Hoax Museum Blog: Photos

Crying Child Photo Controversy

There's some controversy over the Daily Mirror's recent cover showing a crying child. The context implies it's a British child crying because of a lack of food, but (as blogger Dan Barker uncovered) it's actually an American child who was crying because she lost an earthworm. Turns out it was a stock photo that the Daily Mirror acquired from Getty Images. But the Daily Mirror is defending itself. Its editor Lloyd Embley writes, "Imagine the stink if we'd used a pic of an actual child who had received food parcels." [theguardian.com]

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2014.   Comments (1)

Fire Dragon

If this was just a random unsourced picture on the Internet I would probably suspect that it had been manipulated to create the dragon effect. However, it comes from a professional photographer, Noel Celis of AFP Photo, and is hosted on Getty Images. And these sources provide no indication that the photo was manipulated in any way. So I have to conclude that it's real. In other words, that it's a case of pareidolia, rather than photo fakery. Getty Images offers this caption: "A fire breather performs in Chinatown in Manila a day before the Chinese New Year on January 22, 2012. The…

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2014.   Comments (1)

The Rossendale Fairies

Manchester artist John Hyatt took some photographs of the landscape around Rossendale in Lancashire. But when he later enlarged those he images he noticed they showed tiny winged creatures that looked like fairies. Hyatt told the Manchester Evening News: "It was a bit of a shock when I blew them up, I did a double take. "I went out afterwards and took pictures of flies and gnats and they just don't look the same. "People can decide for themselves what they are. "The message to people is to approach them with an open mind. "I think it's one of those situations where you need to…

Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2014.   Comments (15)

Surf Heart

Recently seen circulating on Twitter with the caption, "Heart glare reflection on the shores of Hawaii". The picture was taken in Hawaii. That's true. Waikiki beach, to be specific. But the 'heart glare reflection' isn't real. The photo is a manipulation created by DeviantArt user 'charmbuster' back in April 2008. He wrote: "an experiment... this is a slight photomanip, the shape was so close i had to make it a heart! (waikiki beach)" It's been floating around the Internet ever since 2008. Sometimes it's titled 'sea heart' or 'beach heart'. (via PicPedant)

Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2014.   Comments (0)

Operation Cat Nip Confusion — In August 2011, hundreds of cats were rescued during a hoarding case, and then a team of veterinary students volunteered their time to spay and neuter the cats in order to prepare them for adoption. A photo of this mass spaying/neutering event (named Operation Cat Nip) ran in the Gainesville Sun. But about a year later that same photo began appearing on Twitter, stripped of any explanatory context, and accompanied by the caption: "Retweet if you say NO to animal testing." The…
Posted: Fri Feb 28, 2014.   Comments (4)

Optical Illusion Cow — This cow illusion has been circulating since at least 2011. And here's the original, which, I believe, is a stock photo. Though I don't know which stock photo agency it's from.
Posted: Thu Feb 20, 2014.   Comments (0)

Theodore Roosevelt Rides a Moose — Theodore Roosevelt served as President of the United States for 8 years, from 1901-1909. He was, as Wikipedia notes, acclaimed for his "cowboy persona and robust masculinity." However, his masculinity was not so robust that he once rode a moose, despite what this photo appears to show. In 1912, Roosevelt split from the Republican Party, after having become unhappy with its increasingly conservative policies. He then ran for President as head of the newly formed Progressive Party.…
Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2014.   Comments (3)

Posing with Mandela — The Mandela-themed hoaxes continue. Kenyan senator Mike Sonko recently posted to his facebook page a photo of himself posing with Nelson Mandela. It's such an awful photoshop job, that it's hardly even worth debunking. Still, for what it's worth, the original image that he doctored was one of Mandela posing with Muhammad Ali. [telegraph.co.uk]
Posted: Sat Dec 14, 2013.   Comments (0)

Fake Mandela Corpse Photo — On Thursday, an image purporting to be a death photo of Nelson Mandela began circulating online. The photo — a greenish-tinged shot of Mandela with his eyes closed — was originally posted on twitter by someone with the username @nQOW_bee. IOL news reported: "In between tweets about the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial at FNB Stadium on Tuesday, which is her sexiest body part, and how she can’t stick to a healthy diet, she posted a picture of Mandela with…
Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2013.   Comments (0)

Cat Drinks From Bottle — There's not a lot of info on where this photo comes from. It's listed on the website of the French National Library as having been created in 1911 by the "Agence Rol." photo agency. For 1911, it's a pretty good example of photo fakery. Also included in the same series is "Cat peers through binoculars" and "cat looks through a telescope." Found these over at retronaut.com.
Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013.   Comments (0)

Soviet Pilot Flies Under Bridge, 1965 — This image shows Soviet pilot Valentin Privalov flying a MiG-17 under the central span of the Communal Bridge over the River Ob in Novosibirsk on June 4, 1965. The story goes (as much as I can piece it together) that Privalov did this on his own initiative, as a stunt. The shore of the river was filled with vacationers, among whom were officers from the district headquarters, when suddenly the MiG came roaring out of the sky. Afterwards the crowd spontaneously started to applaud, but…
Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013.   Comments (1)

World’s Largest Tortoise — The International Business Times reports that a "fake image" purporting to show the "world's largest tortoise" being transported on a flatbed truck has recently been circulating online. I think it's been circulating for at least half a year, but it's not correct to call it a fake image. It's a still from Gamera The Brave (a 2006 Japanese monster movie) that has been falsely captioned. Here's another picture of the "world's largest tortoise" in action: The question that popped into…
Posted: Tue Nov 26, 2013.   Comments (1)

Tornado Photo Fakery — When tornadoes struck the Midwest last week, some unusual photo fakes managed to get past the media fact-checkers who try to catch these things before publishing or broadcasting them. The WTHR website posted a photo (submitted by an "iwitness contributor") that showed downtown Lafayette being threatened by both a fake tornado and a UFO. [jimromenesko.com] The fake — with red arrow added by reporter Eric Weddle to show the UFO The original And Chicago CBS affiliate WBBM ran a…
Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2013.   Comments (0)

Squirrel Rides Fawn — This unusual photo ran in numerous papers in September 1963. I can't find a linkable example in the Google News Archive, but here it is in the Binghamton Press [PDF]. (A lot of examples of it come up in a search on newspaperarchive.com, but that's a paid archive, so I can't link to any of the results.) The caption read: All the animals are pretty tame at the Percy Pangborn Ranch above Lake Wenatchee in the foothills of Washington State's Cascade Mountains, Sept 14. 1963. A golden…
Posted: Sat Nov 16, 2013.   Comments (0)

An Igorot With A Tail, 1925 — Here's a case of a fake "viral" image that made its way into the scientific literature back in 1925, demonstrating that the phenomenon of strange, doctored images circulating around existed long before the internet, although the internet certainly boosted the phenomenon to new levels. The 1925 case: In the fourth edition of his book I Believe in God and in Evolution, published in 1925, William Keen included a short account of "Human Beings With Tails": Human Beings With Tails The…
Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013.   Comments (2)

Giants Visit Old Lady — The city government of Ningguo in eastern China's Anhui province has admitted that, yes, this photo, which was recently posted to its website, was digitally manipulated. It's supposed to show four officials paying a friendly visit to 103-year-old Cheng Yanchun. But now it's become the subject of widespread mockery, once people noticed the unusual size mismatch between the woman and the officials. (That small object in the lower left right of the photo is the woman.) Also, one of the…
Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2013.   Comments (2)

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013.   Comments (1)

A Brief History of Triple-Decker Buses — The first motorized double-decker buses were introduced in 1923, and it was only three years later, in 1926, that the first triple-decker bus went into operation, providing transportation to Berlin's Stettiner railway station. The next significant date in multi-level buses came in 1954, with the introduction of the double-decker Routemaster bus, which, painted red, became an iconic sight in London. And, inevitably, triple-decker versions soon followed. Nowadays triple-decker buses…
Posted: Wed Sep 18, 2013.   Comments (0)

Red Rocks Amphitheatre Is Not Flooded — The flooding in Colorado has caused a lot of damage. However, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver is not one of the things underwater, despite what a picture that's been circulating online appears to show. [reverb.com] This is just another example of how if a suitably dramatic picture of a natural disaster doesn't exist, people will invent one. Here's what Red Rocks looks like in its normal, unflooded condition:
Posted: Tue Sep 17, 2013.   Comments (0)

Sloth Family Portrait — Gapers Block offers the full story behind the famous "Sloth Family Portrait" revealing that yes, of course, the photo was intentionally staged. And no, it wasn't photoshopped in any way. And the sloth in the foreground was stuffed, not alive. The story, summarized, is that the couple in the photo are Jim and Debbie Gallo, owners of Shangri-La Vintage, a Chicago vintage clothes store. They found the stuffed sloth at an estate sale in the early 1990s, bought it, and then thought it would…
Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2013.   Comments (0)

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