(Don't know if there's another node about this or not; I couldn't find it with 10 minutes of search box abuse, so I guess not. Then again, fads this huge rarely pass the E2 radar unnoticed.)
Also known as "The tourist guy" and "Waldo" (after Where's Waldo?).
One of the hampsterdances.
After the September 11 terrorist attack, a Hungarian guy called Peter (last name not published) took an old photograph of himself, taken on the observation deck of World Trade Center, took a plane picture from the Internet, and photoshopped them togheter, making it look like the plane would be colliding to the tower - "Last minutes of an unsuspecting tourist".
He then E-mailed the picture to his friends.
That was how the legends begin.
The picture spread from people to people - many people found it scary. Soon, just about everyone in the Internet had seen the picture. People claimed it was found in a camera that was dug out from the debris.
Of course, the picture couldn't stand critical analysis; Soon, the photo was proven to be a hoax.
Now, of course, given the nature of the Internet communities, it couldn't just stay here. The USA had just received a terrible blow; now it needed to heal. And after the initial shock has faded, is there a better way to heal than a good laughter - at the subject that was no longer connected any way with the event?
Sites started popping up, like TouristofDeath.com, TouristGuy.com and WaldoConspiracy.com.
The sites had zillions of other photos on which the same tourist had been added - over and over again - some more clever than not, some better than others. My particular favorite was the famous photo of Hindenburg disaster (complete with date "5/6/37", sort of like in the original manipulated photo!) Many of the manipulated pictures were originally made by people in Something Awful forums.¹
There was even one variation of "Invasion of the Gabber Robots" music video - with the All Your Base pictures replaced with the tourist pics.
Finally, Peter contacted touristguy.com maintainer and provided him a convincing proof (original photographs and more) that he was behind it.
¹ Thanks to anotherone
for mentioning this.