The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Photo Archive — Photo Fakery Throughout History
Staged Scene (using models or cutouts)
Paper Tiger. (October 3, 2007) The South China tiger in this photo, a species feared to be extinct, turned out to be a paper cutout. More…
Islamic Hostage Action-Figure Hoax. (February 1, 2005) Hostage "John Adam," whose photo appeared on internet bulletin boards used by Iraqi rebels, turned out to be a Cody action-figure doll. More…
Modern-Day Diplocaulus. (Circulating online since late 2004) The mysterious creature in the bucket was actually a clay model, not a surviving prehistoric Diplocaulus. More…
Venusian Scoutcraft. (December 13, 1952) What George Adamski claimed was a photo of a UFO looks suspiciously like a lampshade with ping pong balls glued to it. More…
Whopper Hoppers. (circa 1935) Giant grasshoppers were particularly popular subjects for photo fakery during the 1930s. In this image, taken on a farm near Mitchell, South Dakota by an unknown photographer, three men struggle to subdue "the largest grasshopper in existence." The "whopper hopper" appears to have been a wooden model. More…
The Surgeon’s Photo. (April 1934) This is the most famous Loch Ness Monster photo. It was long believed to have been taken on April 19, 1934 by a British surgeon who said he noticed something moving in the water while he was driving along the Loch. The photo actually shows a fake serpent's head attached to a toy submarine, and it wasn't taken by the surgeon. His role was merely to serve as a credible front-man for the hoax. More…
Death in the Air. (Published in 1933; debunked in 1984.) Spectacular images of World War I dog fights were eventually exposed as photos of model airplanes. More…
The Cottingley Fairies. (1917-1920) Two young girls used paper cutouts to create a series of images of "fairies" while playing in the garden of a Cottingley village home. Photographic experts examined the pictures and declared them genuine. Spiritualists promoted them as proof of the existence of supernatural creatures, and despite criticism by skeptics, the pictures became among the most widely recognized photos in the world. It was only decades later, in the late 1970s, that the photos were definitively debunked. More…

Hoax Photo Archive — Categories

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