The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
 
The most sacred relic: the Holy Foreskin, circa 800 AD
'Solar Armor' freezes man in Nevada Desert, 1874
Cat that walked 3000 miles to find its owners, 1951
The Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, 1959
The Sandpaper Test, 1960
Tourist Guy 9/11 Hoax, Sep 2001
Old-Time Photo Fakery, 1900 to 1919
Script of Casablanca rejected, 1982
Mencken's fake history of the bathtub, 1917
The Cottingley Fairies, 1917
Paper Tiger
Zhou Zhenglong, a farmer in Shaanxi Province, China, came forward with a picture of a rare South China tiger, a creature not seen in the wild since 1964 and that many feared to be extinct. Zhou said he had taken the photo (top) on October 3, 2007 and that he had "risked his life" to do so. Forestry officials published the photo, paid him a reward of 20,000 yuan, and began an intensive search for the animal.

However, the photo quickly generated suspicion, especially online. Police were able to identify the trees in Zhou's photo, and by extrapolating from this information concluded that Zhou's tiger, if real, measured less than a foot in length. The forestry officials were criticized for promoting the dubious photo, apparently in the hope that proof of the tiger's existence would attract tourism to the region.

Eventually the police determined that Zhou had created the photo using a picture of the South China tiger he had found in an old calendar (bottom). He simply cut the picture out of the calendar, attached it to a wooden backing, placed it between the trees, and snapped its photo. He had hoped to receive a sizable reward (much larger than the one he got) for proving the existence of the tiger.

In June 2008 thirteen officials were fired for their involvement in the fraud. Zhou was arrested on suspicion of fraud.

Links and References
Provincial authorities: China tiger photos fabricated. (June 29, 2008). Xinhuanet.com.
Farmer's photo of rare South China tiger is exposed as fake. (June 30, 2008). The Times Online.


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