Tuesday, May 15, 2012

FACT OR FAKED: Pride House Specter; Bluegrass Bigfoot

SyFy - Original Air Date: 5/8/2012

The cases passed over this week are: "Chino UFO" which shows an object in the sky with flashing lights, possibly a balloon with LEDs.  "Russian UFO Convoy" seems to show metallic saucers being transported on a military convoy, but they're only military hazardous waste container lids (up to 18' wide).  The in-break fake is: "NASA Tether UFO," which seems to show UFOs flying near the space shuttle, but it's just ice particles and an out of focus camera.  (Stop with the conspiracies, already!)

Pride House Specter seems to show a smoky figure descending a stairway in what is supposedly the most haunted house in Texas.  The photo was taken by a paranormal investigator who was working on his own (rather than with his group) one morning.  While that circumstance seems suspicious on its face to me, the crew checks out some non-fake possibilities. A time exposure of Austin in a track suit with dark shoes looks similar (and would look better if he were going up the stairs, rather than down), but it's not smoky enough.  So, they drop fake Christmas show (cotton) in front of the camera.  That, also, is close, but not quite right.  So they set up a projected image.  Again, good but not smoky.  Now, at this point, I would try some kind of simple double exposure or painted glass in front of the camera trick, but -- because there must be a ghost hunt every week on the show -- that's what the crew does.  They get even more "odd" noises and effects than usual, and a bathroom door even opens on its own (with Bill in the room).  Air pressure? Austin doesn't think so, but I've lived in old houses, and sometimes loose floorboards can cause door frames to warp and unlatch, so I'm not impressed.  They also have a thermal "hand print" on that same door (camera crew?) and a strange (human-like) whistling that can't be explained by local sounds.  At this point, I kindof suspect rigging (anyone remember the rigged "haunted" bar in Ghost Hunters?), but sadly, this is where the investigation ends. Truly paranormal?  You'd need a lot more time and good science to find out.

Bluegrass Bigfoot is two pieces of evidence: a photo of a hulking shape that looks like a gorilla crouched in foliage, and a video of a man-ape walking through the woods.  A man in the bushes isn't a match for the hulk, but a hawk landing closer by matches for a perfect misidentification.  (As also reported in MonsterQuest: Hillbilly Beast.)  Moving on, they put Ben in a bigfoot suit and try to match the video.  It's close, but he's still too human.  So then they try a huge bigfoot marionette; closer, but it walks like a drunken sailor.  So, they go for what was my first thought: CGI -- and with a little bit of animation and compositing, that's a perfect match.  Yes, you could have done this at home with Poser or DAZ Studio.  Fake busted!

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