There really are just two kinds of people in this world: the kind that messes with other people and the kind that other people mess with.
And what better way to mess with someone than to manipulate a photo and make it go viral? Think about it. Messing with people is fun. You might act like you don't think so, and that's fine, but if you really are that kind of person who doesn't like to mess with other people, then you're probably someone who gets messed with.
Some of the viral photos on this list are some of the all-time classics that you may have seen before but that still need a shout out, just as a greatest hits kind of thing. Others, you've never seen before. Some of them are so good that you'll understand why everyone fell for them, while others, you'll find so ridiculous that you'll wonder why anyone fell for them at all. I have to say that sometimes, I don't know what's wrong with people. This is the Internet after all. If you can't figure out that you can't believe everything that you read, it's one thing, but come on... you have to be able to figure out that you can't believe everything you see!
Here are 15 viral photos that many people thought were real, but are totally fake.
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15 Jennifer Aniston Shaves Head For Cancer
While a lot of guys don't like it when women have shaved heads, personally, I think if a woman is beautiful, then she's beautiful no matter what her hair looks like or how long it is. A case in point is Jennifer Aniston. She's just gorgeous in every way, no matter what her hair looks like. This photo started as an April Fools joke, and then it just kept getting recycled over and over again until finally, it was supposed to represent that Jennifer had shaved her head to support a niece of hers who had cancer because she wanted to show her that she could be beautiful even if she had no hair. This was just a hoax and a rather tacky one, of course. It isn't cool to make hoaxes related to cancer, but for some reason, people keep doing it.
14 The Sphinx Buried in Snow
This photo is supposedly of the Sphinx being covered in snow after the first snowfall in Cairo in 112 years. But as you've probably figured out by now, because of the type of list this is on, that isn't actually the case. This is actually a miniature model of The Sphinx that exists in a theme park in Japan. This one isn't all that bad as far as hoaxes go, but even looking at this photo from far away, it's not that hard to tell that it isn't the real Sphinx. I suppose I should be more clear about that, though: it's not hard to tell that it's the not the real Sphinx if you have a brain in your head and aren't incredibly gullible, which is something that most people who believe these photos can't say about themselves.
13 Paris Hilton Gets Punked
While Paris Hilton is still someone who's very famous, it wasn't that long ago that she was one of the most famous women in the entire world. Most of the reason she was well known was her whole vibe of acting like she was so much better than anyone else and being so rich. In reality, her shirt said "Stop Being Desperate," but it was photoshopped into saying "Stop Being Poor." The funniest thing about this is the fact that the very last thing that would be embarrassing to Paris Hilton would be wearing a shirt like this. She isn't easy to shame and a "Stop Being Poor" shirt is probably the very last thing that would make her embarrassed. Paris doesn't care about much.
12 Mutant Giant Squid
What we have here is an enormous squid that supposedly washed ashore in Santa Monica. And why is the squid so enormous, you may ask? Good question. It's huge because of the effects of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Seriously, though, this is basically a squid that was digitally enlarged and inserted into a photo of what was a dead whale that had washed ashore in Santa Monica. It's pretty easy to tell that it's fake. For one thing, look at some of the people just walking all around it, while others just sort of stand there staring at it. If there was a real giant squid of that size that washed up dead on shore, I think the scene might just be a tad bit more chaotic than the one that we're looking at here in this photo.
11 Lightning Hits Sand
Oh, hey, check this out. This is what happens when lightning hits the sand! Wow! Yeah, you guessed it: this photo is totally fake. What this really is is a piece of driftwood that someone took the time to cover with sand by hand. This is cool; don't get me wrong, and it looks really awesome. But it isn't what happens when lightning hits sand. This is the perfect example of the whole "bait and switch" thing that goes on with photos of this nature. Someone takes a cool photo, and then some troll comes along and pretends the photo is of something else. Then, before you know it, all sorts of people are sending the photo to each other, thinking this is what it looks like when lightning hits sand.
10 The Angry Koala
You know how cute Koala bears are, right? They're so adorable, which is why this particular pair of photos ended up going as viral as it did. On the right is a photo of a wet Koala bear; the person that took the photo supposedly ended up spraying the koala with water because it was so hot. But the thing that really makes this photo look so messed up is the jaws, which are totally fake. If you look closely, it's pretty apparent that this looks more like a wolf's mouth than it does a Koala's. Still, though, you have to admit this is a pretty good one. If you saw this creature coming at you, it would freak you right out much more so than a cute little Koala bear is supposed to. So, while I have to get props for this being a good fake, it's a fake nonetheless.
9 The Black Lion
What's more majestic than a lion? They're truly one of the most beautiful animals in the entire world, equal parts regal and gorgeous. Well, I can think of one thing that might be more majestic than a regular old lion, and that would be a black lion. Well, a black lion might be cooler, but the photo that went viral a few years ago was not of a black lion at all but was just simply a regular lion what was turned black through photo manipulation. It's kind of crazy when one thinks of how easy this whole thing is to make a photo go viral, at least in some instances. This one is a perfect example. It's simply just a photo of a regular lion that was made to look like the lion was black. Sometimes, it really is just that easy.
8 The Moon Melon
Some of these viral photos are a bit dumber than others, and a very good example of that is this so-called moon melon. It's said to grow in Japan and is also said to have some very odd properties in that after you eat a moon melon, everything you eat that's sour will taste sweet and everything that you eat that's salty will taste bitter. It's also said to cost around 200 dollars. This is so obviously a joke that it's amazing anyone fell for it, but as you probably know -- or if you didn't know it before, you will after reading this article -- a lot of people are extremely gullible. This photo is just a piece of watermelon that's been digitally colored blue. Nothing to see here; move along.
7 Giant Angolan Witch Spider
Some of these rely on more than just good photoshop effects and someone's imagination. They rely more on the fact that when you look at them, you're going to freak right out. A good example of this is this photo of what's supposed to be a Giant Angolan Witch Spider, but all it really consists of is a photo of a regular old spider that was blown up to look enormous. As a matter of fact, there's no such species of spider that exists. In a lot of versions of this viral photo, it was said that it took several shots to actually kill the spider. I don't get as terrified by spiders as a lot of people do, but I've seen enough people get freaked out by a tiny spider to know that this viral photo had to terrify a lot of people.
6 Sarah Palin Looks Smokin'
Sarah Palin is kind of interesting case. On the one hand, a lot of people don't think a whole lot of her as a politician or a person, and for another, she has that whole "mom" look going on. But with all that said, there's still something that's pretty hot about her, which is why this photo went viral. This is just a photoshopped photo, but it's still a pretty good one. Someone just took a photo of her head when she was marching in a parade and put it on top of a body of a woman in a bikini holding a gun. When you put all of those things together, there's pretty much no doubt at all that you're going to come up with a photo that goes viral, even if the whole thing is pretty fake.
5 MMM, Fried Chicken Oreos
4 Hitler as a Baby
Sometimes, you see a viral photo that you know has to be fake, but you want it to be real so badly that you just kind of give in and go with it. A good example of that is this photo of what's supposed to be Adolf Hitler as a small child. This was a very good hoax as it actually made it into a bunch of newspapers. The Winnipeg Free Press ran the picture with the caption "This is a picture of a man who controls the destiny of a mighty nation, as he appeared when he was not quite one year old. Do you think this photo is prophetic of the figure he has become? The picture is one of Adolf Hitler, who was born in 1889." The photo actually is of a boy named "John Warren." In reality, Hitler was kind of a cute baby. Who knew?
3 Snowball The Enormous Cat
This one is just plain old silly. Let's be serious for a bit, shall we? If there was a regular old house cat out there that was really as enormous as this, don't you think we probably would've heard of him before this silly photo came out? The photo is supposed to be an 87-pound cat named "Snowball," but as is the case with all of these other photos on this list, the truth is something much different. It was made by a man as a joke, and he emailed it to a few friends, then some of his friends emailed it around to other friends, and before he knew it, the photo had gone viral. That's the thing with anything that goes viral -- sometimes, it happens even if you don't really want it to. The cat's real name is "Juniper" and, of course, is much smaller than how he appears in the photo.
2 Tourist Right Before Plane Hits Twin Towers
This one is a bit creepy, and it's no wonder that it became as well known as it did. The story is that the photo came from a camera that was found in the rubble of the World Trade Center after the horrific attacks on 9-11. The photo ended up being shown in many places in the international media, as it seemingly was the photo of an innocent tourist who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The truth is much different, of course. It turned out to be a photo of a man from Hungary who either has a really good sense of humor or a really bad one, depending on your point of view. He put the plane in the background of one of his tourist photos at the World Trade Center. It was supposed to be a joke for his friends, not for the whole world to see.
1 Lottery Winner Finds Love
This one is pretty good, I must admit, mostly because of how it does actually look like a real news photo. The photo is supposed to be of a man who won 181 million dollars in the lottery, and, of course, the insinuation is that the woman whom he had just met is only into him for his money, you know... because she's so hot and he's... well... you get the point. This photo is fake, of course. The woman is actually an actress named "Natacha Peyre" from Sweden, and the man has yet to be identified. At least this one is kind of amusing unless you're the guy who's in the photo. Going viral is kind of cool if you're being shown as someone cool, but not so much if you're being made fun of.
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