Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Archive for April, 2009

Anti-Gravity Tube

Is it real? Is it magic? Is it a trick? CGI? Clever video editing?

It’s science! More videos and explanations after the jump.

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Quives stick-figure alien: indeed, a plant

A month ago we posted two videos of what looked like “stick-figure aliens”, one of them from Santa Rosa de Quives, Peru. We explained the so-called “Quives alien” as “just part of a bush”, that is, “a plant near the camera, and parallax giving the appearance of motion”.

We were right.

Now, after all the unfounded claims he uttered before, the local ufologist has finally publicized an “investigation” where he concludes exactly the same. He visited the location, which is fine, utters more illogical claims and shows some group photos, which is unnecessary, but most importantly, he finally shows a better quality version of the video that he had from the beginning. He has had this in his hands for months, perhaps even more than a year.

Just skip the first half (four minutes) of the video above to go straight to the better quality captures of the video. Or look at the screen capture below. And from it it’s fairly obvious it’s a plant in front of the man.

quivesbush02

A graphic from the video:

quivesbush01

And our original graphic, from a month ago:

3dquives

Fellow Luis Ruiz Noguez, who was the one to correctly call this one a bush from the start, thinks it’s very curious how the video was explored and publicized by the ufologist. The version that’s been finally published now is not only much sharper, from it we can see how the first publicized version was cropped, hiding much of the bushes, “as if they were trying to hide the true essence of the ‘alien’”, writes Noguez.

The local ufologist ends his analysis claiming that:

“The conclusions that we can come to are that the video of the Quives Man wasn’t a hoax, it wasn’t a planned thing, but rather and quite simply, a big confusion, I would say exactly an optical effect.”

Luis Noguez disagrees. “I believe the ‘Quives Man’ was a hoax, a deliberate hoax from an optical effect of parallax.” Even if you give the ufologist the benefit of doubt – perhaps he didn’t realize it was a bush even with his better quality version, and unintentionally cropped and degraded the versions he aired – that he took a month after it was exposed as as a bush to finally confirm it with the evidence he clearly had is very questionable.

As we emphasize, this is the same local ufologist who claims that his country is surrounded by fleets of UFOs (which are in fact common party balloons), and even that one such “UFO flotilla” warned about a recent earthquake. And he usually appears abroad representing the UFO research in his country.

Too bad for Peru.

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No more “Whatsits”?

whatsit

I’m very late on this, but David Acord has started a new weekly cryptozoological newsletter, The Cryptid Chronicles, and from the free sample first issue it seems very interesting. I found “The Whatsit That Wasn’t (Or Was It?)” story particularly nice, as to me it highlights how the public and media perception of creatures is influenced by culture. Acord writes:

“As we’ve seen repeatedly over the years, properly identifying strange mammals can be tricky. Mange or other skin diseases can turn otherwise normal-looking foxes, coyotes and dogs into weird beasts that are often hastily labeled as cryptids or, worse, bonafide chupacabras (as happened in Texas in 2006 and 2007). Usually the disease is diagnosed within a few days or weeks and the story goes away. But in 1971, a strange case popped up in North Dakota that fooled biologists and zoologists alike. (…)
It all started in the late fall of 1971, when Morris Baker found the animal on his farm in Rollette County during a snowstorm. Baffled by its strange appearance – it appeared to possess the qualities of several animals all rolled into one – it was sent first to the North
Dakota State University branch at Bottineau and then transferred to the Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot. Scientists at both locations were stumped, and gave it the nickname “Whatsit.” Others simply called it “The Thing.”

As it was 1971, there was still no Chupacabras label to put into the animal – the term would only be made popular in the late 1990s. And, more importantly, there was still no practical DNA testing. Even so, the “Whatsit” was eventually identified as a mangy red fox, but not after a long time.

Acord feels the explanation is puzzling nevertheless, as it would mean all those scientists failed to identify a common animal, and the news media didn’t exploit the blunder when it was discovered. Could this be?

I do think so, as all modern cases where DNA testing was conducted revealed these strange mammals to be indeed common, yet poor looking animals, and embarrassed some experts much sooner. And those “I have never seen anything like it” statements are always there. Invisible gorillas.

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How do you cut Einstein’s Brain?

einsteinbraincutbread

You may do it with a common bread knife and cut board. At least that’s what was done in the indescribable scene above, perhaps one of the most strange happenings in the history of science. And it was filmed. And we have the video.

The white object inside the jar, I must emphasize, is a piece of Albert Einstein’s brain. The Albert Einstein. The knife and board are common kitchen utensils, used to cut bread, I must repeat. Bread from Thomas Harvey, the man cutting a piece of Einstein’s brain to give as a souvenir to Kenji Sugimoto, a Japanese teacher fanatic for the German physicist. Sugimoto soon takes the piece to a Karaoke bar.

How come?

The unbelievable story of how this happened is documented in “Einstein’s Brain” (1994) by Kevin Hull. You can read a detailed (and hilarious) review in Encyclopedia Obscura: Einstein’s Brain, but keep reading to watch the whole thing along with some updates on the story.

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“Michael Jackson” ghost haunts Muhammad Ali?

Ghost? Michael Jackson?
Hi, I’m a boxing enthusiast. I was browsing youtube and found a video of the famous fight between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali, “Rumble in the jungle”. Well, at a point in the video (5:45~46 to be exact) a bizarre figure appeared in the background. I was curious, it’s certainly some problem that appeared due to the dozens of edits the image must have passed through… the eyes are even shining… or is it indeed some sort of hoax? Does anyone have an explanation?”

Asked Luis Fernando. The face is indeed bizarre, and I found it interesting enough to post here. And I honestly and unfortunately don’t have a clear explanation for the image. It could be a hoax, a bizarre face added digitally and recently to the scene, as what we assume would be the black hair around the face is actually transparent.

On the other hand, the are some things that interact with the image – passing both in front and behind the “face” – which suggest that it was not such a bad editing job. And also suggest that perhaps it’s not a hoax, but pareidolia. Even if I have no idea of what could have looked like a face with glowing eyes. Certainly the height of that face is not right, it’s at the height of everyone else’s waists. Perhaps a bag? I don’t know.

I compiled an animated GIF with the relevant section after the jump, but have no further comments. Do you have an idea of what could this be? Or is this uninteresting? Do share your thoughts.

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