The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Photo Archive — Photo Fakery Throughout History
Category: Military
The Fake General Dunwoody. (November 2008) When Ann Dunwoody became the first four-star general in the American military, the Army released a doctored photo of her to the media. More…
Kim Jong-Il’s Shadow. (November 2008) Western media questioned whether this image of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il had been doctored, but it appears not to have been. More…
U.S. Army Releases Doctored Photographs. (September 2008) Lacking an official photo of a deceased soldier, the U.S. Army instead released a doctored image to the media. More…
The Missile Launcher Vanishes. (July 9, 2008) The Iranian government pasted a missile into this photo, apparently in an attempt to conceal the failure of one of the missiles to launch. More…
Cruise vs. von Stauffenberg. (Controversy from June 2008) United Artists was mistakenly accused of altering an image of German officer Claus von Stauffenberg to make him appear to resemble Tom Cruise. More…
Charlton Heston’s Home Gun Collection. (Apr 2008) After Charlton Heston died in April 2008, a series of images began to circulate online, supposedly showing the actor's home gun collection. Heston was a well-known gun enthusiast. But the guns in the photos didn't belong to him. They were actually owned by attorney Bruce Stern, who died in 2007, after which most of his collection was auctioned off. It was one of the largest firearms collections ever to go up for auction. More…
Suicidal Teens Welcome. (Found on the internet, early 2007) The armed forces does not really actively recruit suicidal teenagers. More…
Fake Smoke Over Beirut. (August 5, 2006) A freelance photographer heightened the drama of this image distributed by Reuters by adding additional smoke. More…
Islamic Hostage Action-Figure Hoax. (February 1, 2005) Hostage "John Adam," whose photo appeared on internet bulletin boards used by Iraqi rebels, turned out to be a Cody action-figure doll. More…
Whatever It Takes. (October 2004) An ad released by Bush's 2004 presidential campaign showed a crowd scene from which the President had been digitally removed. More…
Trophy Turkey. (Thanksgiving 2003) This photo appears to show President Bush serving dinner to troops during a surprise visit to Iraq on Thanksgiving Day, 2003. The image was widely published and credited with helping the President's popularity rise in polls. But the image was later criticized for being misleadingly captioned, because newspapers failed to mention that Bush was holding a decorative centerpiece not intended for consumption. The troops were actually fed turkey from steam trays. More…
British Soldier in Basra. (Created March 29, 2003.) This digital composite slipped past the editors of the LA Times and ran on the paper's front page. More…
Helicopter Shark. (Circulating online since Aug 2001) Despite what this photo shows, a Great White shark has never attacked a helicopter in San Francisco Bay. More…
Missing in Action. (July, 1991) The photo made 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. But a Pentagon investigation discovered it was actually a doctored version of a 1923 photograph of three Soviet farmers. More…
Red Army Flag Over Reichstag. (May 2, 1945) This photo was both staged and doctored in an attempt to create a Soviet version of the Americans' Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima image. More…
The Master Race. (May 8, 1943) The May 8, 1943 cover of the British illustrated magazine Parade showed an unkempt, dour-looking German soldier with the satirical caption, "Master Race." But the man wasn't actually a German soldier. The photo was actually a piece of British government propaganda. The photographer later admitted the man was "the ugliest Arab they could find in the streets of Cairo... whom they dressed up in a sort of uniform." More…
The Nazi Air Marker Hoax. (August 1942) The U.S. Army press office released pictures supposedly showing "secret markers" placed by fifth-columnists in rural areas of the east coast to guide Nazi bombers toward military targets. But it turned out the "markers" had been investigated by the Army, and had been judged to be entirely innocent patterns on the ground. The release of the photos and the claim of their sinister meaning was attributed to "over-zealous army press-agentry." More…
The Falling Soldier. (September 5, 1936) Despite allegations that Robert Capa staged this famous war photo, historical research shows that he did not. More…
Death in the Air. (Published in 1933; debunked in 1984.) Spectacular images of World War I dog fights were eventually exposed as photos of model airplanes. More…
Bloody Sunday, 1905. (1925) Soviet textbooks claimed this was a photo of 1905's Bloody Sunday massacre in St. Petersburg. It was actually a reenactment of that event. More…
Ada Emma Deane’s Armistice Day Series. (November 1924) Spiritualists claimed this image showed the spirits of dead war heroes. A newspaper identified the faces as living football players. More…
A Sharpshooter’s Last Sleep. (Taken in 1863. Exposed as a fake in 1961.) Civil War photographers used a corpse as a movable prop. More…
Interior of the Secundra Bagh. (March or April 1858) Human bones were disinterred and scattered around to recreate the aftermath of a battle. More…

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