Top 5 Famous Fake Photos - History Key

Top 5 Famous Fake Photos

There are many more recent photos that could be taken into account, but we thought that it would be more interesting to show you another side of a procedure so well known nowadays. The manipulation or staging of photography isn’t born with Photoshop. Actually, it was a practice rooted in the early 1800s.

5. Self-Portrait as a Drowned Man – Hippolyte Bayard

Self-Portrait as a Drowned Man

The back of the photo reported a message wrote by Bayard:

“The corpse which you see here is that of M. Bayard, inventor of the process that has just been shown to you. As far as I know, this indefatigable experimenter has been occupied for about three years with his discovery. The Government which has been only too generous to Monsieur Daguerre has said it can do nothing for Monsieur Bayard, and the poor wretch has drowned himself. Oh, the vagaries of human life….! … He has been at the morgue for several days, and no-one has recognized or claimed him. Ladies and gentlemen, you’d better pass along for fear of offending your sense of smell, for as you can observe, the face and hands of the gentleman are beginning to decay.”

Even if Bayard was using photography more likely in order to express his feelings rather than his abilities, the caption is misleading, even more, if we consider that it was made in a time when photography still was barely known or practiced.

4. Abraham Lincoln’s widow, appearing with his husband’s spirit in the background

Abraham Lincoln's spirit

There are many claims related to images depicting ghosts or all sorts of spirits and paranormal activity. Something common nowadays, but also an old practice. William Mumler was the first one to make a photography considered to be the first “spirit photo”. Mumler gained much attention after a photography he realized in 1861; a woman’s portrait having a ghostly figure in the background. Even if Mumler admitted that it was a mistake caused by multiple exposures. He eventually used the trick to gain fame.

3. The Cottingley Fairies

The Cottingley Fairies

We all want to believe in fairies, but to have them also in a picture. Could be a bit too much. That happened in the 1920s, when the photograph titled “The Cottingley Fairies” stated the existence of such beings. It was stated that two young girls took the images, while in their garden. Only in the late ’70s, the image was recognized as fake.

2. Baby Adolf Hitler

Baby Adolf Hitler

The author of this one is unknown, but the image gained much attention, probably because was something apparently related to Adolf Hitler. An image of a 2-year-old was heavy circulated in America and England, being presented as a photo of baby Hitler. In fact the baby was John May Warren, and his mother discovered his son’s “double identity” in 1938.

1. The Loch Ness Monster

The Loch Ness Monster

Probably one of the most known and circulated images related to a monster or unknown being, the fake photo of the Loch Ness monster. It was taken in 1934 by a British surgeon named colonel Robert Wilson. For many years the photo was one of the main references related to the existence of the Loch Ness monster, but eventually, the truth came out: the ”monster” was, in fact, a toy submarine having a sea monster head attached.

Hopefully, these few recognized fake photos would make you reconsider even more “strange” photographs you saw, or maybe would make you feel less guilty for the ones you did.

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