The LonelyGirl15 Hoax

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I’m just finding out about this whole LonelyGirl15 thing today.

Well, it was fun while it lasted. I kind of enjoyed believing that the saga of lonelygirl15 and danielbeast was the real deal. Having directed a faux documentary myself, I always enjoy seeing people do new things with the form — especially if I can’t tell whether I’m being played or not.

But on August 15, the Bree and Daniel show jumped the shark. The producers just tried too hard to get across exposition and weren’t clever enough about presenting it with veracity. This one episode pretty much destroys the entire series, at least in the actually-trying-to-fool-you mock-doc genre. Now I wonder why I ever believed.

What the hell am I talking about? Oh, you must not be addicted to YouTube yet. I’m talking about Bree, aka lonelygirl15, who has been telling her story on YouTube since mid-June. Her videos have more than one million views.

Here’s the story:

Photograph of Mozart’s Widow

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The Museum of Hoaxes thinks the picture of Mozart’s widow that has been going around the net for the past week is a hoax.

Last week the London Times printed a photo that, so it claimed, was the only known photograph of Mozart’s widow (Constanze), taken in 1840 at the home of Swiss composer Max Keller when she was 78 years old. (She’s supposedly the woman on the far left.) However, the photo has generated controversy online, where a number of scholars have labeled it a hoax.

Mary Tofts

From Wikipedia:

Mary Tofts was a maidservant from Godalming, England who in 1726 became the subject of considerable controversy due to a hoax where she was alleged by her doctors to have given birth to at least 16 rabbits…

…Sir Richard Manningham eventually exposed the rabbit birthings as a hoax, but not before many of London’s most eminent doctors had been thoroughly taken in by it. Tofts had apparently manually inserted dead rabbits into her birth canal, and then allowed them to be removed as if she were giving birth. Perhaps for cultural reasons, many doctors were hesitant to believe she had done this, preferring to believe that the rabbits had inexplicably originated inside her. In the aftermath of the hoax the medical profession received a great deal of public mockery for its gullibility.

DIY LASIK Surgery

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The key to the LASIK@Home system is the Scal-Pal™ Scanning Adjusting Laparoscopic Personal Laser. This hand-operated combination femtosecond/excimer laser is made exclusively for LASIK@Home by Walton Group Manufacturing, the same company that makes the the LASIK equipment used by more clinics nationwide.

The Scal-Pal™ is actually two lasers in one! First the Scal-Pal™ femtosecond laser cuts a small flap in the cornea of your eye. Then the excimer laser vaporizes a tiny section of the lens without damaging the surrounding tissue. The whole procedure takes only a few minutes and is virtually painless.*

(via The Museum of Hoaxes)

The Top 100 April Fools Day Hoaxes of All Time

From The Museum of Hoaxes:

#6: Nixon for President

In 1992 National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation program announced that Richard Nixon, in a surprise move, was running for President again. His new campaign slogan was, “I didn’t do anything wrong, and I won’t do it again.” Accompanying this announcement were audio clips of Nixon delivering his candidacy speech. Listeners responded viscerally to the announcement, flooding the show with calls expressing shock and outrage. Only during the second half of the show did the host John Hockenberry reveal that the announcement was a practical joke. Nixon’s voice was impersonated by comedian Rich Little.

The Lenovo Tapes

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For the record, I’m filing this as a hoax.

Earlier this year some very interesting tapes were handed to me from a long standing acquaintance of mine. The tapes originated at a Lenovo (the Chinese company that recently took over IBM Thinkpad) research facility and appear to feature test footage. When my acquaintance watched the tapes back, he found some footage that he just had to get it out into the public domain. I’ve watched the material myself and I’ve got to agree with him – it’s pretty amazing stuff.