“An Alien at the Forestal?” asked Chilean ufologists back in 2004. The image was quite the sensation at the time, going from Chile to Japan in no time, where it was even compared to a Kappa, a Japanese water imp.
But what was the business of a Japanese water imp strolling along at a Chilean park?
First things first. The photo was captured by Germán Pereira, a civil engineer, while visiting Concepción. On May 10, 2004, at around 5:40PM, he took the shot of the mounted policemen. The next day he realized what looked like a strange little fellow. From there to the local UFO groups, and then to local and soon international press, it was a matter of days.
Unfortunately, the photo is very blurry. The camera was set at a relatively long exposure time (0,1 seconds), which only made things worse since he used the optical zoom (10x). So any slight shaking of his hands would result in a badly blurred image, and that’s exactly what we see.
Apparently the image came first to the “IIEE” (Institute for Exobiological Investigation and Study) UFO group, but “CIFAE” (Aerial Phenomena Investigation Corporation) was first to get press.
The many subsequent “analysis” went from the ludicrous to the quite reasonable. Of particular interest was the summary by Camilo Valdivieso of “9 theories” for the creature, translated by Scott Corrales. It was:
- Alien (“its macrocephaly or its elongated arms”);
- Imp or Gnome (“Without a doubt one of the most accepted theories by the public regarding the strange creature.”);
- Tree branch
- Light and shadow play
There was already talk about another photo showing the spaceship from which the creature came, and then “skeptical” analysis by rival local UFO groups claiming the photo was manipulated (of which there’s actually no evidence), and/or that the creature was simply pareidolia (possible, but not probable).
A reasonable suggestion finally came to public light when IIEE, which as you will remember, is the other local UFO group with a curious acronym, suggested not only that it was a dog, but showed filtered images of it:
Soon CIFAE came to defend their case. In “Restoration of the Parque Forestal Image” (scroll down), they actually replied quite reasonably that the image processing done by IIEE was somewhat arbitrary, and that a correct attempt at restoring the image for its several artifacts, mainly the motion blur, would result not in a clearer but in a lot more bizarre dog.
The deconvoluted image by CIFAE at right:
So, the creature wasn’t a dog?
Well, it most probably was. In the end, or actually, from the beginning, not only IIEE, but local skeptic Diego Zúñiga suggested it.
CIFAE did manage to restore clarity to most of the image, which was motion blurred by the camera’s movement. What the restoration didn’t correct was any additional motion blur caused by the creature itself.
That is, besides the camera shaking, if the creature was also moving at a different, and significant direction and speed, then its motion blurring would be much more complex and the deconvolution applied to the whole image would not restore with much clarity the “unblurred” image of the creature. The fact it doesn’t look exactly like a dog is therefore not a refutation of the idea.
Weighing the evidence, the height of the creature is that of a common dog. It does seem to have legs. It didn’t startle the policemen, nor the photographer. Though analysis of the image doesn’t allow us to extract the exact image of a dog, pending further evidence this is not a mystery at all.
And the funniest thing is, of all the wild theories listed, a dog was not included among them.
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