Hundreds of images flash in front of our eyes each week as we navigate this strange machine we call the internet. But sometimes those images are lying to us. The following lies are culled from the bits and bytes that came through the tubes over the past few weeks.
1) Are these school lunches from around the world?
They look pretty delicious, but those "typical" school lunches from around the world aren't so typical. They're actually misleading promotional photos from an advertising campaign for a health food store called SweetGreen.
As Mother Jones points out, the photo purporting to show a typical school lunch in Greece should have been a big red flag. Sadly, given the country's financial woes, Greece doesn't have the resources to provide the kind of meal pictured. They point to an article in the New York Times that explains schools in Greece, "do not offer subsidised cafeteria lunches. Students bring their own food or buy items from a canteen."
This isn't to say that American public schools aren't woefully lacking in nutrition compared with much of the industrialised world. But these staged photos are far from an honest depiction. SweetGreen updated their post to admit nearly as much, even if they hedged in the process: "These images are not intended to be exact representations of school lunches, but instead, are meant to portray different types of foods found in cafeterias around the world."
Fake images via Tumblr
2) Is this a whale swimming through Venice?
No, that's not a whale making its way through the canals of Venice. It's actually a composite image by artist Robert Jahns, who's responsible for another famous viral fake involving Venice freezing over. It's a cool picture, but not a true one.
Fake photo via SundayFundayz
3) Are these the tallest mountains on earth as seen from space?
As Twitter user Janne Ahlberg mentions, the image is actually completely computer generated. It was created by Christoph Hormann back in 2006. And to be honest, the more I look at it the more I want to play Myst.
Fake image via BEAUTIFULPlCS
4) Is this a whisky vending machine in a 1960s office?
Yes, that's a whisky dispenser. But it's not from an office in the 1950s or 60s, as it's so often captioned. According to Getty, it's from a vending machine exhibition in London in 1960. We don't have any evidence that this machine was used in an office, no matter how badly we want to believe that's the case.
Thanks to shows like Mad Men, people here in the 21st century have a tendency to think that everybody in the offices of the 1960s were constantly hammered. And while drinking on the job was more socially acceptable than it is today (at least for white collar workers at the highest ranks of companies), the people of the 1960s weren't constantly drinking.
Inaccurate description via Imgur
5) Is this a creepy passageway in an abandoned church?
Nope. As one Reddit user explains, the image actually comes from a house called the Black Moon Manor in Indiana. The Travel Channel show Ghost Adventures "investigated" the house back in 2011. The image above only gets a passing glance on screen, probably because if you think too hard about how over the top the image is, you'll conclude it's all bullshit. (Which it is.)
The funny part? Even within the paranormal investigation community, Black Moon Manor was known to be a fraud. The man in the episode who claims to be the owner of the house was actually just leasing it to run a haunted house. The backstory they tell in the show (of a shady doctor from the early 20th century who conducted experiments on measles patients) is total bullshit.
The writing on the wall around the hole was clearly done by regular old contemporary humans looking to get a rise out of people. The Black Moon Manor house was destroyed in 2012, the year after the episode aired.
On an unrelated (but hilarious) note, my favourite thing about the episode is when the host of the show steps into a local library and says, "I really don't think I've been in a library since grade school."
Fake image via NotExplained
6) Is this a rare colour photo of the attack on Pearl Harbour?
PicPedant sets the record straight, explaining that the photo actually comes from a publicity still from the 2001 movie Pearl Harbour. That's right. The one with Ben Affleck.
Fake photo via KnowFactsDaily
7) Is this an Alaskan Tree Frog?
As Hoax of Fame points out, there's actually no such thing as an Alaskan Tree Frog. The image is quite clearly a cartoonish frog on top of what I'm guessing is a stone heart. Frustratingly, I can't seem to find an example online. But I'm almost certain I've seen this one (in its non-frozen form) before. If you know where this frog comes from please let us know in the comments.