The 1st of April is surely not one of those dates when our minds are employed by thoughts of an overbearingly serious nature. We’re constantly getting tricked and being fooled while the virtual space gets overstuffed with sometimes plausible yet, more often than not, completely over-the-top hoax articles with sensational imagery adding to the overall effect. Regarding the occasion, we’re going to set our sights on the latter and take a look at some of the most blatant and shamelessly edited hoax photos out there. These are frauds that are not ashamed of being such.
The Case of Billy Meier
Billy Meier. Remember the guy’s name for there’s probably no other person in existence who has both contributed and enriched the UFO mythology so exponentially whilst simultaneously destroying any remnants of its credibility. An undeniable UFO enthusiast, Meier seems to have employed numerous creative methods, such as cut-outs, double exposure and scale models, to obtain his iconic imagery of 50’s sci-fi flying saucers floating above the rural areas of Switzerland. This is one of the more authentic photos from his oeuvre. Regardless, he has left his mark on the history since every bad UFO photo aspiring to depict reality is now dubbed as “A Typical Billy Meier Case”.
This Really Creepy Photo Found on Every Ghost-Themed Website
Ghost hunting is a rather shady science. Though an undeniably fascinating subject to indulge in with equally fascinating photos produced as a result, the majority of the photographs are… well, far from being authentic, to put it mildly. You would be really surprised with just how much of the stuff our nightmares supposedly are made of is just an unintentional overlapping of frames, long exposures with photographers themselves running in and out from the frame, or visual manifestations of an expired film. This particular example, although an undeniably creepy one, is a clear case of double exposure. However, it hasn’t damaged the popularity of the image which has been exploited in countless of supposedly “legitimate photos of ghosts” lists and YouTube videos, as well as some third-rate paranormal-themed literature outings. Whatever works.
The Hovering Squid of Fukushima
A more recent case of photo fraud, this image was, in fact, used to illustrate an article of a satirical nature. However, the folks responsible for popularizing the image on social media obviously skipped over this nuance. The supposed case of radiation-infused gigantism is actually an image of an unlucky squid that got washed ashore in Spain on October 2013. Regardless, the actual squid was indeed above average-sized exemplary, though by no means as huge as the one displayed in this photo. If you look closely, you might notice some issues with shading which make it seem like the squid is hovering. Yes, it was 2013, and people still bought it!
This Beautiful Scene of a Frozen Venetian Channel
We must give a nod of respect to Robert Johns who created this composite image of Venice cityscape and the icy surface of Lake Baikal. Originally intended as an artwork of sorts, this image, despite not being authentic at all, is actually a pretty neat example of photo editing proficiency without any sketchy intentions behind it. It’s here where a pattern starts to reveal itself. A hoax photo is not a hoax photo until people turn it into such. This is just one of the numerous examples where an author creates an image with a completely different motivation (be it satire or digital art) but as the image free roams on the web, its original meaning drowns in thousands of sub-plots. Basically, once you let it go, it’s out of control.
This Old-as-the-World-Itself Frickin’ Tsunami Photo
Unlike the previous four entries, this photo, despite going viral, didn’t fool anybody to begin with. First off, it was a rather shameless and off-putting attempt at generating internet fame while capitalizing on one of the worst natural disasters of modern times (the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004). Secondly, it’s a showcase of exceptionally lackluster Photoshop skills, and finally, tsunami waves simply don’t look that way! It’s fake photos like these that propagate the myth of a 100 ft. wall of water incoming when in reality, the destructiveness of this truly horrific natural occurrence is to be sought in the speed and not the height of the wave. It is not commonplace for them to surge higher than 3 meters (though, of course, there are some truly fascinating exceptions), and they don’t break in the manner of tidal waves depicted here. The overall production value is also withheld within the traditions of The Asylum studio’s mockbusters.
The Frame 352
Now, there are still a fair amount of people who might get triggered by this one. Whether the famous Frame 352 from the Patterson-Gimlin film depicts a real-life Bigfoot strolling around the bluff creek is still up for debate. Thus far, this is the only photo on the list which still splits audiences and is not conclusively proved to be a hoax. However, all that’s left to the next generations, as the irrefutable evidence of the creature’s existence is this suspiciously man-ish figure in all of its grainy glory, so it’s only honest to subject it to at least some level of criticism. There are many facts that are definitely not in favour of the idea of this being the real deal. First, the creature hasn’t been seen or documented ever since this was taken (excluding gazillions of sketchy YouTube videos). The authors (Patterson and Gimlin) went into the Six Rivers National Forest with the intention to make a documentary of Bigfoot which either makes this an incredibly convenient coincidence or simply a blatant fakery. Also, despite the physiognomy suggested by the appearance, the creature simply seems to walk and act too casual. Still, this is a real head-scratcher.
The Elaborate Nessie Hoax of 1934
Here is another practically folklorized monster of prehistoric origin with thousands of photographic evidence, among which there are a couple of truly classic images. However, we’re not going to inspect the classic Robert Wilson’s image from 1934 which, by the way, is also a world-renowned hoax photo. Instead, we’re going to focus on a complete photo report coming from the very same year, solely because this photo hoax was intended as a commemoration of April the 1st. Now, elaborate hoaxes are not something that got off only in the modern times. This one was instigated by Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung magazine. As the story goes, the local hunters were on a hideout for several months until they finally caught Nessie making a super rare visit to the shore. Without hesitation, they trapped the poor creature in fishing nets and transported it to an aircraft hangar in Edinburgh. The effort alone makes this incredible despite the creature looking just as convincing as King Kong in its 1933 incarnation.
Cottingley fairies? Sharks occupying the streets after the Hurricane Katrina. Or the one where a marine is being attacked by a shark whilst climbing back into the military chopper? Or even better – the Roswell gray on the autopsy table? Nope, the last is the infamous mishmash of the hurricane Sandy and the Statue of Liberty. First off, it actually comes off as quite credible on its own merit. Secondly, it’s another rather sketchy attempt of capitalizing on a large-scale natural disaster. Thirdly? Once again, photos like these create a false impression of how certain natural phenomena actually looks. The carefully inserted storm cloud formation is a classic example of a supercell thunderstorm, which, in the worst case scenario, can indeed produce a tornado. However, hurricanes do not look anything even remotely like that from afar. Don’t mess with people’s perceptions!
While there are literally thousands of photo hoaxes floating around the global network, these were some of the more well-known, interesting, enduring and somewhat irritating. Nonetheless, some of the imbecility portrayed in these photos really takes on an almost post-modern art shape. Just throw every conspiracy theory into a single photo, and you have a printable satire about the myths and fictions found in the collective unconscious of 21st century society!