That's the question that popped into my head when I first read about the "Dear David" saga unfolding on social media. I saw the events simply as the fabrication of an artist, New Yorker Adam Ellis, seeking to garner himself some attention. The story developed in a series of tweets, beginning on Monday 7th August, using tropes familiar to any horror fan including the encounter with the mysterious figure who fills in the back story of the "haunting" a feature of almost every modern paint by numbers horror film.
I'm not going to delve too deeply into the details of the story if you want more information you can visit Adam's Storify page (1). Whilst many people expressed opinions that Adam may truly believe his story and that he actually believes he is being haunted, even offering him advice on sleep paralysis (2), I believed from the start that Adam was a purposeful hoaxer who was revelling in the media attention. I don't place much stock in the credibility of a man who refers to himself as "moby_dickhead" on social media. The problem was I couldn't really prove that and any attempt I make to address the situation would only serve to garner Ellis more attention. Adam is also clearly stating this "100% real" (4):
That changed with a story in today's tabloid press (3) as I believe with his latest video "evidence" Adam has over stepped the line of plausible believability and strayed into the realm of outright fakery and as such has exposed himself. The version of the story in the Sun focuses on three video sequences offered by Ellis, all of which were tweeted on August 29th. Ellis alleges that the clips were taken during the night and were caught by a camera and he was alerted to them by activation of a motion detector app. If Adam has installed a motion detector app I have to wonder how he's programmed it not to react the movement of his cats?
Well, it could be our old friend fishing wire, but I'd say that it's much more likely that the rocking motion has been caused by pressure applied elsewhere on Adam's wooden floor or even the floor outside Adam's front door (left of the screen). Images from Adam's twitter feed show his well polished hard wooden floor. It would only take a slight pressure to cause enough buckling in the floor to cause a gentle rocking.
We also see from other images on Adam's twitter feed that his front door is right by a stairwell. Close enough that I suspect even someone climbing the stairs and passing the front door could set the rocking chair in gentle motion.
Other photos show that Adam has only just moved the rocking chair to the front door, which strikes me as not a normal location for the chair. It appears to me that the positioning of the chair will barely allow Adam to get his front door open so why place it there?
And the above photo brings us to the next video which shows a turtle shell falling from the wall above the bookcase in the image. Problem is the shell isn't in the above image either.
So that's two objects that have been at the centre of this "activity" that have been placed in the positions we see them in very recently. What about video three? Well, as you'll see it's this piece of footage that's the most damning. In fact, the Sun article omits this piece of footage despite the fact that it features an image of Adam tweeting about it.
So this alleges to show a chair disappearing, it's very clear what it actually shows though.
2. Adam ends this recording. After he shuts off the camera at some later point he moves that blue chair to stand on it to gimmick the turtle shell.
3. Adam starts recording again without putting the chair back in its original position. The turtle shell falls. Light is at the back wall of the second room. The chair has not been put back in its original position.
4. He puts the whole video edited together on twitter failing to notice his blatant mistakes. Here's the video as Adam originally put it up on his Twitter feed:
5. When it's pointed out to him he bluffs the mysterious chair disappearance as further "evidence".
I think I've got you....
Sources and Further Reading