After hearing the War of the Worlds show, many listeners wrote to the Lab with their favorite media hoaxes.
Here's a sampling of some of the really good ones:
June, 2007: Czech artists hack a live national weather camera to show the blast of a mushroom cloud over the Bohemian countryside. Frantic audience members call the station thinking nuclear war has broken out. The artist collective, known as Ztohoven, faces legal action.
January, 2007: Suspicious objects found throughout Boston, shutting down bridges, water ways, and highways. The objects (made of colorful LED screens and wiring) were later discovered to be a part of a viral marketing campaign for the cartoon show “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” and showed the cartoon’s character Err. The Turner company, who owns the show, issues an apology.
October 2006: Computer researchers stage a fake presentation at a computer security conference in which they “divulge” exploitable flaws in the web browser Firefox. See their presentation.
1988: Rock group Negativland sends out fake press releases and sparks a media virus that attributes one of their songs, “Christianity is Stupid” to a quadruple ax murder by a 16 year-old boy in Minnesota. The band finally admits to the hoax after it is broadcast on television.
1985: Fake radio advertisements run several times a week for Plummet Mall, the first "vertical (underground) mall" in Cincinnati. The final ads state mall will not open because seismological activity has shifted its location. Teenage girls across Ohio sorely disappointed.
1981: In a stunt on live television, Andy Kaufman refuses to say lines during a comedy routine, sparking a violent brawl among the actors and production staff.