On September 30, 2014, a photo of "terrified cheerleaders"
was uploaded to reddit, where it was presented as material for a "photoshop battle," in which the challenge is to creatively alter the original image.
A redditor named "totalitarian_jesus" submitted an entry titled "where will you be when diarrhea strikes?" in which he made the cheerleader appear to be losing control of her bowels in mid-air, provoking expressions of horror from her teammates below.
This quickly became the most highly voted entry, and it immediately inspired a prediction that the altered image would "definitely end up on a Facebook post accompanied by an 'omg I can't believe it, that poor girl!' type caption"
Another redditor wrote, "I have already forwarded it like it's real."
The prediction proved accurate, as within hours the fake image, now presented as a real photo, did start to circulate widely online. Many sites titled the image "Cheerleader Poops."
Seeing how widely his creation was spreading, totalitarian_jesus commented, "Is it wrong that I consider this a milestone of my photoshopping career?"
It's not surprising that the image went viral since having a diarrheal accident is a widespread fear and is therefore ripe material for urban legends. Back in 2008, I posted about the rumor of the "pooping intern"
who suffered sudden-onset diarrhea so bad that she couldn't make it to the bathroom. This supposedly happened on her first day on the job.
There's also the legend of the "brown note,"
which is a soundwave so low that it will cause explosive diarrhea. Mythbusters
tested this out and decided it wasn't real.