Home Archive Photograph of Tornado Hitting Scout Camp Hoax

Photograph of Tornado Hitting Scout Camp Hoax

by Brett M. Christensen

Email claims that an attached photographs shows the tornado the killed four boy scouts at an Iowa camp ground in June 2008.

Genuine photograph – Description is untrue

Subject: FW: tornado that hit boy scout camp – amazing!

Detailed Analysis:
According to the subject line of this email forward, an attached photograph of an approaching storm depicts a tornado that hit a Boy Scout camp. The email obviously references the devastating tornado that killed four Boy Scouts and injured many other people when it hit an Iowa scout camp on June 11 2008.

Tragically, the destruction of the scout camp and the resulting death and injury is all too true. However, the photograph does not depict the tornado that hit the Little Sioux Boy Scout camp. Nor, in fact, does it even show a tornado. According to a detailed report about the email published on MeteorologyNews.com, the photo actually shows an unrelated storm that hit another part of Iowa the night before the scout camp tragedy occurred. The article notes:

The image going around the internet, often titled “Little Sioux Boy Scout camp twister” was not in fact a photograph of a tornado – it is not even the storm that struck that Boy Scout camp location on the evening of June 11th, but instead of a non-tornadic storm the night before (June 10, 2008) approximately 220 miles away in the town of Orchard in Mitchell County, Iowa.

The photograph is included on the Mitchell County Hail & Wall Cloud website with the following caption:

This picture was taken by Lori Mehmen of Orchard, IA taken in her front yard looking east of her house. Picture taken at 9:04 p.m. on June 10th, 2008.

A Yahoo news report also states that the photograph was taken by Lori Mehmen in Orchard, Iowa. The report notes:

Mehmen said the funnel cloud came near the ground and then went back up into the clouds. Besides tree and crop damage, no human injuries were reported.

Photographs published elsewhere show that the Little Sioux scout camp bears little resemblance to the built-up area shown in the “tornado” photograph.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, other websites, including CNN’s reader self-reporting website, iReport, were still hosting the falsely captioned photograph.

Given that the storm shown in the photograph occurred only the day before the scout camp tornado and in the same state, it is possible that it was originally misidentified in error. However its continued circulation with the erroneous caption will serve only to add to the pain of those affected by this tragic event.

Last updated: 18th June 2008
First published: 18th June 2008
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

Fake Tornado Photograph Falsely Attributed to Boy Scout Camp Storm
Tornado at Little Sioux
The Little Sioux Scout Ranch (Scroll down for image)
iReport: Tornado that hit Western Iowa Boy Scout Camp

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,