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Oil Rig Tornado Photo Hoax

by Brett M. Christensen

Email claims that an attached photograph shows a large tornado and spectacular lightning strike alongside an oil rig in Texas

Brief Analysis:
False – Image has been manipulated

Subject: Oil Rig Picture – Apr.3.2008 TEXAS TORNADO

One of those moments when you try to remember if your affairs are all in order.

When the lightning flashes, this is not what you want to see.
Taken Thursday night, April 3, 2008.
Lariat # 2 – Sandridge Energy
South of Ft Stockton , TX

Detailed Analysis:
According to this message, an attached image is a photograph of a large tornado about to engulf an oil rig in Texas. A massive lightning strike illuminates the scene. The image is certainly a spectacular one. However, it is not a genuine photograph. Instead, the image consists of two or more other photographs cleverly joined together using image manipulation software such as Photoshop. The perpetrator of the hoax image has merged a photograph of an unidentified oil rig at night with a well known tornado image that has circulated on the Internet for several years. The tornado and lightning portion of the image was taken by Fred Smith over Lake Okeechobee, Florida in the early 1990’s. The original, unaltered tornado photograph has been posted on accuweather.com and many other places on the Internet.

The tornado photograph has also circulated via email, blogs and forums without the added oil rig portion. It is often accompanied by inaccurate descriptions that falsely locate the twister to other places and times, including Pisgah, Alabama in 2008, Sedalia, Missouri in 2006 and The Villages, Florida in 2007.

Last updated: 1st August 2009
First published: 4th June 2008
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

Lake Okeechobee Tornado
Original Tornado Photograph
False Picture of Pisgah Tornado Circulating
Sedalia, Missouri
The Villages, Florida

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,