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This unusual photo ran in numerous papers in September 1963. I can't find a linkable example in the Google News Archive, but here it is in the Binghamton Press [PDF]. (A lot of examples of it come up in a search on newspaperarchive.com, but that's a paid archive, so I can't link to any of the results.)

The caption read:
All the animals are pretty tame at the Percy Pangborn Ranch above Lake Wenatchee in the foothills of Washington State's Cascade Mountains, Sept 14. 1963. A golden mantled ground squirrel chomps away on a nut as it rides around on the neck of a fawn.

The photo looks a little suspect to me. However, none of the papers it ran in raised any doubts about its veracity.

Back in the 60s, photo editors would often darken the outlines of figures in photos so that you could see them better when they ran in newspapers. To modern eyes, this can make "real" photos look manipulated. That might be the case with this photo. Perhaps the outline of the squirrel was darkened, which makes the squirrel look like it was pasted into the shot. But given the subject matter — a squirrel riding a fawn while eating a nut — I'm still suspicious.
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Sat Nov 16, 2013
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A photo has been circulating recently that shows Paris Hilton at a party wearing a tank top that bears the message: "Stop Being Poor."


Paris Hilton has hardly carved out a reputation for herself as a champion of social justice. Nor is she known for her keen intelligence. So it's not hard to believe that she might have worn something like this.

The photo also plays to ancient stereotypes of the insensitive rich. The old "Let them eat cake" attitude (a phrase that's commonly, but mistakenly, attributed to Marie Antoinette). And this stereotype certainly has some basis in reality.

But in this case, Paris Hilton isn't quite as insensitive as the photo suggests because, yes, the image is photoshopped.

In the original photo, taken by photographer Vince Flores at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas on April 15, 2005, the message on her shirt reads: "Stop Being Desperate." There's quite a few shots of her at the party wearing this tank-top.


A similar fake image in this vein (i.e. the insensitive rich) was that one from last year that showed the Romney family lining up so that their t-shirts spelled "MONEY".

Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Sat Nov 09, 2013
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Here's a case of a fake "viral" image that made its way into the scientific literature back in 1925, demonstrating that the phenomenon of strange, doctored images circulating around existed long before the internet, although the internet certainly boosted the phenomenon to new levels.

The 1925 case:

In the fourth edition of his book I Believe in God and in Evolution, published in 1925, William Keen included a short account of "Human Beings With Tails":

Human Beings With Tails
The literature as to tails in human beings is extensive. Cases have been reported from every continent, and, including the United States, from almost every important nation in the world.

Virchow and Sir Arthur Keith, the distinguished Curator of the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, London, than whom there can be no better authorities, and other well known writers, refer to cases of genuine tails. Some of them contain no bones, but others have rudimentary vertebrae, with complete joints between them. The microscope also shows in some cases sufficient muscular fibers to have made the tails capable of movement.

These tails are continuations of the lowest vertebrae. The 'coccyx,' the usual termination of the spine, is the representative in man of these occasionally well developed tails. All of us have potential tails. In early embryonic life of man there is a well developed tail which, however, soon shrivels, leaving only the coccyx.

It is a very significant fact that the anthropoid apes, gorilla, chimpanzee, etc., like man, have also lost their tails. The monkeys, much more distant from man have retained their tails.

Keen then provided a photograph that showed a person with a tail.


A caption offered this explanation:

Photograph of an Igorot in the Bontoc Province of the Philippine Islands. It was taken early in 1925 by Mr. John Freeman, (Dr. Keen's grandson), whose guide and interpreter persuaded the man to be photographed. The tail is about five inches long. It also shows in the shadow.

But soon after publication, Keen sent a rather embarrassed "Correction" to the Journal Science (Apr 2, 1926). After noting that he still believed there were cases of humans with tails, he wrote:

The correction I wish to make is as follows: In my book "I Believe in God and in Evolution," I have included in the fourth edition a photograph of an Igorot with a tail, which I vouched for as I understood that it had been photographed by my own grandson, Mr. John Freeman.

A few days ago within a few hours of each other, I received letters from Dr. Ales Hrdlieka, of the division of physical anthropology of the National Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, and Mrs. Ella F. Grove, who a year ago had been doing some work in the Philippines for the National Research Council. Both of these correspondents stated that the Bureau of Science in Manila had shown them the original of this photograph which showed that it was a fake photograph, the tail having been added to the original by a photographer, I suppose as a joke.

On communicating with my grandson I find that I misinterpreted his letter and that he did not photograph this Igorot.

My argument that human tails (of which I have shown there are very many undoubted instances) prove our animal ancestry is not in the least disproved by my having unfortunately used a photograph which further investigation has shown to be a fraud, for there are plenty of genuine tails.

My whole object is to state the truth, and when any statement I have made is proved to be wrong, I wish to be the very first person to disclose the error.

Dr. Hrdlieka adds "As to the occurrence of tails of course I am with you in every particular."

Apparently the Igorot people have long suffered from discrimination in the Philippines, which has included the claim that Igorots have tails. This photograph must have been one photographer's attempt to forge some evidence to back up this popular racist belief.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Science
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 05, 2013
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The city government of Ningguo in eastern China's Anhui province has admitted that, yes, this photo, which was recently posted to its website, was digitally manipulated. It's supposed to show four officials paying a friendly visit to 103-year-old Cheng Yanchun. But now it's become the subject of widespread mockery, once people noticed the unusual size mismatch between the woman and the officials. (That small object in the lower left right of the photo is the woman.) Also, one of the officials appears to have lost his legs. The official explanation is that there was no room in the woman's apartment for everyone to pose together. So a staffer created this photo oddity. [Want China Times]
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Sat Nov 02, 2013
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This image has been circulating since March of this year. Many sites (including dornob.com) report that it shows "an actual piece of carefully carved furniture, not a photo file gone wrong."

The oak furniture was supposedly created by furniture designer Ferruccio Laviani using CNC processes (computer-aided machine tools) in order to make it appear as if it had been deformed by a "digital glitch". (Yes, that should be an "analog glitch," but "digital glitch" is the phrase that's caught on to describe it.)

There is some truth to this. Laviani did create "glitch" furniture for a 2013 Furniture Exhibition in Italy. His aim, according to mocoloco.com, was to make furniture "which seems to have been 'deformed' by a strong jolt or by swaying movements." He called it his Good Vibrations collection.

However, the final product was the cabinet below. The picture above was a photo mock-up of the concept for the piece. In other words, it wasn't real.

Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Oct 04, 2013
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Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 26, 2013
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The first motorized double-decker buses were introduced in 1923, and it was only three years later, in 1926, that the first triple-decker bus went into operation, providing transportation to Berlin's Stettiner railway station.


The next significant date in multi-level buses came in 1954, with the introduction of the double-decker Routemaster bus, which, painted red, became an iconic sight in London. And, inevitably, triple-decker versions soon followed.


Nowadays triple-decker buses are becoming an increasingly common sight on highways and city streets, because they offer an efficient way to transport large numbers of people. And sightseers love them! For instance, in 2012, Intercity Coachlines introduced the first fleet of triple deckers in New Zealand. Many will also remember the modern-looking triple-deckers that eased traffic problems during the 2012 Olympics in London.








And let's not forget the gargantua of the bus world, the quadruple-decker. Rare, but occasionally seen!


The Reality
Okay, the truth is that all the pictures above (and the one video) are fake. The idea of triple-decker buses has long been a popular theme in photo fakery, but in real life such monsters would face serious instability problems, and be at risk of hitting trees and bridges. But that's not to say that there have never been real-life triple deckers. There have been. Just not many.

The first real triple-decker bus went into service in 1932, shuttling up to 88 passengers at a time between Rome and Tivoli. But as the picture of it below shows (from Popular Mechanics, 1932), the third level was only a small section at the rear of the bus.


In the 1950s, the General American Aerocoach Corporation sold a three-level bus [staleycoach.com]. Again, the third level was only a small section at the back.


The only real-life triple-decker bus that has looked anything like the photoshopped ones was the "Knight Bus" that appeared on screen in the 2004 movie Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It was created by special effects supervisor John Richardson and his team, who cut up two Routemaster buses and put them back together to create one bus with three decks. Although made for a movie, it was a real, working bus. It even went on tour. However, it didn't possess magical powers like the one in the movie. [Watford Observer]


(Image sources other than the ones already linked to: lunatictravel.com, worth1000, flickr)
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 18, 2013
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The flooding in Colorado has caused a lot of damage. However, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver is not one of the things underwater, despite what a picture that's been circulating online appears to show. [reverb.com]


This is just another example of how if a suitably dramatic picture of a natural disaster doesn't exist, people will invent one. Here's what Red Rocks looks like in its normal, unflooded condition:

Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Tue Sep 17, 2013
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Gapers Block offers the full story behind the famous "Sloth Family Portrait" revealing that yes, of course, the photo was intentionally staged. And no, it wasn't photoshopped in any way. And the sloth in the foreground was stuffed, not alive.

The story, summarized, is that the couple in the photo are Jim and Debbie Gallo, owners of Shangri-La Vintage, a Chicago vintage clothes store. They found the stuffed sloth at an estate sale in the early 1990s, bought it, and then thought it would be funny to dress up in tacky clothes and wigs and get their picture taken with it at the local K-Mart. The Sloth Family Portrait, and later internet fame, was the result.

Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 12, 2013
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A 71-year-old pensioner recently claimed to have caught a photo of the "Beast of Trowbridge" — a large black panther that supposedly roams wild in Wiltshire. The photo was genuine, but it wasn't taken in Wiltshire. Nor was the pensioner the photographer. Turns out it was actually taken in Lapeer County, Michigan and posted online six years ago. [mirror.co.uk]


Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 21, 2013
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The above picture has been doing the rounds in recent months, often with the caption "Very Tall Bride."

The bride in the photo is Allyssa DeHaan, a collegiate basketball player at Michigan State University from 2006 to 2010. In real life DeHaan is very tall — 6 ft 9in. So could this photo be real?

Well, no. When I first saw it, I thought perhaps she was standing on a box, perhaps for a gag photo. But some more investigation revealed her height in the photo is a result of good, old-fashioned photoshopping. The manipulation was done by a DeviantArt member going by the username lowerrider, who enjoys creating fantasy photos of giant women.

I found the original, unaltered photo of DeHaan at her wedding (below) over at Flickr.


Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Mon Mar 18, 2013
Comments (1)
File this under Low Threshold of Belief. Several Southeast Asian news sites have recently published photos that supposedly document the presence of "extra terrestrial beings" here on Earth. For instance, the Visayan Daily Star ran a picture (below) of "Emily Santodelsis" posing with a small alien. Strangely, she insisted that she hadn't noticed the alien while the picture was being taken. She only spotted it later, when she looked at the photo.


And back in January, the Bangkok Post ran a picture of an alien supposedly spotted on a beach in Thailand.


The Open Minds UFO investigation site explains that the appearance of these alien photos coincides with the addition of new special effects to the Camera360 app for Android phones. These special effects allow the easy addition of UFOs, extraterrestrials, or lightning to photos taken with the Android phone.
Categories: Extraterrestrial Life, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Mar 08, 2013
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