Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Poor Brazilian, a "Horned Bipedal Beast"

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Click on the image for the original post on Loren Coleman’s Criptomundo. The photo was sent to him with this report:

Loren, hopefully you can shed some light on this thing. The thing has many human qualities I can see under a scope. [It] appears to have clothing, however the burnished bronze color throws me off. [It was] photo[graph]ed by a 15 year old American girl. She was on tour with a group from Michigan. Supposedly the temp. is 100+.

Loren, the photo was taken in July 2007. The story behind it is this little 15 year old girl was attacked by this [thing]. How it happened is unclear. I met personally with the girl and her parents; I felt imposing since I had just met these people for the first time. It was a large family gathering and I was an outside guest invited. Still not sure why I was invited other than they had motorcycles and needed answers to questions. I was their answer guy.

Her father plainly said she’d not be going on anymore trips out of his sight. Supposedly this thing grabbed her and attempted to hold her and put mud in her face and hair. She said she couldn’t get away from it by pulling so she got a firm hold and tackled it causing it to lose balance thus allowing her escape.

Supposedly there are other witnesses; I am still trying to get more info.

The area is: Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brazil.

Surely, someone there knows of this incident.Two-Cam McLaren, August 9, 2007.

Coleman thinks it’s “intriguing, if not curiously prosaic”, and remarks that “anything is possible as an origin of any new photo”. It turns out that though anything is possible, the most prosaic explanation indeed must be the answer to this. And it’s so prosaic any Brazilian, like me, would find it not only obvious but slightly revolting.

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That mud area we can see in the photos is what is called “manguezal“, and it’s a very  important ecosystem in Northeastern Brazil, not only for the environment but also for the locals. The image at left of very happy people are some tourists bathing in mud, but the  second and third one are from locals earning their life. They mostly catch crabs in the mud, and end up almost completely covered in mud.

It’s obvious the original photo sent to Coleman is of a local covered in mud, probably a man. You can see that he’s wearing a T-shirt and pants. The “horns” are the same as we can see in the tourists above: it’s just something you can do with your hair when it’s covered in mud.

The “Manguezal” culture was even promoted in the 1990s in Brazil as a nice cultural movement, the “Mangue Beat“, leaded by band “Chico Science”.

Now, Coleman may not be blamed for sharing this pic, warning about it possibly being fake and asking for input. People outside Brazil may not be used to see homo sapiens covered in mud — though even Americans my have watched somewhat similar “Give it Away“.

But those who sent the photo and called that guy, very probably a poor local earning his life, a “Beast”… I don’t know which is worse: that they were indeed “attacked” by “it”, and did not realize it was a human being; or if they knowingly called a local a horned Beast.

Update: Coleman quickly and kindly posted our explanation on Criptomundo.

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Posted in Criptozoology,Fortean,Skepticism | 1 comment

That Italian Air Force UFO video

 

Shortly before those amazing Haitian/Dominican videos, one of the biggest Youtube UFO sensations of 2007 was this one, allegedly from a source within the Italian Air Force. That was quickly dismissed by the actual publicizer, Paola Harris, on UfoUpdates:

This old Film Footage I have been showing for 3 years and It was given to Us Italian Researchers… not By the Air force. It is our Technology.

I had a cassette examined in Hollywood by my friends Rob and Rebecca Gordon who had the connections and money to do it. It was a 7th generation – copied 7 times – cassette. It was given to us with no explanation. It is a real object in the film. It has been shown in my MUFON and Laughlin Presentations and someone put it on U-TUBE [sic] and Google!

This all takes place in the Veneto region of Italy at a place called Ponte di Giulio. Near Aviano NATO Base. It is a dry river bed where the military does maneuvers and the photographer was on a tripod waiting for the object to come out of the woods. I doubt aliens appeared there!

Though the claims about it being real and “our technology” couldn’t be verified to this day, the ones about its origin could. Italians Antonio Pischiutti and Stefano Saccavino visited the location, near Ponte de Giulio, in Pordenone, and took this photo from roughly the same spot:

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Many Italian ufologists received the video from the anonymous source some years ago (more on this below), but apparently only Harris started to promote and sell it abroad on a DVD. Somehow, that resulted in two versions of the video (one converted directly from the DVD, at the beggining of the post, and the other filmed from a projection/screening of it) being recently uploaded to Youtube, and the rest is history. That we will tell here.

Given the anonymous source and the poor quality of the Youtube versions, it was expected that no definite proof of “authenticity” or of the probable hoax would be found, but people worked on it anyway and endless debate ensued. One of the most interesting evidence of hoaxing was pointed out by “onthefence” on the OpenMindsForum:

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The alleged UFO has a very different blur from the background. Though it has been reasonably suggested that that was the result of poor rendering of the 3D model on a computer, I think it has more to do with the simple difference in contrast between the flying saucer and the background in the original footage. Because the video versions initially on Youtube have such poor quality, I don’t think this “pulsed” blur artifact from a quick rendering of the 3D model would show up. One can barely discern details in the craft. Either way, it’s clear evidence that the flying saucer and the background are two very different things. One is real, the other is not.

Further evidence of hoax include the so convenient and extremely lucky cameraman (who according to Harris was using a tripod (!!!)). He had the saucer hovering near that chimney that turns out to be from the nearby power plant and which makes a nice detail. But do not make much sense because in the real geography of the place, the saucer at that point was actually hundreds of meters away from it. Only the cameraman at that point had the illusion that the saucer was near the power plant — and only if he had no depth perception.

But if things remained at this point, only skeptics would be satisfied to consider such soft evidence on such bad quality, anonymous video, a case closed for hoax. Fortunately, another Italian ufologist who received the original footage years ago decided to step up.

 

Antonio Chiumento, contrary to Paola Harris, allegedly chose not to publicize the video he received because of the anonymous, unknown origin. Wise decision. It remained archived for years, but after the international Youtube sensation and subsequent echoes in his very own country about it, he finally spoke about it. And we are glad that he did.

In the videoclip above you can watch the best version of the infamous video yet available on the internet. That’s probably because they are showing the original video that Chiumento received directly from the anonymous source. You can see clearly that the flying saucer is fake, as it clearly stands out against the background many times. As it was made three or four years ago, the CGI is not near as good as the Haitian/Dominican videos — in which, we must note, the UFOs blended well with the scenery because everything was computer generated.

Not only that, but the local TV station received a phone call from the alleged authors of the video, who confessed it was created with Adobe’s After Effects post production software. Though this confession cannot be confirmed (as the original source was anonymous), we don’t have so many reasons to doubt it since there’s such clear evidence already that allows us to conclude this one is indeed a hoax.

[This post is heavily based on the original dossier at ufofu]

UPDATE: I became aware that in the interview, Italian researcher Chiumiento actually tells much more than what I described above, at times incorrectly. He received the video from an anonymous source and after seeing it immediately considered it a hoax, given the evident difference in sharpness between the UFO and the background. He then received an email confession from the author, at the time, who made the video as part of a Computer Graphics class. He repeatedly emphasizes that no video, photographic evidence, no matter how good, is valid without a good supporting testimonial evidence. In this case it was also anonymous, so that’s another reason that he ignored the video.

This was all allegedly clarified long before the video became famous on Youtube recently, and Paola Harris claimed it was declared authentic by Hollywood experts.

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Posted in Fortean,People,Skepticism,UFO photos,UFOs | 12 comments

Controlled implosion on 9/11?

You can watch above the controlled implosion of the “Landmark Tower”, a 30 story building more than a 100 meters tall. The show happened in March 2006, and conspiracy websites all over the internet excitedly compare that to the colapse of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11.

Though there are indeed some similarities, there are also notable differences. As you can check on other videos of the implosion of the Landmark Tower, here or over here, on a controlled demolition the building collapses from bottom up, and the whole structure crumbles easily while it falls — because the initial rounds of explosives already weakened it so much that it barely stands when the final rounds are detonated. They are controlled implosions.

In contrast, on the Twin Towers fall, the collapse started around the area hit by the planes, and one can see clearly that both the structure above and below the collapsing zone remains more or less intact, until it’s hit by the falling floor above or approaches the ground and join the rubbles.

As you can watch above, the collapse happened because of the weakening of the steel structure of the building, due to the prolonged heat of the uncontrolled fires.

This explanation, strongly refuted by conspiracy theorists, is clearly demonstrated by many incidents where fires weakened and caused the collapse of metallic structures like bridges, or the Oakland overpass. Those lessons are humorously approached on the 4/29truth.com website.

Though we can compare them to many known events and knowledge, it’s true that the attack and the subsequent fall of the Twin Towers was a unique event in many aspects, if only for their scale. It’s no wonder that seems so counter-intuitive, but one of the most counter-intuitive aspects — the fact they fell amost straight down — has one simple physics answer. And it’s related to their scale.

There was no chance of either tower tipping over, for a 500,000-ton building has too much inertia to fall any way except virtually straight down.
[Did you know?]

Each of the towers were four times higher than the Landmark Tower imploded at the begging of this post. Similarities, indeed, but also notable differences.

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Posted in Miscelaneous,Skepticism | No comments

Aquatic "alien" video

Turn down the volume (unless you are into loud Arabic music) and check the video above. A few months ago, infamous paper Pravda reported that “Russian fishermen catch squeaking alien and ate it“. The video clearly shows the same “alien”. As Mexican weblog MarcianitosVerdes wrote at the time, it’s another Garadiavolo case.

As you can read on our entry about those abominable creatures, they are just common rays, skates and species alike. What look like evil eyes are actually nostrils. The real eyes are on the other side of the fish.

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Posted in Aliens,Criptozoology,Fortean,Skepticism | 1 comment

The Brit Balloo-FOs invasion

French blog ufofu wrote about the recent mass “UFO” sightings in the UK, which turn out to be just small hot-air ballons, chinese lanterns. They made a nice compilation of the incidents to go along the nice image seen above:

Did you notice almost all sightings happened in or near the weekend? Ufofu did. That’s when those Earthlings are used to party, for whatever reason. And it just happens that recently, chinese lanterns are easily available in the UK.

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They quote BUFORA’s Robert Rosamond, who confirmed they are aware of that.

“Our volume of incoming reports continues to expand of late with a particular surge in sightings that more or less exhibit the known behaviour patterns of our old friend the Chinese lantern. We have also recently received a series of requests for information on various sightings from numerous radio stations dotted around the country, most of which curiously enough contain brief descriptions of sightings that suspiciously exhibit the same known behaviour patterns of, take a guess,…. Chinese lanterns. Islington, Stratford-upon-Avon, Watford and Bangor Co. Down, to name but a few, are some of the culprits”, he writes on BUFORA’s homepage.

Of the many website selling chinese lanterns, one pointed by ufofu is particularly interesting: UFO balloons. Check their “Sightings” section.

While thse Balloo-Fos are being quickly solved and not being seriously considered by serious ufologists, ufnortunately the same cannot be said about the other invasion of Identified Flying Objects: the terrible “Flotillas” (Fleets, in Spanish) of Jaime Maussán.

Those obvious helium balloons, originally promoted in Mexico by the world-famous hoax promoter, were originally filmed by one of his collaborators notorious for photographing a cheap toy and claiming it was a flying saucer. Most English speaking ufologists do not take the Flotillas seriously, but unfortunately in Latin America, including Brazil, and also in Spain some UFO promoters claim these Balloo-FOs are mysterious.

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Posted in People,Skepticism,UFO photos,UFOs | No comments