Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Photograph shows Cyclopes, a kitten born with a single cyclopic eye.
Example: [Associated Press, 2006]
Origins: Many viewers were tempted to write off the above-displayed photograph, distributed by the
AP regional photo editor Tom Stathis said he took extensive steps to confirm the one-eyed cat was not a hoax. Stathis had Allen ship him the memory card that was in her camera. On the card were a number ofA follow-up article appearing in Editor & Publisher magazine documented that a local veterinarian had examined and verified the kitten known as "Cyclopes" to be real:
Fabricating those images in sequence and in the camera's original picture format, from the varying perspectives, would have been virtually impossible, Stathis said.
A photographer from the Associated Press — which initially took some flack for running her photo without seeing the cat in person — came to [Traci Allen's] house in Redmond, Ore. and took the deceased animal to a veterinarian for inspection, she said. The vet declared the animal a real cat.Cyclopia
"He took a bunch of pictures and asked if it was okay to take [the cat] to the vet and they verified it was real," Allen told E&P, referring to photographer Rick Bowmer. "I thought AP would do a follow, but they never did."
Bryan Brumley, AP's Portland, Ore. bureau chief, confirmed that Bowmer made the visit last month. Brumley also said the vet provided AP with a letter stating her findings, which the news service released to E&P.
"We wanted to check and make sure the cat was bona fide and taking it to the vet was the way to make sure," Brumley said, adding that no follow-up story was done because it was not considered newsworthy.
The letter, from Karen Laidley, DVM, declared that "the body had not been tampered with and was in its natural newborn state." She also went on to describe the cat's uncommon affliction, "Cyclopia," noting that it affected other elements of the brain and tissue that led to the animal's eventual death.
Pictures of cyclopic animals can be found on a variety of web sites (not recommended for sensitive viewers), including a site with photographs of a cyclopic goat, and another site displaying photographs of a number of feline deformities including cyclopia.
Last updated: 3 February 2006
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