It's time again for our most popular feature, in which we take photos that have made millions of Internet users scream "FAKE!" and prove that they are, in fact, real. In case you missed the previous episodes, here's Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, the gritty reboot that doesn't acknowledge the previous editions, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8 and Part 9 (whew!).
#17. This Is Not Two Photos Cropped Together
Even after four years of this, we almost deleted this one as a particularly lazy fake (open Photoshop, select bottom half of picture, move some saturation sliders around, done). Where the hell do you find perfectly horizontal lines in nature? But what you're seeing is actually the aftereffects of a toxic chemical spill in Hungary, and the exact line where the sludge rose to before receding (click that link for more pics from different areas, if you're still not convinced).
The red stuff in the sludge is iron oxide (the stuff that gives rust its color), and the sludge is usually kept in a reservoir ...
Until someone figures out a way to bottle and market it.
... until suddenly it's not. The official government stance on the incident is that "Everything has returned to normal." Sure, guys. We'll give you five bucks to go lick one of those trees. On a similar note ...
#16. Lake Pepto-Bismol
"The Hulk's hungover again. Ready a funnel."
Yep, those are tiny rowboats, and that is water. But it's not the result of a horrific spill from the dye tanks at a bubblegum factory -- this one is all-natural.
This lake in Africa is colored pink as a result of absurdly high salt concentrations, which attracts massive hordes of salt-loving bacteria called Dunaliella salina. We know what you're thinking -- so that pink color is the bacteria's shit, right? Because all those trillions of D. salina are just taking constant, tiny bloody shits in the lake? Unfortunately, no. The bacteria are full of the red-orange pigment beta-carotene, the same stuff that gives carrots their color. Still, don't drink that shit.
#15. A Jellyfish? A Hairy Light Bulb?
A hot-air balloon somebody accidentally filled with hydrogen in mid-explosion? One of Satan's huge, hairy balls?
Actually, Cracked readers with a penchant for current events may recognize this photo from the Fourth of July, when San Diego accidentally set off all its fireworks at once, presumably causing every dog in a five-mile radius to enter a barking frenzy. They call it a mistake, but we like to imagine that some little kid just got his hands on the fireworks control panel and decided to live out his wildest dreams. The results were oddly disappointing -- instead of a spectacular orgy of burning magnesium filling the sky, it all burned in this concentrated ball that fizzled out after just 15 seconds.
#14. God's Chess Board
It's even more impressive than His Scrabble tray.
If you're familiar with our past articles, you've seen similar large-scale landscape designs created by artists to be enjoyed purely by people in airplanes and those browsing Google Earth. But this mountainous checkerboard pattern in Washington State happened by accident.
What happened was that the government wanted to support the construction of railroads, but still preserve some of the federal forests. So, they sold the land off in alternating 10-square-mile chunks. After the companies got their hands on the land, they logged their chunks right up to the very edge of their squares, stopping exactly along the ruler-straight boundaries marked off by the surveyors. That resulted in this perfect checkerboard pattern of clear-cut land and forest. Are you telling us there wasn't even one bureaucrat who could convince them to sell off land in the shape of a dick?
Someone find a string.
For those of you who didn't see this when the video went viral, yes, that's a real cat. Yes, it has been converted into a remote control helicopter.
After his cat was killed by a car, artist Bart Jansen decided to turn its corpse into a flying machine, because there is no point in being insane if you can't use your insanity to give other people nightmares. This is one of those things that seem like it should be illegal somehow, but what law could it possibly be breaking? The animal was already dead, after all.
So, what would it cost to have this done to our bodies after we die? Screw it, it's going in the will either way.
#12. Atop Cheeto Mountain
This picture looks like a composite of a mountain lake and a mountain on Mars. It was actually taken just as the evening sun peeked through a hole in the clouds in Glacier National Park, Montana. Unless photographer Harry Litchman is just screwing with us.
#11. When UFOs Take Off Too Fast
Not only are these "hole punched in the sky" cloud formations not faked; they're also not all that uncommon.
So this is what it's like to be goatse'd by God.
Apparently, this happens when the temperature of the air is below freezing, but the water particles are right at that moment when they haven't frozen yet. Then when a mass of particles starts freezing in one spot, it sets off a chain reaction, spreading out into a circle. The particles freeze and fall out of the clouds in an expanding ring, like ripples in a pond. This chain reaction can be set off by passing airliners (their contrails can trigger the process). The first pilot to see this happening in his rearview mirror must have thought he had triggered the goddamned end of the world.
#10. Yes, You Can Eat This
But what color is the popcorn?
This looks like a glass bead craft you could buy at some souvenir shop in, say, New Mexico. But this is real corn, and it's not the result of patient injections of dye, either. It grows this way.
They call it glass gem corn, for obvious reasons, and it's specially bred to have such a variegated kernel-by-kernel color scheme. You'd almost feel bad for eating such a work of art, but you'll feel better knowing that the next day it'll be Mardi Gras in your toilet.
#9. There Is No Glass in the World Strong Enough ...
If there was just a pee hole in the floor, this would be perfect.
That's not a Photoshop, and it's not a realistic painting on the floor meant to freak out houseguests. That's a real shaft that you could really fall down into and die if that pane of glass ever failed while you were sleepily taking a piss in the middle of the night.
This bathroom is in an upscale penthouse apartment that was built in a refurbished building in Mexico. The joker who designed the place thought it'd be funny to put the bathroom atop an old elevator shaft, and to make the floor out of glass, and then the guy actually freaking did it, with what had to have been an absurd amount of effort and expense (imagine the process of installing that floor). If you're not scared of the height, wait until a flock of bats decides to come flooding up out of the darkness while you're taking a dump.
"I am vengeance. I am the night. I had ... too much taco salad!"