The "tourist guy" was an Internet phenomenon that featured a fake, manipulated photograph of a tourist who appeared in many manipulated pictures after the September 11, 2001 attacks. It was proven to have been taken in 1997.
He is also called numerous other names, including the "accidental tourist" (a humorous reference to the novel and film The Accidental Tourist), "Waldo" (a reference to Where's Waldo?), the "WTC Guy," and the "tourist of death".
Shortly after 9/11, an image surfaced on the internet, purportedly from a camera found in the debris of the World Trade Center. The image showed a man, dressed in a wool cap, heavy jacket, and backpack, standing on the observation deck of the World Trade Center. Below him a jet plane can be seen flying towards the building. Because of its closeness and low altitude it seems certain to collide with the tower. The picture purported to be one taken mere moments before the attacks on the World Trade Center began.
- It stretched credulity to believe that a camera could have survived such a fall.
- September 11 was a warm day. The temperature was in the high sixties (Fahrenheit) that morning. And yet the man in the photo was wearing heavy clothing.
- The man would have been standing on the south tower of the world trade center—the building with the observation deck. And yet the north tower was the first tower to be hit. Therefore, if we are to believe this picture is real, we must assume the man was happily posing for his photo as the other building was burning off to his side.
- The plane that hit the south tower approached from the south. However, it is evident from the landmarks behind the man that the plane in this photo is approaching from the north.
- It's the wrong type of plane. Both of the jets that crashed into the World Trade Center were 767s, whereas a 757 is shown in this photo.
- If the plane is approaching at high speed, why isn't it blurry in the photo?
- If someone saw a plane about to hit the building where the picture was taking place, why would he/she continue to take the picture?
- The plane hit the south tower at 9:03 am, at which time the observation deck was closed. It only would have opened at 9:30 am.
- The white balance of the two photographs are far off. If the plane were part of the photograph, it would much rather appear yellowish rather than the perfect silver it appears as.
- The poorly-dated image appears to be one edited in MS Paint, rather than by an actual camera, as would appear in this photograph, which proves the picture was taken in November 1997.
Also, the original photo of the plane that was edited into the picture can be found here.
The picture became one of the most widely known examples of Internet humor. As its fame spread, other people started to use the same tourist for other pictures. They included the tourist present at the sinking of the RMS Titanic, at the John F. Kennedy assassination, the destruction of Air France Flight 4590 and at the Hindenburg disaster. In one version, the aircraft has been replaced with a Melbourne tram. Other pictures show him present at disastrous events in movies, like the destruction of the White House in Independence Day or as the bus driver in Speed. There are also pictures of him together with people from other famous photoshopped pictures, such as Bert or a man holding a huge cat. There even appeared a picture of the Yalta conference where Stalin is replaced by the man with the cat, with the tourist and Bert on the background.
The first person who claimed to be the tourist was the Brazilian businessman José Roberto Penteado. When Peanteado started to get media attention, including an offer to be in a Volkswagen commercial, a 25 year old Hungarian man named Péter Guzli came forward as the real tourist. Guzli says, however, that he does not want publicity and did not originally release his last name.
Guzli took the photo on November 28, 1997, and was also responsible for the initial edit. He edited the image for a few friends, not realizing it would spread so quickly across the Internet. He first provided the original undoctored photo and several other photos from the same series as proof to a Hungarian newspaper. Later on, the show Wired News examined the evidence and confirmed that Guzli was the real tourist guy.