It’s an old black and white photo of a “Thunderbird”/Pterodactyl shot down proudly displayed by a bunch of cowboys standing. It’s the elusive Lost Thunderbird Photo, which many people including noted cryptozoologists remember seeing, and yet, no one can produce the photo itself. The best people can come up with are illustrations of what the photo looked like.
A fascinating conundrum: is it a “glitch in the Matrix”, where all evidence of the photo has been erased from reality, except for the memories of those who saw it? Or rather an impressive glitch in our own memories, that is, a false memory? One spontaneously created? Is that even possible?
I side with the false memory explanation, and about it, I stumbled upon a very similar case down here south. Yes, we have our own “lost Thunderbird” enigma, and it is a video!
That, you will certainly recognize, is a clip from the movie “Signs” (2002), where one of the stupid “melt-with-water” aliens terrorizes a birthday party supposedly in Passo Fundo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
Now, the fascinating bit: many, many people claim this footage is real, that they saw it many years ago on some TV show. “Fantastico”, a prime time Sunday night show is often referenced, as it used to feature many UFO and paranormal cases.
That we can say for sure, didn’t actually happen. The clip was created by Shyamalan, and features many obvious goofs: the car is too old to be in someone’s garage (not for the last 30 years, Brazil is not Cuba); the video quality is too good to be shot on a home camera, some people there speak Spanish (Portuguese is Brazil’s language), and the final and definite nail is the boy screaming “is behind”.
Why would a Brazilian boy suddenly start screaming in broken English? Well, because that’s an American movie. The boy is in fact actor Kevin Pires, credited on IMDb.
When shown evidence that the footage couldn’t possibly be real, some people claim it was rather a reproduction of the original, real footage of an alien invading a birthday party in Passo Fundo.
“Let it be known that the scene that appears in the movie Signs, with Mel Gibson, where an alien appears in a birthday party in Passo Fundo is the reenactment of an ufological event that happened in the end of the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s. In spite of pseudoscientific websites and even seasoned ‘ufologists’ claiming the contrary, the fact happened and was aired by Globo TV in their programs Jornal Nacional and Fantástico. The video, obviously, doesn’t have the same quality as the movie, but the reproduction of the scene was extremely close to the real one. We are searching the original footage, if you can help, please contact us.”
Sounds familiar? By the way, those “pseudoscientific websites claiming the contrary” is a reference to my Brazilian website, where I debunked the claim the movie scene was real.
“I wasn’t on the birthday party, but I lived in that time and have always lived in Passo Fundo. And I heard that news when I was a kid and I believe I saw a UFO myself at that time, or at least, the second half of the 1970s.”
“In another community, someone showed up saying the Passo Fundo case happened in 1992 in the Embrapa village, near UPF.”
Some people even claim they saw Shyamalan in an interview claiming that the scene was inspired by a real Passo Fundo video of an alien. I asked where they saw it, but they couldn’t remember it either. My guess is that that doesn’t exists.
“Signs” is a terrible movie, the plot and the signature Shyamalan twist-ending is revolting. But it does have an atmosphere, and in some level, Shyamalan seems to have convinced many Brazilians that that alleged news footage, with many clear signs of being fictional, was actually real. That, in turn, seems to have inspired a bunch of false memories.
Of relevance is that many people are apparently remember exactly what Joaquin Phoenix’s character is doing in the movie: they saw it on a TV news program. People literally feel thay are part of the movie.
Many people will keep looking for that “original footage” of a birthday party in Passo Fundo a couple of decades ago, a video that, if real, would have certainly have come to the attention of many researchers before the movie was shown.
Say what you want about Shyamalan, that he was able to create a new “Lost Thunderbird” phenomenon, implanting false memories into a bunch of Brazilians is impressive. Pardon the terrible joke, but I can’t help:
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