Home Fake-News No, a Circulating X-Ray Image Does NOT Show a Live Cockroach in a Human Chest

No, a Circulating X-Ray Image Does NOT Show a Live Cockroach in a Human Chest

by Brett M. Christensen

At first glance, this image, which is currently circulating the Interwebs via social media,  might make you do a double-take. It appears to show a very large cockroach right inside a person’s chest,  captured via x-ray.

The description that travels with the image claims that it depicts a chest x-ray of a man in Zimbabwe who went to a hospital suffering chest pain. Supposedly, after taking and examining an x-ray, doctors discovered that the man had a live cockroach in his chest. The man went abroad to seek further medical aid at great expense, but a second x-ray revealed that there was no cockroach in his chest after all. Alas, claims the story, the cockroach must have been inside the Zimbabwean x-ray machine, not the man’s body.

An Example of the Message

A patient in Zimbabwe had serious chest pains, after taking x-ray at Rusape General hospital the image showed that he had a live cockroach in his chest moving about. Doctors recommended that he goes abroad preferably India.So patient had to sale his house and a few contributions from relatives. When he got to India another x-ray was taken and was told there was no cockroach in his chest but the cockroach was in the x-ray machine they used in Zimbabwe.

Cockroach In Chest X-Ray Image

Surprise, Surprise — The Story is Just A Prank and The Image is Fake

Of course, the story is just a joke aided and abetted with a bit of fairly dodgy photoshopping.

How do I know? Because a quick Google image search pulls up the source picture used in the fake image. Unsurprisingly, the source image is missing the massive cockroach and, in fact, it depicts a chest x-ray of a woman, not a man. And, not just any woman’s chest but that of an iconic and much loved US actress.


X-Ray Actually Depicts Marilyn Monroe’s chest

The image reportedly shows an x-ray of Marilyn Monroe’s chest taken by a doctor at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in 1954.

Marilyn Monroe's chest x-ray

Other Versions of the Story Are Also Circulating

While this story and manipulated x-ray image no doubt began life as just a prank, at least a few people have apparently believed it to be true.  In fact, the same tall tale, set in different locations and minus the photoshopped picture, has been published via other websites and social media posts since at least April 2016.



Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer