Do you remember a picture of a naked melting person?
August 26, 2008 11:29 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for back story on a somewhat disturbing photograph which was circulating around the internet around 10-15 years ago. Trouble is, I no longer have a copy of the file, and can't find it.

The photo in question was an internet meme from back before they were called that. It could best be described as "face-down naked melting woman". I say melting because.. well, that's what it looked like. A big puddle of skin, with feet; sort of like what you'd get if people were made of wax and one was made to lie face down in the sun.

The melting person (who for some reason, we thought was a woman, but it was hard to tell) was completely naked, face down in the middle of what I recall to be a city street, possibly cobblestone. It was daylight, and the photo was taken from behind at what looked like about a distance of 40-50 feet. We called her Melta.

Does this ring a bell for anyone? I've been searching the internets high and low for a copy of the picture, with every possible combination of search terms I can think of, and I've crawled up and down sites like and ogrish until I couldn't take it anymore. Not for the lulz, but because for nearly half my life now, I've been absolutely mystified by the origin of this photo. I need some sort of explanation.

Our best guess was that it was a photograph of a suicide jumper who had been overweight and the impact was so violent that the flesh liquefied and spread out like a puddle.

But I don't think flesh does that in reality, and there was absolutely no split skin, no blood or gore or anything at all, no cops standing around, no rubberneckers gawking, in fact nobody else in the picture at all. No other visual clues that would be indicative of a suicide scene. And why would they be completely naked? It just.. it didn't look like a suicide to me, and this explanation never quite held water for me.

The only other conceivable explanation for this picture is that a person who had recently lost a great deal of weight, and therefore had very loose skin, was running down the street buck naked and tripped and fell on their face. But then this is weird enough as it is.

Anyway, I'm hoping someone at least remembers this picture. Better yet would be a link to it somewhere. But what I'm really looking for here is to learn Melta's story. If you can help me scratch this fifteen-year itch, I will be forever grateful.
posted by sergeant sandwich to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This? Sure looks shopped to me but I wouldn't be surprised if it had some story behind it.
posted by crapmatic at 11:36 PM on August 26, 2008

Response by poster: yes, that, though at the time it was minus the asinine commentary. thanks!
posted by sergeant sandwich at 11:37 PM on August 26, 2008

I'm almost sure I saw it discussed on the Snopes message board 5 or so years ago. Maybe try their archives, or ask in a new thread?
posted by ROTFL at 11:48 PM on August 26, 2008

This thread?
Relevant quote:
"Over here in London I work in the recruitment industry - recruitment for graphic designers. When I first started out, back in 1997, this appeared on the front cover of the UK magazine "Creative Review." It is, in fact, a sculpture by a British artist. "
posted by strangecargo at 12:06 AM on August 27, 2008

For what it's worth, I found it by going to Google Images and putting in 'fat fall', as I figured those were the keywords most likely to bring it up. It came up third.
posted by crapmatic at 6:53 AM on August 27, 2008

The fleshiness of it and "sculpture by a British artist" makes me think of Ron Mueck, but a quick web search can't put that image to him. Not quite his style, anyway, so maybe not.
posted by Nelson at 8:09 AM on August 27, 2008

Best answer: Its by John Isaacs. There's another sculpture by him here in the Wellcome Collection in London.
posted by vacapinta at 8:27 AM on August 27, 2008

Response by poster: YAY! thank you all. john isaacs it is!
posted by sergeant sandwich at 9:40 AM on August 27, 2008

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