The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
This brief article ran in the Feb 1938 issue of Popular Science magazine. Plumbers Use Alligators To Open Clogged Pipes Alligators kept as specimens at the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries aquarium in Washington, D.C., are being tried out as plumber's assistants to open up clogged pipes. Placed in a length of pipe that is stopped up with silt and sediment, the reptile digs his way through, opening up a small hole which water will widen by its pressure as it sweeps through. A clipping of the article was posted on the Modern Mechanix blog in April 2007, with the comment, "I guess we know now where that urban legend…
|Posted: Fri Feb 07, 2014||Comments (1)|
When Japanese composer Mamoru Samuragochi went completely deaf at the age of 35, he continued to compose music, explaining that he was able to do so because of his "absolute pitch." Some of his most popular works were composed when he was deaf, such as his Hiroshima Symphony No 1. On account of this, people began calling him the "Japanese Beethoven." But now he's admitted that when he started losing his hearing he relied on a "ghost composer" to help him create his works. Samuragochi would outline the basic concept of the work, and the other guy would produce the finished composition. Samuragochi didn't say who the ghost composer was, but the Japanese…
|Posted: Thu Feb 06, 2014||Comments (0)|
Found circulating online, as captioned in the title. Somewhat obviously photoshopped, particularly with the person jumping off the diving board at the front. But it's a cool idea. I believe the image originates from the site of Bolig Partner, a Norwegian home construction firm, which is urging people to "Realize your dream home in the New Year!" The ship itself is a VARD Offshore Subsea Construction Vessel. The house which was digitally placed on the ship's helipad comes from an image on the site of Ultimalt, a Norwegian paint company.
|Posted: Thu Feb 06, 2014||Comments (1)|
Back in 2010, Bosch refrigerators ran an unusual ad campaign to promote its VitaFresh technology which, it promised, could keep food fresh longer. They created fake plastic-wrapped cuts of dinosaur legs, mammoth steaks, and saber-tooth filets, and placed these meats in supermarkets throughout Germany. The idea was that this meat is really old, but it's still fresh. Check out the video below to see people's reactions.
|Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2014||Comments (2)|
Before the Superbowl, a rumor began to circulate alleging that boxer Floyd Mayweather, who's known to be a big gambler, had bet $10 million on the Broncos winning. If true, he would obviously have been a very unhappy man during and after the game, as the Broncos got a shellacking. The rumor was reported by the Denver Post on Jan. 29, citing "multiple reports coming out of Las Vegas." The Post noted that the bet had not been confirmed by Mayweather himself, but seemed to feel the rumor might be true because, "it is well known that he likes to makes high-stakes wagers." But after the game, Mayweather
|Posted: Tue Feb 04, 2014||Comments (1)|
BBC News has delved into the mystery of "penis captivus," aka "cohesione in coitu," aka couples getting stuck together during sex. It tries to determine whether this can really happen, or whether such reports are just an urban myth. According to legend, the gods Mars and Venus once got stuck together, as depicted in this 16th century woodcut by the artist Raphael Regius Dr Aristomenis Exadaktylos of Switzerland, in a recent radio interview, declared it to be an urban myth. But other doctors aren't so sure. Dr John Dean, a "senior UK-based sexual physician," says that it's a rare phenomenon, but insists it can happen. Although he hastens to add that it's…
|Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2014||Comments (0)|
The recent death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has shone a light on the strange business model of the site Mediamass.net. After the actor died, reporters googled his name and came across an article on Mediamass reporting that the actor had recently been the victim of a death hoax. So a number of sites (such as The Telegraph and Daily Mail) subsequently reported on what a strange coincidence it was that the actor's real-life death had been anticipated by a death hoax. But the reporters had been fooled. What seemed to have been a prescient hoax was actually just Mediamass's anticipatory method of rumor debunking.
|Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2014||Comments (2)|
The Fake Snow Theory goes something like this: The government is trying to slow down global warming by spraying chemicals in the sky. It's a massive "geoengineering" project. When you see a "chemtrail" in the sky, that's the government spraying these chemicals. And these chemicals have triggered the recent large snowfalls throughout the United States, including in places that normally don't receive much, if any, snow, such as Georgia. Oh, and HAARP is somehow involved in this. But all that snow on the ground... it's not really snow. It's a chemically produced "snow-like substance." But it's not snow. This can be proven by trying to melt the "snow" with a…
|Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2014||Comments (0)|
The Australian lyrebird has amazing powers of imitation. In his Life of Birds series, David Attenborough demonstrated that these birds can even imitate man-made sounds such as chainsaws, car alarms, and the click of a camera shutter. The clip leads viewers to believe that lyrebirds in the wild have begun to imitate man-made sounds. But this turns out not to be true. Attenborough didn't explain that the lyrebirds he showed were not typical examples of the species. Hollis Taylor, writing for theconversation.com, explains: Attenborough peers at the bird (and the camera) from behind a tree, whispering to us about the bird mimicking "sounds that he hears…
|Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2014||Comments (2)|
I think this prisoner may have been telling a bit of a tall tale. "An Exact representation of a raft, and its apparatus, as invented by the French for their proposed invasion of England — from a drawing of a prisoner who has made his escape from France" Source: Bibliotheque Nationale de France via Retronaut
|Posted: Fri Jan 31, 2014||Comments (1)|
Promoters of the Manoppello Image are hoping that it's soon going to be as popular as the Shroud of Turin. Like the Shroud, it's supposedly the actual face of Jesus miraculously imprinted onto a piece of cloth. But I see a problem with their plan. The Shroud of Turin, say what you will about it, genuinely looks mysterious and creepy. But the Manoppello Image just looks like a bad painting. U.S. Pilgrims Flock to Manoppello’s Shrine After Benedict XVI Visit National Catholic Register Pilgrims have flocked to see an image debated to be the veil of Veronica, the resurrection cloth of Christ or a centuries-old hoax...
|Posted: Fri Jan 31, 2014||Comments (2)|
Tah gave me a heads up about this 'Here There Be Monsters' shirt that was the deal-of-the-day at Shirt Woot! It reminded me that I recently came across a foldout Storyteller's Map of American Myths in the Aug 22, 1960 issue of Life magazine. It's full of strange creatures such as the Arizona Ghost Camel ("once imported by the army, wandered the desert with dead riders), Michigan Tigerfish ("lurking around Saginaw Bay ate cabin boys"), and the New Jersey Mosquito ("as large as a swallow and fierce as an eagle, was trained by the Indians to hunt. One sting could stop a deer in its tracks.")
|Posted: Fri Jan 31, 2014||Comments (0)|
Stephen Glass can't catch a break. He burned his bridges in journalism, and now the lawyers don't want him either. Stephen Glass, journalist fired for fake stories, denied law license abclocal.go.com SAN FRANCISCO (KABC) -- Disgraced former journalist Stephen Glass was denied a license to practice law in California in a state supreme court ruling on Monday. The court ruled unanimously against Glass, a magazine writer who was fired after 31 of 42 high-profile stories were determined to contain fabrications and falsehoods. Glass, 41, was fired from the The New Republic magazine in 1998 after working there for three years. After being exposed, he continued to cover up his work…
|Posted: Wed Jan 29, 2014||Comments (2)|
Matt Novak, writing for Gizmodo Australia, notes that 100 years ago a news story circulated reporting that Frank Rockwell, the mayor of Akron, Ohio, had written a letter to Akron's future mayor in 2014: Fort Wayne Sentinel - Jan 24, 1914 Mayor Rockwell wrote a letter yesterday to the person who will be mayor of Akron 100 years hence. The epistle tells the future mayor of the present debt, the names of all the city officials, the problems confronting the municipality and the political situation in Akron in 1914. The letter will be sealed, addressed to "His Honor, Mayor of Akron, 2014," marked with instructions not to be molested or…
|Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2014||Comments (1)|
The latest fake news story to go viral claims that, due to the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, Philip Morris has decided to start selling Marlboro Marijuana Cigarettes, marketed under the brand name "Marlboro M". The fake news story was posted on the satire site "Abril Uno" on January 21st. From the article: Phillip Morris, the world’s biggest cigarette producer, announced today that they will join the marijuana legalization bandwagon and start producing marijuana cigarettes. Marketed under the brand “Marlboro M”, the cigarettes will be made available for sale through marijuana-licensed outlets in the state of Colorado, and the state of Washington when it becomes commercially legal there later…
|Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2014||Comments (0)|