The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
Haunted Whitstable Shop
Posted by The Curator on Thu Dec 19, 2013
Back in July, security camera footage of supposed paranormal activity in a Whitstable shop (boxes floating off shelves and hovering in the air) did the rounds on paranormal websites. Turns out the paranormal activity was manufactured by a pair of magicians for a new UK TV show, The Happenings. The premise was to try to convince a town "via trickery and fakery" that it's haunted. Doubtful News points out that the show didn't do very well in the ratings. Therefore, "more saw the You Tube video of the hoax without ever knowing the truth behind it!"
Categories: Paranormal Comments (0)
The Belen Miracle Window
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 18, 2013
Here's a case of pareidolia from 1927. That was the year Mrs. Baca of Belen, NM glanced up at the window that had recently been installed in the attic of her family's house and noticed "an image of Christ ascending into heaven" on the windowpane. [miracles of intervention blog] Soon thousands of people were flocking to see the "miracle window". The Christ figure could only be seen during daylight, and only from the ground. If you stood in the attic, the window looked perfectly transparent. The image survived attempts to clean the window, even when it was cleaned with gasoline. But puzzlingly, the image resisted being…
Categories: Pareidolia Comments (0)
Man emerges from Y2K bunker after 15 years
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 18, 2013
The news of Norman Feller's emergence from his underground bunker has gone viral. The story is that Feller went into the bunker shortly before January 1, 2000, convinced that the Y2K virus was going to bring about the collapse of civilization. He finally came out because he was curious if the world really had ended. However, the source of the story is the CBC's satirical This is That radio show. The show has a history of these spoof pieces that get mistaken for real news. The last one that went viral was their piece three months ago about the Youth Athletic Association that had decided to eliminate the ball from its soccer program in…
Categories: Journalism Comments (2)
Do sharks dislike the taste of human flesh?
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 18, 2013
Dr. Daniel Bucher, a shark expert at Southern Cross University, says that the notion they do is just a myth. So if you have a pet shark, go ahead and feed them fresh filet-o-human. Oh no ... sharks DO like the taste of human flesh The Logan Reporter According to Southern Cross University shark expert Dr Daniel Bucher it is not true sharks don't like the taste of human flesh. He said there was no evidence to support this claim, which he believed gained acceptance to allay people's fears of shark attack. "Normally they eat fish, but they don't mind red meat if they can get it," he said.…
Categories: Animals Comments (1)
The Myth of Holiday Suicide
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 17, 2013
According to urban legend, the holiday season sees a spike in suicides. But Scientific American notes that November and December actually have the lowest rates of suicide. The reason is perhaps because "The increased emotional and social support during holiday time temporarily dims the feelings of despair and anguish for many depressed children and adults." But unfortunately the holiday lull is followed by a peak of suicides in the Spring: "As winter thaws into spring, there is the hope for renewal that if not delivered can set into motion agitation and despair."
Categories: Death, Urban Legends Comments (0)
Have you lost a jackalope?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 17, 2013
Police in Edmonton recently launched a pinterest page on which they display "unique" lost and stolen items they've acquired. If anyone recognizes an item as their former possession, and can provide "specific details" that identify it, they'll be reunited with it. One of the items is the mounted head of a jackalope. I wonder what kind of specific details they need to identify this? I could say that it enjoys whiskey and is sometimes called the "warrior rabbit." But I don't think that's what they're looking for.
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales Comments (2)
The War on Christmas! Looks like some people are taking seriously this spoof National Report article about a 9-year-old kid being suspended for wishing his atheist teacher a Merry Christmas. National Report is one of the many satirical news sites that are now online. Although you have to search its site for a while before finding its disclaimer ("National Report is a news and political satire web publication"), because they don't post it on the bottom of every page, which can easily lead people to believe its stories are real.
Categories: Religion Comments (1)
Christmas Tinner Update
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 16, 2013
Thanks to "anonymous" who posted a comment to my recent post about "Christmas Tinner" (the entire Christmas day meal in a tin), alerting me to this video in which "steviejacko" has a can of the stuff, opens it up, and eats it. This suggests that, at the very least, someone created a prototype of this product. In the youtube comments, steviejacko says: "The one shop where it is available in basingstoke is sold out, it was done as a trial to see how much interest there was, it wont be available now for 2 weeks and even then it will be pretty scarce."
Categories: Food Comments (1)
Santa in Kinky Boots
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 16, 2013
Macy's decision to include the cast of the broadway musical Kinky Boots in its Thanksgiving Day parade was criticized by some conservative groups — since Kinky Boots features drag queens, and (so the conservatives argued) this made it inappropriate for the children watching the parade. But instead of being repentant, Macy's seemed to be doubling-down on its support of Kinky Boots when a flyer started to circulate online announcing that Macy's would be having an event in its kids department hosted by a Santa in kinky boots: "Bring your whole family to see Santa wearing a glittery addition to his traditional outfit!" Both Harvey Fierstein (who stars in Kinky…
Categories: Pranks Comments (0)
Bottled Fresh Air
Posted by The Curator on Sun Dec 15, 2013
DUPÉ sells bottled fresh air, as well as other products such as bottled moon light, positive thoughts, and "eco-friendly little rays of sunshine." The site (and storefront) were part of a spoof campaign launched a few months ago by Yarra Valley Water, providers of tap water to the Melbourne area. If you try to buy any of DUPÉ's fresh air, you get a message telling you: "Buying bottled air doesn't make sense. It's just like buying bottled water." (Thanks to Patty on WU for the heads up about…
Categories: Websites Comments (2)
Witchdoctor Protest
Posted by The Curator on Sun Dec 15, 2013
A unique way to express frustration at having been conned: Man conned by fake witchdoctor protests in the nude standardmedia.co.ke KENYA: A middle-aged man, in his desperate attempt to stage a one-man protest, stripped in Mlolongo town. This was after it dawned on him that a fake witchdoctor had conned him Sh25,000. The long protracted mid-morning drama left shocked onlookers wagging their tongues... The money was for some concoction, which he was to collect later and smear it at the door of his shop to attract customers. The initially tickled male spectators began feeling embarrassed at the nakedness of the man. They pleaded with him to dress up, and told…
Categories: Scams Comments (0)
Snow-Covered Sphinx
Posted by The Curator on Sat Dec 14, 2013
Photos of the Sphinx covered in snow have recently gone viral, on the heels of reports of the first snowfall in Cairo for 112 years. These photos haven't been digitally manipulated. However, they don't show THE Sphinx in Egypt covered in snow. Instead, what they show is a miniature model of the Sphinx located in the Tobu World Square theme park in Japan. The theme park has miniature models of many other famous attractions from around the world. (You can actually see the Eiffel Tower poking up behind the pyramid in the bottom photo.) Here's a photo that shows just how small the Tobu…
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (2)
Posing with Mandela
Posted by The Curator on Sat Dec 14, 2013
The Mandela-themed hoaxes continue. Kenyan senator Mike Sonko recently posted to his facebook page a photo of himself posing with Nelson Mandela. It's such an awful photoshop job, that it's hardly even worth debunking. Still, for what it's worth, the original image that he doctored was one of Mandela posing with Muhammad Ali. [telegraph.co.uk]
Categories: Photos/Videos Comments (0)
Empty Force
Posted by The Curator on Sat Dec 14, 2013
Wikipedia defines the martial arts technique of Empty Force as "the expression of force without making physical contact." This technique claims to harness the power of qi, the "body's vital energy", enabling masters of the art to defend themselves against opponents without making physical contact. However, "Some proponents of martial arts are skeptical about demonstrations of empty force and dismiss them as tricks." Recently a Finnish empty-force master, Jukka Lampila, gave a demonstration in Barcelona. So some skeptics decided to put his claims to the test. So basically, empty force works brilliantly as a method of self defense, as long…
Categories: Body Manipulation, Scams Comments (1)
Fake Mandela Corpse Photo
Posted by The Curator on Fri Dec 13, 2013
On Thursday, an image purporting to be a death photo of Nelson Mandela began circulating online. The photo — a greenish-tinged shot of Mandela with his eyes closed — was originally posted on twitter by someone with the username @nQOW_bee. IOL news reported: "In between tweets about the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial at FNB Stadium on Tuesday, which is her sexiest body part, and how she can’t stick to a healthy diet, she posted a picture of Mandela with the words 'He is resting'." The image was soon retweeted, but in response to a massive negative response, the twitter user subsequently…
Categories: Death, Photos/Videos Comments (0)
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