The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Photo Archive — Photo Fakery Throughout History
Fake Photos of Very Large Animals
Giant Squid in Santa Monica. (2014) This photo accompanied an article that ran on the site lightlybraisedturnip.com in January 2014, claiming that a giant squid (grown to mutant size because of Fukushima radiation) had washed ashore near Santa Monica. The article was intended as satire. Nevertheless, the image soon began to circulate online. The image was a composite of a squid washed ashore in Spain and a beach scene in Chile. More…
Angolan Witch Spider. (2011) The Internet claims this spider was spotted on the side of a house in Texas and "it took several gun shots to kill it." In reality, this image is the creation of artist/photographer Paul Santa Maria, who took a photo of a normal-sized wolf spider outside his Florida home and then used Photoshop to expand it to gigantic proportions. More…
Hercules, the World’s Biggest Dog. (2007) The massive dog in this photo is not named Hercules. It hasn't been deemed World's Biggest Dog by Guinness World Records. Nor is it an English Mastiff. However, all this incorrect info often circulates with the image. The identity and owner of the dog remains unknown. Its size here is presumed to be a result of image manipulation. However, other images show the same dog massively large. So there's a chance the dog's size is genuine. More…
Camel Spiders in Iraq. (Found online, Spring 2004) It's true that camel spiders are very large, but much of the information about these creatures that accompanied this picture as it went around the internet was false. More…
Snowball the Monster Cat. (Circulating online since early 2000) Cordell Hauglie never anticipated that this picture of him holding a digitally enlarged version of his family cat would become one of the most popular images on the internet. More…
Biggest Fish Ever Caught. (1939) The Honolulu Star-Bulletin ran this picture on its front page on Apr 1, 1939, accompanied by a report claiming that Norwegian scientist Dr. Thorkel Gellison (an "authority on prevaricana") had caught the largest fish ever recorded while on holiday in Hawaii. The fish was said to be of the species Gellisoni Fabricata. The doctor caught it "with ordinary Mason & Dixon line, with a leader of Associated Press wire." 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…
William ‘Dad’ Martin’s Freak Postcards. (1909-1910) Martin made a fortune selling "freak" postcards that featured midwesterners interacting with oversized animals and vegetables. More…
Pacific Sea Monster. (1906) A group of men show off a sea serpent that washed up on the beach at Ballard, Washington. However, the "sea serpent" looks suspiciously like the trunk of a tree. More…

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