Photos of Hurricane Matthew are making the rounds online, with one particular satellite image getting tons of attention because of the ominous way it resembles a human skull. Whereas the above photo captures a video still image of Hurricane Matthew in the background, with a very prominent eye in the center of the hurricane, other satellite images of Hurricane Matthew have proven to be a sort of Rorschach test of who can see the skull in the satellite photo and who cannot.
Initially, looking at the full Hurricane Matthew weather map, as seen in the below photo from the Daily Mail, the skull of Hurricane Matthew may not be immediately apparent.
However, closer photos that crop only the portion of the satellite photo that appears to be the skull of Hurricane Matthew make the skull part more evident to more viewers.
In a Twitter post, Stu Ostro, a man who calls himself a weather-obsessed geek and a senior meteorologist at the Weather Channel, shows the “sinister” face of the Hurricane Matthew skull.
As photos of the skull of Hurricane Matthew began to go viral online, so did buzz about the skull photo potentially being a Photoshop hoax designed to scare and fool people. But the Facebook page of Matt Devitt of WINK Weather notes that the Hurricane Matthew skull photo is real.
“SKULL OF HURRICANE MATTHEW: I can confirm this satellite image of Matthew’s landfall is REAL and not photoshopped. Captured this morning during my weathercast. Freaky!”
According to Heavy, Matt was the original broadcaster who created the broadcast where the skull image of Hurricane Matthew was derived.
Stu also received questions over whether his photo was real — and if it was a NASA image of Hurricane Matthew’s skull. Indeed, Stu pointed people back to his original photo’s description and attribution. The photo stated that the source of the Hurricane Matthew skull photo came from the NASA Earth Science Office — and that the skull appearance of Hurricane Matthew as it made landfall in Haiti came from a satellite image that was not altered by Photoshop and was not a hoax.
The photo at the top of this article shows President Barack Obama at FEMA headquarters in Washington on Wednesday, October 5 when the president received an update on Hurricane Matthew.
Other satellite images — like the one above from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — give viewers a look at Hurricane Matthew as it passed over the Caribbean region.
However, it is the creepy satellite photo of Hurricane Matthew’s skull as it passed over the southwestern tip of Haiti on Tuesday, with winds as high as 145 miles per hour, that is creating considerable buzz on social media.
As noted in the above Twitter post by Michael Ventrice, who compares the skull of Hurricane Matthew with the rendering of a human skull, the resemblance to a skull seemed a bad omen indeed.
Other satellite images of Hurricane Matthew, such as the below photo from NOAA taken on Monday, October 3, don’t appear to show the hurricane as skull-like as other photos of Hurricane Matthew.
As of Wednesday, most infrared photos of Hurricane Matthew on the NASA website don’t appear to be shaped as a skull either.
The image of the skull continues to garner plenty of comments on social media, with some folks still wondering if it is a real image — and if so, what that foreboding imagery means. Some of the comments about the skull of Hurricane Matthew can be read below.
“It sure is horrible looking…. like a skull.”
“That image looks like a naughty looking skull!
[Featured Photo by Susan Walsh/AP Images]