Former First Lady Michelle Obama seen hula-hooping in a 1930s Great Depression photograph is an obvious fake image. There is no truth to a claim that a woman time-traveled to the 1930s and could be seen hula-hooping.
Where did this image allegedly showing a time-traveler hula hooping in the background of an old photo originate? The digital manipulated image was included in a list compiled by the web site Ranker entitled “14 Crazy Pictures of People Who Might Just Be Time Travelers”:
Despite being amusing in its silliness, the above image does not show an actual time traveler going back to the 1930s to hula hoop as debunked by Snopes. Of course, the biggest clue that the above photograph is fake is that the time traveling hula hooper in the background is actually a pretty well-known political figure: Michelle Obama.
Rather, the original photograph is actually a famous image by documentary photographer Dorothy Lange who took the photograph in Washington’s Yakima Valley in 1939. You can find more information about the photograph at the University of Washington’s Great Depression in Washington State Project about the scene.
It shows a family who traveled to the area by freight train:
Snopes noted that the fake image was first published by Moonbattery.com, an extreme right-wing web site that has previously spread misinformation. For example, Moonbattery.com published an article in 2010 entitled “More Obama Vacation Photos.” That article used the doctored photograph satirically (along with several similar images) to criticize former President Barack Obama and his wife for vacationing during the Great Recession.
Despite not finding the exact image of Michelle Obama hula hooping that was used to create this “time traveling” photograph, there is evidence to suggest that it may have been taken during a 2009 healthy kids fair on the South Lawn of the White House as seen in the video:
The Great Depression lasted from 1929 to 1939, and was the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world. It began after the stock market crash of October 1929, which sent Wall Street into a panic and wiped out millions of investors.
Over the next several years, consumer spending and investment dropped, causing steep declines in industrial output and employment as failing companies laid off workers. By 1933, when the Great Depression reached its lowest point, some 15 million Americans were unemployed and nearly half the country’s banks had failed.
What did you think of the digitally manipulated image? Did you believe it or see people sharing it falsely on social media? Let us know in the comments section.
Photo credit: DFID – UK Department for International Development, Flickr
B&W Photo Credits: Snopes