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Dedicated to Joshua
A. Norton, Emperor of These United States.
"Every sham shows there is a reality."
-- P.T. Barnum
A $20,000 (U.S.) prize has been announced "for the
best act of creative subversion of any highly visible commercial product"
in 1997. Click
here for details.
- Lambda Sigma Delta helps out: A mythical
fraternity engages in public service and the newspapers are happy
- The National Pochismo
Institute: Hispanics For Governor Wilson parody California's racial
- Ladies Against
Women: A parody of conservative women's groups.
Talk Radio: A step-by-step guide to getting on the air, staying on
the air, and making listeners confused.
- Guerjia Culturale -- A site
(in German) for the Kommunikationsguerilla in all of us.
- Salvation Central -- A caller
to right-wing talk shows takes things to their illogical
- Abrupt Culture Jamming
-- cereal boxes, newspaper articles, tracts, manifestos.
- AOL made its subscribers April Fools says one subscriber who didn't find their fake news story funny. Why, you'd think the net would be a more reliable source of information, and especially AOL, wouldn't you?
- Journalism class' experiment aims to teach a lesson by sending out 35 fake press releases to see how many newspapers fall for it.
- Fake Klansmen, Cat Hunting: TV 'News' Producer Caught in Hoax: German news stories planted by someone with an eye for fiction...
- Peter van der Linden trolls newspapers: S.M.E.G.M.A. keeps the pages safe, and a forged pro-drug editorial from the attorney general.
- I was a media
dupe: There is no Church of Kurt Cobain, but it made such a good
story that this reporter couldn't help falling for it.
- Princess Di
caught on film: Say, isn't that the princess cavorting in her bra?
The Sun thought so, but nope, they got fooled...
Journalist's Favorite Hoax: Petrifications: Three petrified people
invented by the press.
Beware of VIDEA! -- A vanity press for the academic set that was
sent absurd abstracts which it approved for publication.
Balloon hoax: Edgar Allen needed some money, so he got the
newspaper a great scoop about two folks who crossed the Atlantic by
balloon. Poe always was better at fiction, though...
- Alan Sokal's
Social Text hoax: Sokal managed to get Social Text
to print a paper that Sokal packed with as much baloney as could
- Mr.Curious Finds... that the diver dropped on the forest fire urban legend got a lot of play.
- Joey Skaggs'
"Sexonix" technodildonics company: Reported as fact here and
- Joey Skaggs'
"Solomon Project" and
artificial intelligence, not judges and juries, to decide fate of
- The Merry Prankster: more about master prankster Joey Skaggs' hacks.
- Grunge Lexicon Hoax: The New York Times printed this phony guide to grunge slang.
- Discordianism: the Hidden Threat -- often overlooked among dangerous fanatic cults.
sexy starlet is the hoax with the most and
Esquire Magazine's insta-superactress covergirl Allegra Coleman
an alluring fabrication.
- Adam Rich is
Dead! and so
is Bill Berry. Well, okay, maybe they aren't, but it's good for
- Alan Abel,
World's Greatest Hoaxer: Founder of the Society for Indecency to
Naked Animals and a school for professional panhandlers.
- MIT student
hacks the Morton Downey Jr. Show (and
Posing as a member of NAMBLA, Christopher Coon drew the expected
talk-show hoaxers take on Oprah, Sally Jessy Raphael and
- The Father's Night Out -- Open Mic Poetry can be a wonderful opportunity...
- You Can't Believe Everything You Read: This is news, according to the Washington Post.
"We want people to think critically, and
there's not a lot of critical thinking going on. We also made the other
side look like buffoons, like Sergeant Schultz in Hogan's Heroes. You
make your enemy appear cartoonish, and it gives you a sense of
empowerment." -- Esteban Zul.
- Evil Genius List of
Hi-Tech Practical Joke Ideas -- such as: "Carve computer-generated
ripples in the surface of a main highway, and when vehicles pass over
the surface, mysterious voices whisper, and distant music
- Free the kids!: Fliers advertising a
meeting of the North-American Man-Boy Love Association cause
alarm in a central California neighborhood.
- The Whistle Prank: A
wonderful prank using the natural kingdom, Pavlovian principles, and
patience to work wonders. Hope it really happened...
Realist: Who remembers LBJ skull-fucking JFK's warm head
Assassinations: "My guess is that nobody can withstand the
psychological warfare tactic of repeated, simulated death."
- The Meaning of 'Hack' along with several illustrative examples.
- The Pieman: "I throw
pies at people."
- School's Closed: The prank you wish you'd
played in high school.
- The Macworld
What are computer conventions for, anyway?
and Sharpe's idea of fun, including "Edges", "Musical Animals" and "Transporting Captured People"
- Prank email
to corporations: Fun at your keyboard.
- Pundits release plethora of pranks: Yale pranksters on the loose.
- Experimental Free Travel: The democratization
of power thanks to Xerox. Today the bus is free of charge, folks.
Magazine's "Bunny Burger" hoax: How will P.R. firms compete to
represent a mythical fast food rabbit meat chain?
"Any number can play. Millions of people
could nullify the control system which those who are behind Watergate and
Nixon are attempting to impose. Like all control systems it depends on
maintaining a monopoly position. If anybody can be tape recorder 3 then
tape recorder 3 loses power." -- W.S. Burroughs
- Do not resist your beating!: Official-looking
police notices popped up in California after the Rodney King
verdict, announcing martial law in bureaucratese.
- The Barbie
Liberation Organization and
the voice chips at the toy store and Barbie says "Vengeance is Mine"
while G.I. Joe says "Let's Go Shopping!"
- Boy 'Bimbos' Too Much for Game-Maker Maxis: A video game programmer replaced some kissing bimbos with kissing hunks and got fired for his troubles.
- Victor Lewis-Smith -- Culture
jammer from the U.K.
- The Gallery of
Advertising Parody: Haven't you always wanted to?
Terrorism on the citizens' band, good buddy.
- AOHell: A
program designed to drive AOL batty.
Information: Helps you create a valid barcode number. Might
come in handy, ya think?
- 1-900-STOPPER: Call this 900 number and then use it to call another number. It'll mask the origin of the call. Pretty clever. Probably won't beat folks who can subpoena records, but might prove frustrating to others.
- Dirty Tricks: A
fake home page for the 1996 Bob Dole campaign at
- The Free Radio
Network -- That's pirate radio, matey!
- Adbusters Culture
Jammers' Headquarters and
- Communiques of the
Association for Ontological Anarchy, with poetic-terrorist
- The Universal Life Church: Your
doctorate of divinity is only a mouse-click away.
- The Faceless Birthday Bash at Chuck-E-Cheese: Mayhem in America's food & fun center.
- Cheap Suit Santas
terrorize christmas shoppers in marauding packs.
- Antics of the San Francisco Cacophony Society: Hoaxing is our profession.
- Cacophony Flyers: Read Los Angeles telephone poles and learn about psychic car repair, public book burnings, and private scalp massage, courtesy of the L.A. Cacophony Society.
- High Mass: And then the priest said, "Brothers,
God is dead." Gotta have cojones to pull this one off.
- Crass!: Punk rockers make the press think
they've been duped by the KGB. They got the 'duped' part right.
- Unselfish Service: How the Texas House of Representatives officially praised the Boston Strangler.
- Negativland: Sonic, judicial outlaws & NegativWorldWideWebland -- Pranks of these "artists of appropriation."
- The (Unofficial) TV
Nation WWW Page -- Michael Moore made a career out of this
avant-garde music hoax: Banging pots and pans, essentially, but
at least one music reviewer took it seriously.
- The Ern
Malley Story: Pranksters invent a modernist poet, get him
published (gotta wade through badly formatted text to find it).
- The Bill of Rights
Hotline: Phone sex meets civic education -- this 900 number
presents callers with a sultry reading of the U.S. Bill of Rights.
- Jerry Rubin: Media prankster first class.
- A Modest Proposal:
For Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a
Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to
the Public: This classic spoof was written by Jonathan Swift and
published anonymously in 1729.
- The Shortest
Way with Dissenters by Daniel Defoe (1702). It was taken seriously
and got Defoe in hot water.
- Sometimes the best hoaxers don't know they're hoaxers: they're just
- Bank Error
in Your Favor -- How Patrick Combs cashed a huge junk-mail
pseudo-check, how his bank fell for it, and how he's gotten away with
- Better World
Technology: An examination of Dennis Lee's free energy
- Nostradamus -- knew the future, and could toss out obscure epigrams about it at the drop of a hat.
"Get someone from an out-of-state
newspaper to run a story on something sight unseen, and then you Xerox
that story and include it in a second mailing. Journalists see that it
has appeared in print and think, therefore, that there's no need to do any
further research. That's how a snowflake becomes a snowball and finally
an avalanche." -- Joey Skaggs
- P.T. Barnum: "The public appears to be amused even while they are conscious of being deceived."
- The Brick
Trick: Clever manipulation of the public by P.T. Barnum.
- Joice Heth
made a career out of impersonating George Washington's childhood
Three: There is a massive conspiracy in the works, and this
documentary finally exposed it.
- Crying Wolf:
Hate Crime Hoaxes in America.
Racial Hoax as Crime: The Law as Affirmation: More hoaxes using
race as a red herring.
Kinderhook Plates: Spoofs on the Book of Mormon intended to
embarass Joseph Smith.
- Yippies Invade Wall Street: Another of Hoffman's strokes of genius...
Man: A classic fraud/hoax, the missing link on tour.
Eremin Letter: This document seems to indicate that Stalin
was an informer for Russia's secret police before he went Red -- but
is this just propaganda? Let's get to the bottom of it...
- Report from Iron Mountain and
yet more and
A wonderful hoax, supposedly put out by a government think-tank to come
up with ways to cope with the threat of world peace. Dreamed up by
60s peaceniks and rediscovered by 90s militia conspiracy fans.
- Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion: My, but this one has some mileage on it. The Energizer hoax, you could call it... The Jews is taking over the world!
- The Good Times
Virus Hoax: Don't read this! You might become infected!
Manhattan!: We could cut the island loose, turn it around, and
then fix it to the mainland so it won't tip over.
- Ban Dihydrogen
Monoxide! a major component of acid rain.
- The Museum of
- Rosie Ruiz,
the woman who didn't win the 1980 Boston Marathon.
- Uri Geller, that spoon-bending
- The Museum of Questionable Medical
Devices: Weight-reduction glasses ("well, I look lighter...), a
foot-powered breast enlarger, and more.
"state" of Idaho: The case for open debate: Just a conspiracy of
Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence: They still
believe this one in the Jesse Helms state.
- The Philadelphia
Experiment -- Everything you ever wanted to know about Project
Rainbow, and so much more.
- The Art of the Fake: Egyptian Forgeries from the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology
- RealAroma Smell the Sites with the
RealAroma drive. This joke could become a hoax if the right
nitwit finds it.
- Christians for the Cloning of Jesus -- too obviously a put-on you say? Well... people seem to have a weakness for Jesus stuff, as these email messages to the site's author indicate.
- Fritz Kreisler -- A violinist who passed off his own compositions as the works of the masters.
Strange Case of Hans van Meegeren and
more (in Dutch):
Dutch artist and forger who sold a "Vermeer" to Hermann Goering.
- Microsoft's Windows for Macintosh: Heh heh. You knew it was coming, didn't you.
- 1-900-911: A service that lets you pay to listen in on 911 calls in another community. Cute.
- The Kensington
Runestone -- A phony relic of Viking exploration of North America
that still has believers today.
- Burrows Cave -- The site of
some very curious archaeological finds.
Autographed Stones -- Fake fossils fooled this fellow.
- The Plate of Brass
that had nothing at all to do with Sir Francis Drake.
Vinland Map -- Yep, It's a hoax, but don't tell the
- Ron McKelvey
(actually Ron Weaver) -- the 30-year-old who played college football
under an assumed identity.
"Don't picket - vandalize. Don't protest -
deface. When ugliness, poor deisgn & stupid waste are forced upon
you, turn Luddite, throw your shoe in the works, retaliate. Smash the
symbols of the Empire in the name of nothing but the heart's longing for
grace." -- Hakim Bey.
"Why did I do it? While my method was
satirical, my motivation is utterly serious. What concerns me is the
proliferation, not just of nonsense and sloppy thinking per se, but
of a particular kind of nonsense and sloppy thinking..." -- Alan
Theory and Advocacy:
- Z100 -- Fakes, Hoaxes,
Scams and Forgeries: The Culture of Inauthenticity -- A fake class
Interrupt this Program..." -- a real class about culture
jamming -- good links.
- The Electronic
Revolution by William S. Burroughs. Theory of culture jamming
in cut-up context.
- Art Sabotage and Poetic Terrorism by Hakim Bey.
- Wobbly Sabotage: an
instruction guide by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.
- Goy Division: Evangelical
Radio meets its match.
-- it's not just a job, it's an adventure.
School Stopper's Textbook: A Yippie guide to making school more or
less intolerable for the wardens and guards.
Encyclopedia of Direct Action: Reference work for the civil
- Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare: Reference work for the CIA crowd.
- The Avenger's Front
Page: Revenge techniques, some quite evil, some just
- Alternative Medicine and the Appropriation of Scientific Discourse: The Cases of Homeopathy and Radionics.
- Swindler, Spy, Rebel: The Confidence Woman in Nineteenth-Century America. (Ad.)
- How to Break the Law:
If you're gonna do something illegal, read this first. It might save
you a lot of trouble...
- Action Not
Art, but action is art!
- Hoax or Hokum: The Computer as Joker: Political direct-mail polls and fund-raisers use up-to-date computer-aided dishonesty and manipulation. Pay attention, would-be pranksters!
- Assassination by the
Press: Memetic worms devour the carcass of the press. A parody of
media-fanned conspiracy theories.
- Digital Terrorism: Don't believe what you see; image manipulation is commonplace and not benign.
"Pranks are symbolic gestures, but they
are not merely symbolic gestures. They are symbolic weapons
ideally suited to vanquish foes that rule in turn by the use of symbols."
-- d0k H0l0day
Extraordinary popular delusions, scams and the madness of crowds:
- The Tulip
Mania of 17th-century Holland.
Vanilli and the Scapegoating of the Inauthentic
- Charles K. Ponzi and
originator of the "Ponzi Scheme."
- The Sexygirls
Scam -- Free software for viewing erotic pictures quietly uses
your modem to call a $3/minute phone number on Moldova!
- The 419 Coalition --
home for information about "The Nigerian Scam." After a fool and his
money part ways, the money often vacations in Nigeria.
- A Bre-X chronology -- How one company made zillions announcing it was mining nonexistant gold until they were caught in 1997.
Schemes -- Bargain basement Ponzi schemes for the millions who
believe in getting something for nothing.
- Scam Alerts -- A catalog
of ways in which money is redistributed from the ignorant and trusting
to the unethical and ruthless.
- The South-Sea Bubble: valueless stock sells like hotcakes.
- The Impact
of McCarthyism -- The U.S.A.'s anti-communist hysteria of
- Shroud of Turin -- Relics R Us.
- Paul is Dead: Turn
me on, dead man.
- Pons' and
Fleischmann's Cold Fusion. Would you like cream & sugar with
- Troubles reported in the public schools, then and now: Why, in my day, things was diff'rent.
- The LSD Tattoo urban
legend: Mickey Mouse has some strychnine for your
Archaeology, Pseudoscience, and Creationism Topics
- The O.J. Simpson drama. What the 20th Century will be remembered for, if you ask me.
- IdEAL ORDER Psychic TV:
Hoax or delusions of reference? You make the call.
Book of Mormon
and more and
even more: P.T. Barnum ain't got nothin' on this, baby.
- The Church of Scientology:
L. Ron's classic remake of the old religion scam.
- This could go on forever, so: The Yahoo! religion index will do nicely for comparisons of the "I know that my explanation of the unknowable is better than your explanation of the unknowable" arguments and associated snake-oil.
- Mystic Takes Pulpit to Read 'Love Letter' From Jesus: Yup, this sort of thing didn't die out in centuries past...
- Creators Admit Unix, C Hoax: Some pranks go too far.
Martians and Monsters:
Know of a page that belongs here?
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