Fact Check

Is This 'Quintuple Skull' Real?

An image purportedly shows the fused skulls of quintuplets born in the early 1900s.

Published Dec 17, 2018

 (Richard Kittel)
Image Via Richard Kittel
A photograph shows a genuine quintuple skull.

Readers might assume that a Facebook page called "Pictures in History" exclusively shares photographs documenting historical events and facts. However, that account frequently posts miscaptioned or outright doctored images.

On 15 December 2018, for example, "Pictures in History" posted an image that supposedly showed an "extremely rare conjoined quintuple skull from 1918":

This image was not a genuine photograph of a quintuple skull, but rather five individual skulls blended together with photo-editing software.

This picture can be traced to December 2006, when it was shared on Flickr by Richard Kittel along with a piece of text supposedly explaining the backstory of this unique cranium. The backstory, of course, was just as fake as the photograph and included a number of unbelievably outlandish claims. For instance, Kittel wrote that the quintuplet born with this unusual skull lived in a closet for 41 years, spent three weeks in coma after he failed to turn sideways while walking through the door of a candy store, was blind in two of his six eyes from a BB gun accident, and that his skull went missing after his funeral, only to turn up years later in a drug bust after it was re-purposed as a bong.

In addition to the ludicrous nature of this skull's alleged history, Kittel also noted in the comments section that a "little photoshop was involved" in the creation of the image:

A number of doctored skull pictures can be found on Kittel's Flickr page. In fact, a few days before he posted this "Quintuple Skull," he shared a slightly more believable image of "fused heads," which featured two of the skulls seen in the above-displayed viral image. Kittel explained in that post that the image was "whipped up in Photoshop using images of actual human skulls offered for sale on eBay":

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.