So enjoy our continuing chronicle of jaw-dropping pics that make you shout “FAKE!” the moment you see them, but in fact are not. Even if, in some cases, we really wish they were …
#17. A Glitch in the Matrix
That car rendered from what looks like vector graphics from an old-school arcade game is a wire-frame sculpture by artist Benedict Radcliffe. And we mean an actual frame made of wires.
Reportedly, it received a ticket for being illegally parked, though if we had been there we’d have quickly gotten another ticket for climbing inside, picking it up and running down the street making engine sounds.
#16. And in Season 6 of Lost, They Reveal That the Island is Actually an Ocean
What appears to be the background for a cheesy 80s album cover is actually an untouched photo from Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, the largest salt flat in the world.
It frequently floods with a shallow layer of water, allowing that dude pull off the Jesus move in the picture. Apparently it’s a popular tourist site for the natural beauty, leading to construction of a salt hotel, which we suppose makes it the worst vacation destination in the world if you’re a slug.
#15. God’s Sand Art
Take the people out of this photo, and it looks like a bad painting. It’s the wave rock formation in Arizona, formed out of ancient sand dunes and creating that crazy depth perception-destroying optical illusion.
We’re not kidding, every damned picture of this thing looks fake. Including some that look like freaking finger paint.
#14. “But This Store Goes to 11…”
There are marketing geniuses, and then there are the kind of visionaries who look at the ugly security fence on their storefront and decide it sort of looks like a guitar amp. Thus the Guitar Store in Southampton just went all the way with that idea, complete with big-ass knobs and everything. We want to hire that guy to decorate our adult book store.
#13. The Large Hadron Collider’s First Victim
The lady whose midsection appears to be in the process of getting sucked into a black hole is Cathie Jung, who, as you can see, has an entire website based around the fact that her body is terrifying to look at.
Thanks to a lifetime of wearing increasingly smaller and more ridiculous corsets, she has a 15-inch waist and presumably a liver that’s been flattened to the thickness of a Fruit Roll-up.
#12. And Its Second Victim…
If you’re not clear what’s so remarkable about this triangle sculpture thing, look closer and follow the surfaces from one angle to the next. That’s right, it’s utterly impossible, with its MC Escher design that seems to break all laws of the known universe.
When this sculpture–located in Perth, Australia–is viewed from another angle you can see the complicated way it manipulates perspective to get the effect…
…but what we love about it is there’s no plaque explaining what the sculpture is all about either, so nobody knows what the fuck it’s supposed to be unless they’re standing in exactly the right spot.
#11. More Nightmare Fuel for Kids Who Are Scared of the Bathtub
OK, this one just looks like some joker practicing their reflection effects by cutting and pasting this ridiculous rubber ducky into a harbor full of boats. But, no, artist Florentijn Hofman did it the hard way, creating an actual 100-foot long rubber ducky and sticking it in the water like God’s bathtub.
Why? According to the artist, “The friendly, floating Rubber Duck has healing properties: it can relief mondial tensions as well as define them. The rubber duck is soft, friendly and suitable for all ages!”
In other words, “To terrify children.”
#10. “You Need to Disguise Your Truck. Use This Giant Afro.”
This ridiculous photo has been bouncing around the internet for years, and simply looks like a semi-competent attempt to make a normal truckload of corn husks look ridiculous via Photoshop’s Clone Tool.
But unless Reuters got really, really bored one day, it’s a genuine pic from Somalia. They basically don’t have a government there so no traffic laws are enforced (you can seriously drive on whichever side of the road you want).
With the oppressive “limit how much corn you cram into your truck” regulations off the table, the locals cheered and said, “Yeah! Just cram all the corn on there! Keep going!”
#9. The Mensa Headquarters has an Entrance Exam
This building in Ukraine does in fact have a gigantic, 100-foot-tall, crossword puzzle on the side. Yes, you can actually work it, though we assume if you try to do it with some rope and a can of spray paint, some guys will shoot you.
The clues are hidden around the city, and each night the answers are projected onto the side with lights.
The town did this to give people another reason to visit the Ukraine, bringing the total number of reasons up to… no, it’s still at zero.
#8. It’s Raining Asses
These are Mammatus clouds, aptly named for their resemblance to udders.
It’s still not well understood how they actually form, so in a sense, these sky-butts (as we like to call them) represent the cutting edge in our meteorological knowledge.
#7. Documentation of Man’s First Attempts to Win a Penis-Measuring Contest
Hey, remember that news story from a while ago where that kid drew a giant penis on his parents’ roof so it’d be captured on Google Earth? Well, it turns out that tradition goes back a long way.
The Cerne Abbas giant for instance has been around for centuries (nobody is sure who made it). It’s formed out of a trench that uncovers the chalk under the soil, creating a permanent drawing of a dude with a huge dong. Wikipedia thoughtfully includes a close-up of his nuts.
It’s common to catch sight of couples fucking, as doing so is rumored to prevent infertility. We’d prefer to think the drawing is less about fertility and more about the medieval custom of going into battle with a huge boner.
#6. That Thing That Nobody Understood in the Ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey
In a classic example of “You won’t believe it’s not Photoshopped,” this 1965 cover to LIFE magazine was initially doubted as fake by the Editors.
It’s one of the first pictures ever taken with an endoscope and is of a living fetus inside the uterus. It’s really amazing to realize that the beginning of every human life starts with a swim for your life to escape from an interstellar jellyfish.
#5. The Ent Nursery
These laughably fake-looking tree men are in fact made using a technique called tree shaping. The trees are bound and grafted as they grow, forming them into all kinds of ridiculous shapes. If you’re curious what a typical day looks like for the guy behind these painstaking sculptures, the answer is: exactly what you think.
This image is a message board staple and easy to confuse with something that’s been manipulated lolcat-style. But it is in fact just a cheerleader at the University of South Carolina, home of the the Gamecocks. The girl is leading the crowd in the official school cheer of “GAME!-COCKS!” with each word printed on one side of the card.
We would say here that they named the team during a more innocent time, but we’re having trouble believing such a time ever existed. And you’d think after discovering their faux pas, they’d find a cheer that didn’t require a young girl in a skirt to carry around a foot-tall dick euphemism on a sign.
#3. “What’s that White Stuff on the Trees? It Almost Looks Like Some Kind of Web… OH SHIT-“
If you’re arachnophobic and are getting short of breath looking at what looks like the work of a giant spider, don’t worry. It’s actually a freak massive spider web created by millions of spiders working together in ways science previously did not think was possible.
#2. “Hey Steve, You Remember That Scene in Independence Day…”
Come on! Look at the way the ground is perfectly cropped out at the horizon, so that stupid cotton candy-looking stuff could be pasted in! This isn’t Photoshop, it’s MS Paint!
Actually it’s one of a series of real photos from Iraq, taken during a sandstorm in 2005 (the photographer says it took about three minutes from spotting it on the horizon to engulf him completely).
So parts of Iraq apparently look a lot like some crappy pre-CGI shot from the latest Mummy sequel.
#1. God Declares the SUV to be Gay
It’s the end of the rainbow! Wow!
The above photo got spread around the Internet earlier this year with that exact title, claiming the photographer had found the exact spot the rainbow “landed” on the highway, as if it’s a goddamned stationary structure rather than a play of light and water particles that changes depending on where you’re standing.
It’s neither, of course, since the rainbow exists only from the driver’s point of view and here is just continuing down through the mist coming off the street (you can kind of see the arc continuing down through the pavement). But don’t let us ruin the illusion! Come back with a jackhammer and dig up your pot of gold!