Is it a humongous hog, a monster mistake, or a huge hoax?
That's the question being asked Tuesday about a stunning photo distributed last Friday by the Associated Press that purports to show an 11-year-old Alabama boy standing behind a half-ton wild hog his father said he bagged with a pistol.
The boy, Jamison Stone, looks tiny in the photo as he stands behind his prize pig, which his father claims measures 9 feet 4 inches, and weighs 1,051 pounds.
"It feels really good," Jamison said last week in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It's a good accomplishment. I probably won't ever kill anything else that big."
Jamison's father, Mike Stone, said the prize porker was hauled off on a truck to the Clay County Farmers Exchange in Lineville, where Jeff Kinder said they used his scale, recently calibrated, to weigh the hog, according to the Associated Press and a story published in the Anniston, Ala. Star newspaper.
Kinder's scale measures only to the nearest 10, but Stone said it balanced one notch past the 1,050-pound mark.
"It probably weighed 1,060 pounds. We were just afraid to change it once the story was out," he said.
But the photo — published on hundreds of Web sites, including FOXNews.com, and emailed millions of times — now is under attack from blogs and Web sites that claim to be able to prove that the boy and his father hammed it up for the photo, and that truth sometimes isn't in the eye of the beholder.
Jamison's father, Mike Stone, claims that the positioning in all six photographs displayed on their Web site MonsterPig.com, was unplanned, accidental, coincidental.
"These are authentic pictures," Stone told the Web site StinkyJournalism.com, which claims it can prove the colossal claim isn't kosher. "They have not been altered," Stone said.
Still, StinkyJournalism.com enlisted the help of a retired New York University physicist, Richard Brandt, who offers what he says is a "technical analysis" of the Stone family's claim.
The site also claims to have evidence that other photos on the family Web site were doctored to make the feral hog look bigger than life.
Jerry Cunningham, of Jerry’s Taxidermy in Oxford, Ala., who says he's mounting the head and skull, thinks otherwise.
“It’s probably the end of June before we’re through with it,” he said. "They’re about as twice as big as the normal pig. Five-hundred pounds is big, giant. Most of them that come in to be mounted are between 150 and 250."
Cunningham said the animal measured 54 inches around the head, 74 inches around the shoulders and 11 inches from the eyes to the end of its snout.
"It's huge," he said. "It's just the biggest thing I've ever seen."
Mike Stone, meanwhile, is having sausage made from the rest of the animal.
"We'll probably get 500 to 700 pounds," he told the Associated Press.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.