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A creepy, cute hoax

Twenty-five years of Photoshop and the Web has allowed for a boom in hoaxes, particularly those of the paranormal variety. Photograph alteration, of course, has a long and seedy history filled with seriously misleading photos entering the news ecosystem. Here, on the other hand, are some of the downright silliest Photoshop fakes we've seen.

This image of a ghostly girl is textbook Photoshop to most skeptics, while believers might simply point out that there's no way to tell for sure that the Photoshop stamp tool that helped create the image was helmed by a human. That's right, folks -- what if ghosts know Photoshop, too?

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The day after Sandy

Big news and weather events focus the world's attention, and Photoshop hoaxers seem to grab those eyeballs.

After "superstorm" Sandy in 2012, this rather obvious mashup of a still from the Hollywood flick "The Day After Tomorrow" and some local news graphics made its way around the Web, along with several other silly Photoshop jobs.

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Jumping the shark hoax

When constructing a Photoshop hoax, rule No.1  is that any open water deserves to have a shark prowling it.

While both the military personnel and the shark in this photo are from real photographs, the shark picture was actually taken in South Africa. But, you know how the Photoshop saying goes: "Sometimes you jump the shark, and sometimes the shark jumps you."

Actually no one ever said that, just like no one ever got attacked by a great white in front of the Golden Gate.

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Zip it!

If only this were real, it would have been the best comeback to all those middle-school teachers who wanted me to "zip it."

The best part about this picture is that only the zipper was Photoshopped in. The split tongue was a real body modification.

If biohackers and practitioners of body art become even more dedicated to the craft, perhaps soon there will be no need for this category of Photoshop hoaxes.

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An early Apple hoax

In the days leading up to the release of the iPhone, there was much speculation that Apple could be planning some sort of super iPod.

A number of Photoshopped mock-ups circulated -- this screenshot comes from a video that demonstrated how easy it was to fake a new Apple product in Photoshop. Thus, a great tradition of fakes and iPhone concepts continues to this day.

Published:Caption:Photo:Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET
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Suburban shark

This photo, again purporting to be from superstorm Sandy, has water in it. Therefore, it should also have a shark. Photoshop was happy to oblige once again.

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Stay calm and paddle on

What do you do when a massive whale surfaces, mouth agape, in front of your sea kayak?

Well, if you take this clear Photoshop job at its visual word, you just keep calm and paddle on. No need to panic, just make like some plankton and make a date to have lunch with Jonah.

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"The Interview" director's cut?

On very rare occasions, the cat in a photo on the Web isn't the center of attention. In fact, celebrities with cats is like viral, uh... catnip on the Internet.

If you don't have a celeb and their cat handy, James Franco's head and Photoshop are generally available to help.

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We have a dream...

If we're all really honest with ourselves, we want to live in a world where giraffes can climb trees. You know it's true.

Thank you, Photoshop, for making a dream come true, if only for the few minutes before we checked it out on Snopes.

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In good hands

If the Virgin Mary can appear in everything from tortillas to lattes, why couldn't God's hands appear in storm clouds?

I can't answer that, but I can tell you that it would be easier to add them in using Photoshop than to wait around to spot just such a miracle.

Anyone who created a whole planet in under a week must surely anticipate just such a shortcut. And that's what 25 years of Photoshop has been about for hoaxers -- a quick route to creating the incredible and miraculous.

I, for one, can't wait to be fooled again.

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