Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Archive for the 'Paranormal' Category

Open your mind

“A look at some of the flawed thinking that prompts people who believe in certain non-scientific concepts to advise others who don’t to be more open-minded.” [via ufofu]

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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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“Elephant Man” Pareidolia

emanpareidolia

elephant-manpareidoliaI received this photo from Carlos Santos, from Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal. “I took this picture of a house near mine, I was just experimenting, but later found the face you can see when zooming in… and I can’t find a valid explanation”, Santos wrote me.

He sent the original file, and besides being a fascinating and slightly spooky image, it shows no evidence of tampering I could find. Perhaps it’s the expression, perhaps it’s because it’s in black and white, or because it does not show a complete face, but it looks eerily similar to Joseph Carey Merrick, also known as the Elephant Man as portrayed in the movies.

Keep reading for a suggested explanation (well, it’s in the title, but anyway).

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Attack of the stick-figure aliens

Whitley Strieber called attention to two videos of “identical and extremely bizarre living forms have emerged from two different countries. Both show odd ‘stick figures’ that look nothing like any ‘alien video’ ever made. One was taken in Fresno, California [above] and the other in Santa Rosa de Quives near Lima, Peru [below].”

To Strieber, “the extremely bizarre nature of the figures and the way they move are so strange, and so completely unlike anything that has ever been offered before as “alien video,” the suggestion is strong that these are real images of unknown bipedal creatures, whose body morphology is so radically different from what has evolved on earth that the conclusion is almost inescapable that they are aliens”.

He does suggest, however, that they could be digital hoaxes. Greg Bishop at UFOMystic also suggests so. Keep reading for our ordinary investigations, with more stick figure aliens and some evidence to solve at least some of them.

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A Brazilian Werewolf – is back

brazwerewolfs

São Paulo, Feb 13: Woman claims to have been attacked by ‘werewolf’
According to the victim’s account, the creature looked like a big dog. Police is looking for a suspect that may have used a costume to attack the girl.

The inhabitants of São Sepé, Rio Grande do Sul, [Brazil] have one more reason to fear Friday the 13th. Besides the bad luck and the strange happenings during the day, a ‘werewolf’ is supposedly at large. One of the possible victims, a 20-year-old, recorded her complaint in the police.

According to the police, Kelly Martins Becker claims to have been attacked in the night of January 28 by an animal that looked like a big dog, that was standing on its back feet and walked as if it were a man. She made a sketch of the creature.

According to the complaint, the creature scratched the face and arms of the victim. The police informed that Kelly underwent medical examination, where the wounds were confirmed. Officers also claim they will investigate if someone is using a werewolf costume to scare people. No suspect was arrested until Friday.

AROUND THE COUNTRY
Cases similar to the one from São Sepé were recorded. In the rural area of Tauá, Ceará, locals asked for police help in July 2008, scared with sightings of an individual “half man and half wolf” that was stealing sheep and breaking into houses.

At the time, the police investigated the case, suspecting that a gang was using costumes to scare the locals and commit the crimes. The case, called ‘the midnight mystery’, then became a joke in the city.

In April 2008, some inhabitants of Santana do Livramento, Rio Grande do Sul, also had their moments of terror with the attacks of the ‘Man in the Black Cape’. With no solid evidence about the creature’s sightings, the police archived the records as folklore.”
From G1: Jovem do RS afirma ter sido atacada por ‘lobisomem’

monkeyman3We translated the reports about last year’s incidents, and this one even has a sketch of the creature. It’s relevant to note that São Sepé, the current werewolf-scared city, is near Santana do Livramento, last year’s scared city. Both being small rural cities. The photo above comes from Zero Hora, and the G1 link above has another photo of Kelly Becker and her sketch of the creature.

If you are a diligent Fortean, you will associate this series of reports with popular panics around the world and history, from the more recent Monkey Man in India (c. 2001) going as far back as the Spring-Heeled Jack in England (c. 1837 and onwards).

And those are just the more obviously similar and famous cases. So similar they are almost identical, with only a couple of differences, like the height of the Indian and the Brazilian creatures. Does this make them real?

Curiously, the more you acquaint yourself with numerous similar cases, the more an alternative explanation that sounds terrible at first looks more and more acceptable. It’s mass sociogenic illness. Or, as it’s popularly known, mass hysteria.

It’s a damned expression, due to no doubt much abuse. Robert Bartholomew is the name to look for if you still dread that term. See: Protean nature of mass sociogenic illness – From possessed nuns to chemical and biological terrorism fears.

We shouldn’t keep abusing the term and tagging everything as “mass hysteria” – criminals could be using costumes, and it’s not impossible that an unknown violent bipedal creature is lurking those places. Only highly improbable, the more so as no solid evidence ever comes up.

And the one important thing about ‘mass sociogenic illness” is that though the creatures may not be real, the victims are. They may also be highly educated, intelligent people.

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