Digital Media- Illusion, trickery and propaganda

Prior to our second lecture for this module, we were asked to look into internet hoaxes and image manipulations that had tricked people. I found it an interesting subject to look at as people often say you can’t trust what your read on the internet and I do believe this to an extent; I understand that some sites are truthful, yet lots are not and others are hard to tell. An example of a website that people should be more wary of is Wikipedia, even though many people use this site for research and information on a given topic, due to the fact that the information is published by anyone there is an element of what is real and what has been made up. For this task I have learnt that I definitely should not always trust what I am reading.

I looked at the hoax, The Derbyshire Fairy (2006).

derbyshire fairy

As part of an elaborate April Fools Day prank, prop-maker Dan Baines of Derbyshire, England created what he told people was the corpse of a “fairy,” and put it up for sale on eBay and on his web site. His prop was perhaps a little too well made, and resulted in his site getting over 20,000 visits in one day. Even after he revealed the whole thing was a hoax, Baines still received emails from fairy believers accusing him of covering up the truth with his hoax story.

“I’ve had all sorts of comments including people who say they’ve seen exactly the same things and one person who told me to return the remains to the grave site as soon as possible or face the consequences,” he told the BBC.

Source of information:

Dan Baines made this hoax as an April fools prank, he aimed to trick his viewers into believing that he had found a corpse of a fairy. The hoax was so successful that people believed him, and even after revealing that it was a prank some people still thought this he was using the ‘prank’ to cover up the truth. This is a very interesting hoax as it questions our beliefs as humans and also myths that we have been told as children.

I then looked at the image manipulation, ‘Tourist Guy’


Soon after Sept 11th, 2001, this picture was clogging everyone’s e-mails. It is supposed to be the last picture taken on a roll of film from a camera that somehow managed to survive the decimation of everything in the Twin Towers. It was soon to be found as an altered image. Firstly, the weather on the image did not match the real weather on September 11th, 2001. Secondly, he is standing on the south tower, but the first tower to be hit was the north tower. Thirdly, the observation deck of the WTC was not open when the planes hit. Fourth, the aircraft that struck the WTC were traveling at such a velocity that only an extremely fast shutter speed would have rendered the amount of detail on the aircraft pictured. Finally, the plane on the picture is an American Boeing 757, while the planes that hit the WTC were Boeing 767s.

Sourced from:

Who made it, what is the purpose, does it succeed and how was it made?

This image manipulation was created by an unknown tourist that wanted to manipulate an image of himself on top of the twin towers just before the 9/11 tragedy. He wanted to have the last photograph take from the twin towers before they went down. However the manipulation did not succeed for a number of reasons in the text above, factors such as the weather and the type of plane made it clear that the image was not taken on the day of 9/11. I believe it was made by combining a photograph of a tourist, on a given day, on the twin towers and adding a plane from a separate image into the photograph. Then adding the date it was taken, making it seem like this was the last photograph on the world trade centre before 9/11.

Both the hoax and image manipulation show examples of how people can ‘invent’ a story to trick web users into believing them, this is why the internet is not always truthful.



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