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12 World-Famous Historical Photos That Are Fake

Edited By: Jake Ramirez
 It's funny to think that the some of the most famous images from the past two centuries were actually faked or staged. One even managed to fool Sir Arthur Conan Doyle into believing that fairies were real. Here are 12 of the most most famous faked photographs in history: 
 
1. "Forest fairies"
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This photo is the work of two cousins - Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright. It was made famous by Arthur Conan Doyle, the man responsible for authoring Sherlock Holmes. Taken in 1917, it caught the attention of Doyle, who actually sent it to a friend, a photography specialist working at Kodak, to verify if it was actually real or not. The truth was only revealed by the two cousins in 1983 - they had used copied photos of dancing girls from a popular children's book, added wings to them, and used hatpins to secure them to the foliage. Doyle believed that it was real until the day he died. 
2. "Brave general" 
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Depicting US General Ulysses S. Grant, this photo actually consists of three different photos that have been put together to form the image you see above. Many years later, the Library of Congress discovered that it was actually a photo of Major General Alexander M. Cook (the horse and the body), a different photo of General Grant in order to use his head, and a background image of prisoners captured during a battle. No-one quite knows why someone went to the trouble of making this image.
3. “Riding away from nuclear testing”
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Albert Einstein isn't actually riding away from a nuclear test on a bicycle while laughing - it's two separate images that have been spliced together. The editing is so flawless, however, that it's a very believable image.  
4. “Skyscraper builders”
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Sadly, one of the 20th century's most recognizable photos is actually a fake too. Although the workers are actually sitting on a beam having their lunch, the background isn't actually a documentary photo from the construction of a skyscraper. What gave the game away was the fact that there are two estimated dates for when the photo was taken, and there's also no approved photographer of this photo. Archivists have narrowed it down to three possible individuals, but being unable to identify a single one definitively points to the photo being staged. 
5. "Christmas truce"
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When this photo first appeared on the internet, everybody thought that it was German and British soldiers playing a soccer match with each other, and it was quickly named the Christmas Truce. In reality, however, there were no Germans to speak of present, and this photo was actually taken in Greece, and depicts British soldiers playing racquetball among themselves.  
6. "Unexpected duet" 
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John Lennon and Che Guevara never actually sat across from each other and played guitar together. This photo is actually a real photo of Lennon playing guitar with Wayne Gabriel, with Guevara's head put in place of Gabriel's. Sadly, many of Lennon's fans believed it to be real. 
 
7. "Kennedy and Monroe together" 
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Alison Jackson became notorious for staging photos of famous people using actors, and this is one of her most famous. She captured this scandalous shot using lookalikes, managing to fool many people into thinking that it was real in the process. 
8. “David Bowie and Lemmy from Motorhead”
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Getty Images was the place where the truth was exposed on this one. The original image features Lemmy from Motorhead standing next to his girlfriend, and was taken in 1972. David Bowie was simply added in place of his girlfriend. 
9. “Spirit photographer”
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William H. Mumler made a name for himself taking photos of famous people that appear to have been joined by "spirits". The truth was exposed when the editor of Waverley Magazin, Moses A. Dow, suggested that spirits allegedly appearing in his pictures were actually Mumler's assistant, Mabel Warren. As a result, people had doubt about the spirits for many years, meaning that Mumler's reputation was done for. He died in poverty. 
10. “First ambulance”
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Everyone seems to think that this is America's, or the world's, first ambulance. It's actually nothing of the sort - it's an ambulance that was used at the US Navy Yard on Mare Island. 
11. "Famous portrait"
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The picture above on the left is the one that everyone believes to be a legitimate portrait of President Abraham Lincoln, but it's actually composed of two pictures. It's actually a portrait of the seventh Vice President of the United States, John Calhoun, with Abraham Lincoln's head instead of his. 
12. “Young William Harley and Arthur Davidson”
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Many were led to believe that the men sitting on the bikes are William Harley and Arthur Davidson, but they're in fact just two regular guys from Minnesota who had the opportunity to sit on the bikes and have their picture taken. 
 
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