Sunday, October 30, 2011

FACT OR FAKED: Area 51; Cajun Apparition

SyFy - Original Air Date: 10/26/11

The videos that fail the test to be worth investigating this week are Utah Sun Halo, which could be UFO stargate technology, but is actually a "sun dog" halo, an atmospheric condition created by ice crystals (great diagram of this, guys).    Goodyear Chupacabra looks almost identical to the one in their previous Texas chupacabra invstigation, likely a mangy dog or coyote.  Which leaves the new team to investigate this week's posers;

Cajun Ghost is a mysterious shape-shifting mist at The Myrtles Plantation, (supposedly) "America's Most-Haunted" in St. Francisville, Louisiana.  This place has a history that would do a horror film proud: abused slaves, murder, inter-racial affairs, a supposed Indian burial ground, etc., and they're clearly doing good business on their haunting.  The team tests whether the mist could be condensation on the video lens, but there's too much condensation, and you can't see anything.  They next text a windy fog vortex, but the fog diffuses too quickly.  The industrial fogger and flashlights also don't work, but using the IR light on the video camera in fog proves just right; a near-perfect match.  Naturally, despite having debunked this video, they have to do a ghost hunt as well.  And naturally the equipment does weird things and they catch "laughter" on their EVP session.  But they do figure out that a mirror casts strange, face-like shadows on a nearby wall.  Good catch there, though I'd have just skipped the ghost hunt and stuck to the facts.  (During a walk on the chilly night I saw this show, my breath produced a similar "ghost" on my glasses.)

Area 51 is a shape-changing UFO moving through the sky (supposedly) over Area 51, the secret government test facility which Ben admits he's wanted to go to for most of his life.  While there, the team is watched almost constantly by government agents at the edges of the secret base -- which I gotta admit is spooky.  First Ben, Jael, and Austin test a military heli-kite, a combination of winged kite and balloon used to check wind speed.  (Good idea, and they should have gone further down this line of reasoning.)  It doesn't look or behave right (because of its tether).  Then, they check a payload slung beneath a helicopter -- but the suspension sling is clearly visible, and keeping the helicopter out of the picture would require a dedicated hoaxer. 

So, they tromp around at night, trying to check out the forbidden area with telephoto lenses, during which time they're under constant security surveillance.  Momentarily, the base landing lights go on, and, almost simultaneously, something that looks exactly like a shooting star to me, streaks across the sky.  Coincidence, or something more?  On later analysis, Bill doesn't think it's a shooting star -- which makes me wonder how many shooting stars he's seen.  (I've seen dozens, more than 30 in one night alone.) Sadly, having failed to replicate the video, the show seems to buy into the "mysterious (alien) craft in Area 51" mythology.  Bill says, "Good work," but I say...

This "UFO" looks like a balloon cluster caught in high altitude winds to me.  In fact, it looks almost exactly like the simple balloon cluster from UFOS OVER EARTH: Mass Sightings in Mexico show.  The investigators on Fact or Faked should have checked that out before jumping to their own erroneous conclusions.  They got close with their heli-kite, but then stopped too soon.  Personally, I saw three UFOs this summer, and I suspect that one was just such a balloon.  (The other two were likely Chinese lanterns.)  Further, there's nothing I saw in the "Fact" video to indicate it was taken at Area 51.  The sky looks the same everywhere; where are the landmarks?  I also think a hoaxer designed this balloon to be a convincing UFO for his/her film.  I'm calling "Bullshit!" on the conclusion of this investigation.  I expect better from the Fact or Faked team; they haven't failed this spectacularly in quite some time.  I'm hoping in future that the show's need for ratings (by pandering to believers) won't outweigh their need to find the truth.

This week's quiz is of a supposed mythical beast sighting: Ontario Unicorn, which turns out to be CGI perpetrated to boost a local museum exhibit.  Glad they set the record straight on that, otherwise people might have been seeing unicorns in their gardens.

No comments: