The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Photo Archive — Photo Fakery Throughout History
Real Photos That Look Fake
or that have been accused of being faked
Brady Yawning. (2011) Circulating online since early 2012, with captions such as "Dogception" and "Perfect Timing Picture". Many assume the framed picture of the dog yawning in the background was digitally added. It wasn't. The shot was taken by photographer Jill Maguire in late 2011, who explains on her Flickr account that it's an unphotoshopped photo of her dog Brady yawning in front of a framed print of himself yawning. More…
Jumping Shark. (July 3, 2008) A photographer happened to take this series of photos just as a shark was leaping from the water behind a surfer. More…
Cruise vs. von Stauffenberg. (Controversy from June 2008) United Artists was mistakenly accused of altering an image of German officer Claus von Stauffenberg to make him appear to resemble Tom Cruise. More…
A Sonic Boom. (1999) Circulating online since 2001, with a caption claiming it was "a picture of a sonic boom." To many the photo seemed too sensational to be real, but in fact it was authentic, though the caption was misleading. Cones of condensation around planes are a common phenomenon, caused by a combination of humidity and aerodynamic pressure. A plane doesn't have to be breaking the sound barrier for a cone to form, but in this case the plane was about to do so. More…
Pike Swallows Trout. (Jan 22, 2001) This award-winning photo was taken at the Alaska Department of Fish & Game aquarium in Anchorage. It was not photoshopped! More…
Chicken McNoggin. (Circulating online since late 2000) This news photo shows a fried chicken head that really was found in a box of McDonald's Mighty Wings. More…
Sinking Bus. (Mar. 3, 1988) This image looks bizarre, but it's real! A Number 26 double-decker bus fell into a hole on Earlham Road in Norwich, UK. The hole had been created by a collapsing chalk mine beneath the road. No one was hurt. An unknown photographer then took this picture. The picture was subsequently used by Cadbury's to promote their "Double Decker" chocolate bar, with the tagline "Nothing fills a hole like a Double Decker." More…
Oswald’s Backyard Photo. (Published in February 1964) Magazines that published this photo of Lee Harvey Oswald retouched portions of it, leading to suspicions that the original image itself was fake. It was not. More…
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima. (Feb 23, 1945) This is one of the most reproduced images in history, but soon after it was taken, a rumor spread that it had been staged. It wasn't. The rumor started because the marines had raised a flag on Iwo Jima earlier in the day, under heavy fire, but commanders later decided this first flag should be replaced by a larger one. This image shows that second flag-raising, but photographer Joe Rosenthal insisted he didn't direct or pose the soldiers in any way. More…
The Falling Soldier. (September 5, 1936) Despite allegations that Robert Capa staged this famous war photo, historical research shows that he did not. More…

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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.