10 Widely Circulated Photos that are Actually Fake

by Unbelievable Facts6 years ago

6 Claim: The “tourist guy” photograph of a man on the observation deck of the World Trade Center seconds before the plane hit the building on September 11, 2001.

Tourist Guy
Image Source: Péter Guzli

Shortly after 9/11, the above photograph claimed to be from a camera found in the debris surfaced online. However, several inconsistencies, some of them listed on Hoaxapedia, found in the image have confirmed it to be a hoax.

The tourist is wearing winter clothing when September 11 was a warm day, and both the planes that actually crashed into the World Trade Center were Boeing 767s, while in the image the plane is Boeing 757. A plane moving at that velocity would have blurred in the photograph. The camera could not have survived the fall without smashing to pieces. It would have been unlikely for the man to pose for the camera on the observation deck which on the south tower because the north tower was hit first. Also, the crash happened at 9.03 AM, but the observation deck opens at 9.30 AM.

Truth: The photograph was taken on November 28, 1997, by Péter Guzli who digitally edited the photo for fun to share with his friends, not realizing how quickly it would spread on the internet.

Real Tourist Guy
Image Source: Péter Guzli

The picture became an internet meme and people began to include him in the RMS Titanic sinking, the JFK assassination, Air France Flight 4590’s destruction, and even the Hindenburg disaster. At first, a Brazilian businessman claimed to be the tourist in the photograph. When he began getting media attention and even a Volkswagen commercial offer, a Hungarian man named Peter Guzli came forward. He provided the original photograph and several others taken at that time as proof to a Hungarian newspaper, all of  which were later examined and confirmed by Wired News. (source)


7 Claim: Moon melon, known for its strange blue color, grows in some parts of Japan and is worth ¥16,000 or about $200.

Moon Melon
Image Source: hoaxes

Since May 2011, the picture of moon melon has gone viral on picture-based websites such as Pinterest and Tumblr. The caption accompanying the picture claimed the fruit’s scientific name to be “asidus.” Further details say that the fruit is capable of “switching flavors after you eat it. Everything sour will taste sweet, and everything salty will taste bitter, and it gives water a strong, orange-like taste. This fruit is very expensive. It costs about 16,000 yen or $200.”

Truth: It’s just a picture of a slice of watermelon with its color digitally altered to blue.

Image Source: hoaxes

The claims of moon melon inspired subsequent debunking efforts proving that it was just a Photoshopped image of watermelon. There is, however, another fruit found in West Africa called the miracle berry which can make everything sour taste sweet after eating the berry. It contains a molecule called “miraculin” which binds to taste buds and triggers sweet receptors at low pH. (1, 2)


8 Claim: A shark was photographed swimming in the flooded waters on I-75 outside of Naples, Florida, shortly after Hurricane Irma.

Shark on Highway After Hurrican Irma
Image Source: twitter

As Hurricanes Irma and Harvey wreaked havoc in the US, there were tweets of an image showing a shark swimming on a flooded highway. While one version claimed it to be on the freeway in Houston, Texas, another claimed it to be on I-75 outside Naples, Florida. A Dublin-based journalist, Jason Michael, posted the image on his Twitter account receiving over 88,000 retweets. He later posted that it was a hoax and he was just trolling.

Truth: The shark was actually from a photograph in a 2005 National Geographic article called Shark Detectives in which it was trailing a kayaker.

Original Shark Photo on Thomas Peschak's Instagram
Image Source: Thomas Peschak

The original photograph of the shark was taken 10 years ago by National Geographic photographer Thomas Peschak off the coast of South Africa. According to Peschak, he tied himself “to the tower of the White Shark Trust research boat” overlooking the waters, waiting patiently until the first shark arrived. When one did, it became curious about the research assistant on the kayak who looked back just when Peschak took the shot. (source)


9 Claim: This is said to be the photograph of the world’s longest traffic jam on the China National Highway 110.

China National Highway 110
Image Source: bricoleurbanism

This photo of a supposed traffic jam in China that lasted 11 days was widely circulated on emails and Facebook. There was indeed a massive traffic jam, but not as shown in the photo, mostly on the China National Highway 110 and Beijing-Tibet expressway that started on August 14, 2010. In the past several years, there was an increase in traffic by 40% each year, and when the jam started, the traffic volume was 60% more than the design capacity. The jam started because of heavy trucks overloaded with coal and a lack of proper paperwork to avoid quality inspections. Another contributing factor was the lack of railway capacity that could take on the increased coal production in Inner Mongolia.

Truth: The photograph is actually that of Interstate 405 north of Los Angeles, California.

The Real Highway - Interstate 405
Image Source: Philip Greenspun

The source for the Photoshopped image was a photo taken from the Getty Center in Los Angeles and taken by Philip Greenspun. The actual highway is only about half the width of the highway in the fake image. The shed-like building to the left is actually a tram station that takes people to the Getty Center from the parking structure beside the highway. (source)


10 Claim: Photograph taken in 2003 of Iraqi civilians pulling down the statue of Saddam Hussein during a spontaneous rally in Firdos Square, marking a symbolic end to the Battle of Baghdad.

Statue of Saddam Hussein
Image Source: U.S. military

The statue in Firdos Square was installed in April 2002 in honor of Saddam Hussein’s 65th birthday. On April 9, 2003, a group of Iraqi civilians began attacking the statue. One of them was weightlifter Kadhem Sharif who used a sledgehammer which attracted media attention. The statue’s destruction was broadcasted live on news networks and made to the front pages of newspapers and magazines throughout the world. The act symbolized the fall of Saddam Hussein’s government and seemed to confirm the reports of the then Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahhaf that Iraq was winning the war.

Truth: The toppling was the decision of an unnamed US Marine colonel and quick-thinking on the part of the US Army psychological operations team, who used loudspeakers to encourage Iraqi civilians.

Wide-Angled Photo of Firdos Square
Image Source: NYC IndyMedia

Conflicting reports of the incident soon began to surface. The photograph published by the London Evening Standard turned out to have been Photoshopped to suggest a larger crowd than there actually was. According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, the event was staged by an unnamed US Marine colonel and psychological operations team. In 2016, Kadhem Sharif stated that he regretted his part in the statue’s destruction because after the invasion “things started to get worse every year. There was infighting, corruption, killing,  and looting. Saddam has gone, but now in his place, we have 1,000 Saddams.”

According to Peter Maass, one of the journalists present at Firdos Square during the event, while the toppling was going on, Baghdad was still “violent and chaotic” with continued armed opposition to the American advance. However, “the networks almost never broke away from Firdos Square” as they ignored everything else for a more “upbeat” story. (1,2)

Page 2 of 2
Find us on YouTube Bizarre Case of Gloria Ramirez, AKA “The Toxic Lady”
Picture 10 Widely Circulated Photos that are Actually Fake
You May Also Like
10 of the Weirdest Birds You Never Knew Existed Picture
10 Unbelievable Facts About Space Picture
This Is What Everyday Foods Look Like Before they Are Harvested Picture
The Mysterious Disappearance Of The Sri Lankan Handball Team Picture
How Were Dinosaur Fossils Not Discovered Until The 1800s? Picture
Why Does Time Go Faster As We Grow Older? Picture
Why Aren’t Planes Getting Faster? Picture
10 Events That Can Wipe Out Humanity Picture