Friday, 16 October 2015

The Farce is Strong. Examining a Paranormal Faker.

Perhaps the greatest irony there as ever been in the paranormal field is that the proliferation of cameras and video cameras has not led to a shred of compelling of evidence of ghosts or bigfoot or anything else. You'd think with almost everyone and their mother carrying a camera around with them 24/7 attached to their camera, with the videos immediately shareable that at least some convincing evidence would emerge.

Yet nothing.

What has increased is the amount of out and paranormal fakes. The producers of these fakes and videos are often prolific, and in the case of the individuals I'm focusing on today, often they become more  adept and crafty as time goes on.

The persons I'm focusing on aren't major para-celebs, I don't think they are making much money from their fakery. They are however lying to people. They are also quite agitated about "skeptics", and attempt to disprove many of the sillier claims put to them whilst publicly ignoring others and using them to remove signs of fakery from future efforts.

What follows is simply a look at things to look for in fake "ghost" videos in order to start to debunk them. The suggestions I make are by no means conclusive.

I first came across Sam posting on an FB page, her Youtube channel is here. Her first effort, below was unimpressive and frankly amateurish. Watch it and see what you think:

Notice Sam is quick to state the location of her boyfriend, not home, but during the activity she laughably turns away from the toy Darth Vader. Magicians call this misdirection, few do it as ham-fisted as this.

Clearly Sam does this to give her boyfriend time to move the toy. But where is he? The small bedroom doesn't seem to offer to many hiding places, under the bed being the most obvious.

When Sam gives us a brief tour of the room the area she focuses on least is under the bed. Check out the position of what looks like cardboard, and training shoe here from a brief glimpse:

After the toy is moved Sam engages in more misdirection, this time touring her home from other objects the "entity" could have moved, This allows her boyfriend time to get out from under the bed, dismantle the toy (don't panick its a Masher, they are meant to come apart like that), and get to the front door.

Evidence for this? Let's look at the positions of the two objects that were under the bed before the first bout of activity, where are they when Sam and BF return to discover Darth Vader has gone to pieces.

The heel of shoe is now is facing the door, its moved off the cardboard and further down the bed, also the cardboard has slid much further out of the bed. Almost as if someone slid out, and didn't have time to adjust the items he disturbed. Again Sam realises she is shooting the base of the bed and sharply raises the camera.

I suspect the main criticism of this video was that Sam is careful to ensure no activity occurs on camera.

She rectifies this in the next two videos.

As you can see this one is far more ambitious. Sam has, I believe, used stop-motion to achieve this one. There are three quite clear indicators.

1. The lighting conditions can be seen to change if you observe the couch rather than the head movement.

2. The focus adjusts rapidly if only slightly.

3. The lightsaber also moves but in a jumpy, sporadic way, not as with the smoother head motion. 

To see this clearly, watch on 0.25 speed and full screen.

Onto the next video. This time we see Vader's head fly off at speed. What is worth remembering here is that with "Mashers" the head is extremely easy to remove. In fact that is the point of the figure, you can remove the parts and swap them with others in the range.

 This one offers the clearest evidence of fakery. Watch it yourself on full screen, as Sam's partner handles the head at around 1.18 switch to 0.25 speed again. You should be able to see evidence of a fine line wagging above Vader's head:

Here are some stills in case you didn't manage to catch the wire or thread yourself:

And again, sadly as unclear:

At this point I confronted Sam on the facebook page with my conclusions. She was extremely dismissive initially, but checking her recent video she seems to have picked up on the criticisms I levelled:

Notice the new video cuts after the head is yanked off now, presumably this is so the pair can ensure any wires or lines are removed. Sam's partner also addresses claims by skeptics that Vader's head is spring loaded. Not sure who has made this claim, but by focusing on it the pair neatly avoid addressing the claims that skeptics have made about their videos that are actually true.

One thing I can't speculate on here is why Sam, or anyone else, would fake a paranormal video, Perhaps seeking attention, or fame or validation even.

As for me: the number one thing I've learnt from looking at these videos for a number of years. Never just look at what you are supposed to look at. Always examine the edges, the times after and before the "occurrence".

If you notice any tell tale signs about Sam's video, or any others you come across, come to The Rational Paranormal FB page and post your thoughts.