Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Photograph snapped during a Korean War bombing raid shows an image of Jesus in the clouds.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, July 2008]
Origins: The advent of digital editing tools that allow just about anyone to convincingly alter or fabricate photographs have made most of us so blasé about the latest "AMAZING PHOTOGRAPH!"
The back story for this picture of two bombers flying in a cloudy sky with a likeness of Christ clearly visible in the foreground was that it had been snapped by a
The Daily Independent issue with the "Jesus in the clouds" picture sold out. The newspaper reprinted the picture two weeks later, and that issue also sold out. Soon afterwards, the picture was seemingly everywhere across the U.S., as described by Time magazine:
Readers sent clips far & wide, and letters poured in. Wrote a Fifth Air Force sergeant in Korea: "Pilots especially [got] a reminder that 'God is their copilot.'" Wrote another soldier: "The picture gave us all a spiritual and moralBut what of the photo's origins? Unsurprisingly, when curious journalists attempted to track down the Air Force pilot who snapped the picture, the mother in Chicago who developed it, or the brother in Ashland who spread it to that community, all of those figures proved elusive. Within four months of the photo's original publication in the Ashland Daily Independent, a (real) member of the
The Religious News Service and N.E.A. distributed the picture, and in the next two months it was widely reproduced in the
[In November 1951] Air Force Staff Sergeant Roy C. Burnham walked into the Savannah Morning News, sister paper of the Savannah Evening Press which had run the picture that day. He branded it a fake. With him, Burnham had an identical picture in color, which he had obtained from an Air Force photo laboratory technician in England in 1944. The technician, whose name Burnham did not remember, had told Burnham he had taken a picture of aLast updated: 2 September 2008
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