Fact Check

The Hands of God

Photograph shows God's hands in a cloud formation.

Published Sep 6, 2004

Claim:   Photograph shows God's hands in a cloud formation.



[Collected via e-mail, 2004]

A friend of mine sent this photo of a cloud formation in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley. I think it is awesome and needed to be passed on. I truly hope that all of you will be able to view it.

The Hands of GOD...

[Collected via e-mail, May 2007]

Cara Winship sent this out it is called: God's hands.

I took this picture on Hwy 30, traveling to London, KY. It has given me
strength in the times of trouble. I feel I should share it with the rest of
the world. I hope it is an inspiration to you. It just goes to show what
we already know.... We have a God and he's watching over us.
I e-mailed this picture to News Channel 36. I was contacted by
Meteorologist John James. He said that this picture of the sky is
showing up, in all states, around the world. He wanted to know where
I was from and where I took it. He saw a similar picture taken in Texas.
He said this is amazing to him!

The Hands of God


Variations:   In January 2010 this photograph was circulated as a picture of the sky above Haiti, taken just before the 7.0 earthquake that had hit that country earlier in the month.

Origins:   It is not uncommon for the religiously inclined to spot what they interpret as tangible signs of their faith in natural phenomena, especially in times of turmoil or distress. However, the image displayed above is not a genuine case of a photographer's capturing something remarkably like God-in-the-clouds in the aftermath of a disaster, as claimed in the accompanying text — this picture was circulating long before Hurricane Charley hit the Florida peninsula in August 2004, and it is a digital reworking, not a genuine photographic representation of something seen in the skies.

The original image looked like this:

The Hands of God

Many viewers have noted the picture's similarity to a very graphic image made notorious by the goatse.cx shock site. A reader who wrote to us to claim credit for the doctored photo said that he did indeed intend it as an homage to that site:

I created that picture for www.shacknews.com. it was indeed an homage to
goatse.cx. I even had a version where I put a gold ring on one of the fingers, but I think I lost it.

The original forum post where I posted the picture was lost in a shacknews.com database crash, but I still have the file hosted on my webspace at

Since the post was lost in the crash, I can't link you to the original picture, but it was just the hole in the clouds. It took me literally 2
minutes to use a clone tool in Photoshop and create the 2 hands opening it up.

Last updated:   20 January 2010


    Rauber, Robert M., et al.   Severe & Hazardous Weather   [3rd edition].

    Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing, 2008.   ISBN 978-0-7575-5043-0   (p. 286).

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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