This article was originally published on Kueez
Over the years, technology has allowed us to do wonders. Our lives have been made easier in so many ways, but we’ve also become more prone to falling for things that look real, but aren’t. Photoshopped photos are just one example of how today’s editing tools have created a deceiving world that even those with the most trained eyes fall for. Here are some of the famous viral photos of recent years along with their original versions—bet you never knew they were totally fake!
MGM’s Extraordinary Intro Photo Was Never Real
For a while, this photo could be seen around social media labeled as a behind-the-scenes photo of MGM’s intro. The photo was believable and many people completely took it as the truth. The photo showed a lion strapped to a machine so that it would deliver that memorable roar at the beginning of every MGM film or cartoon. Now, while this photo does not really depict what happened in order to have such an iconic intro, the photo does show a real lion strapped at the vet’s office.
The lion was simply being diagnosed and didn’t take long to fully recover. Interestingly, there were about seven lions used to create the real MGM intro, not just one.
This Cat’s Angry Eyebrows Were Never Real
Now, this viral photo was not completely fake, it was just a little bit exaggerated like many other photos posted online nowadays. The internet absolutely loves anything animal-related, be it cute animals, animal fails, funny pets, the list is endless. As long as there's an animal there, there's a high possibility that the photo can go viral. So this cat’s photo was among many viral photos that caught the heart of people from all over the globe, only it wasn’t completely real.
The adorable cat does have a mustache in real life, but someone had the interesting idea of adding some eyebrows to it in order to make it catch the attention of more people. The “angry cat” isn’t actually as angry as it looks.
The Viral Fried Rice Wave Is Fake
Finding out that some of these photos are not real may actually hurt us a little bit since many of us really thought they were completely true. Take the “fried rice meme” for example, the internet was sure this guy had actually created a giant fried rice wave. Once the picture went viral, people from all over began sharing their own edited images of themselves cooking the famous fried rice.
But the truth is that the wave was never cooked by anyone to start with. As it happens, the fried rice wave was a sculpture that can be found for sale in the middle of a food store in Tokyo.
This Astronaut Never Actually Smoked Weed In Space
Who wouldn’t love the idea of imagining an astronaut smoking a blunt and chilling in space? Clearly, several people did because this photo took over the internet for several months, and people could simply not get enough of Chris Hadfield’s edited photo. Hadfield is easily one of the most loved and admired Astronauts out there and has given people a glimpse of what life in space looks like with his impeccable vlogs.
He has shared videos of what it looks like to brush his teeth in space, sleep, and just the overall day-to-day life up there. However, the real photo behind Hadfield’s marijuana picture is actually the one at the bottom, which is him holding a package of Easter eggs for his co-workers
This Magical Castle Is An Edited Photo Of A Rock And An Actual Castle
We have no idea how people come up with this stuff. We’re imagining someone just sitting and saying to themselves “you know, today I am going to photoshop a rock into a castle and I am going to share it online as if it was something real.” And just like that, this photo was shared online, and literally everyone who saw it could not wait to visit the astonishing castle.
Unfortunately, though, the castle doesn’t actually exist, at least not in the way that it looks. The magical castle is a photoshopped version of a huge rock in Thailand and a castle found in Germany.
This Sign Did Not Come Out As Planned
Here’s a photo that is simply the epitome of irony! This college of architecture and planning had such a planning fail here, it's simply too good to be true. While putting up this sign at the entrance of the college, someone allegedly made this hilarious mistake as they were placing the letters, making the entire internet roll with sarcastic laughter. But could this perfect demonstration of what irony is possibly be real?
Someone came to the rescue and shared a photo of what the actual sign looks like, and unless you had seen it in person, there was no way to tell that this was photoshopped.
A Pilot’s Selfie in Mid Air
If we really look into this photo closely, it’s probably easier to realize that there is no way this photo is real. The pilot’s mid-air selfie could be seen on several groups and pages on social media as one of the most iconic photos a pilot had ever taken. But in reality, how could he? The real photo was great, but it wasn't as cool as a selfie up in the sky.
In this collage, we’re able to see the real version, which shows the pilot taking a photo of himself with the plane safely on the ground. Still, it was a great attempt by whoever photoshopped it.
This Syrian Kid Who Fell Asleep Near His Parents’ Graves
Photos like this one often go viral because it's hard to grasp that such heartbreaking things really happen in the world. While the photographers had good intentions, the truth behind this was incredibly deceiving, and some people didn’t take it so well when they found out. Apparently, this kid wasn’t actually sleeping when the photo was taken, and the graves he is laying next to are not his parents.
The photos were taken to make an important point, but the photojournalist might have not done it in the most honest and correct way, so we can understand why some people would take offense here.
A Completely Frozen Venice
There is no doubt that Venice is one of the most stunning places out there. The northern Italian city is known for its beautiful canals, stunning central square, and some of the best rooftop views in the world. So there is simply no reason why someone would have to photoshop something like this in order to make this city more appealing, though that's exactly what an internet user did.
Someone decided to photoshop Russia’s Lake Baikal completely frozen into looking like it was a frozen Venice. Clearly, many people believed it, because the photo went viral and people from all over the world were completely stunned.
These Symmetrical Lenticular Clouds
For those who don’t know, lenticular clouds are stationary clouds that are often formed in parallel to the wind direction. Visually, they look like a either lens or a saucer. They are absolutely stunning and unique, so there is usually no need to photoshop anything into them in order to create an exaggerated version of the clouds. But as always, with the infinitive amount of access to editing tools, someone went ahead and decided to create their own version of the lenticular clouds.
They photoshopped it so well though that people loved it, and even made it into a wallpaper or desktop cover.
This Woman Squatting On A Counter
Honestly, the internet is full of random pictures that only need a little bit of spice to go viral. With one click, thousands of people may share something and instantly make it reach the entire world. This recent viral photo is certainly one of them. The photo shows a woman randomly squatting on a small shelf while talking to the person across the counter. While many people believed that this awkward moment was real, the truth behind the picture is completely different.
The woman had only one leg over the shelf, while the other leg was on the floor. But someone went ahead and decided to photoshop her other leg and the result went viral.
A Black Lion That Was Completely Photoshopped
While internet users can be literally into anything these days, animals content is easily at the top. There is just something about unusual images of animals that catch the attention of anyone, and this black lion’s image is one of them. While we’re not saying that unique animals like this stunning lion don’t exist, we would highly recommend doing some research and not taking them all at face value
You never really know what the story behind the photo is. Somehow, someone saw this picture of a white lion and decided to make it black in order to catch people’s attention.
The Moon Right On Top Of This Skyscraper
The internet has some sort of fixation with the moon when it comes to photos that go viral. Sure, the moon is incredibly stunning, but we have to admit that we don’t really get what the huge fuss around it is. This picture went viral a while ago after people couldn’t handle how perfectly symmetrical the moon and this building were together. It was so symmetrical that it was basically unrealistic, but the internet will do anything for a great image.
In the end, the original photo taken by Mo Aoun had been photoshopped, and though the moon looked stunning in the original one, it did not look as symmetrical.
A #10yearschallenge Photo That Wasn’t So Real
Deforestation has become an increasingly concerning problem, that along with global warming, pollution, and so much more. These topics have still not gotten the amount of attention they should get. Even so, there is a lot of work being done and social media has certainly helped in its unique way. Recently, social media users shared photos that showed environmental changes throughout the years with the hashtag #10yearschallenge accompanying it.
Yet, while this photo gained tons of attention from the social media movement, the before and after photos were actually taken at the same time.
This Bear Was Thankfully Not Chasing This Cycler
Here goes another animal photo that caught the attention of people from all walks of life, that was actually a fake. Of course, a picture of a bear chasing a person would get much more attention from people than a beautiful photo of a bear running by itself on the street. So, while the picture was already stunning, someone had the idea of photoshopping this cycler to the picture, adding a much more dramatic effect to it.
Apparently, the original photo was shot in Yellowstone National Park and gave us a wonderful glimpse into the beauty of this area of the country.
Elizabeth Taylor And Marilyn Monroe Just Chilling
So many of us would give anything to see these two icons hanging out with each other, so it didn’t take much for thousands of people to believe that this photo was real. The two icons are pictured posing next to each other for what looks like a photo shoot, and hopeful fans were completely into it. But the photo is actually part of a collection of photoshopped photos of Marylin Monroe with many different icons.
In addition to Elizabeth Taylor, Monroe had photoshopped photos next to James Dean, Elvis Presley, and even John F. Kennedy. We have to admit that the photoshopping skills of this person are on point though.
A Historical Dab Caught On Camera
Dabbing became a worldwide phenomenon in the 2010s after it originated in Atlanta’s hip-hop scene. But it was only after a couple of famous football players began dabbing as a form of celebration during football games that the gesture became popularized around the world, eventually going viral. Yet, when this photo started circulating around the internet, people were convinced that the first dab in history was actually caught in the middle of the 20th century.
Unfortunately, though, the photo is a behind-the-scenes moment of the 2017 movie Dunkirk. So unfortunately no, this photo is not actually that historical.
This Photo Of The Space Shuttle Cutting The Clouds
Well, it’s hard to imagine that so many people believed that this photo was real, but the viral photo did manage to convince tens of thousands of people online when it was initially shared. For those of us who don’t quite understand how space and clouds work, this picture could very easily be taken as real. Unfortunately, though, the viral photo is not real, and the real, not-as-exciting photo can be seen on the right.
Funny enough, the original photo was also rather stunning, but apparently, that wasn’t enough to make it get the attention of so many people.
This Dwarf Giraffe Was Never Real
Another animal picture that became loved and shared by tons of people, but alas, wasn’t real. Dwarfism or skeletal dysplasia does actually affect giraffes. While the condition is mostly known to occur with humans and domestic animals such as cows, pigs, and dogs, some wild animals can also be affected by it. The first time it was ever seen in a wild animal was actually amongst giraffes, which made this photoshopped photo so believable for people.
Regrettably, though, the photo does not actually depict a real giraffe with dwarfism, but a photoshopped giraffe instead. The original photo can be seen on the right side in this collage.
Another Bear Chasing People
There is just something about a bear running after people that catches the attention of internet users in one second, and this photo is another example. So many of us have seen this photo of a bear “chasing National Geographic Photographers,” and instantly believed that what we were looking at was the real deal. People were completely stunned by the dangerous situation the photographers had been found in, so not many doubted it until the truth came to light.
This photo was actually a stock photo and can be found anywhere online. It sadly sends us another reminder that we should definitely not believe everything we see online.
This Man Who Found A Giant Skeleton
Here’s a tip for the next time you see a photo of an archeologist “discovering” something online, doubt it! There are tons of photos constantly being shared online of archeologists posing next to cool things they found, and while many of them are genuine, more than a few of them are photoshopped. So you might want to take them with a grain of salt the next time you see one online.
Sadly, this photo is an example of that, since, the archeologist is happily posing next to a huge skeleton that isn’t actually real. As we can see on the right side, the archeologist found something much less exciting.
Star Island Was A Product Of Wishful Thinking
One of the things that we got from this list so far is that people believe what they want to believe. People will go to great lengths to create these things while making other people believe it too along the way. Unfortunately, this Island with the shape of a star is one of those examples. Can you just imagine drinking a cocktail while tanning on this unique patch of land?
Well, that’s probably what this person imagined when they created an island that doesn’t exist right next to the real Island of Molokini. The moon-shaped Island of Molokini does exist and can be found in between the Islands of Kahoolawein Hawaii and Maui.
This Cow Never Really Chilled On This BMW
Some people’s photoshop skills are on such a professional level that it’s almost impossible to tell whether a picture is real or not. This viral photo of a cow resting on top of a car took the internet by storm some time ago, with people sharing it mostly because of how unusual it was. Somehow, this skillful person had thousands of people believing that the cow had found a BMW and decided to lie down on it.
It turns out that that didn’t really happen, and thankfully no car was damaged along the process. The real cow was just lying down on the grass like it usually does.
A Picture Of India’s Hindu Festival
While this picture is stunning either way, it doesn’t really depict India’s Hindu festival as it claims. The stunning photo is in fact a composite of several satellites images that were given different colors, resulting in this vibrant result. Either way, someone had the brilliant idea of sharing this photo with the label that India’s Hindu festival could be seen via satellite and it was stunning. Due to how believable the picture actually was, it didn’t take much for internet viewers to believe it.
But folks, unfortunately, this was just another disappointment created by another photoshop master out there.
A Bomb Exploding While Einstein Happily Rides A Bicycle
Here goes another photo that took the internet world by storm by instantly going viral. The picture shows a happy Albert Einstein riding his bike towards the camera, while a bunch of people behind him watch a bomb exploding on the horizon. Once again, the picture shows some pretty impressive photoshop skills, but it isn’t real. It is a combination of a photo of Einstein happily riding his bike, with a photo of a bomb exploding.
The bomb explosion happened about seven years after Einstein’s death, so it is utterly impossible that the photo was taken at the same time.
Paris Hilton Posing With A Really Rude T-Shirt
While some of the photoshopped pictures in this article are somewhat innocent and don’t necessarily hurt anyone, this edited photo of Paris Hilton was just not cool. The celebrity is known for her social status, and for spending tons of money on things that most of the world could simply not afford. But that doesn’t mean that she would ever wear a t-shirt that actually said: “stop being poor.”
The Hilton heir once wore a t-shirt that read “stop being desperate,” and someone decided to distort that and share it online. Once the picture reached a certain number of people, that was it, the photo went viral and Hilton received a lot of criticism for something that she hadn’t done.
Turtle Mountain Is Not A Thing
How cool would it be if there was actually a mountain out there shaped like the face of a turtle? That’s probably why so many people believed that this viral photo of turtle mountain depicted the truth when it was just another victim to someone’s photoshop skills. We bet that if a mountain that looked like this actually existed, there would be many more photos of it available online, though a quick search on google barely showed us anything about it.
The original photo is of North Carolina’s “Pilot Mountain,” which is equally as beautiful and worth visiting as the mythical “turtle mountain.”
The Romney Family’s Last Name Misspelled
Now, what are the chances that an entire family would misspell their own surname in front of hundreds of people by the word “money?” The chances are small, and though it could possibly happen, that wasn’t the case for the Romney family. Around election time, people create tons of fake news and stories around candidates and their families, so it’s no surprise that someone did so during the time that Mitt Romney was running for president.
His family’s last name has the perfect letters to compose the word “money,” so someone came up with a photoshopped version that infuriated several people who believed it to be true.
This Tourist Photo Taken Just Before 9/11 Happened
After 9/11, several conspiracy theories came about, with so much information being shared that it’s hard to tell what is true and what isn’t. Photos, phone calls, and letters have continued to be shared since the day one of the world’s most devastating disasters took place, and sadly, many of them aren’t true. That’s the case of this viral photo of a tourist, presumably taken just before the 9/11 attacks took place.
In the viral photo, we are able to see one of the planes about to hit. Apparently, the guy never witnessed 9/11 and not much is known about the truth behind this photo.
A Photo Of A Cheerleader Pooping
Now, this is just mean, but the expressions on the girls’ faces were simply too perfect for someone to not take the opportunity. Or at least that must be what the person who photoshopped this photo thought when they added poop to this cheerleaders’ photo, resulting in it going viral in several parts of the world. Sadly, many people believed it to be true, and we just hope that the girl was not affected by the mean prank.
Hopefully, enough people knew that this had never actually happened, and the poor girl never took a dump on her fellow cheerleaders. No doubt that the photoshop skills are pretty impressive though.
Sharks Swimming In The Mall
It's hard to believe that someone would actually believe that this picture is true, since, amongst all pictures in our list, it really looks like a full-on photoshopped photo. And yet, when this photo was shared online, tons of people actually did believe in it and shared it on their personal pages, groups, and online platforms. The photo was accompanied by a text that explained that a shark tank had collapsed at the Scientific Center in Kuwait, resulting in a ton of sharks swimming on the bottom floor of this mall.
With a closer look, however, it's clear that the sharks were photoshopped into the picture, which originally showed Toronto's Royal Bank Plaza's basement after the entire place was flooded.
Martin Luther King Jr. Showing The Finger
I mean, what are the chances that this picture was actually real? Sure, Martin Luther King Jr. was human just like all of us, so he too was prone to having his moments. And while it was possible, this picture is not actually true. Even so, it was shared widely online for several months, with people reacting with tons of surprise, and sometimes even disappointment. That's why it's so important to always double-check the source of certain viral pictures because they have the power to damage someone's image.
In this case, the real picture later came through and is shared on the right-hand side of this collage, proving that Mr. King Jr. wasn't actually giving the finger to this photographer.
A Scary Photo That Shows An Emu With Teeth
Many of us will probably be very happy that this photo of an emu showing its teeth is not actually real, since it's one of the scariest things we've seen in a while. The emu is a giant bird, classified as the second-largest living bird by height in the world, after its very distant relative, the ostrich. They are quite common in Australia, making up for the largest native bird in the region.
While they can be pretty scary, emus are not as scary as this picture depicts them. In reality, emus don't really have teeth, especially not sharp teeth like it's shown in this picture.
A False Picture Of Hurricane Sandy
A while ago, this picture of what was supposed to be Hurricane Sandy was shared widely on Facebook, stunning people from all over the world. The 2012 hurricane was the most destructive and deadliest hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season at the time, causing damages of $70 billion. Over 233 people from eight countries between the Caribbean and Canada were killed as a result of the disastrous hurricane. Hence, it didn't take much for people to believe that this widely shared picture was true since the extent of the hurricane's destruction was so wide and devastating.
It does turn out, however, that the picture is fake, and does not depict real footage of the time. The picture actually belongs to the film The Day After Tomorrow.
This Fake Image Of A Cruise Ship Dumping Waste
There is no doubt that cruise ships are able to spread a whole lot of dirt and pollution in the sea, but that wasn't the case with this cruise ship. Someone decided to share this image of a cruise ship supposedly dumping human waste in the sea while it traveled across the ocean. It didn't take long until people started sharing it all over the internet, resulting in the photo going viral. But it turns out that the photo did not depict reality.
The photo is real, but the brown stuff around it is not human waste. The photo was taken when the cruise ship had just started its engines, and just before it dropped its anchor. That resulted in a ton of sand and mud being spread all over the cruise ship, explaining the brown spots in the picture.
This Fake Photo Of A Double Decker Bus Race
I mean, when something is as cool as this is, it's not surprising that most people would believe that we're looking at something true. This picture was widely shared quite a long time ago, and internet users could simply not get enough of this supposed double-decker bus race somewhere in the world. Sadly though, the photo is a result of someone's imagination and great photoshop skills and is nowhere near reality.
The race never happened, and although this is now known amongst several people, sometimes we still see the image being shared as true somewhere online. But we're pretty sure that the more people look at it, the more obvious it is that this race never took place.
A Lightning Strike That Is A Little Bit Exaggerated
While sometimes people completely make up images, other times they simply take an existent image and heighten certain parts of it a little bit. In this case, the image of this lightning strike became this way as a result of several photography tricks that artist Darren Pearson decided to use before he shared the photo online. At first, people really did believe that the shot was a long exposure photo of a tree being struck by lightning, though actually capturing this on camera would be something really unlikely.
The artist simply used a long exposure to create this "light painting" shot which was doctored into the original picture.
A Giant Shark Passing By A U-Boat
This is another one of those photos that may depict a few things that are true, but the entire combination of it could not be further than the truth. This widely shared photo was believed to picture a giant shark, more specifically, a 64ft shark swimming by a U-boat a few decades ago. Unfortunately, though, the photo is another photoshopped creation of an enthusiastic internet user that wanted to get the attention of a few people out there.
The real image was part of a Discovery Channel trailer about the Megalodon. The TV promotion was shared widely, and there is a big possibility that the photo of the U-boat is actually true. But there is absolutely no way that a giant shark was swimming by.
A Regular Watermelon Turned Purple
A while ago, this photo of an unusual-looking watermelon went viral, mostly because people were in complete awe of how unique the so-called Japanese watermelon looked. The purple watermelon was labeled as a "Japanese Moon Melon," and was said to also be called "asidus" amongst the scientific community. While being shared, it was also said that once someone tried the unique watermelon, their tastebuds would completely change for a while after consumption.
It was believed that sweet things would turn sour after eating the fruit, and salty things would become bitter. After being shared time and time again, it was discovered that the watermelon was nothing more than a photoshopped image of a regular watermelon.
A Fantastical Island That Doesn't Exactly Look That Way
If like us, you love spending some time browsing on Pinterest every once in a while, there is a very high probability that you've seen this photo before. The stunning picture was shared all over the internet and people were in awe of the beauty and uniqueness it showed. The photo was said to show fairy pools located in the Isle of Skye in Scotland when it was in reality a completely different place.
The photo on the left was just a very edited photo of the Shotover River located in New Zealand, which is stunning in its own right. While the idea of purple trees and turquoise waters was nice, it was too far from reality.