Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

The Louisiana Swamp Monster

berwyn_monster

Originally aired as coming from Berwick, the quite fascinating image of “something” has already come to light as actually coming from a property in the Antioch Community, Louisiana.

It was originally posted on Dec 2 by “Hillbilly Willi” over at Archery Talk, with the whole background story:

“Very freaky trail cam picture…. dont know what to think..? Don’t know what to think about this one fellers…. Went and checked my camera today and this is what it had on it…. The ground directly in front of my tree was completely tore up, the trail cam had been torn off the tree, straps were popped and everything. Camera was laying face down about 10 ft. from the tree it was attached too. Bark was knocked off the tree where the camera had been, like something had knocked it off while trying to twist camera off the tree. This was the only picture I got of "it" as I had it set on a 2 minute timer. The first picture is of "it", and the second is a picture from a lil while ago of the same spot, just for reference. Checking this right at dusk with a 3/4 mile walk out ahead of you will scare a feller….. When I saw it, my blood ran cold. Still gives me shivers…. What do you guys think??”

The image is a damn fine job, but the story is just terrible. And Hillbilly Willi made the mistake of posting along with it that second picture “just for reference”:

berwick_november

The mistake is on the date: the reference image is supposed to have been taken over a week before the freaky one, and yet, as forum members noted, the leaves in the small tree at left look exactly the same. This is actually evidence that the time lapse between the two images is very small – hours, perhaps even minutes or seconds – and the dates have been altered afterwards to go along with the story.

This is clear when we see three other reference images the same author shared afterwards, dated November 26 and 27, and those do have the leaves in different positions. Apparently on November 30, they returned to the exact same position they were nine days earlier.

Or these dates are simply bogus.

swamp_monster_ref1

messing with the date on any camera is not per se evidence of hoaxing, but the third image shared by the author is also revealing because it shows him in the scene:

PICT0138_cropped

Which allows us to have some idea of scale, and what was the size of that creature if it was indeed real. And if it was indeed real, it wasn’t very big, as it looks almost half the size of “Hillbilly Willi”, with extremely thin arms.

mini_swamp_monster

Here too, there is a simple explanation that can be found on somewhat careless digital tampering. The creature is small not only because the author didn’t care very much in having it at the correct scale, but also because he must have used an image of a real deer to create his monster.

The texture, the size, length and width of the creature’s arms and body match those of a real deer, and it was by altering this real image that he got this level of creepiness. The arms were probably legs, and even the glowing eyes were copied and altered from real glowing deer eyes.

I made the comparison below, in the exact same scale, to highlight how the creature’s arms and overall texture matches those of a deer body and legs. In fact, the creature may have been created from another image of that exact same deer, as the leaves in both images suggest the time lapse between the two images — which are indeed two different images as the background is slightly different – is short.

monster_deer

That is, the terrible swamp monster may be simply an altered image of a deer.

But unless the author steps forward with details of the hoax, all we will have will be a story full of holes and a very dubious digital image.

Meanwhile, speculations are going around claiming this is part of a viral campaign either for the “Super 8” movie or “Resistance 3” videogame. The deer cam company, “Wildgame Innovations”, seems to be the profiting a lot from the case too, but none of these have been confirmed as the source for this.

From my part, I think this is just a prank from a hunter who also happens to be a talented graphic artist. He created his account on Archery Talk over a year ago, and posted his image more than a week before someone sent them to the TV station. He also doesn’t seem to capitalize on it for any movie or videogame.

Some have also been associating the image to this infamous 2007 clip:

Much as the “fallen angel” in this video looks like the Louisiana creature, this video was indeed part of a viral campaign, but for Diesel, having certainly nothing to do with this recent picture, except perhaps as an inspiration.

Night vision pictures are somewhat scary, something the Blair Witch project explored more than a decade ago. Even a common child may look somewhat creepy.

CabbageField014

An altered image of a deer, then, will not take much to look like a scary monster. Kudos to Hillbilly Willi nevertheless, the image is actually quite fascinating.

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[via Wired Web, Cryptomundo, ArcheryTalk]

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Posted in Criptozoology,Fortean | 14 comments

14 Comments so far

  1. puck December 14th, 2010 12:46 am

    It’s a very nice altered image. Definitely creepy. The lightened version of the swamp monster shows what looks like the outline of a shoe behind him on the right.

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  3. Jordi Soler December 14th, 2010 8:02 am

    Apparently it’s a viral campaign for the new J.J.Abrams movie “Super 8″: http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/la-pic-hoax/

  4. David Rysdam December 14th, 2010 10:07 am

    Nice analysis, especially the idea about it being an altered deer image, but I have to disagree with one item:

    And if it was indeed real, it wasn’t very big, as it looks almost half the size of “Hillbilly Willi”, with extremely thin arms.

    Thin arms, yes. “Half the size”, no. It’s crouching! The top of the head comes to about mid-thigh of Willi. If it stood up, it would be a couple inches shorter than he is. Plus the creature is foot or two farther back than Willi is in his image.

  5. Mori December 14th, 2010 7:11 pm

    Indeed, I made a quick guess but looking again the creature is not half the size of Willi, just slightly smaller. Definitely much thinner.

    Thanks!

  6. […] The Louisiana Swamp Monster – This is a hoax, and Forgetomori does a fine job of describing why. I’m linking to it because the picture is creepy as hell. […]

  7. Jane December 20th, 2010 8:24 pm

    Actually the leaves on the small sapling, left front, aren’t exactly the same in the two photos… very close, but not exactly. This doesn’t mean that I believe in the creepy white thing’s existence, only that I can see several differences in leaf positions and in size of gaps between leaves.

  8. […] The Louisiana Swamp Monster – This is a hoax, and Forgetomori does a fine job of describing why. I’m linking to it because the picture is creepy as hell. […]

  9. George Wagner April 12th, 2011 1:40 pm

    The problem I have with this “monster” is that it looks like something that could have been designed for a scarier-than-usual Walt Disney theatrical cartoon, circa 1932 or 1933.

  10. taylor April 17th, 2011 10:38 am

    If you look closely at the “monsters” feet I can swear that he has on shoes!!!

  11. MsMetalka June 7th, 2011 10:11 am

    Look closely on the monsters feet. Doesent it looks like some kind of converse sneakers on his left foot? And adidas trainer on the right? This monster seems to dont know what style it wants to wear :) Seriously, the forests are strange places with many misteries, but Im sure there isnt any creatures from games or horrors (even from photoshop)

  12. DoubleA July 11th, 2011 11:52 pm

    The monster doesnt appear to be wearing shoes. They look more like his actual feet. As for the tree not changing. If you look at the camera it is a different angle. Which means it was indeed two different shots. Obviously he had to of moved the camera. And the fact that you could “create” a monster like this isnt even a valid argument. You could make a real looking human person on a night vision camera. Who is to say this isnt real and your all ignorant for not believing? O.o

  13. Marker January 3rd, 2012 8:57 pm

    Although I doubt its authenticity, I disagree with pretty much all your points of reason. Here are my own. First of all, I’ve been working with Photoshop for almost 14 years now and I’ve done all kinds of photo manipulation commercially. I know what to hide to cover my tracks and what to look for to find someone elses. I have to say, if this is a hoax, the artist covered his tracks better than most could. I thoroughly analyzed both the genuine deer pic and the monster pic, looking for inconsistencies. The evidence I found was inconclusive at best, and could exist for any number of reasons other than tampering. The compression fragmentation of the image is consistent throughout, but that can be done by resaving the picture at a lower quality. The dimensions of the two original pictures vary slightly, the creature pic being reduced. The color of the “Wildgame Innovations” logos differ as well, indicative of the image being post-processed and resaved using a color space different from that of the IR cam. Again, the edit could have simply been to sharpen the image, which I do note has likely been done. But I highly doubt that this is a manipulated deer. They aren’t the only creatures with skinny limbs. If someone was living in the woods for an extended period of time, I would expect such a look. But it’s most likely a 3D model. Some strange shadows above the head and on the creature’s left side are inconsistent with the direction and sharpness of the shadows of the leaves on the left, which are practically stenciled onto the background. The creature itself is convincingly done. The shading is right on. Also the emaciated look of the arms, the way the skin seems to stretch across the upper chest, the shadow produced by the convex belly, and the dark protruding veins—even his stance. Hmm. His? I don’t see genitalia, but one of my edits seemed to produce a hint of something being there, either hidden by the shadow of the leg or it being an extremely hairy region. Either way, there is clearly a darker shadow in the crotch area than the ground behind him. Also, the mouth is smaller than it looks, the skin is just darker or the lips are bigger. It also looks like a few teeth are still in place. But I’m a graphic designer and would rather leave such an analysis to a bioligist. Can we get one?

  14. Einsteinjive December 19th, 2012 5:46 am

    There is no way any creature would be looking square into a camera lens taped to a tree just as it was about to snap a pic. Plus the stupid look on it’s face could only have been created by a certain familiar sort of earth creature (that uses telephones, gasoline, tylenol, bubble tape, and chicken wire.

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