Hoaxes of 2014
There's a bit of a mystery on Reddit. Redditor "tcatron565" claims to have come across a post on Facebook from someone trying to sell 3000 tarantulas because their owner "is away" and the spiders are starving. These tarantulas need to find a home fast! Definitely an unusual situation, but is it for real? Impossible to say since there's no contact info, and tcatron565 hasn't offered any more details. But just in case it's not a hoax, the moderator of the spiders subreddit has offered to go to "great lengths" to find a home for the tarantulas. [via Daily Dot]
At Web Summit in Dublin, two social-media strategists started pitching a new startup called VelloBook, which they described as the "world's first ad-only social media network. Giving people the power to share ads." They also created a Twitter feed, @VelloBook. But after they started getting a lot of requests for meetings, they realized that they needed to make it clearer that this was a "fake startup" — a joke! I predict that it's a joke that will one day soon become reality. [independent.ie]
Election results in Adams County, Colo. have been delayed because of an all write-in race for the county surveyor post, which means every ballot has to be read by a human. They're already reporting a large number of write-in votes for Mickey Mouse and Brad Pitt. [Denver Channel]
If I were to make a list of the Worst Nessie Sightings Ever, Jonathan Bright's Nessie photo would have to be near the top of the list. To me it looks like a wave. Plain and simple. And yet he's managed to successfully promote this thing (and himself). He was a featured speaker at Scotland's first Paranormal Festival where he discussed the photo, and most recently his Wave-Nessie was the subject of a write-up in the Daily Mail. Bright took the photo on Nov 2, 2011 while taking a cruise of Loch Ness. That happens to be the same day that the skipper George Edwards [edit: claimed he]…
The latest fake news story to be mistaken for reality comes from clickhole.com. It claims that Beanie Babies made in the 90s were actually filled with thousands of spider eggs, and that those eggs are now beginning to hatch "bursting through the seams of Beanies everywhere." Syracuse.com reports that the fake story has been shared on Facebook over 58,000 times. Unlike most fake news stories, which aren't funny at all, I can actually see an element of humor in this one.
California artist Sarah Derememer creates hybrid animals, such as the "birboon" (a cross between a baboon and a sparrow) as a way to improve her photoshop skills. [telegraph.co.uk]
"Alex from Target" is the latest instant celebrity of the Internet age. He's a teenager who works at Target in Texas, and his real name is Alex LaBeouf. It's not entirely clear who took his picture as he was bagging groceries at Target, but a week ago a teen girl in London (Twitter user @auscalum) shared his picture on Twitter, captioning it, "YOOOOOOOOOO." Viral fame soon followed, because millions of other teen girls apparently couldn't get enough of how adorable Alex from Target was. But was Alex's cuteness the only reason for his sudden fame? Maybe not. Soon after Alex became…
A face was seen in a plume of smoke above a burning building in Fresno, CA. The face was said to have appeared just as someone was being saved from the building. Therefore, one eyewitness concluded that the face must be that of Jesus Christ. [yourcentralvalley.com]
While dining at the Bobby Flay Steak restaurant in Atlantic City, Joe Lentini said he ordered a bottle of Screaming Eagle Oakville 2011, at the recommendation of the waitress, who told him it cost "thirty-seven fifty." He was surprised when this turned out to be $3,750, not $37.50. After he complained the bill was lowered to $2,200. [NY Mag]
When pulled over by a cop, this Florida motorist identified herself as Christina Topp, age 22. When the cop questioned why she really didn't look 22, the woman explained that she had a "medical condition that makes her age faster." But when the cop pulled up Christina Topp's driver's license photo and found that the motorist looked nothing like it, the woman admitted she had lied. She was trying to pretend to be her daughter because her own license had been suspended. Her actual age was 43. [Smoking Gun]
According to myth, there's a 1:1 ratio of rats to people living in New York City. But Columbia University researcher Jonathan Auerbach determined that there's actually only 1 rat for every 4 people. [npr.org]
Cordy's auction house thought they were selling two fake Monets painted by famous art forger Elmyr de Hory. But actually they were fake De Hory's painted by a London bookmaker, Ken Talbot. Now the two paintings are going up for sale again as "Fakes of fake Claude Monet." [NZ Herald]
Politics are getting ugly in Burnaby, British Columbia. A rumor has been circulating alleging that, if reelected, the party backing the current mayor (pictured) intends to inject children with a "gay serum" that will make them homosexual. The rumor appears to have been inspired by the fact that in 2011 the Burnaby School District adopted a policy to combat homophobia. [Yahoo! News Canada]
An image circulating on social media appeared to show a box of mince pies, made by the frozen food chain Iceland (which is a UK company, not an Icelandic one), whose packaging featured an unfortunate spelling error (or perhaps an unfortunately stylized font), offering "Minge Pies" instead of "Mince Pies." Minge is British slang for a woman's genitals. The photo trended with the hashtag #mingepies. The picture elicited comments from Twitter users such as: "Something about Iceland's mince pies doesn't look quite right." "Oh Iceland... you really should have used a different font."
The sex tape "sweeping the internet" that allegedly shows a 26 (or 35)-year-old teacher sleeping with a 16-year-old student actually shows a fling between a woman (who's not a teacher) and an adult college student. It's not clear how the fake story got attached to the video, but the story definitely boosted the video's popularity. [gawker.com]