The Museum of Hoaxes
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Magic Cheese
Status: Ponzi Scheme
Chilean police have arrested a pair of con artists who had constructed an elaborate pyramid scheme based on the sale of "magic cheese". OhMyNews reports:
The fraud consisted in selling people packs of "Yo Flex," a powder that, she claimed, would ferment milk into a special cheese. Giselle said that this "Magic Cheese" was the latest fashion in France, where women used it as a skin cosmetic, and which in Africa was used as a food supplement...
In Chile, a pack of Yo Flex sold for US$500, but chemical analysis determined that the powder was a dairy ferment worth only US$4. Mella and Jara told victims that Yo Flex should be mixed with milk and that the cheese should be returned to Fermex, which would export it to France and Africa. The agents promised the people that they would double their money in three months. Initially, Fermex did pay victims profits, but this was a ploy to convince more to invest their money. Soon, many were investing sums ranging from US$5,000 to US$40,000. Many would sell their cars or property or get bank loans to buy the packs of Yo Flex.
Ponzi would have been proud. I think someone should collect samples of all the worthless junk that's been sold through Ponzi schemes (magic cheese, bioperformance pills, etc.), and then display it all in a Ponzi Museum. Or this would be a cool gallery to have in an actual Museum of Hoaxes, should such a thing ever come into existence. (Anyone want to donate a million dollars or so to help me build it?)
Con ArtistsFood
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jul 21, 2006


Use this Million Dollar bill!"
Posted by oppiejoe  in  Michigan - USA  on  Fri Jul 21, 2006  at  11:53 AM
"Anyone want to donate a million dollars or so to help me build it?" Sure thing, Alex! But first, you need to buy one of these whatayacallem and ask five friends to...
Posted by Gutza  on  Fri Jul 21, 2006  at  02:44 PM
There was an interesting story in Private Eye (real, I think) about a Bible theme park being built in Yorkshire in the UK - the funding plan is to persuade a million Christians to donate
Posted by Owen  on  Fri Jul 21, 2006  at  05:15 PM
Pretty unrelated I suppose really, but anyway http://www.yorkshiretoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=55&ArticleID=978566
Posted by Owen  on  Fri Jul 21, 2006  at  05:17 PM
My GOD. Magic Cheese. Those two words... I mean it's just incredible. Who could resist the call of Magic Cheese?
Posted by Soldant  on  Fri Jul 21, 2006  at  09:59 PM
Sure, laugh if you want, but I think we just found the main ingredient for the next LifeWave patch.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sat Jul 22, 2006  at  03:26 AM
Speaking seriously, why don't you rent a small storefront and make a Museum of Hoaxes? I know from things you've said that you have a lot of hoax stuff. You could also sell Jackalope souvenirs and such. (or packets of Magic Cheese Extract)
Posted by PlantPerson  on  Sat Jul 22, 2006  at  07:24 AM
Magic Cheese reminds me of the stuff that was being hawked a decade or two ago. It was some kind of oriental fungus you could grow in your refrigerator, or some such thing. I wish I could remember the name. If you ate or drank a little of this stuff every day, it was supposed to give you miraculously good health and incredibly long life (hmm ... maybe that's why nobody ever gets sick or dies in east Asia ...).

I don't know if there were pyramid marketing schemes for that stuff, though.

Magic Cheese also sounds a whole lot like yogurt ...
Posted by Big Gary  in  Glen Ellyn, Illinois  on  Sat Jul 22, 2006  at  10:03 AM
>>why don't you rent a small storefront and make a Museum of Hoaxes<<

Unfortunately I don't have that much hoax stuff. Not enough to create an entire museum. As it turns out, a lot of the objects and collectibles associated with hoaxes quickly become highly sought after, causing their price to skyrocket. The Cottingley Fairy photos, for instance... thousands of dollars. The Piltdown Man skull... not even for sale, as far as I know. The Cardiff Giant... not for sale. The Feejee Mermaid (or what's rumored to be it)... not for sale.

All this stuff really should be exhibited together. Instead it's scattered all over the place.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Sat Jul 22, 2006  at  12:28 PM
Alex said:

"As it turns out, a lot of the objects and collectibles associated with hoaxes quickly become highly sought after, causing their price to skyrocket. The Cottingley Fairy photos, for instance... thousands of dollars. The Piltdown Man skull... not even for sale, as far as I know. The Cardiff Giant... not for sale. The Feejee Mermaid (or what's rumored to be it)... not for sale."

I went to the Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum in Newport, Oregon back in March. They have a Feejee Mermaid there in a glass case. While they don't actually say that it's Barnum's original, they sure try to imply it. I think I remember seeing a Feejee Mermaid in at least one of the other Ripley's joints I've visited, come to think of it.

I really do like the idea of a physical Museum of Hoaxes. Hey, Alex, if you ever get the money (or if I hit the Powerball and finance it), I want to be the co-curator or something.

Maybe we could call it the Museum of Human Gullibility, although when I suggested that to her a few minutes ago, my wife said there already WAS a Museum of Gullibility--the Vatican.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sat Jul 22, 2006  at  09:06 PM
I think the storefront idea could be a real hit. The scam items could be sold as discounted from the real price, in the "but wait, there's more!" style.

So, the magic cheese would be "regularly $500, on sale for $4.95"

This would be fun. Seriously, you should start it up on line and if it starts generating cash, just take it up from there.
Posted by Pythagoras  on  Sun Jul 23, 2006  at  06:52 PM
What happens if you... ahem... cut the cheese?
Posted by Winona  in  USA  on  Sun Jul 23, 2006  at  11:25 PM
Winona said:

"What happens if you... ahem... cut the cheese?"

You get TWICE the magic, silly.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Mon Jul 24, 2006  at  03:20 AM
Dear Mr Boese,

As it happens, you appeal for funds to launch a real-world version of your esteemed Museum comes at a timely and opportune time.

I am the chief accountant and also the member of contract awarding committee of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. After due consultation with my colleagues of the committee, the Federal Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Nigeria, I am duly mandated to arrange with you for the possible transfer of forty point zero five three million U.S. dollars (US$40.053M only) which represents an over estimated sum resulting from various contracts executed by some famous firms for my ministry.

I would appreciate so much if you will provide account into which the aforementioned sum will be lodged. All modalities of facilities the transfer to remittance have fully worked out with the Federal Ministry of Finance and National Apex Bank (CBN) the arrangement among other things spells out that the amount in question will be put into the account within 21 working days.

It will also please you to note that for your involvement in the business, we have agreed to offer you 30% of the total, 60% will be for those of us in Nigeria while the remaining 10% is set aside for defrayal of any expenses that may be incurred locally and internationally in course of the transfer. The balance to come to you would be more than adequate to establish your Museum.

If the above proposal interests you, please forward the following particulars immediately for prompt action. They are:

A. The name of the bank, address of the bank, account number, phone and fax number of the bank.
B. Your personal/private phone and fax numbers for easy communication.

The above arrangement will make for the maximum confidentiality as the nature of the business demands. Against the foregoing background, I wish to draw your attention to the fact that we have put in greater number of years civil service of the country and would not want our last years to dent out reputation, therefore maturity and topmost secrecy should be our watch word in keeping with this deal.

Use the above tel/fax number for onward transaction with us.

Yours faithfully,

Engr. Maharaja Ikem.
Posted by outeast  on  Mon Jul 24, 2006  at  06:44 AM
LOL
Posted by Boo  in  The Land of the Haggii...  on  Mon Jul 24, 2006  at  08:32 AM
How about that bottled water scam? free spring water 1 cent, 12 cents plastic bottle label and delivery 25 cents sell for $3 to gullible public for 10 yrs
started in France with Perrier!
Posted by Micky  in  NY  on  Mon Feb 18, 2008  at  04:46 AM
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