9 Fun Facts That Are Total LiesS

Everybody loves fun facts. But sometimes these little nuggets of trivia can be more fun than they are fact. And sometimes, they're outright lies. Like these!

Today we have nine different photos that you've probably seen floating around the internet lately. They're all tied to unbelievable fun facts from history—unbelievable, mostly, because they're not true.

Sometimes the images themselves are doctored. Other times the caption is just plain wrong. But none of them is what you've been led to believe.

1) Was this really economy class air travel in the 1960s?

9 Fun Facts That Are Total LiesS

We love to romanticize the "good old days" of air travel. And yes, some aspects of commercial flight used to be more luxurious. But here in the 21st century we often forget about the incredibly high prices, the slow speeds, and the horrible discrimination of yesterday's airlines.

The photo above supposedly shows "Economy Class Seating on a Pan-Am 747," in the 1960s. The only problem? It's not a real plane. It's a mock-up produced by Boeing for what the 747 could have looked like.

Yes, the future of air travel was supposed to be amazing. But in reality, it was never quite this amazing.

Inaccurate fun "fact" via Retronaut


2) Was this boy a real chimney sweep?

9 Fun Facts That Are Total LiesS

The photo on the left supposedly shows a child chimney sweep from the turn of the 20th century. But if you're wondering why he's not wearing any shoes and the soot on his face looks like it was applied deliberately, I may have found the answer: the photo is from 1980.

According to Getty Images the photo shows a four-year-old boy in London who's wearing a costume for a "fancy dress competition." The photo on the right shows actual child laborers at the turn of the 20th century. You'll notice a distinct difference in how happy they are to be working.

Inaccurate fun "fact" via Mail Online


3) Did Teddy Roosevelt ever ride a moose?

9 Fun Facts That Are Total Lies

Everybody knows Teddy Roosevelt was a badass. Roosevelt epitomizes the American ideal of manliness so much that he's become a staple of 21st century pop culture. But did Teddy ever ride a moose?

Sadly, no. The photo-composite above was part of a collage made by the press for the 1912 election. Roosevelt was running as a member of the Bull Moose Party, which explains why this pre-Photoshop fake was dreamt up. His opponents were also made to look like they were riding their party's mascots, with Taft on an elephant and Wilson perched atop a donkey.

But we can't help but wonder what it might look like if Roosevelt were able to run today as a Libertarian. Their party mascot is a penguin. Now that would be a real test of bravery.

Inaccurate fun "fact" via Cracked


4) Is this a 1954 prediction for the "home computer" of 2004?

9 Fun Facts That Are Total LiesS

The image above is supposed to show a futuristic "home computer" designed by the RAND Corporation in 1954. And it'd be a wonderful artifact of retro-futurism. If it were true.

The image was actually made during a Photoshop contest hosted by Fark back in 2004. And this fake has had a surprisingly long shelf life. Back when I first started the Paleofuture blog in 2007 I used to get sent this image from well-meaning tipsters nearly every week. These days most people know it's a fake, but you'll still see it pop up here and there.

Inaccurate fun "fact" via I Fucking Love Science


5) Did these three dogs survive the Titanic disaster?

9 Fun Facts That Are Total LiesS

Yes, just three dogs are thought to have survived the sinking of the Titanic. But no, the three dogs pictured above weren't those dogs.

"The dogs that survived were so small that it's doubtful anyone even realized they were being carried to the lifeboats," researcher Dr. J. Joseph Edgette told Yahoo News last year.

Two Pomeranians and a Pekingese were indeed the only canine survivors among the 12 or so dogs on board. Sadly, the dogs pictured above didn't make it.

Inaccurate fun "fact" via @History_Pics


6) Is this a robot librarian from the 1950s?

9 Fun Facts That Are Total LiesS

At first glance, the photo on the left may look like another example of old fashioned automation—yesterday's great promise for the libraries of the future. But it's actually a Photoshop job, most likely concocted in the 21st century.

The photo actually shows a "robot" vending machine that dispensed cigarettes at the Berlin Zoo in 1955.

Somehow, the truth behind this photo is even stranger than the fictionalized version. According to its caption at Getty Images: "The machine thanks customers on payment for the cigarettes, and at the same time gives road safety advice. Road accident scenes are projected in the robot's eyes."

Inaccurate fun "fact" via Flavorwire


7) Is this a real photo of battle from World War I?

9 Fun Facts That Are Total LiesS

Yes, technically this is a "real" photo from World War I. But if the composition looks a little too perfect for the middle of a battlefield, that's because it is. This photograph is actually a composite image.

An Australian photographer by the name of Frank Hurley took the photo. Or, more accurately, photos. By combining different images—in this case the swooping airplanes above and the battlefield below—Hurley created photos that failed to represent what was "actually" happening during the course of the war.

Hurley actually got into a fair bit of trouble for his images, and they remain incredibly controversial today. But he didn't just create composite images, he would also stage re-enactments and flat-out fabricate shots. Hurley defended his photographic creations, arguing that they represented the war far better than the limited technology of the time could ever capture. But nearly a century later, they're still being passed around as "real."

Inaccurate fun "fact" via @HistoryInPics


8) Was this the first camera ever built?

9 Fun Facts That Are Total LiesS

No, the 1900 photo above does not show the first camera ever built, which was supposedly photographed by the second camera ever built. Not even close.

This may seem like a silly one to debunk, since anyone with even a basic knowledge of photography history knows that photo technology predates 1900. But with over 1,600 retweets on a single Twitter account alone, there are obviously plenty of people who want to believe it.

The camera was indeed the largest camera ever built up until that time. But it was far from the first.

Inaccurate fun "fact" via @History_Pics


9) Did this bomb kill the man who took this photograph?

9 Fun Facts That Are Total LiesS

Our last photo shows a Japanese bomb exploding on the flight deck of the USS Enterprise in 1942—a bomb that supposedly killed the photographer who took this shot. It didn't.

Yes, this incredible shot was taken by a brave American photographer documenting the Battle of the Eastern Solomons on August 24, 1942. But this particular bomb, despite its impressive spray, did only minor damage, and the man who took the shot wasn't hurt. This inaccuracy, however, can't be blamed on the internet. Apparently the photo was inappropriately labeled when it was archived by the U.S. military.

A photographer named Robert Frederic Read did die that day, along with 37 other men aboard the USS Enterprise. But he wasn't the man who took this particular photograph.

Inaccurate fun "fact" via @HistoryInPics


UPDATE: You can read about more viral fakes here and here.