|Source: Deviant Art by DaShadeE|
This photo is making its rounds on social media. I saw it shared on a popular Facebook group with the description that it was taken on Interstate 40 (in Tennessee) heading toward Pigeon Forge. It managed to fool even a staff member of an education based, scientifically-minded Facebook group, who suggested that the image was simple pareidolia.
In reality, this work was created by DeviantArt user, DaShadeE. It is entitled Cthulhu Rising and is a digital alteration of a normal digital photograph. In fact, the artist admits finding the original photo on Google Images and believes its from an area near Sophia, Bulgaria.
By sharing this image and mentioning the incident with the Facebook group staff member, I don't mean to put down anyone or poke fun at them. Rather, I hope to use that information as an educational springboard. I instantly recognized this photo as a digital manipulation, not because of any technical analysis but simply because of my familiarization with the Cthulhu story and H.P. Lovecraft. Arguably, such Lovecraftian works aren't everyone's cup of tea, but the Cthulhu mythos is a pretty widespread part of pop culture, or so I thought. That's why I personally think that a working knowledge of pop culture, as well as history, art, literature, film, etc. is almost as important to a paranormal researcher as the basic stuff, such as scientific theory and knowledge of paranormal concepts. To illustrate this point, I previously wrote a blog about the importance of cinematic research...and even though it sounds sort of facetious (and it is, lol) its also interesting to note that it was someone with a strong familiarization of horror movies that debunked the popular Skin Walker photo that was all over the place awhile back!
This photo also offers an example of a little research trick that anyone analyzing potentially paranormal photos needs to understand. The reverse-image search from Google is an absolute life-safer! You can actually take any photo that you find on the web, including those on Facebook, and either upload it, drag and drop it, or put in its url into Google Images and find other pages that have posted that photo. This is a great tool to find out where an image came from and whether or not the story posted with it is true. I've provided a couple of tutorial links on how to use this tool, but a little practice and patience is needed to really make the most of it.
Google Reverse-Image Links:
Google Support Page
5 Ways to Use Reverse Image Search