Sunday, July 1, 2012

FACT OR FAKED: Surveillance Specter; Morgue Mystery

Syfy - Original Air Date: 6/26/12

This show follows its usual format, which I've documented many times, so I'll hit the highlights.  Passed Over This Week: Mississippi UFO -- Two lights hover over water, but they could easily be a military craft.  Russian Levitating Girl is blurry and likely faked, though some team members are interested in it.  Fort Worth Explosions -- The alleged UFOs are merely news helicopters reporting transformer explosions during a storm.

INVESTIGATED:  Surveillance Specter shows a spectral figure on a security camera at a supposedly haunted British school, Bellgrave Hall.  Bill says many paranormal investigator teams have looked into this video and not been able to determine what it is.  Falling leaf in rain test: Near perfect match, but they continue testing for due diligence.  Smoke Grenade Test: Similar, but not big enough, and the original "specter" seems to be in the air.  Flogo (floating soap bubble clouds) Test: Also remarkably similar, though a lot of trouble to go to.  It's a leaf. Yeah.  Why could none of the other "investigators" figure this out?  But, as Jael says, "True to Fact or Faked form, we should do a night investigation."  (I wish they didn't need these to sell the show.  Can you imagine Mythbusters doing this?)  They capture strange "footsteps" from overhead, where there was no floor above them, and a mysterious shadow moving across a stairway wall -- which is good as far as spookstuff goes, but still... Who cares?

Morgue Mystery is a photo that shows a spectral figure standing in front of boxes (looks like motion blur) and a video of an unattended chair toppling over during an investigation in a supposedly haunted morgue.  They figure the chair topple is either real or a hoax, no in between.  Spider Wire Test: A magnet on wire attached to the chair is a spot-on recreation of the original, but doesn't have the initial upward movement. Electromagnetic Hoax, using a tiny electronic ram that pops out of the chair leg is even better looking. The chair tip could definitely have been hoaxed.  Motion Blur Tests: Changing the camera settings quickly results in a good match, but they try some other ideas as well.  Anamorphsis Test is an optical illusion technique that creates a picture that can only be seen from one particular angle -- and that looks good, but the motion blur was better.  So, time for the ghost hunt (so believers will keep watching the show).  They get the usual equipment malfunctions, and film a doll on a string (the place is decked out like a haunted house) spinning where there is no wind.  Conclusion: Maybe paranormal, but the photo at least was motion blur.

My conclusion: Don't go hunting ghosts when you've got better explanations for "weird" events.  Have you ever seen a ghost hunt on one of these shows where absolutely nothing happens?  The cynical part of me suspects cameramen and/or Production Assistants goose things up a bit.

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