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15 Viral Photos Believed To Be Fake (But Have Actually Been Proven To Be Real)

15 Viral Photos Believed To Be Fake (But Have Actually Been Proven To Be Real)

Since the days of dial up and AOL being the king of all search engines, the Internet has been a place of wonder, information, and total lies. The truth is that anyone can post just about whatever they want on the Internet and claim it to be true without much to backup their claims. When you mix in a heavy pinch of tools like Photoshop, there is no telling what images can be created at home to appear to be something they are not. While I would be lying if I said that the Internet didn’t have more than its fair share of fluff and we images that are misleading, it is equally as true that this world is a strange place filled with even stranger things.

There are plenty of fabricated images on the Internet, but there are even more images that have been captured at the perfect time, at just the right angle, under the most ideal lighting that look like there is no way they can be real. Personally, trusting things I’ve seen on the Internet seems like a foolish move, especially for a millennial that grew up on the wave of change in the technology world. I am far from naive when it comes to seeing wild photos that have gone viral over the years. But, I must admit that viral photos have a way of making you believe that they are real because, well, the Internet says so. However, these photos below, no matter how unreal they appear, are totally fact checked and real.

15. Birds Of A Feather Flock Together


If you look quickly, this doesn’t even look like a flock of birds flying through the sky. It simply looks like dots or debris circling around. The image is of small black birds creating different figures as a flock. Personally, while it is beautiful, I find it terrifying to have that many birds in the sky at once. The image can easily be created on a computer but it was captured by a photographer, Owen Humphrey. He also claimed that the birds would create different figures each night as they flew together, hovering in the sky. This falls somewhere between creepy and breathtaking.

14. Sometimes You Just Have To Get A Game In


Looking at this photo, this looks like an impossible situation. A few buddies head down to the golf course, despite the countless forest fire warnings and massive amounts of people evacuating their homes. Even though there is a deadly fire raging not too far out in the background, they decide to enjoy a few rounds of golf before packing up their homes and leaving. That’s what this photo looks like and that idea sounds as ridiculous as this image appears to be. it turns out that this photo, taken at Beacon Golf Course, is totally real. The course owners said that the fire was actually about a mile away and across a river, not nearly as close as it seems. There were over 100 golfers on the course that day, and the forest fire did not affect them.

13. Classic Girl Near Burning House Is Real


If you live in this century, you have seen the meme featuring this little girl’s sinister smile as a house is engulfed in flames in the background. I’ve always thought that this photo was the result of a master Photoshop extraordinaire. This photo is actually 100 percent real. Zoe Roth was just a little girl in 2004 when her and her brother were watching television in their living room. They got word that there was a house on fire down the street. Zoe’s father, Dave Roth, took the kids and his new digital camera down the street and snapped this photo. I’m sure he didn’t realize it would become Internet gold for years to come.

12. Water Actually Isn’t Free

Via: pinterest

After Hurricane Harvey, there were a slew of fake viral photos that took over the Internet. People tampered with the actual photos of the damage to create images that were over the top (which was unnecessary). This photo taken inside of Best Buy during the Hurricane Harvey cleanup and recovery looks totally fake. It is unfathomable that a reputable business like Best Buy would raise the price of water to astronomical amounts of money knowing that people are in dire straits after the devastating affects of Hurricane Harvey. The company made a statement that the Texas store prices were a mistake by multiplying the cost of each bottle by the amount of bottles in the package. The statement also said the store doesn’t typically sell water so they weren’t sure how to price it.

11. Who’s Baby Is This?

Via: Twitter

It seems like an unlikely situation that a mother would lay her newborn baby on the floor of a public location while she scrolls through her phone. This photo could easily be altered but it is totally real. Molly Lensing was in the airport with her 2 month old daughter during a computer shut down. Her flight had been cancelled and rebooked several times over the course of 20 hours. Her little one had been stuck, cramped in her seat during the whole ordeal and Molly felt that she needed to stretch out her little body. The photo was snapped by a stranger, and it went viral on the Internet. Molly isn’t a bad mom, as the photo wants to portray. She’s more of a frustrated, flustered mom concerned about her little one’s comfort during a stressful airport experience.

10. Kicking Your Ex Off A Cliff Is What So Many Want To Do


Most people will agree that they would love to have the opportunity to kick their ex off of the edge of a cliff. Many cliffhanger images like this one are completely fabricated. However, this one is actually real and a total accident. Here’s what went down: the woman that is falling off of the cliff is Mary Shum. She was out on vacation with her now ex-husband, film making enthusiast M Tikhomirov. Mary was on the cliff’s edge with Jay Alvarez. She lost her footing and Jay snatches his foot back causing Mary to slip down the cliff, injuring her legs, back, and feet. It was a total accident and everyone involved recovered.

9. I Think You Have Something On Your Back

Related image

Via: twitter

Animals totally have a mind of their own, and this viral photo is evidence of that. Between the stingray’s face and the expression of the women, this photo looks like it could absolutely be fake. However, the school teacher crew that went on vacation in the Cayman Islands can attest that this photo is very real. The crew went to Stingray Island and was happily swimming with the animals and even snapped a photo with one in front of them while smiling. After the photo, however, the instructor placed a stingray on the backs of the women and their expression shows very clearly that they weren’t expecting that at all.

8. Tiki Torches Are For Cookouts, Not Racists!

Via: twitter

We’ve seen it a million times all over the Internet where Photoshop wizards have changed the words on signs in photos. This photo of a stack of tiki torches with a sign warning against misuse can seem like it was made online to get a rise out of people. The truth about the image, though, is that an Internet media company senior content producer printed out the signs during the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, NC in 2017. He took his stack of signs and tapped them to torches in a Hollywood hardware store and photographed the displays. The images instantly went viral, because the men that were marching in this rally all had purchased tiki torches that should be used for backyard gatherings rather than racist protests.

7. There’s A Bear Flying In The Air

Via: CBS

Honestly, the first thing you think of when you see this photo is that someone was toying around with Photoshop and created this image between reruns of their favorite sitcom after midnight. There are very few instances, or really no instances, that I can think of off the top of my head where a bear flying through the air seems normal. This image, though, is totally real. A bear found himself in the suburbs, and the residents promptly called the cops and animal control. The bear scurried into a tree for solace and was shot down using a tranquilizer gun. He succumbed to his sleepiness and simply fell from the tree onto a mat and this awesome image was captured.

6. The Enormous Bats In The Philippines

Via: ifuun

This viral photo of the enormous bat looks completely and utterly fake. First of all, I can think of very few things more terrifying than seeing a bat the size of a goat flying around the sky. Seeing this photo, I simply convinced myself that it was a fake because believing animals like this actually exist is too frightening. As it turns out, the giant golden-crowned flying fox is a super rare mega-bat found in the Philippines. It is one of the largest in the world. The bat can reach astronomical sizes weighing up to 2.6 lbs and having a wingspan up to 5.6 feet. Unfortunately, these wondrous creature is facing extinction due to poaching and deforestation.

5. Meme Famous Girl Is Real!

Via: theodysseyonline

This is one of the top memes circulating the Internet today and has been for a few years now. The picture of a sweet little girl running through a few hanging bubbles is too cute not to love. It almost looks like a stock photo because it is so perfect in capturing what childhood is all about. As it turns out, this is just a perfectly captured photo of a young girl excited about life and looking to get her hands on the next thing to play with. You can now easily find this image with all sorts of captions attached to it. The photo went viral out of nowhere, as viral things tend to do, but I am glad it did.

4. Nope, I Don’t Feel A Thing

Via: theindependent

There are few things more terrifying than being covered in bees. I don’t care if they have the ability to sting me or not, the idea of anything, in swarms, crawling and buzzing all over me is horrifying. It’s hard to believe this photo is real because it makes absolutely no sense as to why this woman would choose this kind of photo shoot without being on a game show. Emily Mueller chose bees for her maternity shoot while pregnant with her son. The photos went viral for good reason as this has never been seen before. Unfortunately, the Mueller family suffered a stillbirth shortly after this shoot.

3. Are We There Yet?

Via: youtube

Why would a plane, that should be at an airport or in the sky, be on the highway you ask? While this photo can seem to be unreal, it is totally real. The plane is from the Leipzig/Halle Airport in Germany. While it is a large, modern airport; space got a little too cramped to fit all of the aircrafts. This forced the airport to spill out onto the roadway. To ensure that drivers would still be able to get to work on time without waiting behind an airplane, the airport constructed bridges and landings over the highway for the planes to be stored. While practical and space efficient, it looks completely outrageous.

2. When You See It…

Via: acidcow

There is no possible way this photo is real, right? I mean, I’ve seen the movie Honey I Shrunk The Kids just like everyone else but I am pretty sure that story line was made up for entertainment, right? While this photo looks unbelievably fake, the little human strutting in the background is an actual human being. The image is just a perspective trick. The family pictured close to the camera is at the perfect angle in relation to the man walking far off in the background. It looks like they are right next to a miniature human that has been reduced to the size of a squirrel. No shrinking or Photoshop tricks here, just the right angle.

1. What Is That In The Water?

Via: reddit

Swimming in oceans, rivers, and lakes is an activity you partake in at your own risk. Unlike pools, these bodies of water are full of creatures, big and small, that you might not notice until they are nibbling at your toes. This is a photo of a beach day turned end of the world. I must admit that this photo looks too shocking to be true but it is real. The black squiggly lines are not tentacles from a massive, human eating octopus but actually just harmless seaweed. The image was caught in the perfect lighting, with exceptionally clear water, at just the right time before the wave crashed. It looks much scarier than it actually is.

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