The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
HOME   |   ABOUT   |   FORUM   |   CONTACT   |   FACEBOOK   |   RSS
The Top 100
April Fool Hoaxes
Of All Time
April Fool Archive
April fools throughout history
Hoax Photo

Weblog Category
Photos/Videos suggests that one of the rehearsal photographs of Michael Jackson, said to have been taken the night before he died, is fake. They point out that "the backdrop mysteriously disappears in between Michael's legs." They describe this as a "classic photoshop blunder" and suggest "this could be a fake composite, with Jackson's image being super imposed on top of another pic."

It does look unusual, but I wouldn't be so quick to label it as photoshopped. That may just be how the backdrop looks in that area. (You would need to see an unobstructed view of the entire backdrop to be sure.) And what would be the point of photoshopping the picture? Is suggesting that Jackson didn't actually attend the rehearsal? That seems unlikely as there are other pictures of Jackson at the rehearsal, and (presumably) witnesses.

Categories: Celebrities, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Jul 01, 2009
Comments (10)
A pair of French students attending Strasbourg university won first place in Paris Match's photoreporting competition, a prize that came with €5000. But upon receiving the prize, they revealed that all their photos had been staged. From the British Journal of Photography:

Guillaume Chauvin and Rémi Hubert won for a reportage chronicling the harsh difficulties some poor students encounter while studying at the Strasbourg university. Their images showed students living in basements or offering sex to pay their rents. Another image portrayed a young man falling asleep in a bus as he embarked on a two-hour commute to his university. The reportage can be seen on Paris Match's website here.

The trick? All of the images had been faked, the two winners announced as they received the coveted prize on 24 June. ‘We though it was a bit caricatural,’ says one of the students to Le Monde newspaper. ‘We thought it would never win.’

Paris Match has now changed the rules of the competition to explicitly forbid fake reporting. You can see the photos here.
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Jun 26, 2009
Comments (3)
In honor of Farrah Fawcett, let's revisit one of the major urban legends of the late 1970s: that the curls of Fawcett's hair, in her famous red-bathing-suit poster, spell out the word "SEX."

This legend arose to explain the incredible popularity of the poster, which sold over 12 million copies (by some accounts). It was always a bit of a mystery why that image in particular became such a focus of popular fixation. After all, there were plenty of other posters of scantily clad attractive young women. The subliminal seduction theory offered a seemingly plausible explanation. The poster was so popular, according to this theory, because the brains of young men were subconsciously perceiving the word "SEX" in her hair, and this triggered desire for the poster.

The word "SEX" is supposed to begin with the curls on her right shoulder that form an S. I can see the S, but I can't see an E-X.

Anyway, I don't think one needs to invoke subliminal seduction to explain the popularity of the poster. The combination of the smile and the nipples makes it an eye-catching image. And once it started to become popular, then the dynamics of group psychology kicked in, turning it into a fad.

Update: Thanks to Joel B1, I think I've now identified where the "EX" is supposed to be. For the benefit of those still unable to see it, I've highlighted the entire word in the relevant section of the image.
Categories: Advertising, Photos/Videos, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Thu Jun 25, 2009
Comments (18)
Catching up on all the stuff coming out of Iran in the wake of the election:

The Minister's Secret Letter
Photocopies of a letter allegedly from the Iranian minister of interior to Iran's Supreme Leader have been circulating throughout Iran. The letter discusses "your orders for Mr Ahmadinejad to be elected president," and states "for your information only, I am telling you the actual results." Supposedly, the actual results show that Ahmadinejad lost badly, getting only 5,698,417 votes, compared with 19,075,623 for Mousavi and 13,387,104 for Karroubi.

Assuming the election was fraudulent, this letter still doesn't seem plausible. Why would an official openly admit in a letter that the election was fixed? And as The Independent notes, "however incredible Mr Ahmadinejad's officially declared 63 per cent of the vote may have been, could he really – as a man who has immense support among the poor of Iran – have picked up only five-and-a-half million votes?"

The Photoshopped Crowd
The official state-run Iranian newspaper, Keyhannews, ran a picture of a crowd at a pro-Ahmadinejad rally. However, the picture appears to have been photoshopped to show a larger crowd than really was there. An image highlighting the cloned sections of the crowd has been circulating online. (PC Authority)

Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics
Posted by Alex on Mon Jun 22, 2009
Comments (2)
Another case of cut-and-paste diversity. The city of Toronto wanted to feature a racially diverse assortment of people on the cover of its summer Fun Guide. Unable to find a photo that met that criteria, it created one via photoshop. The original is on the left, the altered cover on the right. (That's a really bad photoshop job.) The alteration was noticed by a graphics editor at the National Post.

The most famous case of cut-and-paste diversity was the cover of the 2001-2002 University of Wisconsin-Madison undergraduate application, mailed out to 50,000 prospective students, in which they inserted the head of a black guy into an all-white crowd scene. There was also the recent case of the asian guy photoshopped into the Homecoming Scotland poster.
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Jun 12, 2009
Comments (8)
The latest viral hoax photos circulating online claim to show shots of the Panama Women's Cricket Team. It doesn't take a degree in Photoshop to realize these women's buttocks have been digitally altered.

Fool Blogger has tracked down what appears to be one of the unaltered originals.

The Fakes:

The Real One:

What I don't know is whether this actually is the Panama Women's Cricket Team. A google search for "Panama Women's Cricket Team" simply brings up these photos.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Photos/Videos, Sports
Posted by Alex on Fri May 15, 2009
Comments (28)
Blogger Susie Of Arabia reports that after buying a copy of Katy Perry's album One of the Boys in Saudi Arabia, she realized that all the pictures of Katy Perry had been heavily doctored by Saudi censors. Below (left) is the original album cover, and on the right is the Saudi version.

This is standard practice in Saudi Arabia. A few years ago I posted about Mariah Carey album covers that were similarly doctored by the Saudis.

Susie suggests that the Katy Perry albums were individually doctored by hand, by censors armed with magic markers. She writes: "the Saudi government is actually paying religious police members of the Committee for the Protection of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CVPVP) to remove the plastic wrap from these CDs, open up the CD cases, remove the front and back inserts, and carefully and painstakingly color in with a marker any photos baring exposed female flesh that is deemed objectionable."

I really doubt that. It would take far too long. Instead, I'm almost certain that a more modest version of the cover would have been printed specifically for the Saudi market.

Of course, America has its own history of moral censorship of photos. However, in America the censors typically don't try to reclothe people who are wearing too few clothes. Instead, they remove offending details such as exposed nipples or belly buttons, creating anatomical mutants.
Categories: Celebrities, Music, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Apr 17, 2009
Comments (15)
After President Lincoln died, there was a huge demand for photos of him lying in his casket. However, the army didn't allow any photos to be taken. As a result, a lot of fake Lincoln death photos appeared. I've posted about this before, and I have an example of a fake Lincoln death photo in the Hoax Photo Database.

Mary Curtis just sent me an old newspaper clipping describing some Lincoln death photos owned by her grandmother. Unfortunately, no one knows where the photos are now. According to the clipping, she kept them "in a bank vault in a nearby town."

Actually, reading over the clipping, it's not clear to me whether Mary's grandmother owned photographs or "mourning pictures" (i.e. drawings). The first picture, showing Mrs. Lincoln kneeling before her husband, who is surrounded by his cabinet members, is clearly an illustration, not a photograph.

The second picture seems to be a photograph. The caption says that it shows Mrs. Lincoln standing in front of her husband's coffin. But is that really Mrs. Lincoln? And is she in front of a coffin? It's hard to tell from the quality of this copy.

A third picture is partially visible in the news clipping, but the clipping offers no details about it.
Categories: Death, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Apr 08, 2009
Comments (7)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the rest of his new government posed for an official photo in Jerusalem on April 1. But when the photo appeared in the ultra-orthodox newspaper Yated Neeman, all the women had been digitally removed from the photo. Apparently ultra-orthodox Jews don't like the idea of women in politics and seem to believe that if they can't see them, then they don't exist. [Suomen Kuvalehti]
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics, Religion
Posted by Alex on Mon Apr 06, 2009
Comments (4)
This may be of interest only to Californians, but so be it...

On February 18 the Patterson Irrigator posted a picture that appeared to show the Half Dome in Yosemite, visible from Patterson. (It's a little hard to see, but if you look closely it's there.)

The thing is, Patterson is in the Central Valley, about 100 miles from Yosemite. So the photo met with a very skeptical reaction. A lot of people simply refused to believe that Half Dome could be seen from that far away.

There was discussion of it on the yosemite blog, and on People contacted the photographer, who insisted the photo was real. And finally, photographer Tony Immoos decided to see for himself if Half Dome could be viewed from the Central Valley. He discovered that it could, and he posted the pictures on Flickr.

So that settles that question. On a clear day, you can see Half Dome from the Central Valley. (Thanks to Jack for the link)
Categories: Photos/Videos, Places
Posted by Alex on Mon Mar 23, 2009
Comments (19)
A picture of a Wolverine toy with an unfortunately positioned blow-up valve has been doing the rounds. It's another case of satire mistaken as news. The picture originated on the satire site, under the headline "Marvel Now Promotes Gay Agenda With Wolverine Toy."

But once the image got loose on the web, its satirical origin was lost. Thus, the confusion.

Categories: Photos/Videos, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Fri Mar 20, 2009
Comments (11)
I received the following email about the photo in the Hoax Photo Database of Pres. Bush holding a "Trophy Turkey" during his 2003 Thanksgiving trip to Iraq:

you claim that the turkey George Bush is holding is plastic. This urban myth has been debunked a thousand times and yet still keeps resurfacing. Even the New York Times was forced to print a retraction of this myth back in 2004... If you want to maintain a reputation for accuracy I suggest you amend the caption accordingly. The turkey was real and not plastic.

Naturally wanting to maintain my "reputation for accuracy" I immediately looked into this. The New York Times did indeed print a retraction in 2004:

Correction: July 11, 2004, Sunday. An article last Sunday about surprises in politics referred incorrectly to the turkey carried by President Bush during his unannounced visit to American troops in Baghdad over Thanksgiving. It was real, not fake.

Unfortunately, what's missing in that retraction is an explanation of what evidence made them change their mind. Who did they interview? What's the source?

I figured someone must have dug deeper into the story and found someone who was there who could attest to the fact that the turkey was real, but all I could find was a lot of conservative sites linking to that one NYT retraction. Though in my search I did come across a Turkey Dinner George Bush doll on Amazon (plastic Bush holding a plastic turkey).

Eventually I took a closer look at the Washington Post article in which Mike Allen (who traveled to Baghdad with Bush on that trip) made the original allegation about the turkey, and that's where I found it:

In the most widely published image from his Thanksgiving day trip to Baghdad, the beaming president is wearing an Army workout jacket and surrounded by soldiers as he cradles a huge platter laden with a golden-brown turkey.
The bird is so perfect it looks as if it came from a food magazine, with bunches of grapes and other trimmings completing a Norman Rockwell image that evokes bounty and security in one of the most dangerous parts of the world.
But as a small sign of the many ways the White House maximized the impact of the 21/2-hour stop at the Baghdad airport, administration officials said yesterday that Bush picked up a decoration, not a serving plate.
Officials said they did not know the turkey would be there or that Bush would pick it up. A contractor had roasted and primped the turkey to adorn the buffet line, while the 600 soldiers were served from cafeteria-style steam trays, the officials said. They said the bird was not placed there in anticipation of Bush's stealthy visit, and military sources said a trophy turkey is a standard feature of holiday chow lines.

Allen notes that the turkey was a "decoration," but he also notes that it was "roasted and primped" (i.e. it was a real bird). Apparently a lot of people (including myself and the New York Times) focused on the word "decoration," not "roasted." In fact, I had to read that paragraph several times over before I noticed the word "roasted." Funny how the mind can make us ignore some details and focus on others. Must have been my liberal, anti-Bush bias clouding my judgement.

Anyway, I've now corrected the entry in the hoax photo database. Thanks to the correspondent for correcting that error.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics
Posted by Alex on Mon Mar 02, 2009
Comments (31)
Page 9 of 42 pages ‹ First  < 7 8 9 10 11 >  Last ›