Friday, April 29, 2011

FACT OR FAKED: Dashcam Chupacabra - Nightly News Alien

Syfy - Original Air Date: 4/20/11

"Haunted Funeral Home" features two knuckleheads breaking into a funeral home that's supposedly haunted; tissues fly into a lamp, chairs fall over -- but it looks staged.  The "Lake Lure Ghost" seems to show a ghostly figure near an ice sculpture - but it looks like a long exposure motion blur to Chi-Lan (and me, too).  So the two cases to check out are... From Argentina (again) comes "News Alien," which seems to show a "nightcrawler" like alien walking casually behind an interviewee.  The alien was only spotted when the film aired on TV.  It looks like a fake to me, but off they go to investigate (probably along with last week's haunted swing -- ganging up a trip, I suspect).  "Dashcam Chupacabra" is a video from a squad car showing a strange, hairless doglike animal running down a dirt road in Texas, and a rancher claims to have a carcass.

In Dewitt county, chupacabra rumors run rampant, so they go talk to the rancher who has one stuffed and mounted.  The specimen is a strange, dog-like creature with big fangs and long claws.; the ranch owner claims to have seen another one 3 days ago.  She also has the carcass (meat) of the stuffed one in her freezer -- and is happy to provide samples for genetic testing.  Then, they talk to Sgt. Carter who took the original video.  Could it be mistaken identity?  They set up a simulated dash cam and bring in local animals to check against, including a miniature horse (nope) and an Peruvian Inca orchid dog (very similar, especially in the run - but the snout is wrong).  So, they do a night watch to try and find a live one and use a helicopter drone to help them look.  (Nice tech!  That'll generate UFO reports!)  They hear howls and see something on their IR and night vision cameras, but it's only cows.  The DNA sample comes back as a hybrid of gray Mexican wolf and coyote.  Case solved.  But is this beast the "real" chupacabra?

Austin claims they blew the alien case in Patagonia "wide open"; let's see how they did it.  First they test a stray wind sock blowing past to see if it could be mistaken identity -- but it's too windy to even pull that hoax off.  Could it be a worker moving some kind of equipment?  Nope. Then they notice the alien is casting a shadow opposite that of the reporter in the foreground.  Looking like a hoax, so they go and ask the videographer flat out: Is it a hoax?  "No. Not completely."  Did you fake it? "Yes." He says he did it as a joke, and he then shows us how -- using an animation program that looks like Poser.  (I use the same program to make art.) The hoaxer thinks local people have a predisposition to believe in such things, because of local UFO sightings.  Naturally, because you always have to do a night investigation, they now set up one to look for UFOs on the coast.  Bill suggests that local thunderstorms might attract aliens -- though I think it more likely to create ball lightning or other electrical phenomena.  Jael also mistakes what looks like lens flare for some kind of "gray halo."  (Nailed by Chi-Lan, later on.)  The local sea lions begin acting up, and Jael hears strange whistles, from atmospheric electrical events -- an approaching thunderstorm, it turns out.

Aside from the night investigations, which seem increasingly silly and irrelevant to me, this show featured some very good bringing the truth to light.  I know that "Ghost Hunters" has made tromping around in the dark popular -- and viewers are more easily creeped out at night -- but I wish there were less of it.  A lot less.


Autumnforest said...

I admit that I was happy they did the chuppie story and, in fact, it was the only worthy case they followed all season. I am not holding out a lot of hope that they can pick good cases next season. It seems like they're a bunch of kids in the slow learning class in school trying to figure out grown up puzzles. Unless they totally revamp their cast, I don't know how they can carry the show. I can't believe they even pursued the swing or the obviously hoaxed bad-looking alien. Oh my (sigh). Great synopsis of it! You'd enjoy the "LAUGH" series in the top buttons on my blog. I do ridicule FoF in quite a few issues of it. Should have you laughing pretty hard.

Stephen D. Sullivan said...

Actually, I think they determine what to look at based somewhat on number of hits on the videos -- and possibly how many folks seem deceived. "I want to believe," the X-Files said, and it never ceases to amaze me how many people will throw aside logic and good sense because they want to believe in aliens or monsters or whatever.

So, I think that FoF is providing something of a service -- by bringing the reality of these cases to a wider audience on TV. Yes, some may seem silly to me (or you), but a lot of people still have the crazy idea that you can't say it on TV (or in print) if it's not true.

I have no idea who they think is handing out Truth Licenses to TV and print media.

Maybe FoF should do a show on that.