The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Hoaxes, mischief, and misinformation throughout history
Apparently the great state of California, in which I live, has adopted a new state seal, as can be seen below.
Posted: Tue Nov 25, 2003 Comments (0)

MyStudios.com has an interesting History of Art Forgery (via Fiendish Is The Word). Plus, they challenged 20 contemporary artists to create works in the style of past masters, and you can see the results here.
Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2003 Comments (0)

One of the questions in my gullibility test is whether turtles ever die of old age. The answer is that they don't, and here's a BBC article about another species that shares this trait: the sea urchin. Apparently, unless urchins are killed off by predators or diseasey, they'll live forever.
Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2003 Comments (0)

As a joke, a Peoria woman puts a baby octopus in her boyfriend's toilet. Her boyfriend gets home, finds an octopus in his toilet, and assumes it must have crawled there from out of the sewer. He calls the local paper and the city is soon caught up in the 'Great Octopus Mystery' until the girlfriend calls up and sheepishly confesses.
Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2003 Comments (1)


Dr. Miles Russell argues that Charles Dawson had to be the sole perpetrator of the Piltdown Hoax, since Dawson had a long history of creating archaeological frauds.
Posted: Sat Nov 22, 2003 Comments (0)

Tom wrote to ask about the reality of a site called The Phobia Clinic. At first glance, the site definitely looks like it represents a real business that's selling a program to help people overcome their fears. The strangeness comes when you dig into some of the fears that they claim they can cure, and you have to wonder... do such fears or anxieties really exist? For example, they can cure you of Arachibutyrophobia (that's a fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth), Ballistophobia (a fear of bullets... but why would anyone want to overcome their fear of bullets? Isn't that a good thing to be afraid of?), Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (fear of…
Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2003 Comments (449)

'Free MJ' shop that's now up on CafePress. Plus, there have been quite a few postings today on my message board dedicated to Michael Jackson's Nose.
Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2003 Comments (0)

I wrote in my book about the burgeoning Jedi movement throughout the world. For instance, when the 2001 census was taken in Britain, tens of thousands of people listed 'Jedi Knight' as their religious affiliation on the census forms. I've actually heard from a source in the Office of National Statistics that when the figures were all counted, there ended up being more Jedis than Jews in Britain. Now we have more proof of the growing stature of 'Jediism': the quasi-official website of the Jedi Religion.
Posted: Thu Nov 20, 2003 Comments (28)

Mixing together some content that had been on the site before, with a little stuff from my book, I just created a small gallery of hoaxes involving Adolf Hitler. He was a strange man, and he inspired some strange hoaxes.
Posted: Tue Nov 18, 2003 Comments (0)

People are up in arms about the Great Chili Scandal. The scandal occurred at the 37th annual Original Terlingua International Frank X. Tolbert-Wick Fowler Memorial Championship Chili Cook-Off, which is like the superbowl of Chili Cook-offs. Don Eastep won first place this year. Problem is that Don hadn't actually cooked any of his own chili. His brother Terry had dropped out of the contest at the last minute, so Don posed as his brother and took his place. But instead of cooking something of his own, Don simply walked around and took one spoonful of chili from each of the 80 contestants. Then he mixed these eighty spoonfuls together in a bowl and handed that in as his entry.…
Posted: Tue Nov 18, 2003 Comments (0)

This is one of those cases where a joke supposedly becomes reality. An advertising company (The Design Conspiracy) created a joke website called What Brand Are You?, whose purpose was to spoof the bizarre brand names that companies are increasingly dreaming up—names such as Aviva, Diageo, and Corus. Visitors to What Brand Are You could type in their name, their 'core values,' and their goals, and the supercomputer powering the website would then spit out a personalized brand name free of charge (my brand name is 'Acclivius'). In reality, the Design Conspiracy had just dreamed up a few silly names (about 150, they say) which were randomly offered when visitors hit the submit button. But apparently a number of…
Posted: Tue Nov 18, 2003 Comments (1)

Posters advertising a campaign rally for Howard Dean, and sporting a confederate flag in the background, appeared all over the campus of Dartmouth College. The group hosting the rally denies having created the posters, therefore they're obviously a prank, created by some group as yet unknown.
Posted: Sat Nov 15, 2003 Comments (0)

Here's a picture of the 2004 calendar of Jamie Oliver (aka The Naked Chef). Note the suggestively placed piece of bread. This image originally appeared on the website of Boots, which is a British pharmacy. And it quickly attracted attention, at which point Boots cropped the image in order to remove the offending piece of bread. I can't find another picture of the calendar anywhere online to compare this picture to, but I'm assuming that the piece of bread must have been photoshopped in. Probably by a mischievous Boots employee. Update 2 (11/17/03): David Emery reports that he was able to find the real version of the…
Posted: Sat Nov 15, 2003 Comments (0)

A modern-day 'Catch Me If You Can' criminal is on the run in Australia. He cons women out of money by posing as a pilot. Except that Frank Abagnale was a teenager when he posed as a pilot, whereas this guy is in his 30s.
Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2003 Comments (0)

Tim Radford has a piece in today's Guardian on his Top 10 favorite Science Hoaxes of All Time. The Piltdown Man comes in at number one. Strangely, he seemed to omit a number of very famous cases, such as the Great Moon Hoax of 1835, the Cardiff Giant, the Paul Kammerer 'Case of the Midwife Toad', William Summerlin and his painted mice, Shinichi Fujimura's Stone Age discoveries, and the recent Piltdown Chicken (of National Geographic fame). But then, it is his list, and I guess everyone would pick something different.
Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2003 Comments (0)

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