Leaked Image of Barack Obama Dressed as Satan Goes Viral
Disturbing photo of former President emerges online
A disturbing image of former President Barack Obama dressed as Satan has emerged online.
The image first appeared when it was uploaded to Instagram by an artist named Annemarie Hope who is known for illustrations of Satanic churches.
The photo, which appears to have been taken by hope herself, was uploaded to her profile with a caption that included the phrase "class & grace" - a term often used by Obama supporters to describe the ex-POTUS:
"Class & grace, you're my favourite"
The image was deleted shortly after it was uploaded, but not before it was archived.
When asked why she deleted the image, Hope responded saying:
"too much hate & not enough support"
Copies of the photo have now begun circling on online message boards causing a huge amount of debate.
Obama Dressed as Satan
Of course, the first cry from "debunkers" is that the image has been Photoshopped, so let's first investigate that theory.
To check if the image has been digitally altered from another photo, the first thing to do is is do a reverse image search to see if the original image appeared online or if there ever was an original image.
After uploading the image to Google image search and Tinyeye, the photo pulls zero results from either service, meaning, if it was altered from another image, then the original image has never been uploaded to the internet, which seems unlikely.
See screenshot below:
Secondly, a typical technique to identify an altered image is to apply different filters to an image.
By applying these filters, it highlights points at which different images may have been joined to look like one image.
Again, this shows no evidence of tampering.
See screenshot below:
If the image has been photoshopped as some may suggest, then it would require a very high skill set in image manipulation, that would go way beyond the typical prank image levels.
It's also unlikely that Hope would have such professional skills without a mention of it anywhere.
The fact that Miss Hope doesn't appear to have obtained this image elsewhere, and that she couldn't have faked the image, suggests that she took the photo herself.
Aside from the striking resemblance between the person in Satanic garb and Obama, the person stood next to "Obama" appears to be Artur Davis.
Davis is an American attorney and politician who served as a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives for Alabama's 7th congressional district from 2003 to 2011.
He was also a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Alabama in the 2010 election.
Davis was an early supporter of Barack Obama's 2008 bid for the presidency, and one of the national co-chairs for Obama's 2008 campaign.
The image started to go viral after a discussion about it was shared on Twitter by Jordan Sather.
The photo has caused outrage as it seems to clearly depict a former US President dressed in a Satanic costume.
The photo also seems to have been uploaded with good an "innocent" intent rather than a malicious one as the person who uploaded it, Annemarie Hope, seems to be a very public Obama supporter.
So what is the meaning behind the outfit and what does it symbolize?
The Satanic costume seems to depict a winged hermaphrodite known as Baphomet.
The name Baphomet
The name dates back to the Inquisition and torture of the Knights Templar about 1100 who, according to French chroniclers of the Crusades, confessed to worshipping a heathen idol called Baphometh.
Some scholars believe "Baphometh" was simply a corruption of "Mahomet" - the Prophet Muhammad.
But over the years as the mystery and speculation around the Templars has grown, so too have the interpretations of the word and its meaning.
One elaborate interpretation even drove the plot in Dan Brown's historical thriller Da Vinci Code, where the word Baphomet is decoded and translated to mean "Sophia" or wisdom.
The best-known modern image of Baphomet was drawn in 1856 by the French occultist Eliphas Levi, in his book Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual.
He envisaged a winged hermaphrodite with a torch between his horns and a pentagram on his forehead.
Its arms bore the Latin words SOLVE (separate) and COAGULA (join together) - the powers of "binding and loosing" usurped from God.
Levi's drawing was the inspiration for the Satanic Temple's new monument.
"It contains all these binary opposites - above and below, part animal, part human. Male and female," says Satanic Temple Lucien Greaves.
"It embodies opposites and celebrates contrasts."
Two fingers on the right-hand point up and two on the left-hand point down, meaning "as above, so below".
These words and the accompanying gesture are familiar to occultists.
They are drawn from the ancient works of Hermes Trismegistus, whose writings became popular during the Renaissance and Reformation.
The phrase is also used in relation to science, the universe, and God, but Levi wrote that, by making the gesture, his Baphomet "expresses the perfect harmony of mercy with justice".
Two young children
The children depicted standing next to Baphomet are awaiting sacrifice as a "gift" to Satan.
"The goat's face has a neutral expression. It's not demonic, ferocious or monstrous - as people make it out to be - if you look at without the cultural baggage."
But do children really have nothing to be afraid of from Satan?
"I don't think children approaching the monument will find anything horrific about it," says Greaves.
"For the most part, children are forced into religion."
Obama and Satan
So, if the photo does indeed show former US President Barack Obama dressed in Satanic garb, what does it mean?
It seems unlikely that he would do it as a joke or as fancy dress for Halloween, due to the obvious connotations.
Perhaps the image was deleted from Instagram as it was taken at a very private event.
With recent revelations from the Inspector General's report on the investigation into Hillary Clinton, it appears that the previous administration kept a lot of information hidden from the public.
Perhaps their private activities have been covered-up in equal measures too...