Top 10 Bizarre Fake Claims In The Year 2020

As 2020 draws to an end, BOOM looks back at the biggest bizarre claims that dominated the year

The year 2020 has been big for bizarre news. There have been reports of monoliths appearing from nowhere in three locations around the world, swarms of locusts attacks crops, and a possibility of life on Venus.

But there was also a lot of bizarre news that was fake. Here are our top stories:

Putin Let Loose Lions To Keep Russians Indoors?

An image of a lion roaming a street was viral with the claim that Putin had released 500 lions in Russia so that people would adhere to the rules of the COVID19 lockdown.

However, BOOM found news articles from 2016 carrying the same image. A New York Post article dated April 15, 2016, carries the same image and reports the incident is from Johannesburg, South Africa. According to the article, the lion Columbus was borrowed by a local film company from a nearby lion park and had been released on the street as part of a film shooting.

The 'Breaking News' super had been added to the image. There are many ways of adding this super, one such way is by a website called 'Break Your Own News.'

The full fact check on this claim can be read here.

Is There A Haunted Park in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh?

Netizens thought a viral video clip from Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh which shows policemen standing by and watching gym equipment swinging on its own without anybody on it in a park was proof that the park was haunted by a ghost who loves to workout.

However, the video clip to be clipped. BOOM reached out to the Jhansi police who explained that the viral video does not show the police personnel moving the equipment following which it continues to swing despite nobody sitting on it or touching it.

The full fact check on this claim can be read here.

This boy who looks like the younger version of Shah Rukh Khan

A photo of a young Kashmiri boy who looks like the younger version of Shah Rukh Khan was doing the rounds on social media, with netizens claiming that the Shah Rukh Khan's doppelganger has stark similarities with the actor. BOOM found that the image of the younger Khan was created using the FaceApp editing app.

The full fact check on this claim can be read here.


A video of a mermaid on a makeshift jetty was viral with the claim that this mythical creature has found its way to land because of the lack of human population outside during the COVID19 lockdown.

The video was found to be made by a production house, JJPD Producciones, which states that it makes films based on the animation genre. This channel is run by two Nicaraguan YouTubers Joaquin Perez and Jimmy Perez who make videos with special effects. The viral clip is taken from their video on their YouTube page which features 2 other animated merpeople.

The full fact check on this claim can be read here.

Three-Eyed Baby Born In Germany

An 11-seconds-long clip, where a man can be heard speaking to a three-eyed baby was viral with a caption saying "A child born in Germany with three eyes" and a caption in Telugu.

BOOM found that the third eye on the toddler's forehead had been digitally edited. The left eye had been superimposed on the forehead to create a hoax that the infant has three eyes, and a frame by frame comparison showed that the movements of the left eye of the infant match the third eye on the forehead.

The full fact check on this claim can be read here.

This giant skeleton is of Ghatotkach, Bhima's son from the Mahabharata

An old image of a giant skeleton had resurfaced this year with a claim that the skeleton is of Ghatotkach, Bhima's son from the Mahabharata who was a half-giant, at a recent excavation at Kurukshetra.

A reverse image search on the image reveals the first known trace of the image to be in 2011, and is by a graphic designer, who goes by the name 'Whitmath57.' This image was originally titled "'Photoshop Submission fo 'Size Matters 4' Contest,'"and was an entry for a photoshop contest.

The full fact check on this claim can be read here.

This Netflix show predicted the COVID19 pandemic

A 2018 segment from South Korean drama 'My Secret Terrius' was viral because the principal characters are seen discussing the discovery of a new type of coronavirus, with the claim that the writers predicted the COVID-19 outbreak.

This is false, the properties of the virus discussed in the episode do not match those of SARS-CoV-2 - the causative agent behind COVID-19. And the term coronavirus being used in the video is a common term encompassing a large family of viruses.

The full fact check on this claim can be read here.

TV9 Bharatvarsh Falsely Links Mystery Virus In Tomatoes To Coronavirus

TV9 Bharatvarsh, a Hindi news channel linked an unidentified virus that was affecting tomato crops in Maharashtra to a newer, and more dangerous version of COVID19. The Hindi channel falsely claimed this new virus is transmitted to humans if they consume the infected tomatoes.

However, BOOM spoke to experts who clarified that the virus affecting tomatoes can't be linked to COVID19, or any new dangerous virus that can affect humans.

The full fact check on this claim can be read here.

King of Bahrain King's Robot Bodyguard

A video of a robot walking in front of a man dressed in a thawb and wearing a keffiyeh on his head was viral on social media with the claim that the man is the monarch of Bahrain and the robot is his personal bodyguard.

However the robot here is Titan, a commercial entertainment robot artist developed by the British company Cyberstein. Titan is a partially-mechanised and has an operator inside the suit who controls the movement of the robot from the inside. The video is from when he was hired to be a greeter in Abu Dhabhi in 2019.

The full fact check on this claim can be read here.

Is That A Real Sea Monster Destroying A Helicopter?

A clip is being shared on social media with a claim there monstrous creature of the sea was viral. The 15-second-long clip shows a group of youngsters stranded on a yacht seeking help from a helicopter approaching them when a monstrous creature jumps out from the water, grabs the chopper and pulls it down.

BOOM found that the clip is actually from the trailer of a 2017 movie called 5-Headed Shark Attack. The viral video has been clipped off from the 1.05 time stamp in this trailer:

The full fact check on this claim can be read here.

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