stop Bullets

Back in February, a bus driver, Rickey Wagoner, claimed that he was shot at by three teenagers while he was standing outside his bus. But he survived because a Bible he was carrying in his shirt pocket miraculously stopped the bullets. (The version of the Bible was a translation by Eugene Peterson titled 'The Message'.) Police have now conducted a thorough investigation and concluded that the bus driver couldn't have been telling the truth. According to the Dayton Daily News: Police ballistics tests showed that bullets fired from the handgun - a 25-caliber Raven model semiautomatic…

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014.   Comments (3)

Van Gogh’s ear on display

The ZKM Media Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany has been displaying a living replica of Van Gogh's ear. It was created by artist Diemut Strebe, working together with scientists at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. Strebe took cells from one of Van Gogh's descendants and grew them into an ear replica, using a 3-D printer to create the shape. [] This recalls Hugh Troy's prank from 1935 in which he molded some dried beef into the shape of an ear, mounted it in a velvet-lined box, and surreptitiously put it up on display in the Museum of Modern Art during an exhibition of Van…

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014.   Comments (2)

This Day in the History of Hoaxes: July 7

July 7, 1948: Crash of Tomato Man
During the late 1970s, a photo began to circulate within the UFO community that purported to show the remains of a large-headed alien whose craft had supposedly crashed near Laredo, Texas on July 7, 1948. The photo was offered as proof that alien crafts have crashed on Earth. The "alien" figure began to be referred to as "Tomato Man" because of its large, round head. But investigation revealed that the crash scene contained objects that were definitely man-made, suggesting that the photo actually shows the crash of a small plane that occurred more recently than 1948. []
Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014.   Comments (0)

This Day in the History of Hoaxes: July 6

July 6, 1915: Birth of Elizabeth Durack
Elizabeth Durack was an acclaimed western Australian artist. But controversy erupted in 1997 when Durack revealed that she was also Eddie Burrup, an Aboriginal artist. Works by Burrup had appeared in a number of exhibitions of Aboriginal art, which angered many since Durack (aka Burrup) was in no way Aboriginal. However, Durack remained unrepentant since she considered Burrup to be a legitimate alter ego. [wikipedia]
Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2014.   Comments (0)

This Day in the History of Hoaxes: July 5

July 5, 1810: P.T. Barnum's Birthday
Happy Birthday, P.T. Barnum! Barnum became one of the most famous men in 19th century America thanks to his realization that "people like to be humbugged" — as long as the humbug provided some entertainment value. So he freely used humbugs to promote his New York museum. His most famous deception was probably the Feejee Mermaid hoax of 1842 in which he lured huge crowds to his museum with ads that showed a beautiful, bare-breasted creature. But what people found on exhibit inside was a small, wizened creature, that was actually the head of an ape stitched onto the body of a fish. More…
Posted: Sat Jul 05, 2014.   Comments (0)

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