The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
 
Eccentric's last prank, 66 years after his death, 1900
Script of Casablanca rejected, 1982
Did Poe say 'The best things in life make you sweaty'?
Jean Gauntt, the Immortal Baby, 1939
The Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, 1959
Mencken's fake history of the bathtub, 1917
The Hoaxing Hitchhiker, 1941
Did Paul McCartney die on Nov. 9, 1966?
The most sacred relic: the Holy Foreskin, circa 800 AD
Cat that walked 3000 miles to find its owners, 1951
The Falling Soldier
Robert Capa's photo of a soldier falling backward from the impact of a shot to his head, taken during the Spanish Civil War, has often been called the greatest war photograph of all time. Its full title is "Loyalist Militiaman at the Moment of Death, Cerro Muriano, September 5, 1936."

In 1975 Phillip Knightley created a controversy by alleging in his book, The First Casualty, that the photo had been staged. His source of information was fellow journalist O.D. Gallagher. Gallagher claimed he and Capa had shared a hotel room in 1936, during which time Capa confessed staging the photo. Other skeptics then argued that the falling soldier could be seen alive in a later frame on the same roll of film.

Subsequent research has vindicated Capa. For instance, there is no evidence Gallagher and Capa ever met before 1939, which casts doubt on Gallagher's claims. And careful analysis shows the second soldier in the later frame to be a different person.

In 1996, a search of military archives identified the falling soldier as 24-year-old mill worker Federico Borrell Garcia.

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