Hoax Museum Blog: Photos

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)

Photoshopped Greek Mugshots — Over in Greece there's uproar over some mugshots of suspected bank robbers. Photos of the men being taken into custody show them badly bruised, but in the mugshots released by the police these bruises have disappeared, and the police admit that, yeah, they photoshopped the mugshots to remove the bruises. Critics say this was done to hide evidence of police brutality. The police say they did it to make the men recognizable. In the photos below, the pre-mugshot pics are on the left, and…
Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2013.   Comments (0)

Man prosecuted for photoshopping — Over in Zimbabwe they treat photoshopping as a serious offense, especially if you decide to photoshop your head onto the body of Robert Mugage, as graphic designer Ronald Chikambure allegedly did. The official charge against him was "undermining the authority of the President." Apparently detectives were tipped off that Chikambure was displaying said photoshopped picture on the wall of his office, so they raided his office. They didn't find the picture on the wall, but they did find a…
Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2013.   Comments (0)

The first (fake) photo from the Curiosity rover — The first image (above) transmitted by the Curiosity rover from Mars was kind of blurry and unexciting. So the folks on Twitter and Tumblr substituted a more dramatic shot (below). It's circulating with the caption: "NASA just landed a rover on Mars, this is the very first picture. This JUST happened minutes ago." It actually is a picture of Mars, but it was taken by the Mars Spirit rover in 2005. (link: gawker.com)
Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2012.   Comments (1)

Orange Forest: real or photoshopped? — Without knowing the context, I would have guessed this picture had been digitally manipulated in some way. But it turns out it wasn't. NPR explains: it's a single image from a single place and time — the hills of western Hungary, six months after a devastating industrial accident. In late 2010, the waste reservoir of a Hungarian aluminum oxide plant burst, releasing millions and millions of gallons of caustic red sludge. The meter-high toxic mudslide quickly moved downhill through…
Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2012.   Comments (3)

Rachael Ray Cooks Her Family and Dog — For over a year, a picture of the Oct 2010 cover of Tails magazine has been circulating online. The image suggests that Rachael Rays practices cannibalism and eats dogs. Of course, the cover is fake. The original cover included appropriately placed commas —"Rachael Ray finds inspiration in cooking, her family, and her dog." I'm not entirely sure where the fake version of the cover first appeared. According to wlwt.com, Funny or Die was the original source. Though I can't find it…
Posted: Fri Jun 29, 2012.   Comments (3)

The Great Loveland Potato Hoax: Was this the first viral fake photo ever? — Rick Padden of Loveland, Colorado has written a play about a famous hoax from his own town: The Great Loveland Potato Hoax. It'll be on stage at Loveland's Rialto Theater. The Loveland Potato Hoax took place in 1895. It involved a potato farmer who created a fake photo of himself holding a giant potato. The photo started circulating around the country, passing from one person to another, until it eventually came to the attention of Scientific American, which published it, mistakenly…
Posted: Tue May 15, 2012.   Comments (0)

S?it Yourself — This image that recently appeared on the May 4 cover of the Living section in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is all over the blogosphere. Does the heading say "Suit Yourself" or "Shit Yourself"? The real question is whether this was an innocent accident, or an artist's prank. Kind of like the penis on the Little Mermaid video cover. The artist swore he didn't put it there intentionally, but that was kind of hard to believe. After all, how could he miss it?
Posted: Wed May 09, 2012.   Comments (6)

“Why Boys Need Parents!” Is this a photograph or a painting? — This image (which appears on a lot of humor and weird picture sites around the web) is often captioned, "Why boys need parents." And try as I might, that's the only information I can find out about it. Where it came from and who created it, I have no idea. I'm not even sure whether this is a photograph or a painting, though I suspect it's a painting. The low resolution makes it difficult to tell, and I can't find any higher-res copies. It's the boy's legs, in particular, that make me…
Posted: Mon May 07, 2012.   Comments (2)

Does this cat really have a cat-shaped mark on its back? — Several pictures of a cat with a cat-shaped mark on its back have circulated online for a couple of years. There's also a version of the image with arabic writing on it, that's currently doing the rounds on facebook. I don't know the cat's name, but the cat has a Japanese owner who keeps a blog, ameblo.jp/usousopp, devoted to posting pictures of it. There are hundreds of pictures of the cat up there. And here's the strange thing. In the two pictures of the cat that are circulating,…
Posted: Fri May 04, 2012.   Comments (4)

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