The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
 
Baby Yoga, aka Swinging Your Kid Around Your Head
BMW's April Fool's Day Hoaxes
Old-Time Photo Fakery, 1900 to 1919
The most sacred relic: the Holy Foreskin, circa 800 AD
Loch Ness Monster Hoaxes
Iceberg floats into Sydney Harbor, 1978
Life discovered on the moon, 1835
Pierre Brassau, Monkey Artist, 1964
The disumbrationist art hoax, 1924
The Case of the Vanishing Belly Button, 1964
Missing in Action
The top photo made national headlines when it surfaced in July, 1991. It appeared to show three American fliers, who had been listed as missing during the Vietnam War, holding a sign with the date 25-5-90. The implication was that the men were still alive somewhere in south-east Asia.

The families of the men were convinced the photo was authentic, but Pentagon officials had doubts. They noted the men looked unusually well nourished for having been in captivity for two decades; the sign they were holding appeared to have been pasted into the photo; and the source of the photo was dubious. It had been faxed to the Pentagon by a man of Cambodian descent living in Los Angeles who, in turn, said he had received it from a former prison guard living in Phnom Penh. $2 million was being demanded to help arrange the return of the fliers.

The Pentagon sent a team to Thailand to investigate. They eventually discovered the true source of the photo. It was a doctored version of a 1923 photograph (bottom) of three Soviet farmers which had been published in the December 1989 issue of a Khmer-language magazine called Soviet Union. The con artists had cropped the original image, added moustaches to the men, and pasted in the sign.

Links and References
Brugioni, D. (1999). Photo Fakery. Brassey's: pgs. 64-65.


All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.