This story was first published on October 13, 2014
Circulating message featuring a photograph of a gigantic human skeleton laid out in a city plaza claims that the image shows the body of Ghatotkacha, a character from an ancient Indian epic.
The claims in the message are nonsense. The image depicts a sculpture by the late Italian artist, Gino De Dominicis. The sculpture was unveiled in Grenoble, France in 1990 and is now housed in an Italian art museum. An earlier version of the Ghatotkacha hoax used fake giant skeleton images taken from a Photoshop contest website.
This Bengali language message, which is currently circulating rapidly via social media, features an image depicting a massive human skeleton with a pointed nose, apparently laid out for viewing in a city plaza.
The message claims the image depicts the unearthed skeleton of Ghatotkacha, a character from the ancient Indian Sanskrit epic, Mahabharata.
According to the post, National Geographic Society researchers found the 80-foot skeleton during excavations in northern India.
But, not surprisingly, the message is just a hoax. The image itself is genuine, but it depicts a sculpture rather than a real human skeleton. The sculpture is the work of the late Italian artist, Gino De Dominicis, who died in 1998.
The work, entitled ‘Calamita Cosmica‘, was unveiled at the Center National d’Art Contemporain in Grenoble, France, in 1990. The skeleton then travelled to various exhibits in several countries before finding a permanent home at Rome’s MAXXI museum of contemporary art.
Thus, alas, the image shows a modern art piece rather than the worldly remains of a character in an ancient story.
In fact, this message is a reworking of an earlier hoax that also claimed that National Geographic discovered the giant skeleton of Ghatotkacha. The earlier version used photoshopped ‘giant skeleton’ images taken from a Worth1000 image manipulation contest.