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Issue 65 - Hoax-Slayer Newsletter

Issue 65: September, 2006

This month in Hoax-Slayer:
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Hoax-Slayer is a Free Monthly Web-Based Newsletter brought to you by Brett Christensen

The Hoax-Slayer Newsletter keeps you informed about the latest email hoaxes and current Internet scams. Hoax-Slayer also features anti-spam tips, computer security information, pertinent articles and more.

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Iraq and The Wrath of the Eagle Koran Verse Hoax

The email forward included below lists a collection of supposed facts about connections between ancient times and modern day Iraq. The climax of the piece is the claim that a verse in the Islamic holy book the Koran (Quran) predicts the US invasion of Iraq.

The message relies heavily on the final Koran reference for its impact and "wow" factor. According to the message, Chapter 9 Verse 11 (9.11) of the Koran relates how "a son of Arabia" will invoke the "wrath of the Eagle". The son of Arabia is interpreted as referring to deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. The eagle references are interpreted as symbolizing the United States and its invasion of Iraq. And of course, the verse number (9.11) is supposedly an eerie connection to the attacks on the World Trade Center. However, a little research soon exposes the claim as totally false. There is no verse in the Koran that refers to the "wrath of the eagle" or any other elements contained in the "verse" quoted in the message. Chapter 9 Verse 11 of the Koran is concerned with repentance and charity. Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation Of The Holy Qur'an, records Verse 11 as:
But (even so), if they repent, establish regular prayers, and practise regular charity,- they are your brethren in Faith: (thus) do We explain the Signs in detail, for those who understand.
Other translations may differ slightly in wording but carry essentially the same message.

Thus the pivotal claim of this ridiculous message turns out to be nothing more than an outrageous lie. With this lie exposed, the previous claims in the message seem rather lame.

Moreover, many of the other points listed are not facts but rather conjecture or just one possible interpretation among many. For example, the Garden of Eden may have been in the region that is now Iraq, but that is only one of the locations that has been suggested and the subject is hotly debated by theologians and Biblical scholars. And there are several regions of the world that can make a valid claim to being "the cradle of civilization", not just Mesopotamia. There is no Biblical record of exactly where Noah built the Ark. And the claim that Iraq is the second most mentioned nation in the Bible is not true. That honour goes to Egypt. For those seeking more in depth information about the claims listed in the message, Nathan Barton has published a point by point rebuttal as has Dennis Bratcher.

In any case, it its virtually meaningless to draw parallels between the modern nation of Iraq and ancient civilizations that were located in the same region. Why should events that occurred thousands of years ago in Mesopotamia have any direct relevance to a nation founded in the 20th century? Certainly, the long and rich history of the region has strong cultural influences on modern inhabitants. However, if an ancient text spoke of Mesopotamia or Babylon it meant just that. It was not referring in some obscure prophetical manner to an unknowable future time in which a new nation called Iraq occupied a portion of the same real estate. Making such connections is pointless.

The message finishes off with the absurd claim that it is a "ribbon for soldiers fighting in Iraq" and that something good will happen to the recipient at 11:11 PM if he or she forwards the message to "13 people in the next 15 minutes". In reality of course, forwarding a load of rubbish like this will not help a single soldier in the slightest. Forwarding it will however, spread misinformation, waste bandwidth and irritate the many recipients who will recognize the message as pure nonsense as soon as they see it.

Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation Of The Holy Qur'an
USC-MSA Compendium of Muslim Texts
Flaws in the "Iraq - Interesting" E-Mail
Christians and Urban Legends

An example of the hoax email:
Read all of this one, it is interesting!! Read down to the very bottom highlighted in green, IT GAVE ME GOOSEBUMPS!!! you don't want to miss this! ((*_*))


1. The Garden of Eden was in Iraq.

2. Mesopotamia, which is now Iraq, was the cradle of civilization!

3. Noah built the ark in Iraq.

4. The Tower of Babel was in Iraq

5. Abraham was from Ur, which is in Southern Iraq!

6. Isaac's wife Rebekah is from Nahor, which is in Iraq!

7. Jacob met Rachel in Iraq.

8. Jonah preached in Nineveh - which is in Iraq.

9. Assyria, which is in Iraq, conquered the ten tribes of Israel.

10. Amos cried out in Iraq!

11. Babylon, which is in Iraq, destroyed Jerusalem.

12. Daniel was! in the lion's den in Iraq!

13. The three Hebrew children were in the fire in Iraq (Jesus had been in Iraq also as the fourth person in the Fiery furnace!)

14. Belshazzar, the King of Babylon saw the "writing on the wall" in Iraq.

15. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, carried the Jews captive into Iraq.

16. Ezekiel preached in Iraq

. 17. The wise men were from Iraq

18. Peter preached in Iraq.

19. The "Empire of Man" described in Revelation is called Babylon, which was a city in Iraq!

And you have probably seen this one. Israel is the nation most often mentioned in the Bible. But do you know which nation is second? It is Iraq! However, that is not the name that is used in the Bible The names used in the Bible are Babylon, Land of Shinar, and Mesopotamia . The word Mesopotamia means between the two rivers, more exactly between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers The name Iraq, means country with deep roots.

Indeed Iraq is a country with deep roots and is a very significant country in the Bible.

No other nation, except Israel, has more history and prophecy associated it than Iraq.

And also, This is something to think about! Since America is typically represented by an eagle. Saddam should have read up on his Muslim passages...

The following verse is from the Koran, (the Islamic Bible)

Koran (9:11 ) - For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah; and there was peace.

(Note the verse number!) Hmmmmmmm?!

I BETTER NOT HEAR OF ANYONE BREAKING THIS ONE OR SEE DELETED This is a ribbon for soldiers fighting in Iraq. Pass it on to everyone and pray. Something good will happen to you tonight at 11:11 PM. This is not a joke..someone will either call you or will talk to you online and say that they love you. Do not break this chain. Send this to 13 people in the next 15 minutes. Go.


Package Deposited in Your Name Scam Email

The scam message below tries to convince the recipient that some unnamed benefactor has deposited a package for her or him that contains a very large amount of cash. The message claims that the benefactor left the package with a group of diplomats along with strict instructions that the package not be released until a specified period has passed.

Supposedly, these "diplomats" provide a package safekeeping service to governments and organizations around the world and are able to use their immunity and status to ensure that "special and valuable packages and baggage" are safely and securely held in trust.

However, these rather unlikely claims are, of course, pure nonsense. The message is simply a variation of a long running swindle known as the Nigerian or "419" scam. There is no package full of cash nor is there any such diplomat managed "service". Victims who reply to the message will be drawn deeper into the scam via further emails, letters and phone calls. Eventually, they will be asked to pay fees to procure the release of the "package". The scammers use a variety of excuses to explain why these fees must be paid. The aim of the scammers is to steal as much money from their victim as possible. Demands for further fees are likely to continue until the victim finally realizes that he or she is being conned. If the scammers have managed to collect enough personal information from the victim, they may also be able to steal his or her identity.

There are thousands of variations of this type of scam. Some claim that the recipient has won a large amount of money in an international lottery. Others claim that the recipient's help is required to access funds in a foreign bank account or to distribute funds to charity. Others claim that the recipient has the same last name as a rich foreign merchant who has died and suggest that he or she stand in as the merchant's next of kin.

Be wary of any unsolicited email, letter, or fax that claims you are entitled to a substantial sum of money. DO NOT reply to such emails. DO NOT provide money or personal information. DO NOT meet with these criminals.

For more information about Nigerian scams, see:
Nigerian Scams - 419 Scam Information

419 Scam Diplomats scam / Anna Holmes

An example of the scam email:
Subject: Package deposited in your name here

This is an official notification of the availability of a package deposited in your name and it is not a sales solicitation or SPAM.

We are Diplomats that use our immunity and status to safekeep special and valuable packages and baggage in trust for reputable clients that are honest and trustworthy.

We work in collaboration with top firms and Governments of various countries as we have earned a name as a service whose hallmarks in reliability and confidentiality are revered.

International missions, Fellow Diplomats and Embassies of the world have used our services to satisfaction.

A benefactor whose identity can not be disclosed because of the Non Circumvention and Non Disclosure Agreement that was signed with the said benefactor when the packages were being deposited made you the beneficiary of a package containing some amount of money and stated clearly that you should only be contacted when the time signed for it to be in our care elapses and the time has already elapsed that is why you are being contacted.

The Non Circumvention and Non Disclosure Agreement signed with the benefactor mandates us to fully divulge and disclose the benefactor's identity 18 months after the beneficiary has received the funds.

The funds in the package is (Two Million,Seven Hundred Thousand U.S.Dollars) and we confirm that these funds are fully free of any liens, or encumbrances and are clean, clear and non-criminal origin and are available in the form of CASH.

You are hereby advised to send your Full Contact Information as well as the name of the closest airport to your city in the format stated below so that the funds would be brought to your Country of residence by 3 Diplomats who would accompany you to your bank (if you want them to) to deposit the funds in your name and submit all documentations that has to do with the origin of the funds in other to exonerate you from any form of investigations or interrogation and to authenticate the fact that the funds are clean and has no links whatsover with either drugs or terrorism.

The Requested Information is to ensure that no mistake or error is made and it should be forwarded in the manner stated below:

Your Full Name: ______________________________

Your Complete Address: ________________________________

Name of City of Residence: ____________________

Name of Closest Airport to your city of Residence:_________________________________

Direct Telephone Number:____________________________________

The Telephone number is very necessary because the number would be called by the Diplomats before the funds would be handed over to you so as to ensure that the package is handed over to the right person.

So,its mandatory you send your Direct Telephone Number preferably your Mobile or Cell Phone Number.

Complete the above and send back to me as soon as possible.

We are waiting for your response.
God be with you.
Mrs Kirsten Windus.


Keep Your Windows Registry in Good Shape With Registry Mechanic

The Windows Registry is one of the most important components of your computer's operating system. The registry is a vast central database that is used to store a great deal of critical information about installed applications, hardware settings, user preferences and a lot more.

When you make Control Panel changes, alter system policies, adjust file associations, or tweak user settings, information about your changes is likely to be stored in the Windows Registry. Also, when you install or uninstall software or add hardware devices, the registry will usually be modified during the process. The registry's job is to store this very complex and varied array of data in one place so that it can be readily accessed by your computer system as required. Thus, the Windows Registry is vital for the efficient operation of your computer.

Unfortunately, the very complexity of the registry means that it tends to develop errors and inconsistencies and become more and more bloated over time. Remnants can be left in the registry when you uninstall software. Spyware or other malicious programs may insert entries into your registry without your knowledge. Unused drivers may add unnecessary clutter to the registry.

Registry problems can lead to system crashes, sudden freezes, and sluggish performance. A poorly maintained registry can severely degrade the overall performance of your computer. Thus, keeping your registry clean and efficient should be an important aspect of your regular computer maintenance schedule.

Thankfully, there is a terrific program available that can make the job of maintaining your registry very simple. The award-winning Registry Mechanic from PC Tools cleans and optimizes your registry with just a few mouse clicks. Registry Mechanic repairs invalid registry entries, removes orphaned references, scans for invalid program shortcuts and optimizes the registry by compacting wasted space. For added safety, the program makes back-ups of any registry changes just in case problems occur.

An outstanding feature of this program is that it is very easy to use, even for those new to computing. Like other PC Tools software, Registry Mechanic has an elegant and intuitive user interface and clear and comprehensive help files.

I regularly use Registry Mechanic on my system and have found that it is very stable software, and does a superlative job of maintaining my registry in optimal condition. I view Registry Mechanic as a vital addition to my collection of computer maintenance and security tools and I am proud to be an affiliate for this product.

If your goal is to proactively avoid computer problems and keep your Windows system running at peak efficiency, then I highly recommend that you purchase and regularly use Registry Mechanic.

Purchase Registry Mechanic

Read more information about Registry Mechanic

As noted above, I am an affiliate for Registry Mechanic. For more information, please refer to my Affiliate Marketing Policy


Space Shuttle Columbia Explosion Photos Hoax

The email included below claims that photographs accompanying the message show the destruction of the space shuttle Columbia. The sequence of images supposedly depicts the progress of a catastrophic explosion that ripped Columbia to pieces. According to the message, the photographs were taken from an Israeli satellite "just as the Shuttle began to explode over the Earth".

However, the claims in the message are untrue. The images are actually taken from a sequence in the 1998 disaster movie Armageddon in which the shuttle Atlantis is destroyed in space by a shower of asteroids. Those who have seen the movie may recall seeing the shuttle explosion sequence near the beginning of the film. In fact, a glimpse of the sequence can even be seen in one of the film's trailers.

Versions of the hoax message began circulating soon after the loss of Columbia on February 1st 2003. On its website, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) notes that it is "aware that a number of fabricated, altered or otherwise falsified photographs have been circulating on the Internet".

Even if the true origin of the images was unknown, the claims that they depict the destruction of Columbia can easily be proved false. The images clearly show that the shuttle is still in orbit around the earth when the destruction occurs. However, Columbia was well into the Earth's atmosphere when it was destroyed. Moreover, Columbia did not explode as shown in the pictures but instead disintegrated over several minutes. Debris from the shuttle came to ground over a large area of the United States. If Columbia had exploded in orbit as shown in the images, no debris would have made it back to the planet surface.

What's more, the claim that a satellite just happened to be in exactly the correct position and alignment to gain such clear images of the shuttle's demise is probably even less believable than the highly improbable plot of "Armageddon".

This foolish hoax dishonours the memory of the seven courageous astronauts who lost their lives in the Columbia disaster. Please do not forward it.

IMDb: Armageddon (1998)
CAIB - Photos
Armageddon: Full Trailer
Wikipedia: Space Shuttle Columbia disaster

An example of the hoax email:
Subject: Shuttle Columbia Explosion Photos

Shuttle explosion from Israeli satellite

These pictures were taken when the Columbia disaster occurred and just now are being circulated.

The following pictures are photos taken of the Columbia explosion from an Israeli satellite in space.

They are sequential pictures of the Shuttle Explosion, taken from an Israeli Satellite in space. They were taken....obviously,just as the Shuttle began to explode over the Earth.


Shuttle Columbia Explosion 1

Shuttle Columbia Explosion 2

Shuttle Columbia Explosion 3

Shuttle Columbia Explosion 4

Shuttle Columbia Explosion 5


Simple Tip: Computer Problems? - Reboot First!

When your computer misbehaves, a simple restart may be all that is necessary to set things right. I've lost count of the amount of times that recommending a reboot has solved a friend's computer problem without further ado.

Glitches during normal operating can mean that important support files or programs that run in the background can be closed or corrupted. Conversely, remnants of improperly terminated programs may run unnoticed, wreaking havoc as they go. Such problems can mean that your software and hardware may not work as expected. By shutting down and restarting the computer, you are effectively starting afresh. During the reboot, files, services and programs are properly closed. Fresh new copies of the files needed to run your operating system and support your hardware are then loaded from the computer's hard drive during start-up.

Once the restart is complete you will often find that the original problem has disappeared. Therefore, almost always, my very first step when I'm trying to solve a computer problem is to reboot. Here are just a few of the problems that I have "fixed" by rebooting (or recommending a reboot to the caller or emailer).

If you contact technical support about a computer problem, in many cases they will suggest restarting the computer before they move on to other possible solutions. Of course, rebooting may only be a temporary fix. If the same problem keeps occurring, then you will need to track down the underlying cause.

Naturally, rebooting will not solve all the computer problems that you are likely to encounter. However, in many instances, it is a very useful first step and may ultimately save you a lot of frustration and lost productivity.

If you use Windows XP, you might want to check out a few more computer tips on my other website:
XP Tips - Computer Tips for Windows XP


Panadol Toxic To Body Warning Message

This message claims that Panadol is toxic to the body and should not be taken. The message claims that Panadol is always dangerous and should be avoided altogether. However, paracetamol, the active ingredient in the Panadol products mentioned, is widely considered by health professionals to be a safe and effective product for the relief of mild pain and fever so long as it is used as directed. (Paracetamol is also known as "acetaminophen").

That said, a recent report suggests that certain people may be at risk from paracetamol even when the recommended dosage is adhered to.
Doctors are being urged to exercise caution when prescribing paracetamol following cases of patients suffering accidental poisoning after taking only the recommended dose of the painkiller, often sold under the brand Panadol.

A report published in The Medical Journal of Australia found people who didn't eat enough, drank a lot of alcohol or took certain medications were vulnerable to toxic effects from paracetamol.

Elderly people with kidney or heart and lung problems may also be at increased risk.

Paracetamol can certainly be dangerous if the recommended dosage is deliberately exceeded. Some Myths and misconceptions about the general use of paracetamol may arise from media reports about fatal overdoses. If a substantial overdose is taken, serious liver damage and even death can occur unless the patient receives treatment quickly. There are some reports that paracetamol may also cause kidney damage if large doses are taken over an extended period, especially if the person has existing kidney problems . Again, these problems are only likely to occur if normal dosage recommendations are significantly exceeded.

The message also claims that "Panadol will reside in the body for at least 5 years". The Medical Journal of Australia report indicates that paracetamol may accumulate in people with the risk factors mentioned earlier in the article.
Healthy people are usually able to metabolise paracetamol, most of which is excreted from the body in urine.

But the drug can accumulate in people with risk factors, rendering even a normal dose toxic.
However, healthy people can normally eliminate Paracetamol from the body in a matter of hours. According to the Paracetamol Information Centre, "Paracetamol does not accumulate in the body following normal doses". The Centre also notes:
Paracetamol is rapidly absorbed, the soluble form being absorbed faster than the solid tablet form. The peak blood level for both forms is similar and is usually less than 20 mg/litre following a 1000 mg dose. Peak serum levels usually occur 30 minutes to 2 hours after ingestion. Elimination from the body is rapid with a half-life of about two hours.
The claim that long term use of Panadol will permanently reduce a person's pain threshold is unsupported. A dose of paracetamol can raise the pain threshold and thus reduce feelings of pain. However, I have found no evidence to suggest that this will have any residual or ongoing effect on a person's pain threshold once the paracetamol has been eliminated.

The message suggests that doctors are "in the know" about Panadol and will not take it themselves because of its toxicity even though they continue to prescribe it to patients. Thus, the implication is that doctors are deliberately withholding crucial health information from the public. Perhaps a very small minority of unethical health professionals might be willing to act in this way for reasons of their own. However, it is simply ludicrous to suggest that the entire medical profession is deliberately endangering the health of patients by remaining silent on the "dangers" of recommended-dose paracetamol.

As per usual with warnings of this nature, the details are extremely vague and cannot be verified. The hospital mentioned in the message is not identified nor is the author, the doctors, or even the "air stewardess". If the stewardess habitually overdosed on paracetamol over a long period of time, then she may well have developed health problems as a result. However, this does not mean that the product is inherently dangerous. It just means that she was too stupid to read dosage instructions or heed well publicized warnings about paracetamol overdose. And of course, the lack of details in the message means that there is no way of checking if the stewardess is actually sick or even if she is a real person.

Of course, it is always important to review dosage and safety instructions before taking any medication. Users of paracetamol should ensure that the specified dosage is not exceeded and that the medication is not taken for extended periods without a doctor's approval. Many common medications contain paracetamol. Therefore, users should check that they do not take more than one medication containing paracetamol at the same time as this could lead to accidental overdose. People with existing liver or kidney problems and people prone to the risk factors mentioned above should certainly consult a doctor before using paracetamol or other pain relievers.

Headache tablets killing livers
Paracetamol Information Centre - The Origins of Myths about Paracetamol Safety
Paracetamol Information Centre - Facts about Paracetamol
BBC News | HEALTH | Pain relief drugs 'don't harm kidneys'
PARACETAMOL - a patient's guide
Wikipedia: Paracetamol

An example of the email:
Fwd: Pls dun take Panadol anymore!!!!!!!


FYI... One real story from a guy...

My husband was working in a hospital as an IT engineer, as the hospital is planning to set up a database of its patient. And he knows some of the doctor quite well.

The doctors used to tell him that whenever they have a headache, they are not willing to take PANADOL (PARACETMOL). In fact,they will turn to Chinese Herbal Medicine or find other alternatives.

This is because Panadol is toxic to the body, and it harms the liver. According to the doctor, Panadol will reside in the body for at least 5 years. And according to the doctor, there used to be an incident where an air stewardess consumes a lot of panadol during her menstrual as she needs to stand all the time. She's now in her early 30's, and she needs to wash her kidney (DIALYSIS) every month.

As said by the doctor that whenever we have a headache, that's because it is due to the electron/Ion imbalance in the brain. As an alternative solution to cope with this matter, they suggested that we buy 1 or 2 cans of isotonic drink ( eg.100PLUS), and mix it with drinking water according to a ratio of 1:1 or 1:2 (simply, it means one cup 100plus, one cup water.or 2 cups water).

Me and my husband have tried this on several occasions, and it seems to work well.

Another method will be to submerge your feet in a basin of warm water so that it bring the blood pressure down from your throbbing head.

As Panadol is a pain killer, the more Panadol you take, the lesser would be your threshold for pain (your endurance level for pain).

We all will fall ill as we aged, for woman, we would need to go through childbirth. Imagine that we had spent our entire life popping quite a substantial amount of Panadol (Pain Killer) when you need to have a surgery or operation, you will need a much more amount of general anesthetic to numb your surgical pain than the average person who seldom or rarely takes Panadol. If you have a very high intake of Panadol throughout your life (Migraine, Menstrual cramps) it is very likely that normal general anesthetic will have no effects on you as your body is pumped full with panadol and your body is so used to pain killer that you would need a much stronger pain killer, Morphine??

Value your life, THINK b4 you easily pop that familiar pill into your mouth again. Please send this to people you care about.


Should Virus Warning Emails be Forwarded?

Whenever a significant new virus or other computer security threat emerges, it is not unusual for various warnings about the threat to begin circulating via email.

While the willingness to let others know about a potential computer security threat is commendable, forwarding a "virus warning" email may not be the best way to approach the issue. Like other email forwards, they tend to mutate as they travel from inbox to inbox. Even if the original message was accurate, ongoing modifications can mean that the information can quite quickly lose its relevance. The perceived danger can be significantly exaggerated and important details can become false or misleading. Also, such messages often continue to circulate for months or even years after the described threat has subsided.

For example, in mid 2005, a trojan was distributed via an email message that claimed Osama Bin Laden had been captured and hanged. Soon after, exaggerated and highly inaccurate warnings about the threat began circulating. Versions of this garbled "warning" message continue to circulate over 12 months later even though the "virus" described has long since ceased to be a significant danger. Another version combines the Bin Laden warning with an outright hoax about the non-existent "Olympic Torch" virus.

Even if a warning was originally valid, simply pointing friends to a write-up about the threat on a reputable anti-virus website is likely to be a better course of action than forwarding a full description via email. Unlike an email forward, an expert, web-based write-up will continue to contain accurate and up-to-date information about the security threat described. If you do feel that it is necessary to send or forward a virus warning via email, at least ensure that the information is clear, up-to-date, accurate and contains checkable references.

An outdated or inaccurate warning is unlikely to be very helpful and may even be counter-productive. In fact, misleading or outdated email virus warnings can develop some of the characteristics of the threats they claim to describe. Like email worms, such warnings can pointlessly consume bandwidth, add to inbox clutter and waste the time of both recipients and computer help and support staff obligated to deal with enquiries. Moreover, given the number of virus warning emails that are outright hoaxes, some hoax-weary recipients may dismiss even valid descriptions as bogus.

So think twice before you forward the next virus warning message that comes your way. Ultimately, taking the time to ensure that your friends have a good overall knowledge of computer security issues is likely to be a lot more productive than blindly forwarding virus warnings. For example, teaching a computer "newbie" friend how to install reliable anti-virus software, and keep it updated, is probably going to be a lot more helpful than firing off endless virus warning messages.


Giant Feral Pig Photograph

The following photograph of an extremely large feral pig is circulating via email and the Internet. The image shows the pig after it has been caught and killed by an unidentified hunter. Like similar photographs of unusually large catches, people from different areas are apparently declaring regional "ownership" of the monster pig. The email example shown here claims that the pig was captured south of Katherine in the Northern Territory. Other examples claim the capture occurred near Wee Waa in New South Wales, the Pilbara region of Western Australia or "somewhere in Queensland".

While a wild pig of this size would certainly be very unusual, there are reports of the animals reaching gigantic proportions. An article about wild boar on Wikipedia claims that adult males have been known to reach 1.8 m (6 feet) in length and weigh up to 300 kg (660 lb). In New Zealand, wild pigs are regularly caught that weigh over 200 kg. Wild pigs that live in grain growing areas could possibly grow extra large because they have access to a rich grain diet.

As a species, pigs can certainly grow to enormous sizes, although the real whoppers are generally raised domestically. According to the Alberta Pork Congress website, the largest pig ever was an animal named "Big Bill" who was 1.52 m (5 feet) high and 2.74 m (9 feet) long. However, other unsubstantiated reports note that a 900 kg (1984 lb) pig in China may have been a serious contender for heavyweight pig champion of the world.

Some versions of the message claim that the feral pig weighed in at over 500 kg. However, this could well be an exaggeration or just a "guesstimate". In fact, there may be no accurate measurement of the animal's weight.

In Australia, feral pigs are a serious environmental and agricultural pest. Wild pigs destroy the natural habitats of native species, destroy crops and spread noxious weeds. Current wild pig populations originated from domestic pigs that escaped from 19th century European settlements. It is estimated that there are between 13 and 23 million feral pigs spread across large areas of the Australian continent.

The photograph may remind movie fans of the 1984 horror flick, Razorback in which a giant wild pig terrorizes an Australian outback community. In 2004, another wild pig dubbed "Hogzilla" gained posthumous celebrity status when its photograph began circulating online. The original stories about Hogzilla may have been exaggerated. Nonetheless, subsequent examination of the pig's carcass by a National Geographic team revealed that Hogzilla was around 2.28 meters (7.5 feet) in length and weighed around 362 kilos (800 lb).

Although the photograph of Australia's version of Hogzilla may be genuine, I have not yet verified facts about the size of the animal, the true location of the capture, or the identity of the hunter. If you have more information about the photograph, please let me know.

An example of the message:
Subject: FW: Don't worry about the crocs ...

Believe it - or Not

Pig that was caught 300km south of Katherine NT.
They only caught it because it was eating their dogs!

Giant Pig

View full size image


Help Matt Dawson - Another Make-A-Wish Foundation Hoax

The absurd message below is yet another rehash of the long-running Amy Bruce Charity Hoax. There have been several very similar hoaxes that all claim that the Make-A-Wish Foundation will donate money to help a sick youngster every time the message is re-posted. From time to time, someone simply substitutes a new name and age for the supposed victim before launching the tired old hoax all over again.

Names used in the hoaxes include Bryan Warner, Chad Briody, Kayla Wightman and others. Perhaps this one was originally intended as a practical joke directed against a real individual named Matt Dawson by a particularly immature "friend". Another widespread hoax email about a missing "child" named Ashley Flores began in this way. At 23, Mr Dawson is well and truly an adult and would not be eligible for assistance from an organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

In any case, the Make-A-Wish Foundation would never participate in an outlandish charity drive that was dependent upon how many times a particular email was forwarded. Nor would any other legitimate charity. Any email that makes such a claim is almost certainly a hoax.

Moreover, even if such a fundraising effort was real, there is no reliable method of tracking an individual message on its random journey through Cyberspace. Therefore, keeping an accurate record of how much money was due to be donated would be next to impossible.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation has published a web page about these hoax emails and denies any involvement:
Each day, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and its chapters receive hundreds of inquiries about chain letters claiming to be associated with the Foundation and featuring sick children. However, we do not participate in these kinds of wishes.
The Foundation also notes:
The time and expense required to respond to these inquiries distracts the Foundation from its efforts on behalf of children with life-threatening medical conditions, and more importantly, can divulge information that is potentially harmful to a child and his or her family.
If you receive one of these fake charity requests please inform the sender that the message is a hoax and do not send it to others.

Make-A-Wish Foundation: About Us: Chain Letters

An example of the hoax email:
If you don't believe it, call the number. Everyone needs to take the time and read this. Just take a break from all your other stupid bulletins about who is gonna die or if your love life will suck for 7 years and be serious and do the right thing. Repost this or you have no soul seriously. A kid needs our help so do the right thing.

Hi, my name is Matt Dawson. I am 23 years old, and I have a large tumor on my brain and severe lung cancer. The doctors say I will die soon if this isn't fixed, and my family can't pay the bills. "The Make A Wish Foundation" has agreed to donate 7 cents for every time this message is reposted. For those of you who repost, I thank you so much. But for those who don't repost it, I will still pray for you. Please, if you are a kind person, have a heart. Please, please, PLEASE REPOST THIS MESSAGE AS "READ PLEASE"!

Matt Dawson
[Number Removed] Home

Please feel free to call me for anything.

*hey it wont cost you but 10 seconds of your time


Hoax-Slayer Humour: Dogs and Light Bulbs

An Interesting question..... How many dogs does it take to change a light bulb?

Enjoy a good laugh?
Read my review of the "That's Comedy! Joke Book"

Food for Thought:

You know sometimes I get the sudden urge to run around naked. But then I just drink some Windex. It keeps me from streaking.

Marriage changes passion...suddenly you're in bed with a relative!

If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?

I don't approve of political jokes...I've seen too many of them get elected!

I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.

I am a nobody, and nobody is perfect; therefore I am perfect.

Everyday I beat my own previous record for number of consecutive days I've stayed alive.

The Hoax-Slayer Newsletter is published by:
Brett M.Christensen
Queensland, Australia
All Rights Reserved
©Brett M. Christensen, 2008