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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Top 15 Web Hoaxes of All Time

Separating the misinformation from the truth can be difficult. Here’s a collection of the top 15 most unforgettable web hoaxes from

1. The Montauk Monster (2008)

The "Montauk Monster" was an unidentified creature that allegedly washed ashore dead on a beach near the Montauk, New York business district in July 2008. The story began with a July 23, 2008 article in a local newspaper, The Independent. Jenna Hewitt, 26, of Montauk, and three friends said they found the creature on July 12 at the Ditch Plains beach, two miles east of the district. A local newspaper quoted an unidentified woman, who claimed that the animal was only the size of a cat, and had decomposed to a skeleton by the time of the press coverage. She would not identify its location for inspection.Hewitt's father denies claims that his daughter is keeping the body's location a secret. n May 2009, the National Post reported that the owner of claimed to have found another incarnation.

William Wise, director of Stony Brook University's Living Marine Resources Institute, interpreted the photo along with a colleague; they deemed the creature a fake, the result of "someone who got very creative with latex." Wise discounted the following possibilities:

* Raccoon (The legs appear to be too long in proportion to the body.)
* Sea turtle (Sea turtles do not have teeth) The creature is said to be a turtle because it appears to have what seems to be a beak. But some photos, with different angles, show that skin and tissue are missing from the front of creature's face.
* Rodent (Rodents have two huge, curved incisor teeth in front of their mouths)
* Dog or other canine such as a coyote. (Prominent eye ridge and the feet don't match)
* Sheep (Sheep don't have sharp teeth)

2. How to Charge an iPod with an Onion (2007)

Mythbusters would later say about this one: Busted!
The video demonstrate how to charge your iPod (or other mp3 player) for up to 20 minutes using electrolytes derived from Gatorade or Powerade which are then stored within the cells of an onion.

You will need:

1. 1 White onion
2. 2 cups of Gatorade
3. Screwdriver
4. iPod and USB cable
Music by: Casino Vs Japan

How Mythbusters busted the video claiming charging an iPod with an Onion

3. The Derbyshire Fairy (2006)

Former Derbyshire, England resident Dan Baines, 31, who designs illusions for magicians, made the fairy as a prank. His web site got 20,000 hits in one day from fairy believers. Although he has said it's a hoax, people still believe that it's real, Mr Baines said. VIA

4. Lonelygirl15 (2006)
lonelygirl15 was an interactive web-based video series which began in June 2006, and ended on August 1, 2008, with a Japanese dub slated for release in 2009. Lonelygirl15 was shown as the victim of some strange cult that kept her locked in her house.The show focuses on the life of a fictional teenage girl named Bree, whose YouTube username is the eponymous "lonelygirl15", but the show does not reveal its fictional nature to its audience. Lonelygirl15 first came to international attention ostensibly as a "real" video blogger who achieved massive popularity on YouTube. The show was eventually proved as a hoax by suspicious viewers as featuring a fictitious character played by American-New Zealand actress Jessica Rose. The three creators of Lonelygirl15, first revealed by the The New York Times, were Ramesh Flinders, a screenwriter and filmmaker from Marin County, California, Miles Beckett, a surgical residency dropout turned filmmaker, and Greg Goodfried, a former attorney with Mitchell, Silberberg and Knupp, LLP. Even though the entire thing was just a hoax, the web series remained popular until it ended in 2008.

5. GoogleTV (2007)
How to Sign Up for GoogleTV Beta

This is a video response to How to Sign Up for GoogleTV Beta
"Mark. E. Erickson" gives a demo of the "GoogleTV Beta" in a single shot, trying to prove that logging in and out of Gmail 700 times will actually gain you access. It looks like they made a fake GoogleTV just to run for these videos, and it looks surprisingly like something Google would create. A wishful thinking with the fustration in wasting four hours of your life logging in and out of your email account!! VIA

6. Bill Gates Wants to Give You Money (1997)

Claim: Internet users can receive a cash reward for forwarding messages to test a Microsoft/AOL e-mail tracking system.
Subject: PLEEEEEEASE READ!!!! it was on the news!
To all of my friends, I do not usually forward messages, But this is from my
good friend Pearlas Sandborn and she really is an attorney.
If she says that this will work - It will work. After all, What have you got to
attorney, And I know the law. This thing is for real. Rest assured AOL and
Intel will follow through with their promises for fear of facing a multimillion-
dollar class action suit similar to the one filed by PepsiCo against General
Electric not too long ago.
Dear Friends; Please do not take this for a junk letter. Bill Gates sharing his
fortune. If you ignore this, You will repent later. Microsoft and AOL are now
the largest Internet companies and in an effort to make sure that Internet
Explorer remains the most widely used program, Microsoft and AOL are
running an e-mail beta test.
When you forward this e-mail to friends, Microsoft can and will track it ( If
you are a Microsoft Windows user) For a two weeks time period.
For every person that you forward this e-mail to, Microsoft will pay you
$245.00 For every person that you sent it to that forwards it on, Microsoft
will pay you $243.00 and for every third person that receives it, You will be
paid $241.00. Within two weeks, Microsoft will contact you for your address
and then send you a check.
I thought this was a scam myself, But two weeks after receiving this e-mail
and forwarding it on. Microsoft contacted me for my address and withindays,
I receive a check for $24,800.00. You need to respond before the beta
testing is over. If anyone can affoard this, Bill gates is the man.
It's all marketing expense to him. Please forward this to as many people as
possible. You are bound to get at least $10,000.00. We're not going to help
them out with their e-mail beta test without getting a little something for our
time. My brother's girlfriend got in on this a few months ago. When i went to
visit him for the Baylor/UT game. She showed me her check. It was for the
sum of $4,324.44 and was stamped "Paid in full"
Like i said before, I know the law, and this is for real.
Intel and AOL are now discussing a merger which would make them the
largest Internet company and in an effort make sure that AOL remains the most widely used program, Intel and AOL are running an e-mail beta test.
When you forward this e-mail to friends, Intel can and will track it (if you are
a Microsoft Windows user) for a two week time period.

The basic come on is that Microsoft or AOL (or both) is testing a new email forward tracking system, and if you forward the email, you’ll be paid based on how many times your email gets resent by your friends (their new software will keep track of it all, of course). Another variation of this hoax is that every forwarded email will raise money for some charitable cause. This persistent hoax has been circulating since 1997 in one form or another, and is still making the rounds today.

7. Giant Camel Spiders in Iraq (2004)

The camel spider is the friendliest spider in the world. When kept as a pet they are known to respond when called by name, curl up for a nap on their owners pillow and can even make a mean cup for tea! They are fearsome hunters, but are not venomous, though their bite may produce slight numbness and extreme pain. The email repeated claims from the first Gulf War in 1993, that the spiders could run 25 miles per hour, could jump several feet in the air, and could grow 8-10 inches in length. These claims were made more believable by the photo itself which was just taken from an angle that makes the spider seem bigger than it really is.

8. Kidney Thieves in New Orleans (1997)

Shortly before Mardi Gras in 1997, a hoax email started making the rounds warning travelers that a ring of organ thieves was operating in the city, and revelers were likely to get their kidneys stolen.

The organ harvesting urban legend had been spread in the past, but this particular email chain became so popular that it even prompted the New Orleans police to issue an official statement denying the hoax’s validity so that the city wouldn’t lose revenue from scared travelers canceling Mardi Gras plans. VIA

9. Hercules the Dog (2007)

An email with what was purported to be a photo of the world’s largest dog started popping up in inboxes in 2007. Hercules, was supposedly a 282 pound English Mastiff who stood almost as tall as a horse, and the photo seemed to back it up.

However, even though a dog named Hercules was once recognized as the world’s largest, it’s not the one in the photo, and the photo is almost definitely a fake.
Picture:The real English mastiff named Hercules owned by a Massachusetts man was once recognized as the world's heaviest dog.

Heaviest & Tallest Dog Definition reviewed
The term "biggest dog" is somewhat ambiguous and is used here to
mean "heaviest dog" rather than "tallest dog." Guinness currently assigns the latter title to Gibson, a harlequin great Dane who measures 42.2 in.
Picture: The tallest dog living is Gibson, a harlequin great Dane, who measured 107 cm (42.2 in) tall on August 31, 2004 and is owned by Sandy Hall of Grass Valley, California, USA.

An English mastiff named Kell, described as "weighing 21 stone

(294 lbs.), taller than a Shetland pony, and more than six feet long,"
was previously described as the "world's heaviest dog," It is
unclear whether she's still alive.(Different newspaper articles from 2001 refer to her as both living and dead)
The breed now known as the English mastiff was brought to this country by Phoenician traders as early as the 6th century BC. After the Roman invasion, they were used to fight in arenas against other large animals such as lions. By the end of the Second World War the breed was almost extinct in the UK but was re-established with the help of imports. Mastiffs are the heaviest dogs in the world and the normal weight for a fully-grown adult is about 14 stone. Although bred as guard dogs, English mastiffs make very good family pets. They are good with children, rarely bark and tend to defend rather than attack.

10. Bigfoot’s Body (2008)
A California Bigfoot enthusiast actually paid the two Georgia men $50,000 for the body, and later found that it was just a costume packed in ice. One of the men, who was a police officer, was fired as a result of perpetrating the hoax, and they both face legal action.
Video: BIGFOOT BODY FOUND IN GEORGIA !!!! Read Body proves Bigfoot no myth, hunters say

Video: The body has been thawed and it is a costume. Read Bigfoot body 'discovery' dismissed as a hoax

11. Kremvax (1984)

A member of Usenet in 1984 created quite a stir when he announced that the Soviet Union would be joining the network. The message, which appeared to be posted from Konstantin Chernenko (with the address chernenko@kremvax.UUCP), was shocking because most people assumed Cold War security issues and hostility between the USSR and the USA would prevent the Soviet Union from joining Usenet. Kremvax was announced on April 1, 1984 in a posting ostensibly originated there by Soviet leader Konstantin Chernenko. The posting was actually forged by Piet Beertema of CWI as an April Fool's joke. In fact, it was only six years later that the first genuine site in Moscow,, joined Usenet. Some readers needed convincing that the postings from it weren't just another prank.

12. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Video:The Blair Witch Project trailer (1999)
The official web site for The Blair Witch Project explains the mythology behind the
Blair Witch legend that these students were supposedly investigating: In 1785, a woman accused of witchcraft is banished from the village of Blair, Maryland, and a year later,her accusers and half of Blair's children vanish. The town of Burkittsville is established at the site of the abandoned village about forty years later, and over the next 150 years a series of child murders and mutilations takes place. In 1994, three students decide to travel to Burkittsville to film interviews with locals about the Blair Witch legend as a class project, and a couple of days later they disappear in nearby woods. No trace of them is found until the footage they shot is discovered under an old cabin a yearlater.

When the movie came out in 1999, a lot of people weren’t so sure that The Blair Witch Project was a piece of fiction. Due to a very clever Internet marketing campaign, in which the movie’s creators developed a network of background web sites about the movie’s mythology, many people believed that the film was actually a documentary created from found footage of kids who had disappeared in the woods.

13. Hurricane Lili Waterspouts (2002)
Sorry, severe weather fans, this photo has been doctored. The eerie phenomenon depicted above did not really occur. This photo, which flew around email inboxes in 2002, supposedly showed a trio of menacing water spouts approaching a container ship as Hurricane Lili rolled in.
Meteorologists were suspicious of the photo almost at once because it is very rare to see two waterspouts of that size so close together, let alone three. The original, undoctored photo actually shows a single impressive waterspout and was published in a shipping trade magazine called “Supply Lines” in 2001.

Video: Hurricane Lili 2002 Chase Intercept Video

14. Steorn Free Energy (2006 / 2007)

Video: Steorn: Sky News: Race On To Prove Free Energy

Irish engineers say they have built a device that creates free and clean energy. Until now most scientists have dismissed their claims, saying that they break the most basic laws of physics. So the inventors have come up with a unique challenge.

In June 2009, the appointed jury of their scientific peers decided that Steorn’s technology just didn’t work, leading many to believe what they’d suspected all along: this is simply an elaborate hoax. Read more at Irish 'energy for nothing' gizmo fails jury vetting

15. The Internet Drunk Surfing Bill (1994)

An article in PC Computing magazine written by John Dvorak described a bill going through Congress that would make it illegal to use the internet while drunk, or to discuss sexual matters over a public network. The bill was supposedly numbered 040194 (i.e. 04/01/94), and the contact person was listed as Lirpa Sloof (April Fools backwards). The article said that the FBI was going to use the bill to tap the phone line of anyone who "uses or abuses alcohol" while accessing the internet. The article generated so many outraged phone calls to Congress that Senator Edward Kennedy's office had to release an official denial of the rumor that he was a sponsor of the bill. VIA

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