The Gallery of Fake Viral Images

Santa’s Identity Revealed

Currently trending online is this set of pictures showing a chocolate rabbit inside a St. Nicholas wrapper. The photos are accompanied by captions such as "Santa's identity revealed" or "an unexpected plot twist": Is this a case of a chocolate manufacturer repackaging chocolate Easter bunnies for the Christmas market? No. The images actually come from a Dutch ad campaign designed to promote awareness of Alzheimer's disease. The original ad includes a third image showing the chocolate rabbit more fully unwrapped, revealing a message that says "Alzheimer's patients are coping with…

Posted: Sun Dec 22, 2013.   Comments (0)

Cow on hood of car

This image of a cow lying on the hood of a BMW began circulating online around January 2013. At first, the image didn't attract much attention. It circulated with captions such as ""Got Milk!", "Fail Safe Auto Alarm," and "The Ground Is Lava. LOL". But on Nov 18, 2013, the Surrey Roads Police department posted the image on its twitter account accompanied by the message: "Remember as days get colder animals are attracted to the warmth of cars so check wheel arches or other hiding places." This launched the image into the viral stratosphere, as it was soon retweeted thousands of…

Posted: Sat Dec 21, 2013.   Comments (0)

Snow-Covered Sphinx

Photos of the Sphinx covered in snow have recently gone viral, on the heels of reports of the first snowfall in Cairo for 112 years. These photos haven't been digitally manipulated. However, they don't show THE Sphinx in Egypt covered in snow. Instead, what they show is a miniature model of the Sphinx located in the Tobu World Square theme park in Japan. The theme park has miniature models of many other famous attractions from around the world. (You can actually see the Eiffel Tower poking up behind the pyramid in the bottom photo.) Here's a photo that shows just how small the…

Posted: Sat Dec 14, 2013.   Comments (2)

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 mistakenly, attributed to Marie Antoinette). And this stereotype certainly has some basis in reality.

Posted: Sat Nov 09, 2013.   Comments (0)


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 caught on to describe it.) There is some truth to this. Laviani did create "glitch" furniture for a 2013…

Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2013.   Comments (0)

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 house that I watered twice a day while I was watering the garden. They loved it! 
Koalas dont often…

Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2012.   Comments (1)

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 Facebook, reddit, etc. Messybeast.com offers some interesting info on the science and history of black…

Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2012.   Comments (5)

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 place), and because it makes its point very clearly: That Romney is incredibly rich, and that he…

Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2012.   Comments (1)

The Japanese Moon Melon

This picture and caption has been circulating around the internet recently: This a Moon Melon , scientifically knows as asidus. This fruit grows in some parts of Japan , and it's known for it's weird blue color. What you probably don't know about this fruit, is that it can switch flavors after you eat it. Everything sour will taste sweet, and everything salty will taste bitter, and it gives water a strong orange-like taste. This fruit is Very expensive. It costs about ¥16000 JPY (which is about 200 dollars). Unfortunately, as intriguing as the moon melon sounds, it's just the…

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2012.   Comments (3)

Viagra Corporate Headquarters

The title of this image, which has been circulating widely online since at least 2009, is a joke. The building shown is not really the corporate headquarters of Viagra. Of course, Viagra isn't a company. It's a drug manufactured by Pfizer, Inc. But the joke wouldn't work if the photo was titled "Pfizer's Corporate Headquarters." However, this isn't even Pfizer's headquarters. The building is actually the corporate offices of Swagelok Northwest, located in Portland, Oregon at 815 SE Sherman St. The company manufactures valves and fittings for gas and fluid systems. The topiary…

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009.   Comments (7)

Oscar Mayer Wiener Jet

Unfortunately there never has been an Oscar Mayer Wiener Jet. This image is a fake. One of the earliest online references to the image dates back to Jan 15, 2007, when it was posted to the forum of philskies.net. The poster (whose profile identified him as a 2D and 3D animator) wrote, "I probably shouldn't post this pic, but it's in good fun. This was doing the email rounds internally when they were coming up with a livery for it." This suggests the image may have been a joke created by the graphic designers whom Boeing commissioned to create the livery for the 747-400 Largo Cargo…

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009.   Comments (12)

Fetal Footprint

I'm late to the party with this image (all the other hoax-related sites have had it up for a couple of weeks), but hey, I was on vacation, and the picture's too good to ignore. Anyway, no one seems to be able to say definitively whether it's real or a fake... or even where it originally came from. It does seem pretty unbelievable that a footprint would be that well defined through the wall of the abdomen. Plus, the foot seems awfully long. And what are those weird bumps in the middle of the foot? But on the other hand, I've heard some women say that this is possible.

Posted: Wed Sep 29, 2004.   Comments (73)

Manitoba Home Security

Here's a picture sent by a visitor to the site named Dorothy. It's titled 'Manitoba Home Security.'

Posted: Fri Jun 13, 2003.   

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