But a series of images showing a creature closely resembling the character “Gollum” from Lord of the Rings now appear to have turned out to be “genuine”.
The photos were captured by a Chinese tourist in Huairou, who claimed to have had an encounter with a “monster” with human-like form but enormous ears.
He said he and his friends were camping in the wilderness when he spotted the “creature”, and he quickly took a number of pictures on his mobile phone before it scampered away.
In posts online he said: “I walked far away to have a pee, and suddenly saw a monster. I took a few pictures of it, but I am now terrified by my courage then.”
The pictures were widely shared via Chinese social media – until one commentator said he thought he might be able to explain the bizarre occurrence.
While there is no way of verifying his comments, the amateur actor said that he is in fact the subject of the photographs – dressed up in prosthetics and a leafy loincloth.
“Over the weekend I and my friends went to the mountains to take a mini sci-fi film,” he wrote.
“And when I was having a pee a person popped up and took pictures of me and shot away.”