Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Debunking roundup


I try not to post too many debunking posts in a row as it starts to get boring, but a bunch of images and claims have been circulating these past few weeks and I didn’t comment on them at the time. So I joined all of them into one quick debunking roundup, if you are still not bored by those.

I promise I will try to make the next post about something truly mysterious and wonderful, contrary to exposing some dubious, lame hoaxes.

Drones return to Argentina?

The Drones saga was some of the most interesting things in ufology in the past few years. Not only the drones themselves were beautiful, the CARET documents were carefully made and incorporated some good ideas from science fiction, including gravitic structures and not at all subtle references to the information age. That was some good hoaxing, if hoaxing can be good at all. It was fun, for sure.

Alas, it ended a couple of years ago, and since then people have been wanting more. That’s probably why when a “Man Photographs Aerial Enigma” in Argentina and involves what looks like a spiky object, the drones come to mind.

The man, initially anonymous but who has already came out as Rafael Pino, claims that he was driving his truck near the shore when he saw, 200 meters away, the “strange object” floating over the lake’s water. He stopped the car and took photos with his cell phone camera.

That’s why they have such poor resolution and quality.

87208721 8722

After the news apparently generated some buzz among the locals, another young man, Cristian Figueroa, has also come forward to claim he also saw something “similar” in the sky.

Nevertheless, in the original online news item of Diario de San Rafael, many readers have already expressed what is very probably the explanation to this “UFO”:windshield_ufo

I also have a cracked windshield”, writes one, laughing. “It does look like a windshield cracked by a rock. It’s my point of view, I hope it doesn’t offend anyone”, writes another. Along with several others.

Indeed, the “UFO” is apparently in the same perspective in all photos, as if it didn’t really move. Note that in the second photo, the line of horizon is tilted… but the UFO’s rightmost “spike”, which is actually a crack, is still parallel to it.

So, a cracked windshield looks like a good and obvious explanation.

This Argentinean case reminded me of another curious series of photo from Holland, taken in 2007, but only published this year.


The Dutch case was also associated with the Drones, and I initially thought it was a cracked windshield, but several people quickly pointed out that the UFO was in fact a Waldorf Box kite. Yes, a kite.


Could the Argentinean case be in fact a kite? Possibly, but the windshield crack looks like a better match, as the “UFO” doesn’t change perspective.

It could also be a UFO, or even a Pterodactyl, perhaps from outer space. As I write this even the Telegraph published the photo and mentioned these possibilities, except for the last one. But I doubt them and bet on the cracked windshield. Someone should check his truck.


Touched by a UFO


Andrew Pyrka was very confused. He was looking all around him, but could not see anything in the sky in any direction! So, Paul began trying to guide Andrew by phone closer and closer to the silver craft above him. At one point, Paul yells in the phone, "Andrew, you’re so close, put your arm up and see if you can feel anything."

Andrew Pyrka lifted his left arm straight up toward the sky. "Instantly, when I put my arm up, there was a huge jolt of electrical current that went down my raised arm. I don’t think I touched anything solid," he told me, "but I definitely interacted with some kind of strong field the UFO must have been giving off. But why couldn’t I see it where I was, while Paul could not only see it, he videotaped it for another fifteen minutes?" [Earthfiles, io9]

The most amazing thing, however, is that the video also seems to show that Andrew’s legs simply vanished! And he was floating in the air, legless!

Or perhaps his legs were just being obstructed by the crop field. If that happened with his legs, couldn’t it also have happened with the lower part of the “UFO”? Which could have been something very mundane, like a silo, or even the cabin of a truck? Forced perspective, as again, many readers pointed out in the io9 post.

You can even notice how the “UFO” was very far, as the air haziness affects it just like the background. No wonder Andrew didn’t see a thing around him and didn’t touch anything solid. But would he and Paul be as clueless (and without depth perception) to the point of not realizing the “UFO” was simply something very far away in the fields?

In other news, a giant man was responsible for the leaning tower of Pisa.


Giant man later said he felt a “huge jolt of electrical current” when he kicked the tower, but said he didn’t think he “touched anything solid”.


Paper evidence

Still with the crop circles, we have another one from Holland:


“With the presence of 3 people of the DCCA-research team (Sjaak Damen, Richard van Rijswijk and myself, Peter Vanlaerhoven), together with Pascal (friend of Richard), Robbert van den Broeke and Nancy Talbott (BLT Research Team Inc.) we had a strange experience. We all felt the energetic vibrations quite well and gave us a good feeling which was rare for that moment but it seems something can become even much more rarely. On this specific evening we saw two UFO-pictures on 2 different camera’s which are attached. These pictures were made by Robbert with us nearby, so we are sure these pictures are not manipulated. For myself, i saw the same UFO with my naked eye, just behind Robbert. He felt the presence of this object also. Robbert had earlier this day the feeling to make some pictures with camera’s of other people, we do[n’t] know why for now. Apparently it’s time to make another step for unidentified ‘things’ to show themselves more concrete to us.” [DCCA: UFO above Dutch crop circle]

The previous photos were these:


Reported here, and which were also captured by Robbert van den Broeke. It’s quite obvious how they were captured, especially if you remember that Broeke also managed to photograph aliens in his own house:


Try not to laugh, but those are the alien photos captured by Broeke. Of course, explaining the joke takes away its fun, but in any case, Royce Myers of Ufowatchdog also captured aliens. With a plastic spoon.

Broeke has even been caught in his same old technique. For instance, he allegedly captured this other alien in his house, which turned out to be a photo of a Mud-man, a native from New Guinea, published in Reader’s Digest.


Above, center, is the alien that Broeke photographed. Left is the original photo published in Reader’s Digest, and right is the photo blurred to highlight the exact match. The exposé comes from the Dutch Skeptics.

So, you can see how the alleged medium and friend of aliens, orbs and crop circles simply places cutouts in front of the camera. And you may have recognized that these recent spaceships he photographed near the Dutch crop circles, along with people from the DCCA and Nancy Talbott, from BLT Research, which claims to be “Crop Circle Science”, are just cutouts of photos originally from Billy Meier.


There is some distortion, as the cutouts may bend, and the photo I showed above is probably not the exact same photo Broeke may have cut out, but I hope it shows what is going on.

In one of the photos the cutout is glowing while the background is dark: the camera flash was triggered, probably automatically since it was dark, and the cutout near the camera reflected back the light. The fact it’s glowing is actually evidence that this “spaceship” was something small and near the camera to reflect the flash. The light from a flash only works within a few meters, beyond that it’s simply too diffused. Lame, lame hoax.

This is a debunking roundup and it’s already very long, but I have to mention it’s funny that photos from Billy Meier, hoaxes from Switzerland using models and photo montage, were used to hoax in Holland using simple photo cutouts. It’s funnier because Meier too has already photographed illustrations to claim they were real (see the Pterodactyl), and the tradition of using paper cutouts in photography goes back to the famous Cottingley fairies. Hoaxes creating hoaxes, from old hoaxed techniques.

Also, while seeking some good links to point here regarding the Broeke hoaxes, I also found the most excellent musings on the whole subject of crop circle research at UFOs at close sight. Be sure to read it, the author exposes just how Broeke is actually one of the main witnesses referenced in some of the few and famous published papers so often quoted to support something “mysterious” about the crop circles. And deconstruct mostly all the claims regarding “crop circle science”. There is none.

No wonder the circlemakers don’t bother to even criticize in detail the work from BLT or Eltjo Haselhoff in their book summarizing the field. If you read the book, which is more centered around the history and the art, along with the detailed criticism from UFOs at close sight, centered in the alleged “scientific evidence” of something abnormal, all the non existent mystery will vanish as it should.

Crop circles are art, human art. You can trace its origins and evolution. All the alleged “abnormalities” are misinterpretations, poor methodology and reasoning or outright hoaxes. Human hoaxes.



As I was finishing to write this roundup, a couple of other lame stories came up. First are the fairies in Croydon, published by the Daily Mail:


As Emperor has also noted, “it seems pretty obvious from the larger photo that there are a number of insects in the garden which are reflecting back the light of the flash”. We already had a similar case in Brazil, but around here they mentioned angels.

It’s curious that the Daily Mail, which also published in 1938 the photo of Colin Evans jumping, involves fairies, mentioning the Cottingley case, and that the real explanation involves insects close to the camera reflecting the flash, like one of the photos from Broeke. Which, if you remind, also involves cutouts, like the Cottingley case.

Even more curious is that in the same day, the same Daily Mail also published a story about a “UFO ‘filmed for 40 minutes’ by Chinese scientists during solar eclipse”. Even the Telegraph also covered the story, about how “the UFO world is alive with speculation that China is about to reveal details of startling and detailed footage of an unidentified flying object taken during the solar eclipse on July 22.”

But this is the last debunking of this roundup, as China Daily has published how “it’s an unidentified object, but ‘not a UFO’”. Be sure to read it too, as it makes very clear how the original facts regarding a simple image about the solar eclipse generated a whole lot of confusion.

By the way, did I note that the Telegraph is also the one that published the image of the Argentinean drone-pterodactyl-kite-windshield-crack?

And this ends our debunking roundup. It must have been boring and lame with such ridiculous mistakes and hoaxes, but sadly, not only are they given plenty of media coverage, even some “researchers” give them credit.

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Posted in Aliens,Fortean,Paranormal,People,Skepticism,UFO photos | 23 comments

23 Comments so far

  1. henteaser September 14th, 2009 8:19 am

    Attack of the Bokeh.

  2. joem September 14th, 2009 11:26 am

    I love the debunking posts! Keep them coming!

  3. Skinner September 16th, 2009 12:55 pm

    I love all the posts, keep up the good work.

  4. hannibal smith September 16th, 2009 10:27 pm

    To keep ’em honest, this is great and I hope you and others continue this as a regular spot!

    Thanks a bunch!

  5. hidflect September 17th, 2009 6:50 am

    Wait, wait… the Chinese one. That link’s image isn’t the only one. There was some kid who took photos with his hand-sized camera. That was a solid object, not a bright light. Is this getting buried by conflation?

  6. mactonnies (Mac Tonnies) September 21st, 2009 6:48 am

    Argentinian “drone” UFO likely crack in windshield: http://tinyurl.com/le6rns

  7. Rich in Washington September 21st, 2009 9:45 am

    I gotta hand it to you – you have more patience than I….
    These photos beg the question, though:
    How bad must a alleged UFO photo be before a ‘true believer’ would question it?
    I am continually amazed at the lameness of most widely circulated photos and videos as of late. At times I think the internet’s become a petri dish for silly superstition and goofy beliefs.

  8. hidflect September 21st, 2009 1:30 pm

    I’ve read from various sources that the aliens left in 1998. That would make the Phoenix Lights their swan song. And I must admit, if I look at all the video and photos since then, I haven’t seen one I would consider viable.

    P.S. Bob Lazar’s cam is the best one I’ve seen of them all (1990). But that UFO was being flown by USAF personnel!

  9. Les liens du dimanche #33 | ufofu September 27th, 2009 4:25 am

    […] debunke les canulars à tout […]

  10. hannibal smith December 15th, 2009 12:23 am

    Not boring at all my friend. Nice … and after your change of pace, I look forward to more in the future.


  11. Damn Data January 3rd, 2010 10:45 pm

    Snow circles…

    Tis the season to be dicking around in the snow, apparently. Crop circles are now soooooooo last decade, so it is good to get the ball rolling early for the new era of field formations – snow circles. The case comes from Robbert van den Broeke in the N…

  12. […] página http://www.skepsis.nl/mudman.html. En particular recomendamos el trabajo de Kentaro Mori en http://forgetomori.com/2009/ufos/ufo-photos/debunking-roundup/ […]

  13. "crop" squares in backyard - Alien UFOs May 12th, 2010 5:07 am

    […] dangers of Robert Van Den Broeke… Scroll down for the article named "paper evidence" Debunking roundup | forgetomori Google Translate Do something. If it doesn't work, do something […]

  14. comfortably numb May 21st, 2010 3:55 pm

    Hi, i’m a regular reader of your blog and often link to your excellent work1

    I wondered if you have had a chance to see this yet?


    thanks for the excellent reading and keep up the good work.


  15. Tony Hawkins May 21st, 2010 6:33 pm

    I’m very new to this website so I don’t know who I’m addressing. I am not a strong fan of debunkers or debunkees (?) but at least you have a sense of humour, which I find hopeful. It does seem the arguments follow set channels which do not seem imaginative enough in relation to unknown absolute reality (probably unknowable but even what might be known must be way beyond current thinking.) So, we have a phenomenon, hoaxing, which is itself a break in reality.
    I rather suspect a lot of very real information could be gleaned from this if we could find imaginative ways to study it. I’m not sure how far to go in talking about this to unknown people. So I’ll stop with if more than four dimensions are necessary to account for the quantum world, then they are be present at the macro level in some way. Isn’t it possible that hoaxing, like dreaming, is both influenced by past day events and makes preparation for coming events, sometimes with startling perspicacity, as though there was an intelligence at work outside the parameters of the day mind? So the total hoaxing world, (which could include all culture as a form of ‘deception’) itself might be a form of dreaming and there might be contiguous events showing something which no-one had been looking for.

    I can’t be more specific although I’ve had the odd experience which has left me feeling like I’m hanging over the edge of an invisible cliff. I feel we’re all being a bit like pre-Freudian dream collectors who haven’t yet twigged how astonishingly intelligent dreams can be even as they are apparently delivering what the conscious mind considers to be nonsense.

    I know there’s a germ of something here but I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful, or more coherent.


  16. Mori May 22nd, 2010 1:02 am

    Wow, great tip! Many thanks, I’ll write about it soon!

  17. […] objections to the purported evidence. Patrick Gross already did that. Also, I have already written a debunking roundup which included discussion on what BLT is still promoting. I assume Talbott sincerely believes these […]

  18. Inmado April 19th, 2012 1:40 pm

    People, please dont believe everything here on this site. Ofcourse its good to be sceptical. But the information you have got about the mudman? Man, dont make me laugh. You’ve got this from ‘Stichting Skepsis’. This is just a group who dont want to know the truth. Bashing everything. Not even think about the possibility that there is more then that we see. I believe this Mudman photo is just created by Skepsis itself. This group deliberitly broke this guy down.
    Because he became very very powerfull on the Dutch televisionshows. I mean powerfull in a good way. Ofcourse this group didnt want this to happen, because i believe they are controlled by the government (Illuminati).

    And also about the photo’s with the same ufo’s as Billy Meier. If there are UFO’s it is possible that the same UFO apeared on Van Den Broeke’s photo’s.
    I am a film / camera and Photoshop expert and I CANT find anything suspicious on the rest of his photo’s.
    You have to be a very very advanced Photoshop Expert to fake this. Except ofcourse the Mudman photo. Now why would this advanced Photoshop expert suddenly make a mistake on the Mudman photo like it is photoshopped by a child?!! Think about that!!!

  19. Mori April 20th, 2012 12:46 am

    Your justification makes belief the only possible conclusion: if it doesn’t seem faked to you, then it’s not faked — or it could only be faked by a “very advanced Photoshop expert”; if on the other hand it seems obviously faked, then it’s not faked — otherwise why would someone promote such poor hoaxes?

    Granted, you could argue that I just as well can only conclude everything is hoaxed. We may both be wrong.

    But then, the skeptical position by principle is certainly better grounded than yours, if only by suspending judgement.

  20. […] practices with which the latest Delgado-Chorley video is, unfortunately, consistent. Witness this article debunking Mr. van den Broeke’s past attempts at paranormal photography, specifically, his claims to have captured UFOs and aliens inside his own house, including an […]

  21. Hollywood Tomfortas September 2nd, 2012 11:42 pm

    Please visit Andy Russell’s blog where he notes Robbert van den Broeke’s latest achievement of having Princess Diana appear in his camera.


  22. […] Também preciso registrar que no caso do vídeo de Três Pontas, cheguei a defender, apressado, uma explicação incorreta. Vendo alguns segundos tive a impressão de que o OVNI seria uma lasca em um vidro, similar a estas imagens da Argentina, que são de fato nada mais que um pára-brisa trincado: […]

  23. Leopoldo Zambrano Enríquez November 1st, 2012 3:26 am

    Excellent work… Congrats!!!!!

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