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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Photos/Videos
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)

Paris Hilton Says ‘Stop Being Poor’ — A photo has been circulating recently that shows Paris Hilton at a party wearing a tank top that bears the message: "Stop Being Poor." Paris Hilton has hardly carved out a reputation for herself as a champion of social justice. Nor is she known for her keen intelligence. So it's not hard to believe that she might have worn something like this. The photo also plays to ancient stereotypes of the insensitive rich. The old "Let them eat cake" attitude (a phrase that's commonly, but…
Posted: Sat Nov 09, 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)

Digital Glitch Furniture — This image has been circulating since March of this year. Many sites (including dornob.com) report that it shows "an actual piece of carefully carved furniture, not a photo file gone wrong." The oak furniture was supposedly created by furniture designer Ferruccio Laviani using CNC processes (computer-aided machine tools) in order to make it appear as if it had been deformed by a "digital glitch". (Yes, that should be an "analog glitch," but "digital glitch" is the phrase that's…
Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2013.   Comments (0)

Mirror Trick —
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)

The Beast of Trowbridge — A 71-year-old pensioner recently claimed to have caught a photo of the "Beast of Trowbridge" — a large black panther that supposedly roams wild in Wiltshire. The photo was genuine, but it wasn't taken in Wiltshire. Nor was the pensioner the photographer. Turns out it was actually taken in Lapeer County, Michigan and posted online six years ago. [mirror.co.uk]
Posted: Wed Aug 21, 2013.   Comments (1)

The Very Tall Bride — The above picture has been doing the rounds in recent months, often with the caption "Very Tall Bride." The bride in the photo is Allyssa DeHaan, a collegiate basketball player at Michigan State University from 2006 to 2010. In real life DeHaan is very tall — 6 ft 9in. So could this photo be real? Well, no. When I first saw it, I thought perhaps she was standing on a box, perhaps for a gag photo. But some more investigation revealed her height in the photo is a result of good,…
Posted: Mon Mar 18, 2013.   Comments (1)

Aliens among us? — File this under Low Threshold of Belief. Several Southeast Asian news sites have recently published photos that supposedly document the presence of "extra terrestrial beings" here on Earth. For instance, the Visayan Daily Star ran a picture (below) of "Emily Santodelsis" posing with a small alien. Strangely, she insisted that she hadn't noticed the alien while the picture was being taken. She only spotted it later, when she looked at the photo. And back in January, the Bangkok Post
Posted: Fri Mar 08, 2013.   Comments (2)

The Ref Vanishes — Washington Post photographer Tracy Woodward won an Award of Excellence for his image "State Champion" that he entered in the 2013 White House News Photographers Association ‘Eyes of History’ stills photo contest in the Sports Feature/Reaction category. But Woodward's editors at the Post noticed that the image had been altered since the time when it had first appeared in the paper. Specifically, Woodward had deleted the referee standing in the background. (Although you can still…
Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013.   Comments (3)

Watch For Falling Rocks! — Found on Facebook (via Not An Exact Science Show). The fact that there wouldn't be an English-language sign in a Russian-speaking area gives it away that it's fake, but it's a clever idea!
Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013.   Comments (2)

Bill Gates Money Giveaway — Below is a picture of Bill Gates that's been circulating on Facebook. Can anyone really believe they'll get $5000 if they share the photo? Or is it being shared as a joke? Since I'm feeling charitable, I'll believe the latter. The picture is a doctored version of a picture posted by Gates during a recent AMA on reddit. Note that in addition to changing the sign he's holding, the reddit toy on the desk behind him has been replaced by what looks like a sex toy. (via David Emery)
Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013.   Comments (4)

Iran’s new stealth fighter flies (with help from photoshop) — The Iranian news website Khouz News recently posted a picture of Iran's new stealth fighter, the Qaher F313. But The Atlantic Wire points out that the photo is actually a composite. The background is a photo of Mount Damavand from a stock-image site. The jet fighter was cut-and-pasted from a photo of what is apparently a plastic jet fighter (because it seems to lack exterior bolts or rivets) on display indoors. In Iran's defense, the photo could have been intended as a kind of…
Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2013.   Comments (1)

No smoking, drinking, skateboarding, dogs at mall — Ipswich City councillor Andrew Antoniolli posted on facebook that this would be the new sign at the Ipswich Mall — warning people, in a visually economical way, of all the things they couldn't do there. A local radio station believed him, but it was actually just a joke image downloaded from the internet. No idea what the original source of the image was.
Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013.   Comments (0)

Seriously Richview Collegiate — A picture of a letter detailing a blatantly racist policy supposedly adopted by a Toronto-area high school, Richview Collegiate Institute, was all over Twitter recently. The letter reads: Dear teachers and students, As of late the safety of our students' has been brought into question. Due to a frequent increase in student robberies and fights this letter has been sent out to inform students on safety precautions that are to be taken to protect their well being. Personal belongings are…
Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013.   Comments (0)

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