This story was first published on September 23, 2015
The image shown below has been circulating via various photo sharing and social media websites for several years.
The posts claim that the image depicts a very rare flower found in the Himalayas.
However, the image does not show any sort of flower, in the Himalayas or anywhere else on land. Instead, the image depicts a marine organism known as a sea pen.
An article about sea pens on the MESA website notes:
The sea pen was named after the quill pen which it looks like. The sea pen is not actually one animal, but rather consists of many separate animals called polyps living in a colony. The polyps look like miniature sea anemones each with eight tentacles.
Sea pens, which are also sometimes called ‘sea feathers’, come in many shapes and sizes.
The image used in the circulating message is a photograph taken by Photo.net user Gordon B and was previously available on the Photo.net website (archive link).
It is unclear why the prankster responsible for the post felt the need to invent the fake ‘Himalayan flower’ description in the first place. The sea pen depicted in the photograph is compelling and beautiful in its own right and certainly needs no embellishment.
Importance NoticeAfter 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 YouI 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 DateHoax-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!