The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
Recently seen circulating on Twitter with the caption, "Heart glare reflection on the shores of Hawaii". The picture was taken in Hawaii. That's true. Waikiki beach, to be specific. But the 'heart glare reflection' isn't real. The photo is a manipulation created by DeviantArt user 'charmbuster' back in April 2008. He wrote: "an experiment... this is a slight photomanip, the shape was so close i had to make it a heart! (waikiki beach)" It's been floating around the Internet ever since 2008. Sometimes it's titled 'sea heart' or 'beach heart'. (via PicPedant)
Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 Comments (0)

In September 1934, Louis Nasch, a department store painter living in St. Paul, Minnesota, alerted the press to the fact that his wife, Martha, hadn't had anything to eat or drink in the last seven years. She hadn't slept either. And yet she was perfectly healthy. Louis explained that he decided to go public with this information because "I do not want people to think I am starving my wife." Louis and Martha Nasch Upon being questioned by the press, Martha insisted it was true, though she conceded that she realized "the world will not believe me." To back up her claim, her husband, their 12-year-old…
Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 Comments (11)

Italian social media is all abuzz with the news that the European Commission is offering to pay any EU family 1500 euro a month to host a political refugee from Ukraine — but particularly to host young Ukrainian women "who have always been discriminated against for trivial reasons." In response, many men are taking to Twitter/Facebook and are selflessly offering to host a young Ukrainian woman without receiving any compensation at all! Unfortunately the offer isn't real. The story comes from an Italian fake news site: Giornale del Corriere. [via blog sicilia]
Posted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 Comments (0)

In 1966, Dean Martin contributed a burger recipe to The Celebrity Cookbook, which was a collection of recipes by celebrities put together by Dinah Shore. Martin's simple recipe was as follows: MARTIN BURGERS 1 lb. ground beef 2 oz. bourbon---chilled Preheat a heavy frying pan and sprinkle bottom lightly with table salt. Mix meat, handling lightly, just enough to form into four patties. Grill over medium-high heat about 4 minutes on each side. Pour chilled bourbon in chilled shot glass and serve meat and bourbon on a TV tray. In 2010, Martin's burger recipe, scanned from The Celebrity Cookbook, appeared online and quickly went viral. I…
Posted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 Comments (0)


The above photo has recently been circulating on social media purporting to show a "snow snake". A caption provides this warning: This is the deadly snow snake. It has bitten 3 people in the state of Ohio and one in Pennsylvania. It’s been spotted in other states. It comes out in the cold weather and at this time there is no cure for it's bite. One bite and your blood starts to freeze. Scientist are trying to find a cure. Your body temperature start to fall once bitten. Please stay clear if you have see it. Please forward this and try to save as many people as we can from this deadly snow snake.…
Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 Comments (0)

On March 3 a video appeared online (with an accompanying website) announcing that a company had created an actual working hoverboard (aka HUVr Board), of the kind seen in the 1989 movie Back to the Future II, using antigravity technology. The video immediately went viral, with over 3 million views already on YouTube. As many have noted, the video is clearly fake. No one has created a working hoverboard. But it was an impressive fake. Especially noteworthy is the number of celebrities appearing in the video — including Christopher Lloyd, Moby, Tony Hawk, Terrel Owens, etc. Which raises the…
Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 Comments (0)

On April 1, 2013, Internet commerce site Firebox.com released a new product — the 70s Hairy Chest Sweater. From the product description: What makes lumberjacks, 70s television stars and the giant Brown Bears of Alaska so irresistibly attractive to others? Simple. Their long, luxuriant chest hair. Sadly, the recent 'man-scaping' trend has led to an epidemic of people pedantically plucking their pecs. Oh, the humanity. Thankfully, we’ve found a solution (while you wait for your rug to regenerate). The 70s Hairy Chest Sweater. This 100% polyester sweater is almost guaranteed to increase your masculinity, virility and ability to chop wood. Pull it on to…
Posted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 Comments (0)

In June 1959, reports surfaced of a monster seen in the woodlands of Central Florida, near Brooksville, about forty miles north of Tampa. Witnesses described seeing a giant creature with glowing eyes that towered over 9-feet-tall and moved rapidly through the trees with massive strides. The creature was active at night. Monster hunters went out to search for it. Some of them were armed with guns, and a few claimed to have spotted it and took a shot at it, but no creature was bagged. The reports aroused the curiosity of two Tampa Tribune reporters, Harry Robarts and Bob Fellows, who decided to track down the monster. They camped out for…
Posted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 Comments (0)

On the night of Feb. 27, a geomagnetic storm caused Northern Lights to be visible in Europe at unusually low latitudes. And lots of photos of the lights soon began to appear online. So thanks to Marco for giving us a heads up about this fake image that's begun circulating, purporting to show the aurora from space (with some tweets claiming it's a photo taken from the International Space Station). The quick summary is that this isn't a photo at all. It's an artist's conception of what an aurora would look like from space. But as Marco points out, this isn't how an aurora…
Posted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 Comments (4)

Since today is the first day of Error Day, this story seems appropriate. Assuming that the story was accurately reported, it demonstrates that the difference between sanity and insanity is often just a matter of context. The clipping comes from The Sydney Morning Herald - Dec 26, 1884. But I first saw the story over at Brian Chapman's Legends & Rumors blog. A correspondent of the Pall Mall Gazette writes: — "An Oxfordshire woman met with an experience a few days back which should act as a warning to intending visitors to lunatic asylums. The person in question journeyed to Littlemore, a village four miles distant from Oxford, where there…
Posted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 Comments (0)

In August 2011, hundreds of cats were rescued during a hoarding case, and then a team of veterinary students volunteered their time to spay and neuter the cats in order to prepare them for adoption. A photo of this mass spaying/neutering event (named Operation Cat Nip) ran in the Gainesville Sun. But about a year later that same photo began appearing on Twitter, stripped of any explanatory context, and accompanied by the caption: "Retweet if you say NO to animal testing." The photo also had a watermark added, "Cause Animale Nord,"which is the name of a French animal welfare society.
Posted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 Comments (4)

One problem is that the planned hoax is too late in the day. According to the rules of April Fool's Day, pranks have to be done before noon! If you do it after noon, then you become the fool. (Does no one care about the rules any more???) So it would be better to do this early in the morning on the 1st, rather than in the evening. RC Group Plans UFO Hoax A Group of RC enthusiasts plan a April Fools Day UFO hoax. This group of RC enthusiasts seem to have a secret plan to create an apocalyptic UFO doomsday hoax on April Fools Day.…
Posted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 Comments (2)

A Tumblr blog titled "Today is the Day Marty McFly Went to the Future" posts a new photo every day, indicating that today is the day McFly arrives in the future, as indicated by the Delorean's onboard time monitor in Back to the Future Part II (1989). It's the latest take on the perennial return of Future Day (an ongoing internet prank in which people claim that the date of McFly's arrival is closer at hand than it really is). The actual date of McFly's arrival is October 21, 2015.
Posted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 Comments (0)

A new website has many people slightly puzzled. It claims to be producing artisanal salamis made from lab-grown meat from celebrity tissue samples. So it's kind of like a celebrity version of Manbeef.com (from way back in 2001) — except that it's celebrity beef and the human meat is grown using in-vitro meat production. Salon.com got a response from "Kevin" on the BiteLabs team who explains that "the site is partly a commentary on food culture, the ethics of meat, and 'the way celebrity culture is consumed.'" So yes, it's a parody site. However, Kevin also insists that they do actually plan to make salami from…
Posted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 Comments (1)

The Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna is hosting a 3-day festival that will celebrate and explore the human propensity to screw up. They're calling it Error Day. Festivities begin on Feb. 28 and continue until Mar. 2. From the website for the event (which is mostly in Italian, but has a few pages in English): "Welcome errors, blunders, mistakes, miscarriages, misunderstandings, omissions, faults, failures, inaccuracies, misapprehensions, oversights, misprints, howlers, wrongs, gaffes, lapsuses, goofs, betrayals, fails, falls: here is humanity's true common denominator!"
Posted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 Comments (4)

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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.