The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Photos/Videos
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)

Angry Koala — When I saw this photo online a few days ago, I thought, "that koala looks pretty vicious." It didn't occur to me that the image might be fake. But the reality, I now know, is that the image is fake. Koalas don't have wolf-life jaws. The original photo (below) was taken in January 2009 by Flickr user Oz_drdolittle, who explains that the koala was wet because he had sprayed it with water: The poor thing was really hot. (We had a long heatwave recently). I had 3 hanging around the…
Posted: Fri Jul 27, 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)

Photo of a Black Lion — A picture of a black lion has recently been circulating online. Black lions are not biologically impossible. In fact, there have been scattered reports of black lions over the centuries. However, the lion in this picture is actually a white lion colored black through photo manipulation. The original image of a white lion was posted at cutehomepets.com. It was then transformed into a black lion by "PAulie-SVK" and posted at deviantart.com earlier this year. From there it spread to…
Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2012.   Comments (5)

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)

Cop Convention at Donutland — I'm not sure how old this image is, but it must be 15 or 20 years old at least. It's been circulating online for as long as I can remember. It's one of those images that's become a staple on humor sites, but people don't often pause to ask about the details of it: is the picture real? Where was it taken? And if it is real, what were all those cops doing there? Were they really all on a donut break? Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find out very much about the picture. Although I…
Posted: Thu May 03, 2012.   Comments (2)

Does Autistic Photographer Patrick Notley exist? — Thanks to Smerk for posing this question in the forum. I thought it deserved to be on the front page. Around about mid-2009, a slideshow began circulating via email featuring a series of stunning images, all of which had supposedly been taken by an autistic German photographer, Patrick Notley. The images were soon posted on slideshare, and then someone collected them together into a youtube video. A few examples of some of the photos attributed to him: But Notley himself seemed…
Posted: Wed May 02, 2012.   Comments (18)

The Case of the Leaping and Mating Giraffe — When I first saw this image, I immediately wondered whether giraffes can jump. I did some googling and eventually found Giraffes by Nicole Helget in which she addresses this question: A giraffe can also jump, clearing heights of up to five feet (1.5 m). This capability is important, now that many cattle fences have been built in Africa. The neck helps propel the giraffe over obstacles. To jump, the giraffe first pulls its neck back, putting most of its weight over the hind legs. Then…
Posted: Tue May 01, 2012.   Comments (2)

Driving into the mouth of the tunnel — It would be cool if there really was a tunnel entrance somewhere in the world that looked like this. But this is one of those brought-to-you-by-photoshop images. The original is an image showing a billboard created in March 2007 by the Austrian ad agency Demner, Merlicek & Bergmann for the restaurant chain Oldtimer. (link: adsoftheworld.com) What's puzzling me is whether the original image is itself photoshopped? Did this Oldtimer billboard ever exist in real life, or is the photo…
Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2012.   Comments (8)

Fast-Food Tattoo Guy — The "Fast-Food Tattoo Guy" image has been floating around the internet since 2009, at least. It's not a very good fake. Which is to say, it doesn't appear that many people have been led to believe, on the basis of this photo, that some large, cheeseburger-loving man actually decided to tattoo himself with the logos of fast-food restaurants. Nevertheless, I'm always curious about where these fake photos originally come from. In the case of this photo, I tracked down the original to a…
Posted: Sat Apr 28, 2012.   Comments (0)

Bouncing Bear — This is one of those photos that looks so surreal you'd think it has to be photoshopped, but it's real. It was taken earlier today in Colorado. Although it looks like the bear might be bouncing on a trampoline, it's actually falling onto a thick mat: Bear tranquilized in tree near Williams Village cuindependent.com The bear managed to climb up a tree near the dorms where it stayed for about two and a half hours. Wildlife officials were able to safely tranquilize the bear at 10:17 a.m.…
Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2012.   Comments (3)

Romney’s family misspells their last name — This image has been circulating online since February with the caption: Romney's family misspell their last name in the greatest Freudian slip in history. The Hill reports that it's fake. However, I don't yet know any further details — such as where the picture was taken. Nor have I seen the original yet. But I've got to say, assuming this is a fake image, it's a really good one. Both because it's very believable (it's easy to imagine that two kids could momentarily stand in the wrong…
Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2012.   Comments (1)

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