Friday, April 29, 2011

FACT OR FAKED: Playground Poltergeist - Alien Intruder

SyFy -- Orginal Air Date: 4/13/11

Passed over this week are "Pantry Ghost," in which a door mysteriously opens, is closed, and a face appears behind the pantry door window.  (Too convenient, no reaction, and a subtle edit for the SFX.)  "Dome UFO" seems to show a light hovering over the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, before shooting into the sky.  The fact that there are no other witnesses to this, and that it looks like CGI rule this out.  Leaving the two cases to follow up: Alien Intruder, in which a Florida couple claims to have caught on camera an alien spying into their bedroom.  Now they have a second strange video, seeming to show a hovering, ghostlike alien.  The second case is of a swing set in Argentina that seems to swing on its own -- but only one of the three seats.  Legend has it that the swing is haunted.

In Argentina, the team talks to the original witness, then they try pulling the swing with mono-filament wire.  It looks good, but you can see the line, plus the swinging swing is ongoing; surely no one would hang around for this long a hoax.  Next, they build a duplicate swing set right next to the "haunted" one.  But, when set in motion, the new swing does not keep going like the original.  Next, they put up an air-supported dome to isolate the swing and use a fan to simulate various wind directions.  Doing this, they discover the center seat is slightly wider than the other two, and the right angle of wind sets it going while the other to remain stationary.  (They don't mention that the swing stopped swinging when they put up their dome.)  So, no hoax, just normal fluctuating wind conditions.

In Milton Florida, the team talks to the people supposedly being harassed by these "aliens;" they also claim worm infestations on their lawn.  The homeowner has set up elaborate mirrors (and even strobe lights) to fool the aliens into thinking that they are not being filmed.  It seems ripe for a hoax to me, but the crew takes it very seriously.  First they use an art mannequin and try to replicate the alien in the bathroom -- they come pretty close.  Next, they set up to see if cast shadows (from a coat rack) could cause an optical illusion of the floating "alien."  Close, but not close enough.  So they set up a puppet to fake the video.  This is closer, but not as eerie as the original. This could be either an illusion or an intentional hoax, but they decide to do a stakeout and see if they can find any evidence on their own.  They set up lasers and one-way mirrors, and monitor the homeowner.  They get electrical interference, the homeowner thinks he hears things, and they find a mass of worms on the lawn.  Did they cause their own electrical interference?  Is there something paranormal going on here.  Voice analysis says the homeowner is telling the truth -- but I'm still not sure I trust that tech.  The case remains baffling; the homeowners seem to believe something is going on.  But what?  I wonder if local electrical interference could be setting up a hallucinatory "fear cage" effect for the people living in the house.

Not a bad episode.  The swing debunking was really well done.  But the "alien" problem would seem to require more long-term surveillance.  (Something I wish was routinely done with contactees.)  Just because people believe something is real, doesn't mean it is real.

No comments: