Photo Fakery: Natural Wonders
About.com Image Gallery: Farces of Nature
A gallery of viral images depicting natural disasters and other astonishing phenomena that often seem more supernatural than natural. That's because many of these photographs are fake, of course, or at the very least circulating under false pretenses. You may be surprised in some cases at which photos are actually authentic. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction!
Amazing Photo of Montana Fires (2000)
This photo of two elk cows surrounded by an awesome conflagration is authentic, snapped on a digital camera by U.S. Forest Service fire behavior analyst John McColgan on August 6, 2000.
Close Encounter with Mars on August 27
Emailed slideshow, a new version of a rumor circulating since 2003, claims August 27 will bring the closest encounter between Mars and Earth in recorded history. Unfortunately, this "once in a lifetime event" already came and went in 2003.
Purported NASA image circulating via social media shows a 'double sunset' (or...
Purportedly shot by NASA's Curiosity rover, this photo shows a double sunset (or sunrise, depending on version) as seen from the surface of Mars.
Even Rocks Pray
In this emailed image, a rock formation and its reflection in a body of water resemble a mother and child praying.
The Eye of God
NASA photo of the Helix Nebula taken by the Hubble Space Telescope has been labeled the 'Eye of God' by frequent forwarders.
Freaky Fish Found on a Tampa Bay Beach
Emailed photos show the carcass of a very strange fish with monstrous teeth allegedly washed up on a beach in Tampa Bay, Florida.
Authentic/Mislabeled: Emailed photos purport to show a "frozen wave" or "ice wave" frozen in mid-air by sub-zero temperatures in Antarctica, Lake Huron, or Lake Michigan, depending on version.
Hand of Hope
TRUE: Emailed photo shows the hand of a 21-week-old fetus, Samuel Alexander Armas, grasping the finger of a surgeon performing a prenatal operation.
Hurricane Isabel Photo
Emailed image purports to show the approach of Hurricane Isabel at sea, September 2003.
Hurricane Katrina Pictures
Emailed images purport to show Hurricane Katrina approaching the Gulf Coast in August 2005.
Hurricane Lili Waterspouts
Eerie, dramatic photo circulating by email purports to show three massive waterspouts threatening a supply ship at sea as 2002's Hurricane Lili advanced toward the Louisiana coast.
Hurricane Sandy: Fake Storm Photos
A slideshow of bogus images circulating in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, October 2012.
Monkey Orchid Photo
Viral image depicts a monkey orchid, an unusual flower with features reminiscent of the face of a monkey or baboon.
Niagara Falls Frozen Over in 1911
Emailed photos purportedly taken in 1911 offer postcard views of Niagara Falls completely frozen over.
Circulating via email, authentic pictures of the rare parrot flower (Impatiens psittacina), which is native to northern Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), and India and bears a remarkable resemblance to its avian namesake.
'Sandstorm from Hell' in Al Asad, Iraq
Emailed photos evidently snapped by a U.S. soldier document a 'sandstorm from hell' at Al Asad airbase in Iraq on April 26, 2005.
Sun and Moon Seen from North Pole
Emailed image purportedly snapped at the North Pole in which the crescent moon appears to be many times larger than the setting sun.
Texas Oil Rig Twister
Emailed photo purportedly shows a huge nighttime tornado illuminated by a lightning bolt near an oil rig south of Ft. Stockton, Texas.
Tsunami Live Photos
Emailed images purportedly show people running for their lives as the Indian Ocean tsunami washes ashore on December 26, 2004.
Emailed image purports to show the devastating tsunami of December 26, 2004 washing ashore on the Thai island of Phuket (or Indonesia, depending on version).
New York City Tornado (Photo)
Viral image purports to show a massive tornado forming over New York City near the Statue of Liberty.
World's Tallest Woman
"The tallest woman in the world is from Holland. She is over 7'4" and weighs 320 pounds. BEFORE you open these, get your mental picture of what you'd think a woman with these kinds of numbers would look like..."